Love Sushi? Love it Safely.

Until recently, I was almost deathly afraid of consuming raw fish. So sushi never made my list of favorite foods. The thought of cold, slimy  food in my mouth, saturated with chemicals from our toxic dump water sources just made me ill. And of course knowing what I know being a natural doctor made it a little difficult to join the hip, happy hour crowds in a sushi bar.

I’ve reviewed so many lab reports for patients with brain fog, problems conceiving, miscarriages among several other health concerns. One of the common threads in their diet reports, I noticed, was a love for shellfish and sushi

I’m not sushi bashing here.  In fact, on the contrary: I have been baptized a sushi fan thanks to my cousins, Mel and Amit in Sydney, Australia. These world traveling foodies took me through most of the trendy areas of their stomping grounds in late 2014 and gave my Melbourne dining experience a run for its money.  I knew if I was ever to eat raw fish, it would be in a damn good restaurant, I mean high end, pricey, not a small dive in a strip mall; and with someone who knows their sushi.  I’m not trying to be snobby but my health matters. I wasn’t going to spend my vacation days (or any days) in a bathroom nor time in an urgent care center.  So, they took me to the Surrey Hills district in Sydney to christen me at Toko-Sydney, an upscale sushi restaurant on Crown Street. www.toko-sydney.com.  I popped a digestive enzyme and cautiously sampled the feast before me.  No fishy taste nor smell, no post meal gastric discomfort and I was neither stuffed nor left with a feeling of not eating a substantial meal. Sold! I like sushi….in Australia.

Safer Raw Fish Eating..

Since, I’ve been back in America I’ve been picky about where to dine and what to order off a sushi menu. Yet still my sushi experiences are few and far between and only in reputable restaurants.  Here are  some criteria for healthy, happy sushi experiences:

Find out the food sources: Where are the fish coming from? Farm raised or wild caught? We know wild caught is safer. If the staff doesn’t know or acts defensive when faced with that question, beware; approach with caution or walk out. Fish has been known as a beneficial source of healthy fats, feeding our brain and reducing inflammation but unfortunately our water sources are contaminated with toxic chemicals. Farm fish are contained in small environments (just like farm raised cattle and chickens) and contaminated with GMO corn and soy as well as drugs.

You will notice most all sides and garnishes have a sweet taste and are quite colorful. Ask your restaurant if any of these were prepared fresh in house. The reason is that many condiments such as the seaweed salad, are served from pre-packaged sources, preserved with potassium sorbate and MSG. The ginger, while great for nausea, pain, asthma to name a few, may be sweetened aspartame, and the rice with high fructose corn syrup.  Wasabi, Japanese mustard, is anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial but if it appears bright green, it’s most likely doctored up with food coloring. I personally avoid the soy sauce at all costs, even if they offer a gluten free sauce. It’s most likely infused with corn syrup, coloring and potassium sorbate preservative.

Oysters at Cogee Bay beachside restaurant in Sydney!
Oysters at Cogee Bay beachside restaurant in Sydney!

Love Sushi?

I’m not saying give it up. The safest sushi is a meal prepared at home from wild caught fish and clean, unadulterated condiments made from scratch or purchased at a health food store. Wild sockeye salmon is a safer bet. Tuna, on the other hand, is known to have the highest concentration of mercury so I avoid that one in restaurants.

Personally I choose healthy aging and a reduced risk of dementia, cancer and other debilitations and I do my due diligence in selecting what goes into my body. I do take chlorella tablets to help bind the mercury and help prevent its absorption in my body when consuming fish.  Despite living in a toxic soup of contaminated food sources, I will not sacrifice my new found enjoyment of sushi but I will scrutinize the restaurant and its sources.

Writing this article brought back a childhood memory of my parents taking us every weekend to a local fish store in Toronto, run by this wonderful immigrant family that sang while they worked. I remember a big chalkboard  posted high up on the wall, with these bold words:  “Eat Fish. Fish Make Brain. Brain Make Money. Money Buy More Fish!”   : )

Dr. M

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