Avoiding Toxins in the Meat and Fish You Eat
You hear all the time how eating organic meats and wild-caught fish is better for you than those raised with hormones, antibiotics, and feed that is genetically engineered and covered in chemicals. And, I know what you’re probably thinking. They cost more, and what’s really the big deal? Well, not only are these ingredients toxic—meaning over time they can cause conditions like heart disease and cancer—they do real harm to your metabolism and can lead to obesity. That’s right. In plain English, this means our bodies end up producing and storing more fat cells than they would otherwise. Here’s a list of chemicals in meats and fish to steer clear of:
Conventionally raised cattle are typically fed artificial hormones (rBST and rBGH) to fatten them up for slaughter at a faster rate. But studies have linked human consumption of these hormones to both obesity and early puberty.
Livestock (including poultry) and farm-raised fish are given antibiotics. Yes, in part it’s to fight infections many receive from inhumane feedlot conditions, but these antibiotics also act as growth agents to fatten the animal up quickly and get it to slaughter. When the animals we eat ingest these drugs, we do too! An overuse of antibiotics contributes to weight gain; kills the good bacteria in our gut, which help us absorb vitamins and minerals; and adds to the human threat of superbugs such as MRSA that are resistant to treatment. When you see “wild-caught” on the label of fish products, that’s a good indication that it’s free of antibiotics.
Sodium nitrites and nitrates
These food additives are used as preservatives, flavoring, and coloring in bacon, hot dogs, cured meats, smoked fish, and other processed meats. When we consume these ingredients, they form compounds that enter the bloodstream and wreak havoc on the liver and pancreas (which is responsible for insulin, a key hormone in successful weight management).
This heavy metal is a toxic byproduct of various manufacturing processes. Mercury gets into our air and large bodies of water, where fish and other sea creatures absorb the toxin. Consumed in large quantities, mercury can negatively affect the brain and kidneys, and is especially dangerous for pregnant women. Some predatory fish, including swordfish and shark, accumulate more mercury than others, so it’s best to avoid eating them altogether. Wild-caught tuna, salmon, halibut, grouper, and the like are better bets for essential omega-3 fatty acids. You can also check out the Seafood Watch App. It’s free, and it’s an incredible resource that tells you what seafood is safe to eat and is environmentally sound.
Overall, eating less meat will save you money. We don’t need nearly as much meat as we consume. It’s bad for the environment in many cases, no matter how healthy it might be. So, try to limit your animal protein consumption and opt for more vegetable based options. When you do eat meat, consider purchasing it from a retailer you can trust. Greensbury Market is a great option. I shop with them all the time. They source only from small family run farms. The food is ethically sourced and 100% free of all the above referenced toxins!