So you love you some Sushi.

Sushi, sushi, sushi, I love me some sushi.  It’s a staple of some people’s diet.  It’s healthy (ish), it’s fresh, no preservatives, what’s not to like?  What if you weren’t sure what kind of fish was on your plate, how would that effect your love of sushi?  Most people react to this by saying “I trust my sushi guy,  he wouldn’t sell me any of the fake stuff”.  Weeeellllllll, not so fast.  It seems that maybe the sushi you’re eating isn’t always what your sushi guy is telling you.  I’m not saying he’s purposely deceiving you, he probably doesn’t know himself.  For that matter, the fish you buy at the grocery store, or the fish market isn’t always what it’s labeled.  It’s scary and sobering to read the results of a study conducted in 2012  by the non-profit organization Oce

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ana (  According to the study, your chances of getting properly labeled fish at a sushi restaurant is not so good.  As a matter of fact, the seafood industry as a whole is enveloped with fraud.  According to the studies findings, ” Everywhere seafood is tested, fraud has been found”.  Below are some of the key findings, you can read the who study at (Widespread Seafood fraud found in New York):

  • 58 percent of the 81 retail outlets sampled sold mislabeled fish (three in five).
  • Small markets had significantly higher fraud (40 percent) than national chain grocery stores (12 percent).
  • 100 percent of the 16 sushi bars tested sold mislabeled fish.
  • Tilefish, on the FDA’s do-not-eat list because of its high mercury content,
    was substituted for red snapper and halibut in a small market.
  • 94 percent of the “white tuna” was not tuna at all, but escolar, a snake mackerel that has a toxin with purgative effects for people who eat more than a small amount of the fish.
  • Thirteen different types of fish were sold as “red snapper,” including tilapia, white bass, goldbanded, jobfish, tilefish, porgy/seabream, ocean perch and other less valuable snappers.

So what’s a sushi lover to do?  Personally, much to my family’s consternation, I haven’t been to a sushi restaurant since I read this study.  There’s just no way to know what your’re actually eating.  Based on their findings, it didn’t matter whether you went to the most expensive sushi place, or the corner sushi guy, your chance of getting mislabeled fish was the same.  If you must have your sushi fix, be careful when ordering.  Stay away from red snapper, and  white tuna as they are the most frequently mislabeled fish.

So what about getting the seafood special at your favorite restaurant?  This again is a tough one.  According to well know food author, Larry Olmstead, the seafood industry is “so rife with fakery — both legal and illegal — that it boggles the mind”.   A good rule of thumb is to buy what you know can be caught locally.  It will give you a better chance of getting what it’s labeled as. When looking to buy seafood to cook at home, follow the Olmstead’s advice from his book, “Real food, fake food”:

  • Whenever possible, buy your fish at a local fish market and buy the whole fish, that way you know what you’re getting.
  • Whole foods has a decent handle on their logistics chain, so their record on mislabeling is better than most.
  • Big box chains such as Costco, Sam’s, and BJ’s command large enough buying power that they can dictated standards for their suppliers, so they have better quality fish than your local grocery store.

Sorry if this is depressing to hear.  The amount of fakery in the food world is scandalous at best, but the more you know the better you will be able to get a handle on what you’re putting in your body.












I want to get healthy, but today’s not a good day to start because…

I CAN’T…..

There always seems to be a reason we give ourselves for not starting down the path to health and fitness.  When we rationalize these things to ourselves, they make perfect sense, and let us off the hook for not getting started, or maintaining our health.  Since we are our own harshest judges, we must come up with some convincing arguments to get the judge to let us go without punishment.  It doesn’t always work, but at least it gets the judge off our backs until the next time.  Here are some of those arguments, and reasons the judge shouldn’t let you off the hook.  It’s hard to conquer  your can’t, but until you do you’ll never get back on that path to health and fitness.  Tell the judge not to let you off the hook this time.

“I can’t get healthy or exercise because…”

“…it’s just a crazy time in my life right now” – Life is always crazy.  That’s normal.  Accept your life the way it is and figure out how to work in a healthy lifestyle into your version of crazy.  It’s not an all or nothing proposition.  Every little bit helps, so start somewhere, anywhere, just start.

 “…I’ve got a knee/hip/shoulder injury.” – Who doesn’t.  How does that stop you from eating healthier?  Eat healthy and learn to work the parts of the body that aren’t injured, but keeping the body moving is critical to maintaining health.

“…I’m travelling a lot for work.” – Use hotels that have a decent gym.  Rubber bands, body weight workouts.  Travelling isn’t a reason to not maintain a healthy diet or to exercise, it’s just another challenge to work around.

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“…I don’t live close enough to a gym/can’t afford a gym/don’t own equipment.” – You don’t need a gym.  There are plenty of body weight routines available on the internet.  Kettlebells, sand bags, slosh pipes, used tires, sledgehammers, these are just a few of the relatively inexpensive workout implements you can use to get great workouts at home.  I’ve made plenty of my own workout implements over the years to know you can make your own stuff pretty inexpensively.

“…I’ve got family coming for the holidays and need to clean/shop/cook.” The holidays come at the same time every year so they cannot surprise you. Your friends and relatives can survive without your attention for a little while so you can take care of yourself.

“…this is a busy season for me at work.” It’s okay to taper down your normal exercise routine, but don’t just stop altogether. It’s incredibly hard to restart once you’ve completely stopped.  Plus, working out can help alleviate stress during a busy time at work.  Don’t use food to help alleviate that stress during a busy time at work, use exercise.

“…it’s just too hard to get in shape and stay healthy.” Raising a child is really hard, I’ve done it twice. There are lots of things in life that are really hard, yet we do them because we know the reward at the end is worth the trials and tribulations.  The really hard part is getting started.  Just get started and don’t look back.


“I can’t eat healthy because…”

“…my kids/wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend will not eat healthy foods.” Yeah, this is a tough one.  We all have those folks in our life that might not want to participate in your efforts to eat healthier and maintain a healthy lifestyle.  Let them understand that by taking care of yourself by getting and staying healthy, you will be a better father/husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend.  Don’t force them to eat the way you do, or exercise with you, but when they see your success they’ll probably be asking to participate.

“…I don’t know how to cook.” Then learn. It’s a critical adulting skill. Healthy cooking doesn’t require a chef’s training.  Google University has plenty of videos and recipes to help you get started.  Just jump in, and realize that you’ll make a mistake here and there, and that’s okay.  You’ll figure out what you like and how to cook it, and you might have some fun along the way.

“…I hate vegetables/fruit/plain water” Don’t force yourself to eat things you don’t like just because you think they’re healthy, but understand that this is always a learned response, and it can change. Humans never naturally hate things that sustains , it’s a learned response. You may have had a bad experience with a certain food once in your life, and now you can’t even think about that food without having a negative response.  So don’t give up on healthy eating.  Go find a vegetable or fruit that you do like—or at least don’t hate—and start there. And, this is really important, keep trying new and different things. We try a healthy food once and if we don’t like it, we never have it again. I’ve learned through my cooking experiences that there are many ways to prepare food that can change the way it tastes.  Figure out different ways to prepare foods and you may find that some foods you thought you hated aren’t so bad.

“…I love chocolate, wine (absolutely not a health food), doughnuts, ice cream, pizza etc., too much.” Being healthy doesn’t mean you’re entering a monastery and living the life of monk.  Indulging your bacchanalian side occasionally is not only okay, it’s healthy.  It’s when you’re consuming those things on a daily basis, or as a part of your regular diet that they can have their cumulative negative effect on your health.  So indulge every once in awhile, just don’t let these things become habit.