So is fish safe to eat?
Robyn explains how fish may not be as healthy as you once thought them to be. She shares with us how dangerous it is to consume fish, due to the high amount of toxins and chemicals present within them, that is only getting worse.
Robyn states that there are two phenomena that make fish dangerous to consume which is detrimental to our health.
The first is bioaccumulation.
Bioaccumulation is the gradual accumulation of substances like pesticides and chemicals found within a living organism, in this case a fish.
Most of these dangerous compounds get absorbed up into the fish’s fat stores, as they are fat soluble. This means that the fish is highly toxic and even during their natural excretion process to removing toxins, not all of the toxins are adequately removed, thus making them unsafe to eat.
The second is biomagnification.
What this means is that by each step you go up the food chain, the concentration of these contaminants increases exponentially. For example when you look at a ‘big fish’ and think about all the other ‘medium fish’ and ‘little fish’ they have eaten in their lifetime, it increases their exposure to these toxins, making them the most toxic types of fish to eat. We can classify some of the ‘big fish’ as; Tuna, Salmon and Swordfish. Tuna and Salmon have been marketed as health foods in the past, which is very questionable in Robyns opinion.
What about the land food chain compared to the marine food chain?
Fish are so heavily contaminated compared to the land food chain according to Robyn. When you think of the land food chain it is relatively short. Robyn explains that you have the crop, the cow and then the human.
Whereas the marine food chain is very long. You have the phytoplankton, the zooplankton, the small fish, the medium fish, the big fish and then the bigger fish ect. When you get to large predatory fish like salmon, they have eaten oodles of fish throughout their lifespan. For example, they have eaten medium, small, smaller and the smallest fish.
This means that the ‘big fish’ like salmon are swimming around with an enormous toxic load in their fat cells, which is proving to be detrimental to human health if consumed.
So what happens then when we eat fish?
These toxins are then transferred to us being on top of the food chain. Our bodies have to work extremely hard to eliminate these toxins and over time with regular consumption may cause long term health effects.
So what is causing the dangerous toxic levels in our fish?
This could be related to the following;
-Toxic sprays and chemicals used in conventional farming like herbicides and pesticides which are polluting the land and running into our waterways
-Oil spills and chemical dumps in the ocean
-General waste and pollution entering our waterways
-Use of harmful household and commercial chemicals entering our waterways
All we know is that fish are more toxic than ever and that this is only getting worse over time.
So what about fish oil tablets and the health craze around this?
Fish oil supplements are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids. However is this the safest and purest way of obtaining Omega-3?
Robyn states that all the toxic contaminants from the ocean, end up in the fat cells of the fish, that then end up being traced back to the oil in an extremely concentrated form. This is not as healthy as once thought considering there are other ways of getting Omega-3’s into your diet naturally, without the dangerous toxins.
Choosing to consume organic produce helps us to fight and combat disease more effectively when compared to consuming non organic produce.
When eating non organic food you are getting some pesticide residue according to Robyn. The government will tell you they have standards for this and that is tightly regulated, meaning it is ‘safe’. However, Robyn states that no one has tested the safety of these compounds in combination with each other. The safe limits of these compounds are set based on exposure and testing in isolation, specifically in lab animals. So imagine what might happen when you expose a lab animal, or more importantly a human to low levels of a multitude of these compounds. The scary thing is, no one has tested this so we actually don't know.
Robyn is concerned about the high rates of birth defects in the offspring of our hard working farmers. What is the correlation of these defects to the farmers exposure to ‘regulated’ chemicals pre-conception?
When doing a quick google search, numerous studies, claims and evidence came up linking glyphosate use to birth defects, cancer and a number of concerning health problems. Glyphosate is the leading chemical found in ‘round up’ or weed killer.
Secondary to this, Robyn explains how conventional farming is destroying the productivity capacity of the earth. Regenerative farming practices build fertility in the soil, where as convention farming has stripped the fertility and nutrients from the soil. Robyn states that we have been ripping food out of the earth and have not been looking at the viability of the soil and complex ecosystem below it. The micro organisms and complex web of life within the soil is damaged and needs our immediate attention.
Many microorganisms resident in the human gut are directly from the soil. Robyn uses the example of our ancestors, who weren't washing the soil off their produce. They were eating a lot more dirt than we were. For example picking off the fruit directly from the tree and not washing it. As a society, we have been led to believe washing our veggies is essential to remove ‘sprays’ and dirt. It is not the dirt we should be concerned about, but the chemicals sprayed on the dirt.
Robyn states that when you look at the few remaining tribes of hunters and gathers in the world who live organically off the land “their gut micro biodiversity is stunning compared to that of western people, it’s like orders of magnitude higher”.
Benny deliberates whether or not you can soak non organic produce in water, apple cider vinegar or essential oils to help remove the toxic chemicals. What we need to remember is that the plant is more often than not contaminated at the seedling stage of its life. This means the structural integrity of the plant and its root structure may be infected with toxins pre, post and during all stages of maturity before picking. Some external residue on the outsides of the crop may be removed with washing, but it can't remove all contamination. The important factor here is the growing conditions or the health of the soil. If the soil is infected and lacking nutrients, then so will the plant.
By consuming and supporting the farming of non organic produce, both Benny and Robyn feel it is not only damaging to our health, but it is polluting our oceans, endangering our wildlife and having such a negative impact on the planet.
The industrialised agricultural system that we have now is just not sustainable according to Robyn. We need to learn about regenerative practises and institute these on a widespread basis, for the health of the people and the health of the planet.
Robyn recommends that her clients eat organically as much as possible.
The science that we have up to this point does not show a great deal of difference between organic produce and non organic produce from a nutritional view point. Some nutritional values like antioxidants, minerals and vitamins may be higher in organic vs non organic. However, the compounds that plants produce when under stress are in higher amounts in organically produced foods. For example insect attacks or harsh environmental conditions cause the plant to develop defense mechanisms against this, which get passed onto us as humans who consume the plants. The benefits to this are that we are better able to combat our own environmental threats or stress like disease or illness. In regards to modulating our response to stress in the long term, robyn recommends going organic.
Benny raises his concerns about the health status of Australia. He states that 1 in 2 of us will receive a cancer diagnosis in our lifetime, 1 in 3 will receive diabetes and Heart Disease is still the leading cause of death. Not to mention the increasing rates of autism, mental health issues, autoimmune conditions and the list goes on.
Science is getting better but the stats are getting worse. Benny wonders why.
Robyn states that the medical system provides a model of care that works really well on acute diseases. For example the creation of antibiotics revolutionised medicine. People who would of once died, can now survive. However, you can't apply the acute model of care to chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. These chronic diseases are centered around lifestyle choices like what food you choose to consume, the quality of that food, your physical activity levels, stress, connection, sleep ect. Robyn states that genetics make you more susceptible and in a way ‘load the gun’, however the lifestyle choices you make decide whether or not you pull the trigger.
Robyn states, “Genetics loads the gun and lifestyle pulls the trigger”.
A concerning development is that lifestyle diseases or once known as ‘old people’ diseases are presenting in children and teenagers. The millennial generation in the US have double their risk of contracting a lifestyle disease at the age of 27 compared to generation X. And, it's only getting worse.
To conclude in the famous words of Hippocrates… “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.
To learn more about Robyn go to; https://empowertotalhealth.com.au
Or check out Robyns Facebook page; https://www.facebook.com/EmpowerTotalHealth
You can also follow Benny ; @vegan_like_benny