Farmed salmon forms a very important part of my healthy diet and has been rapidly growing in popularity over the past few years. However, as it is with all popular things, salmon farming is surrounded by a great deal of controversy – primarily surrounding the potential health risks, the environmental impacts of fish feed and the influence that escaped fish can have on wild fish.
I have looked into this issue in quite some detail in order to make sure that I am doing the right thing by eating two potions of farmed salmon every week. My findings have been positive regarding farmed salmon and can be summarized as follows:
Even though farmed salmon is often rumored to be less nutrient-rich, scientific studies consistently find only small differences in the nutrient content of farmed and wild salmon. The most famous nutrient in salmon; omega-3 fatty acids, is very similar between these two options.
Risks of heart disease, the number one global killer, has been confirmed to be substantially reduced by salmon consumption and substantially increased by red meat consumption. Further efforts to replace red meat with fatty fish such as salmon can therefore save millions of lives and billions of dollars in healthcare expenditures.
Despite all the hype about the dangers posed by things like toxic chemicals in salmon feed, all my searches into this topic have not delivered a single human death from farmed salmon. Compare that to 5 million annual deaths from tobacco and 3 million from obesity to get some perspective regarding the things we should actually be making noise about.
Personally, I have been eating farmed salmon roughly two times per week for the past two years and have maintained perfect health throughout this period. It might be that daily farmed salmon consumption could have some adverse effects, but the scientific literature (and my personal experience) suggests that two portions per week is perfectly safe.
I see aquaculture as an essential part of a sustainable human civilization. We are already at the limit of our agricultural land usage, but we are just beginning to realize the potential bounty from the oceans. Supporting salmon farmers (while keeping them under pressure to constantly improve the health benefits and sustainability of their produce), is therefore a crucial investment in global food security.
So, please eat your farmed salmon guilt-free. As with all things, however, keep your consumption moderate.
Most industrialized nations don’t produce much nowadays. We run huge trade deficits and our labor markets are heavily skewed towards the service sector which strives to bring the goods produced by other nations to local consumers as effectively as possible. There is one “commodity”, however, that we seem to produce with ever increasing efficiency: disease.
It really is all about the money. The more people get sick, the more money is made by pharmaceutical companies. And yes, like all other industries, the medical industry has simply gone where the money is and, in the process, has become an illness industry instead of the wellness industry it is supposed to be. Currently, close to one in every five dollars in America are spent on health issues – more value than all manufactured goods combined.
As discussed in a previous post, 80-90% of all degenerative diseases are caused by an unhealthy lifestyle. This means that 80-90% of the pain and suffering, the social disruption and the financial losses can be completely avoided by simply living healthily. Really, if doctors were unanimously advocating and prescribing healthy nutrition and exercise instead of drugs, society would be much better off. But that of course will not be nearly as profitable…
The crux of the matter is this: We make lots of money by selling highly processed junk at fast food outlets. We make lots of money by selling cars and other devices that are designed to spare us even the slightest physical exertion. Then we make lots of money by “treating” the obvious diseases that originate from these self-destructive lifestyles. This is like paying one company to tear down your house and then paying another to try and build it back up again. And the worst is that we keep on repeating this process over and over again. This is sheer madness!
Please, break out of this unbelievably crazy self-destructive macro-environment we live in today. I’ve done that a long time ago and have now lived more than 1200 healthy days without even contracting as much as a common cold. It really is laughably easy.
Please watch the following video and spread the word. This madness must end now.
The first set of action steps will focus on health – perhaps the single best example of the disastrous influence that the macro-environment we live in today is having on our lives.
Poor health within developed nations has become so severe that it is starting to have some serious negative impacts on the highly vulnerable global economy. Almost 1 in every 5 American dollars are spent on healthcare nowadays and this number is still increasing. And the real kicker is that all of these massive costs are not helping to extend lifespans at all (shown below).
But the primary reason for the long series of health guidelines that will follow this post is that healthy people are simply a much smaller burden on planet Earth. Healthy lifestyle choices are almost always synonymous with sustainable lifestyle choices. In addition, people who take responsibility for looking after their own bodies are much more likely to also take responsibility for looking after their environment, their economy and their society.
As the following stats indicate, however, we still have a very long way to go. Firstly, as we all know, 2 out of 3 Americans are overweight while 1 in 3 is fully obese and these worrying numbers are still increasing. This is especially startling considering the fact that the amount of money Americans spend on diet and weight loss products is about the same as the combined economic output of the 20 poorest African countries. Aside from a crippled economy, the result (among many others) is soaring diabetes rates.
Diabetes is directly related to the number one killer in developed countries: heart disease. Thankfully, mortality rates from heart disease are declining, but only because doctors have had so much practice with it that they cannot really help getting better. The incidence of heart disease is still increasing though.
The above chart shows hospital discharge rates from the first (1st) and all subsequent incidences (2nd) of heart disease. Those rapidly rising dotted lines show that doctors are saving more and more people just so that they can come back another time.
These rising trends are especially startling when you consider that the world is gradually realizing that inhaling a blend of toxic chemicals at regular intervals throughout the day is actually bad for you:
Smoking is the single most destructive lifestyle habit there is, so how can smoking be declining and virtually all forms of degenerative disease be increasing? Well, here we come to the two primary topics that will be covered in this set of action steps: nutrition and fitness. Even though we are smoking less, our terribly unhealthy eating habits and our sedentary lifestyles have now taken over as the primary killers.
And yes, this is primarily due to the macro-environment we live in. Junk-food is all around us and our world is designed to spare us any form of physical exertion. Unfortunately, this will not change before we start putting “Junk-food kills” labels on all McDonald’s products. And since political action normally lags a few decades behind scientific fact as lobbyists and politicians play their highly unethical moneymaking games, it is up to you to create for yourself a micro-environment that will protect you from this toxic macro-environment.
We’ll start on that first thing tomorrow.