Raw Fish is simple to prepare And great for your brain!

Raw fish and seafood is commonly consumed by native populations world wide, especially among those living near coastal areas.  The fatty acids in fish, especially the Omega 3 fats including  eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)  have been extensively studied for their role in preventing heart disease, as it was observed that the Greenland Eskimos and other native populations that consumed large quantities of animal foods and fats, especially seafoods, sea mammals, and fish oils ~ diets rich in Omega 3 fats  ~  did not experience heart disease compared to those eating modern Western diets.

Many people also believe that consumption of at least some raw foods containing beneficial enzymes is essential for healing and maintenance of health.  

Weston A. Price, (as mentioned in  Raw Meat and Raw Liver recipe pages) studied Native populations around the world, looking for patterns that determined what led to dental decay, and physical degeneration.  He took detailed records, recording dietary intake and testing samples for nutritional content of locally raised raw dairy and other foods.  He subsequently wrote, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, an excellent text which can help us understand what types of diet and lifestyle patterns were protective against all manner of diseases (infectious and chronic/modern diseases).   

What Price found was that populations that continued to eat the foods their ancestors ate through the generations, produced healthy children with broad dental arches, and virtually no dental decay.  When these same populations began to consume 'modern' processed foods, their health, teeth and bones quickly deteriorated.  Joint pain, and a lack of immunity from diseases increased dramatically.

While we may not be able to completely replicate all the diet and lifestyle patterns of our own distant ancestors, (nor is it necessary), we can do our best to include elements that best replicate the patterns observed by Price and other researchers who observed the excellent strength, agility, immunity from disease, and in many cases, increased longevity into our own lives.

Raw fish, liver and other organs, eggs, and dairy, and some raw foraged greens, or locally grown vegetables and fruits was a common thread among the populations studied.  Most of these cultures enjoyed a mix of raw and cooked foods, and all seemed to have specific foods given to men and women to ensure fertility and healthy reproduction, and to young children to ensure optimal mental and physical development in their early formative years.


"Every native culture Weston Price studied ate many foods raw; tradition often dictated which."
~ Ron Schmid, Primal Nutrition, Paleolithic And Ancestral Diets For Optimal Health

Scroll to the bottom for several simple recipes for preparing raw or cooked fish.

Ron Schmid, author of Primal Nutrition,  Paleolithic And Ancestral Diets For Optimal Health, writes, "When protective nutrients are lost from the diet, health problems are bound to ensue.  Consuming enough of these nutrients is a step toward building strength and resistance to disease.  Certain foods are more appropriate than others, depending on one's ancestry and tastes."

Dr. David Perlmutter, author of Grain Brain, The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar ~ Your Brain's Silent Killers,  writes:  "We are designed to be smart people are entire lives.  The brain is supposed to work well until our last breath.  But most of us assume, wrongly, that with age comes cognitive decline.  We think it's an inevitable part of aging....This impression is a pernicious fallacy.  The truth is that we're living a life that's not suited to what we're genetically supposed to do.  Period."

He further states, "The diseases we see nowadays are largely brought on by our lifestyle not being in harmony with our genetic predisposition.  But we can change this and return our DNA back to its original programming.  Better yet, we can re-program some of our DNA to function even more advantageously."

In order to re-wire our DNA for better health, we need to consume the right raw materials ~ the most nutrient-dense foods ~ while avoiding those foods which promote inflammation ~ especially refined and processed carbohydrates and unhealthy oils and fats.  

According to Perlmutter, "We can change the expression of more than 70 percent of the genes that have a direct bearing on our health and longevity."  Increasing your  consumption of cooked or raw fish is an excellent start!

Raw fish and seafood, along with raw meat, liver and other organs, raw egg yolks, and raw dairy, along with animal fats from pastured cows, provide the important vitamins and minerals the body and brain need to avoid disease, premature degeneration, and cognitive decline, despite genetic predispositions to various diseases.

The right diet and adequate physical movement, among other lifestyle factors, promote longevity ~ having good  physical health, stamina, and agility along with cognitive clarity and brain health through the decades.  

Eating healthy, nutrient dense, higher quality foods, including raw fish, is an investment in your health, and can save you precious energy and resources, while avoiding a lifetime dependency on Western pharmaceuticals, and unnecessary surgeries.

Both Perlmutter and Schmid discuss the importance of obtaining adequate amounts of DHA and EPA ~ two very important fatty acids.   Fish consumption ~ whether raw fish or lightly cooked ~ has been correlated to increased protection from heart disease, macular degeneration, and memory loss.  EPA and especially DHA also regulate inflammation in the body by inhibiting COX-2 enzyme which turns on inflammation in the body.

Schmid sites an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1985 in which Dutch researchers conducted a twenty-year study on 852 men with no known heart disease that were living in Zutphen in the Netherlands.  The diets of the men were recorded beginning in 1960.  They consumed varying levels of fish, from none, to a fraction of an ounce per day, to 11 ounces per day.  Statistical analysis was done on all the data collected, with the result being a clear connection between the amount of fish consumed, and the level of protection from heart disease.  The researchers concluded that an  "inverse dose-response relation" existed between the amount of fish the men ate and their chances of dying of coronary heart disease.  You can find that article here.


Consumption of both cooked and raw fish provides many health benefits: protection against coronary heart disease, macular degeneration, and cognitive decline, to name a few.  

Our brains are comprised of mostly fat, including DHA.  Healthy fats from animal foods supply important nutrients that help maintain healthy teeth, bones, brains, vision, hearts, nerves, and perhaps, happier moods too!

Another study  published in the Archives of Opthamalogy of 4500 men and women between the ages of 60 and 80 at the time of enrolling in the study was conducted between 1992 and 1998.   Dietary histories were taken at enrollment.  After adjusting factors for total calories consumed, age, race,  and history of smoking, they found that "those who consumed the highest levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, primarily from fish, were 39% less likely to have age related macular degeneration, or AMD.  

Perlmutter also discusses many other reasons why consumption of EPA and DHA are important for health.  One being it's ability to improve our brain functioning.  The dry weight of the human brain is two thirds fat!  One quarter of that fat is DHA.  "Structurally , DHA is an important building block for the membranes surrounding brain cells, particularly the synapses, which lie at t he heart of efficient brain function."


A double-blind interventional study called the Memory Improvement with DHA Study, or MIDAS, tested a group of 485 men and women whose average age was seventy and who had mild memory problems.  They were given a supplement containing DHA from marine algae, or a placebo for six months.  The blood levels of DHA among those supplementing doubled, and they had a near double reduction in errors on a test taken that determines learning and memory performance versus those who took a placebo.

There are countless more studies indicating the many health promoting effects  of regular fish consumption, especially raw fish.  

The same May, 1985 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine published another study on twenty patients with with hypertriglyceridemia ~ a condition of excessively high triglycerides in the blood.  High triglycerides is a risk factor for heart and circulatory diseases.  High trigs are correlated with the overconsumption of carbs, especially refined carbohydrates.  

Patients were given controlled diets which differed only in the types of fat consumed.  One diet was a low-fat diet without any fish oils.  Another included fish oil from fish and supplements, and the third used polyunsaturated vegetable oils in lieu of the fish and fish oils.  

In 4 weeks, blood triglycerides fell an average of 64% for those consuming fish oils for those with moderately high trigs, and a whopping 79% for those with extremely high triglycerides.

Within  a few days of switching to the vegetable oils in lieu of the fish oils, all participants had an increase in triglycerides, although not back to the original levels.  However, after 10-14 days, the blood levels had on average tripled.  More alarmingly, the patients developed abdominal pain and liver tenderness from the increase in blood fats, causing the vegetable oil-rich diets to be discontinued.

 

All of the populations studied by Weston A. Price consumed adequate levels of many fat-soluble vitamins from raw fish, raw meat, raw liver, raw dairy and raw eggs, along with some amount of cooked animal foods plus a variety of seasonal and regional plant foods depending on availability.  These diets were high in cholesterol, yet those who continued to consume their ancestral diets did not suffer from heart disease, or the levels of deterioration and degeneration now evident in populations everywhere that rely on commercially available processed foods, deficient in many important vitamins and minerals.

It appears that even vegetarians who consume a whole foods diet, including regular intake of lightly cooked or raw fish and seafood would have much greater health outcomes long term than those abstaining from all animal foods, including fish, dairy, and eggs.

Many people enjoy raw fish when dining at a sushi bar.  Even without special knife skills, you can cut fish while still slightly frozen into nice, even-sized pieces.  Marinate in citrus with a few vegetables or fresh herbs, and possibly a little oil for a delicious ceviche.  

Alternatively, fish such as ahi tuna can be seasoned and then quickly seared on a hot pan, leaving the center very rare, or barely cooked.

Yet another way to get some of the many health benefits of fish includes making a fish stock, similar to a bone broth.  Simmer the entire skeleton of fish you've already eaten, including the head and the eyes where DHA is concentrated.  You can also use a whole fish, or purchase fish heads.

Raw Wild Cod is a great raw fish to choose to prepare Ceviche because of its mild flavor. Ceviche is a super simple and delicious way to incorporate 'raw fish' into your diet, as the citrus in marinates in essentially 'cooks' the fish
Raw Salmon, lightly seasoned and marinated in fresh orange and a little Carlson Norwegian Lemon Cod Liver Oil and XVOO.
Fish bone broth is another way to get the many benefits of fish into your diet, and makes a delicious soup. Add a fish head, and the entire skeleton from any fish, especially fatty fish to get the DHA contained in the eyes and brain.

You will hardly feel like you are eating raw fish when you let fish marinate in some fresh citrus.  Very refreshing!

WILD COD CEVICHE:

Mix 1 pound  or more of wild caught cod, shrimp, or other raw fish of choice in a bowl with the juice of about 1/2 of 1 lemon, a pinch each of salt and white pepper, and some finely diced vegetables, such as scallions,  red onion, celery.  

To add some heat, add a little finely diced jalapeño.  Fresh chopped cilantro or fresh small grape or other tomatoes, chopped is also good.  Stir to combine, then let it sit for one hour to overnight.  

The acid from the citrus slightly 'cooks' the fish.  If desired, enjoy on a salad with fresh chopped avocado.

Citrusy Raw Salmon:

This wild salmon was made by adding fresh squeezed orange,  and 2 teaspoons each of Carlson Norwegian Lemon Cod Liver Oil, and XVOO, along with a little salt and pepper.  

Pecan, macadamia nut, hazelnut, or avocado oil would also provide a subtle nutty flavor.  

Alternatively, try a white, red, or fig balsamic vinegar in lieu of the citrus.

Season as desired, with a pinch of salt and dill, or a tiny pinch of cayenne for a bit of heat.  

Serve with fermented cabbage, or a Pressed Cabbage Salad.

We recently had some wild salmon, which I initially marinated for about an hour, thinking we could either enjoy raw, or lightly steamed.  I decided to go for both.  It is almost like eating a totally different meat when it is steamed, versus raw.

This salmon was really excellent raw.  Raw fish is very tender.  The steamed fish is more meaty, with more of a toothy bite.

I used local white grapefruit (which is actually sweeter than most), a drizzle of XVOO, salt, white pepper, a dill blend, and a pinch of cayenne.  

The steamed salmon also has a little herbed butter on top.  Served with fermented cabbage.  Super delicious, and high in Omega 3 fatty acids ~ important nutrients for your brain!

For those who are not ready to incorporate raw fish or seafood into your diet, try any of these simple preparations for pan-fried, grilled, baked, or steamed fish instead!

Wild cod pan-fried with butter, lemon, salt and pepper. Simple is always best!
Pan-fried Keta Salmon w/ Sautéed Vegetable Medley.
Keta Salmon, dusted w/ coconut flour, and a pinch of cayenne, also pan-fried in a little coconut oil.

Don't like raw fish?  Use simple methods for cooking:

Season fish with salt and pepper and pan fry in a heated pan, using a little ghee or butter.  Don't over cook!  Flip when it begins to turn brown.  It will only take a few minutes.

Squeeze lemon on top.  Voila ~ quick and easy.

Variations ~ Simple Methods for Cooking Fish:

Dust salmon or other fish with a light dusting of coconut flour (optional) and pan-fry in a non-stick pan, or in a pan with a blend of coconut oil and butter, or oil of choice.  

Mix the coconut (or other flour) with salt, pepper, and a pinch of cayenne pepper or curry on a plate, and lightly coat both sides of the fish.  An easy method I often do is to use a mesh tea strainer to lightly dust flour onto fish.  The reason I do this is that the fish is often fairly moist after thawing.  The flour absorbs some of the moisture.

Pan fry until fish easily flakes.  Try to under rather than over cook!

Alternatively, place fish on a heat proof pan.  Season as desired with a little lemon, butter, salt and pepper.  Broil or bake in the oven, paying attention to not over cook.

Fish can be grilled, or wrapped in foil or parchment paper, and baked, or heated on a grill.  Add some diced pepper and onion for flavor.

Another great option is to steam or poach fish.  Bamboo steamers are excellent for this purpose.

For the basic Bone Broth preparation, you can follow the same steps as the Bone Broth made from Chicken and/or Turkey bones, using mostly fish bones, and/or adding a fish head.

I may even add 1-2 cow neck bones or feet (any) as this will improve the collagen content.  Save up a bunch of bones in the freezer until ready to use.

When making bone broth, let simmer on a low heat.  Add a 4-5 inch piece of kelp or kombu to boos the mineral content.  

Make sure to add some apple cider vinegar (~ 2 tbsp. per 3-4 quarts is good.  This pulls the minerals out of the bones.

Add seasonings as desired.  I may add a few fennel seeds, and a pinch of star anise seeds, or a few peppercorns. 

Let bone broth simmer all day or overnight. Strain, and use the broth to make a delicious fish soup, or as a base for any other soups or stocks.

My final suggestion for a healthy low-carb snack, that will help you up your intake of EPA and DHA ~ that isn't quite raw fish ~ is to try canned mackerel.  I finally bought a can of Wild Planet mackerel in xvoo, and absolutely loved it.  It's milder and meatier than sardines.  

Of course sardines, or tuna salad are also good choices.  Just be sure to get good quality sources of canned tuna.  Some people suggest limiting consumption of canned tuna due to potential mercury contamination that is found mostly in all white tuna.  

As an alternative, canned salmon with the bones is a great source of fat-soluble vitamins, and calcium!  Mix with homemade mayonnaise, dill, and prepared horseradish.

Still not sold on trying raw fish?  You may like this luscious, Creamy Fish Soup.  Watch the video below to learn how to make it!

This delicious, Creamy Fish Soup was quick to make once I had the Fish Bone Broth prepared.   We found some wild rock fish and cod priced well at a local market.  The fish was quickly pan-fried as above, and added to the soup.  

Watch the video below to learn how to make this delicious Creamy Fish Soup.  It has a secret ingredient that gives it a nice rich, creamy flavor without actually adding a lot of cream.    

The vegetables were sautéed in Kerrygold butter, another great source of important fat-soluble Vitamin A, and other fatty acids.  (You can tell by its deep yellow color.)  It's what gives this delicious soup the bright yellow color, along with a little curry and turmeric.

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