what are your opinions about a paleo lifestyle with only fish and shellfish and maybe some chicken?
I think (still have to investigate further) that I'm sensitive to beef and pork. Unfortunately there's no constant supply of pastured chicken around, but the omega profile is not so great anyway. On the other hand I have nearly unlimited access to wild caught fish and shellfish. What do you say? Would it be healthy to eat fish every single day?
I know selenium counters mercury, but are there any other points to worry about? And what to eat instead of liver? Cod liver oil? Chicken liver pumped full of antibiotics is no option.
asked byThomy (2384)
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on February 10, 2012
at 12:34 PM
I wouldn't worry. Firstly, in the ancestral context, people ate what they had most access to, and evolved to make most efficient use of what was locally available. The Inuit, for example, did not have access to much vegetation but made up for it by eating organs and parts of animals people usually shun. Inhabitants of coastal regions would have had little access to ruminant meat, but would make most of the fish and seafood that was readily available. Eating locally is promoted by many in the paleosphere, in fact, and it makes a lot of sense if you think about it, in a similar way to seasonality of produce. Local produce and meat (I'm not talking about your local industrialised farm, but vegetation & animals that are traditionally raised) is freshest, unimpacted by transport and preservation. So it makes a lot of sense to choose local, fresh fish for your meat source.
Now on shellfish and seafood more specifically: archeological studies have shown massive shell collections, and not only in coastal regions inhabited by early man, but also in the mainland; Mark also mentions that warring tribes would call temporary ceasefire to trade shellfish; for tubers. When this peaceful arrangement was not reached, there would be incidents of tribesmen hunting local fishermen to obtain their livers...not a pretty story, but it shows that the nutritional density of shellfish was highly prized by early man.
When you're eating shellfish, you're eating the entire animal, all its organs (liver included), so they're a very dense, concentrated source of nutrition, adding to the fact that they live in mineral-rich sea water. Generally, you can get all your needed nutrients from fish and shellfish, provided you eat more than just the muscle meat - sucking out the contents of prawn heads, eating fish eggs/caviar (salmon keta is quite affordable), bones (sardines have soft, edible bones; you can also use carcasses to make stock/fish broth) and odd ends, e.g. herring melts (delicious, & high in vitamin D), fish livers.
However, all this is assuming you have access to fresh, natural fish. True, in the paleolithic era, people could as well survive on fish & seafood alone and their diet could be replete in all necessary nutrients; however, even if you do get fish from a trusted source keep in mind that our planet's water is heavily polluted, in particular with heavy metals such as mercury. This is why it is rather inadvisable to rely on a single isolated food source in neolithic conditions. Remember, even in the case of wild fish, pollutants upset delicate balances in fishes' ecosystems and thus affect the nutritional value of the fish itself.
I'd even say shellfish, superfoods as they are, being scavengers/'bottom feeders', get a hefty dose of pollutants.
I'd definitely advise you to take supplements (what with overfarmed, mineral - depleted soils anyhow, I'd advise supplements to anyone, regardless of whether they limited their meat intake to a single source or not), especially selenium as it counters mercury; limit large game fish such as tuna, shark, marlin, swordfish that accumulate most toxins. Generally, the smaller and oilier the fish, the better. Make sure you're eating all the aforementioned odd bits, and plenty of shellfish (especially oysters).
On a final note, I would try game meat if I were you. Game isn't mass produced or as heavily industrialised, and is a lot closer to the meat our ancestors have eaten; also, people with ruminant sensitivities are often encouraged to try game, especially as you are able to eat poultry. Recognition of deer serum albumin by bovine serum albumin antibodies cannot be excluded, so be careful with venison/deer/elk/anything with antlers basically (though since you don't seem to definitely have a reaction to BSA or have a strong allergic response, its worth a try); otherwise, try partridge, pheasant, rabbit, hare. Long, slow stewing is the key to getting these meats tender.
Also, consider ordering pastured chicken over the internet. I don't know where you live, but there are lots of organic vendors around; I personally do all my meat shopping online. You could also source your pastured eggs, dairy and other produce this way.
Lots of Paleo love
on February 10, 2012
at 09:34 AM
This sounds fantastic to me, honestly. It's what the hunter/gatherers of the past in my area (islands off the PNW) would have eaten...
on February 10, 2012
at 09:37 AM
The Inuit seem to do just fine on it. And seals.
If you eat some "whole" fish - like whitebait - then you will likely get a lot of what may be missing from other foodstuffs. Sounds like you already know you need to avoid mercury etc ie not all fish is the same nutritional quality. I go for Cod Liver Oil supplementation whatever the rest of my diet contains.
on February 10, 2012
at 09:57 AM
I'm sorry I can't remember where I read it, but I think there was a very slight increase in the risk of stroke, but big decrease in heart disease in a study where people got more omega 3's than 6's. I hope someone else saw the study and can cite it, my googling just keeps showing studies where eating fish 3 times/week decreases the incidence of stroke.
Sounds good overall though, especially with shellfish, and maybe some fish bone broth, and the odd organ here and there.
Plus, you would get to call yourself pesce-paleo.