I’ve managed so far to restrict my diet in many, many, many — like, there are only two restaurants in Toronto now that will serve me — many ways. But all this time, I’ve allowed myself to eat fish. One of my favourite meals is seared tuna rubbed with sea salt, peppercorn and sesame seeds, served with a side of steamed spinach or green beans, and I think I knew in the back of my mind that if I tackled (pardon the pun) the whole fish thing, I’d have to sacrifice my love for this, not to mention halibut, tilapia, salmon, scallops and — well, pretty much the entire ocean.
However, as it turns out, I may not have to let go of all my fishy friends just yet. While many of them are farmed in very unethical ways, there are options when it comes to sustainable pescatarian diets. SeaChoice has three charts on its site that divide everything into good, iffy and morally repugnant — the only problem is keeping track of everything.
For instance, Canadian haddock is fine but American isn’t (way to fish, yanks! Sorry, just kidding … we’re still border buddies, right?); tuna is fine if it’s internationally caught Yellowfin but not American Yellowfin, and Albacore from the Pacific is OK, but not if it’s from Hawaii; wild Alaskan salmon is good to go, but any kind of farmed salmon is definitely not and even some wild Canadian salmon is risky. It goes on and on and can be ridiculously confusing, but if you print out the guide and take it with you to restaurants and the grocery store, it’s easier to make the right decisions.
If I’m really stuck with something, I’ll just go without and eat a proper veggie meal. Fortunately, a lot of things are easy enough to remember, like staying clear of Chilean Sea Bass and avoiding bottom-feeding crustaceans like shrimp. Plus, I’m allergic to oysters, although why anybody would voluntarily swallow something that looks, feels and tastes like cold phlegm, then dies as it’s sliding down your throat, is beyond me.