If you’ve been following this blog, you know that I’ve been attempting to cut more and more animal protein out of our diets. It’s been a slow process, but we’re getting there and I think it’s going really well! I’ve discovered some wonderful new recipes, we’re feeling more energetic these days, and our food bills have actually gone down slightly, so those are all good things.
But finding healthy choices to eat while at a restaurant can be a bit of a challenge, especially if I want to maintain a balanced diet with some good quality protein. We don’t eat out much, but when we do, we often go with friends, and many big chain-style restaurants lack good vegetarian protein choices, so I’m often left in a quandary. These days, I’d rather steer clear of beef or chicken (especially given the deplorable living conditions they endure), so if there’s no tofu on the menu, that leaves me usually with fish or seafood.
Now shrimp, though tasty, is one of the most unsustainable ocean foods around. Shrimp trawlers scrape the bottoms of the ocean – including coral reefs – until they’re unrecognizable. And they’re responsible for huge quantities of bycatch – unwanted sea life, including turtles and dolphins, that are killed in the process and simply thrown back into the ocean. How cruel, and what a waste! Shrimp is therefore off of the menu, too.
That leaves seafood, but how do you know if its been caught sustainably? Well, here are some resources you can use when dining out to determine whether your fare will be good or bad for our ocean ecosystems:
- Check out Chef’s Collaborative to find restaurants that are committed to sourcing seafood sustainably.
- Research labeling and certification standards for eco-friendly fish and seafood at the Seafood Choices Alliance.
- Use either the Environmental Defense Fund’s or Monterey Bay Aquarium’s seafood selection guides to find out what types and sources of fish are sustainable.
– Lucy Goes Green