Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Sustainability of Alaska Seafood

The 2015 dietary guidelines stress the importance of fish consumption, but there are still misconceptions swirling around about the seafood industry. What exactly is farm-to-table seafood, and is it sustainable? I had the opportunity to learn firsthand about the Alaska seafood industry by taking a sponsored tour of the breathtaking state and even getting on a fishing boat to catch my own fish.

About Alaska
They say everything is bigger in Texas, but it’s even bigger in Alaska! The state commands 34,000 miles of tidal shoreline. To give you some perspective, the Atlantic Coast (from Maine to Florida) is about 2,000 miles, whereas the Alaska Coast is about 5,500 miles. But there’s just about one person per square mile actually living in Alaska. (If you applied this population density to Manhattan, you would have about 37 people living on the entire island.)
And because of its exceptional fishing waters, the state produces more than half the nation’s wild seafood harvest by volume.

The Seafood
Alaska is known for its salmon, whitefish varieties (like halibut, cod and rockfish) and shellfish. There are five species of Alaskan salmon: king, sockeye, coho, keta and pink. Peak salmon harvesting is from June to September. Peak harvesting for whitefish (like halibut and cod) varies but is mostly between March and October, while shellfish are harvested more in the fall and winter months.
Fish are harvested by fishermen in a variety of ways, including:
• Trolling: Small fishing vessels operated by one or two fishermen and using a number of line and baited hooks. Used for coho and king salmon.
• Gillnetting: Laying a net wall in the water in the path of the fish. Used for all species of salmon.
• Purse seining: Setting a net around a school of fish. Used for all species of salmon for 250 to 1,500 fish at one time.
Each fishing boat has a license and can fish only on certain days and at certain times for certain species of fish. This helps control the fish population so the fish aren’t overfished and can migrate back and lay eggs again for the following year.
Once the fish are caught, they’re immediately placed on ice to keep them fresh. Fishermen take them directly to a processing plant, where the fish are purchased and checked for temperature and divided by species and weight.

Nutrition Info
Most Americans fall short of eating the 8 ounces of seafood per week recommended in the dietary guidelines. However, fish is chock-full of good-for-you nutrients, most notably Omega-3 fats, protein, selenium, iron, zinc, and B vitamins like niacin, B-6, and B-12. Plus, the bones in salmon are a good source of calcium and vitamin D.
If mercury is of concern, you should know that Alaska’s Department of Environmental Conservation regularly tests the water quality, mercury, radiation and other contaminants. Alaska seafood has continuously been found to have the lowest levels of contaminants of any fish and shellfish.

Cook It From Frozen
To transport Alaska fish and seafood to the continental U.S., it is usually frozen. The supermarkets receive it frozen and defrost it for you to purchase. So while you might think the Alaskan fish sitting on ice in your fishmonger’s cabinet is the freshest, it’s actually fish that’s already been frozen, then thawed. Here’s a timesaving tip: You don’t have to defrost fish before cooking it — you can cook it straight from the freezer, still frozen. (How often have you forgotten to defrost meats and chicken for dinner?) If you choose to cook from frozen (see below for a recipe), be sure to rinse the frozen fish pieces under cold water to get rid of the ice glaze and to pat them dry with a paper towel.


Roasted Alaska Cod with Kale Pesto and Tomato Jam
Courtesy of Alaska Seafood and Chef Erik Slater

Ingredients

Kale Pesto Sauce:
3 cups loosely packed kale leaves
1/2 cup toasted macadamia nuts (any nuts will do)
4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup grapeseed or olive oil

Tomato Jam:
3 vine-ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/2 shallot, chopped
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey

Fish:
4 Alaska cod fillets (5 to 6 ounces each), fresh, thawed or frozen

Directions

Kale Pesto: Trim and cut kale from stem and center rib; place in blender. To toast the nuts, place in saute pan over medium heat. Cook until nuts are brown and toasty, shaking the pan every so often. Place toasted nuts, garlic, cheese, salt, lemon zest and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in blender. Puree; slowly drizzle oil into mixture until it is as smooth as you like it. Season to taste.

Tomato Jam: Simmer all ingredients on medium-low until it becomes jam-like, about 20 to 30 minutes. Puree, if desired; keep warm.

Fish: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Rinse frozen Alaska cod under cold water to remove any ice glaze; pat dry with paper towel. Rub 1 tablespoon of pesto onto each fillet, reserving about 2 tablespoons pesto. Place seafood on spray-coated pan or foil-lined baking sheet and roast for 12 to 15 minutes for frozen cod or 10 minutes for fresh or thawed fish. Cook just until fish is opaque throughout. To serve, top with reserved pesto and a dollop of tomato jam.

Per serving: Calories 176; Fat 8 g (Saturated 1 g); Cholesterol 66 mg; Sodium 440 mg; Calcium 22 mg; Carbohydrate 1 g; Fiber 0.5 g; Protein

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.



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An Overlooked Cause of Back Pain

Tips for Picking the Right Sports Bra + Moving Comfort Giveaway

Good morning!

If you’re a long-time reader, you probably remember me writing about sports bras more than a few times over the years. I have a few tried-and-true favorites, but I’m always on the hunt for the next best one. I recently had the opportunity to chat with the bra team at Brooks about some new styles that were just released this summer (one of which I personally tried and reviewed below). They also offered a number of tips for picking the perfect sports bra since finding the right one is sometimes a little tricky, so I shared them with you guys below.

To celebrate the launch of the new Moving Comfort sports bras (FYI: Brooks owns Moving Comfort, who, in my opinion, makes the best sports bras in the business), I am giving away a sports bra of your choice to one lucky reader! Details below.

TIPS FOR PICKING THE RIGHT SPORTS BRA

TIPS FOR PICKING THE RIGHT SPORTS BRA

  1. Try on LOTS of different styles and sizes. You never know what you’ll like!
  2. Speaking of size, get professionally sized at a lingerie or department store before trying on sports bras, so you have a rough idea of where to start. Moving Comfort actually recommends getting professionally sized at least twice a year since women’s bodies tend to fluctuate so much.
  3. Related: Don’t get a specific style or size stuck in your head. All sports bras fit differently, so you might be a certain size in one brand, but a totally different size in another. Same goes with style. You might hate racerback styles in one brand, but love them in another. Basically, just keep an open mind about sizing and style.
  4. Know that the right fit is all about comfort. You want the sports bra to feel supportive, but comfortable at the same time. Your goal is to find the balance between the two.
  5. The bottom band of the sports bra provides a lot of your support. Think of it as the base of your sports bra. You want it feel secure, but comfy too. Pro tip: If you pull the sport bra’s straps off your shoulders, you should still feel really supported.
  6. Another pro tip that I found especially helpful: Look for a sports bra that makes you feel like you were missing something in your previous ones.
  7. Just like regular bras, sports bras have a shelf life. You shouldn’t be wearing ones from high school! Advice for making them last longer: Be sure to rotate wearing them, wash them inside a lingerie bag, and hang dry/avoid the dryer.

Anyday

I had the opportunity to test out the Anyday, which I quickly realized is the most versatile sports bra ever. It’s super comfy, so I often wear it as a lifestyle piece– around the house, walking Murphy, and running errands. It has a soft, snug band and supportive fit against the body, which reminds me a lot of my favorite t-shirt bras, especially the smooth, clean silhouette. But, at the same time, the Anyday easily transitions to the gym and performs well during my workouts. It also has convertible straps for a customizable look, so I love wearing this sports bra with racerback tanks.

brooks_anyday_sports_bra

Frontrunner Racer

The Frontrunner Racer offers a sleek, seamless style that begs to be seen, offering lots of flattering shape. Its lightweight contoured cups enhance support and provide shape and modesty. The seamless knit provides soft, chafe-free comfort!

Frontrunner_Racer_Sports_Bra

Embody

Are you a fuller-cupped woman who always has a difficult time finding a sports bra that fits? Embody is an underwire style with unparalleled comfort and control that allows you to feel more supported than ever before. This bra offers back-adjustable, bonded and padded straps that improve fit and enhance comfort. As if this bra wasn’t good enough, its sizing goes up to a G cup!

Embody_Sports_Bra

GIVEAWAY TIME!

To enter: Just click over to the Brooks website, check out ALL of their sports bras (both new and old styles), and leave a comment on this post about which style you would most like to win. I’ll randomly pick a winner next week. Good luck!



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Farewell Summer, Hello Four

This post is sponsored by Chobani

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Guess who turns four years old today!?!?!?!? And yesterday I walked him into his preK classroom. Sniff, sniff. It’s been a big week! Mazen is not a little tot anymore, and he literally gets bigger every day!

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We had a really busy summer. Mazen traveled to Bald Head Island, San Diego, Hillsborough, South Carolina, the Outer Banks, and attended three different camps. This last final week of summer I didn’t schedule a thing. Matt and I just wanted to spend as much time doing fun activities as we could before school started. And boy did we pack them in!

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Chobani sent us a care package full of yogurts to fuel us up for this final week of summer.

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We eat a LOT of yogurt in our house – from the cup, squeezed out, in smoothies, to cool off oatmeal, or as popsicles. Chobani products are made with only natural, non-GMO ingredients, and have no artificial preservatives, sweeteners, or flavors. The Kids products are made with real fruit and have less than 10 grams of sugar per serving (6 grams in the tubes and 10 grams in the pouches). Mazen and I both loved them! 

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Here were some of our adventures!

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Oatmeal for breakfast cooled down with a splash of drinkable yogurt!

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One day for lunch we had guacamole made with some plain Greek Chobani. Last crunch of summer!

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We paid a visit to Bounce Play-n-Create on a particularly warm afternoon.

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And then we got a much-needed back-to-school haircut!!

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After that, soccer shopping! He is SO pumped for his new cleats and shinguards!

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We got sweaty with some soccer practice…(although some of us took a lot of rests by sitting on the ball!)

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And then refueled and cooled off with popsicles.

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Matt took him to the park, and swimming at Sylvia’s house. I sent a box of yogurts with them!

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We went to the park several times during the week.

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We packed a picnic to enjoy with friends while we were there.

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Grown-up smoothie snacks : )

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Later that day we made a fort and had popsicles for a snack. I’ve been freezing the yogurt tubes as popsicles for ages, and I love that he still thinks they are a treat (probably because they do taste like ice cream!) Let me pause to say that Mazen was THRILLED with the superheroes on the packaging. I’ve never seen him think a food was more cool than when he was naming all the guys on the tubes and picking out his favorite. Batman for the win!

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Breakfast before preschool orientation was a key lime parfait:

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Mixed with peaches and Cville Cluster Granola.

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After breakfast, we biked to school to meet his teachers! This is his third year at our local school, and I feel like he’s a senior in high school because he knows all the ropes : )

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Let’s do this!!

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Thanks to Chobani for keeping us fueled with yummy yogurt and sponsoring this post!



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