when Patty asked me “Does it really even matter?” We weren’t talking about the meaning of life. We were talking about salmon.
Patty had been out to eat with a friend, who had asked the server if the salmon was wild caught or farm raised.
Guess what? It does matter.
For the same reasons I go out of my way to buy pastured eggs, and grass fed meat, I buy wild salmon.
Wild caught salmon is just that: wild. It swims freely and consumes zooplankton and smaller fish.
Farm raised salmon eats a processed, high fat, possibly genetically modified food that helps it grow to a large size quickly. It also lives in close quarters, which can lead to disease, so it may be given antibiotics. To be fair, some farm raised salmon is of higher quality than others. I know that Wegmans carries an organic farm raised salmon, so the feed is at least organic, and I have heard that Whole Foods does the same. At Wegmans, they call it Atlantic salmon. Any time you see salmon labeled as Atlantic, it is farmed, not wild.
There are some measurable nutritional differences. Both types of salmon are an excellent source of protein and omega 3’s, and are low in mercury. Wild caught salmon is higher in many minerals, probably because it is eating its natural diet. Wild caught salmon is also lower in calories and fat than farm raised. Due to the lower fat content, it can dry out more quickly when cooking, so keep an eye on it. (Especially if you’re like me and forget to set a timer!) I’m a believer in eating plenty of healthy fats, but in the case of farm raised salmon, the higher fat content is because it is higher in omega 6 fatty acids due to the processed diet it is fed. Most of us get too many of those anyway. The omega 3 fatty acids are what we need more of.
When I’m shopping for salmon to prepare at home I only buy wild. I just made a meal of wild salmon, baked sweet potato and roasted broccoli. Sooooo good! Also, canned salmon is wild. I always look for Alaskan sockeye when buying canned. There is a brand called “Faust” that is really delicious.
Now, I want you to feel happy, healthy and hot…not make you crazy. So if you love salmon, and you’re out to eat, don’t worry. Most of the salmon in restaurants is farmed. No matter what kind of salmon you are eating, it will be nice, clean protein with lots of essential fatty acids. But if you are shopping for something to cook at home, buy wild if it’s available. It will cost a bit more. Canned is a great alternative, and a nice quick lunch.
So can eating wild caught salmon help you to feel happy, healthy and hot? It really can. I’m always happy eating a delicious meal, and the omega 3 fatty acids found in salmon can actually improve your mood. Salmon has many other health benefits, since it has a high protein content, and contains a lot of vitamin B12 and vitamin D. Oh, and those omega 3 fatty acids? They help your skin to glow! And that is hot!
I’d love to hear from you…are you eating wild salmon? Let me know in the comments!