Turns out I have a lot to say about ocean creatures and homeopathy, sushi, and places to buy great, sustainably caught fish. So, in order to keep the last post relatively short, I've written this one.
First of all, I was excited to learn from Wikipedia that when sushi was first eaten, it was fermented! Sushi was originally made by fermenting fish with rice, then throwing away the rice and only eating the fermented fish. I imagine it was quite tasty and full of good probiotics. Beginning in the Muromachi period in Japan (AD 1336–1573), it was made into a fast food by using vinegar to flavor the rice and no more fermentation! By the 1800’s this form was popularized all over Japan. In one area of Japan, near Lake Biwa, in the middle of the island of Honshu, sushi chefs still make it the traditional, lacto-fermented way. I'd be interested to know if any sushi chefs in the U.S. have ever offered fermented sushi on their menu!
Speaking of sushi, I came across a restaurant in San Francisco, Tataki, that was one of the first sushi restaurants to take on the concept of sustainable dining in 2008. The owners' goal is to preserve the art of sushi, and so they feel they must safeguard the health and biodiversity of our oceans by only serving responsibly sourced, environmentally friendly seafood. The chef/owners, Karen Lui and Raymond Ho, follow the recommendations of their sustainability guru, Casson Trenor. He wrote Sustainable Sushi: A Guide to Saving the Oceans One Bite at a Time (North Atlantic Books, January 2009).
Here are a few additions to sustainable fish shopping options in the San Francisco Bay Area:
The friendly folks from Hudson Fish, Yvette and Mike Hudson, set up shop at the Thursday and Saturday Berkeley Farmer's Markets, the Saturday El Cerrito Market and the Sunday Kensington Market. They fish out of San Francisco Bay, their fish is local and seasonal, and they only use sustainable methods to catch fish that are not endangered. They have wonderful fresh fish week after week. My family especially enjoys the Maguro tuna that we cut and eat raw, sashimi style, and the butterfish or black cod. Their line and pole caught salmon is also very fresh and flavorful.
Berkeley Bowl and El Cerrito Natural Grocery are two grocery/butcher stores that publicly source their fish. Berkeley Bowl sells some fish that isn't as sustainable as others, so it's good to read the signs and talk to the butchers. El Cerrito Natural Grocery only buys and sells fish from reliable and sustainable sources, just as they only supply organic produce in their store.
If you want the freshest and most directly sourced fish and are happy shopping from home, Vital Choice is a great web-based mail order sustainable fish and organic supplies store located in Bellingham, Washington. Their main products are fresh, wild fish packed in dry ice, that can be shipped within two days to your home. They also sell canned and smoked fish, nuts, dried berries, oils and vinegar, and herbs and teas. They very carefully source their offerings, and as they say, only 1% of the salmon they are offered for sale meets their requirements for sale to their customers. They offer free shipping for any order over $99.
On a completely different note, I so enjoy watching sea creatures doing their thing, especially when I know we’ve made a homeopathic remedy from that species. It helps me gain insight into the behaviors and sensitivities of those creatures, which I study as a homeopath, in order to see them in the people who come to me for help. When people are ill, they develop a complicated pattern of symptoms. Homeopaths correlate these symptoms to the symptoms exhibited by healthy volunteers when they took a homeopathic remedy developed from a particular animal, plant, or chemical in a homeopathic proving (this is where homeopaths discover the symptoms substances can cause, and therefore cure). One of the things I find fascinating about being a homeopath is seeing how my clients seem to have taken on the characteristics of a creature or substance ...which they may or may not relate to. By careful questioning and observation, homeopaths look for that specific remedy substance that is exhibited by our clients, and so they need homeopathically. I feel a strong connection when I have the opportunity to observe the animals of the ocean, especially when I’ve heard from my clients about their reality and they need a remedy made from octopus, jellyfish, cuttlefish, shark, dolphin, sea star, or seahorse.
The ocean is rich with a huge variety of life; homeopathic remedies are made from a small number of ocean species as well as the elements that make up the sea; Aqua marina and Natrum muriaticum are made from ocean water and sea salt respectively. There are also remedies made from many mollusks, such as Calcarea carbonica (oyster shell), Pearl, Cowrie Shell, and Nautilus. This is one of the many reasons I love homeopathy - I get to study biology, botany, and chemistry as a way to better understand human behavior.