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fishFor a bunch of medical reasons, I’ve been trying to eat more healthy these last few years.  That has meant making a lot of sacrifices, including peanut butter (causes kidney stones).

Many in our family are at different stages of healthy eating, including a vegetarian and a vegan here and there.

I only eat meat when at a restaurant, but even that has become a nightmare (too much salt and pepper in the seasoning).  This is particularly hard since I am quite active; walking three miles a day or playing basketball.  I get very weak, and wonder if I don’t need meat to replace all the protein I am burning.

The only “meat” I have in the freezer is fish.  I keep hearing that even fish may come back to bite me, but I’ve been ignoring the warnings.  Here is the latest red flag on fish posted by CONSUMER REPORTS for August.

The article includes a link to a mercury calculator, among other tools for helping figure out what fish is best.

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Special report: Can eating the wrong fish put you at higher risk for mercury exposure?

The government wants you to eat more seafood. The key to limiting your risk is choosing the right fish.

When you grill a piece of salmon or have a fish taco for lunch, you’re getting a good source of high-protein food that provides important nutrients. And if you’re a woman who is pregnant or nursing, that fish contains important fuel for your baby’s brain development.

In fact, fish is seen as such a beneficial food that the Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency recently came out with proposed new guidelines recommending that women of childbearing age and young children eat more of it. But if Americans follow those guidelines without careful attention to which species they are consuming, they could end up taking in too much mercury. (Learn how mercury gets into fish.)

Though the agencies say consumers should seek out fish that are low in mercury, almost all seafood contains the toxin in varying amounts, and getting too much of it can damage the brain and nervous system. That is especially true for fetuses, but children and adults who eat too much high-mercury seafood also can suffer harmful effects such as problems with fine motor coordination, speech, sleep, and walking, and prickly sensations. (Read “Sick From Sushi,” which details how one fish lover felt the effects of mercury.)

The latest federal proposal encourages women who are pregnant, breast-feeding, or trying to become pregnant to eat between 8 and 12 ounces of fish per week, and suggests a minimum weekly quota for young children, too. This marks the first time those agencies have set a firm minimum level for weekly fish consumption, including shellfish.

Consumer Reports’ food-safety experts analyzed the FDA’s own data that measures mercury levels in various types of seafood. From that we identified almost 20 seafood choices that can be eaten several times per week, even by pregnant women and young children, without worrying about mercury exposure.

However, Consumer Reports disagrees with the recommendations from the FDA and EPA on how much tuna women and children may eat. (We don’t think pregnant women should eat any.) We also believe the agencies do not do enough to guide consumers to the best low-mercury seafood choices. To make decisions easier for consumers, our chart below gives advice about good low-mercury choices.

MERCURY CALCULATOR and more

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