Gluten Free For Good


More About Melissa

Did your grandmother ever tell you that fish was brain food? Once again, grandma was right. About 60% of your brain (mine too) is made up of fat — essential fatty acids (EFA). In fact, some evolutionary biologists attribute the fact that humans are at the top of the food chain to one specific food. That food is fish, which is full of healthy EFAs (the good fats).

I’ll give you a brief run-down of what EFAs are, how they enhance our health, and where you can get them, but first, just for fun, please check out this post on EFAs. It will give you a little background and a humorous take on omega fats and why we need them to survive, thrive, and carry on. It will also enlighten you as to one of the reasons men are attracted to J-Lo.

EFAs (essential fatty acids)
• EFAs are building blocks and are a necessary components for all body cells
• required for good health, can’t be produced by our bodies (hence, essential)
• they are the “good” polyunsaturated fats
• research shows they should be consumed daily
• two important families of EFAs include omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids
• both are necessary, but balanced intake is important
• studies show that the omega-3s, EPA and DHA, are the most beneficial
• GLA is a beneficial omega-6 fat
• unhealthy omega-6 fats can be found in refined vegetable oils and processed foods
• too many omega-6s and too few omega-3s can contribute to chronic disease, depression, and an assortment of behavioral disorders
• in the right combination, EFAs can decrease inflammation and support good health
• omega-3s (EPA and DHA) can be found in cold water fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, anchovies and in 100% grass fed beef
• omega-6 (GLA, the good one) is found in borage, black current, and evening primrose oil
• plant sources* of omega-3s include flax, chia, camolina, purslane, lingonberry, kiwi, and some nuts

Benefits of DHA (omega-3)
• important to nervous system function
• research shows DHA may improve cognitive function, memory, and learning capacity
• DHA is important to mental well-being and stability
• deficiencies may cause depression, bipolar disorder, aggression, and increased suicide risk
• DHA is necessary for maintaining healthy brain function and cognitive ability as we age
• essential during pregnancy and lactation
• research also suggests DHA may reduce postpartum depression

Benefits of EPA (omega-3)
• boosts immune function
• beneficial for autoimmune and inflammatory conditions
• helpful for inflammatory bowel diseases (celiac, crohn’s, IBS)
• supports healthy cardiac function (the American Heart Association recommends omega-3s)
• helps control blood pressure
• may reduce joint pain and swelling and help with arthritis
• beneficial for asthma patients

Benefits of GLA (a good type of omega-6)
• supports skin and hair health
• may reduce eczema and psoriasis
• reduces inflammation
• beneficial in reducing the symptoms of arthritis
• may help alleviate PMS and symptoms of menopause

* Omega-3s fall into two categories — plant-based and fish-based. You also get omega-3s from 100% grass-fed meat. While the plant-based sources are healthy additions to the diet for many reasons, EPA and DHA derived from fish and meat are more bio-available. The body has to convert the shorter chain fatty acid, ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) from the plant source, into EPA and DHA and studies show we aren’t very efficient in doing so. Fish appears to be the the best source.

* There are some conditions in which these oils may have a negative impact on the body, so it is important to consult your doctor before taking EFAs in the form of supplements. It is also important to avoid low-quality fish oil supplements as they may contain some icky stuff (heavy metals, toxins, etc.).

Tamari Salmon

what you need
1 cup sake (Japanese rice wine)
1/2 cup gluten-free tamari
1 tablespoon fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
12-ounce salmon filet, cut in two 6-ounce pieces (or something similar)

preheat oven to 425
cover a cookie sheet with tin foil and oil lightly

what you do
1. mix first 5 ingredients together in small bowl; reserve 1/4 cup of the marinade for later
2. rinse salmon under cold water, pat dry with a paper towel and place in glass baking dish
3. pour marinade (remember to reserve 1/4 cup for later) over salmon
4. cover and put in refrigerator for an hour or so (occasionally spoon liquid over exposed parts of the fish)
5. place fish on prepared baking sheet and put on middle rack in oven
6. bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork (it depends on how thick your filets are, you may need less time; don’t overcook)
7. pour reserved marinade over fish and serve immediately

Serve with yukon gold roasted potatoes or wild rice. Yum!

So, the bottom line is — ladies, celebrate your curves, and men, if we call you a fat head, take it as a compliment.


Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for informational and educational use only and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Consult with your physician regarding any health or medical concerns you may have.

16 Responses to “gone fishin’”

  1. Cid says:


    An excellent read as usual and I must say I love tamari, it’s one of my favorite foodie things. Sometimes I get the urge to boil some rice just so I can add some tamari flavour.

    I know I should celebrate my curves but since Christmas I seem to have a few more, so I’m struggling with the notion 🙂 Back to yoga, back to walking more and eating less chocolate and more salmon.


  2. Miles says:

    A brilliant post, I loved your link to the previous one. It’s so refreshing to read what is essentially scientific but with a humorous edge to it.
    Miles (old fat head)

    ps. Never really got the J-Lo thing, attractive? obviously, annoying?most probably.

  3. Elsie Nean says:

    A very informative post, thank you. I shall certainly try the salmon a la Melissa :).
    I have a general problem though with Mr. Nean who requires (due to age) quite a lot of sauce with his food. Any tips along those lines sometime would be much appreciated as rice without a sauce is a big NO No I am afraid.

  4. Melissa says:


    I know what you mean about the results of indulging a bit too much during the holidays. It’s that struggle with my jeans that I experience each January. You’ve got the right answer though, more expending of calories and less intake.


    Yes, you and all your Brit buddies are fat-heads. And as I said, you should take that as a compliment.

    Well versed, well educated, smart bunch. As for your comments about J-Lo, I feel the same about Brad Pitt and some of the other leading “heart throbs.” I won’t mention any other names as someone I know seems to have a bit of a crush on one of them.



    If you care to email me a little more information about the mysterious Mr. Neal, I might be able to make a few suggestions.

  5. Cid says:


    If layers of fat in certain quarters is a sign of intelligence and attractiveness then I wish I’d read that when I was younger and could have utilized my natural resources better 🙂 As it is, all I can rely on now is my wit 🙂


  6. Liz says:

    You are such a wealth of information! I think I’m having salmon tonight for dinner — yes!

  7. Lo says:

    Looks like the perfect glaze for salmon to me!

    Always so happy to come over this way and get a thorough education… even when I feel I’m well versed, you always seem to provide something I didn’t know before! Love that, Melissa!

  8. I really think I could eat salmon 24/7 … I actually love it THAT much, so coming here and seeing this recipe today is fabulous!! My DH does not like it, can you imagine? So, I make it just for me (or my son as well when he’s home) and often order it when dining out. We had my husband’s company party this past Sat. I was reluctant to chance the buffet so I got to order off the menu … guess what I got? Yep, wonderful 🙂

    I believe in all these good fats and oils. You can actually tell when people are doing the low-fat routine by their skin and hair. I take EPA/DHA daily in addition to getting a good amount in my diet and it makes a huge difference to my brain, my skin, my insides!!

    Thanks for both posts–validation on all the health benefits and a great reminder! Shirley

  9. Kay says:

    We must be having the same cravings. I cooked up some bluegills from the freezer last night. They were the ones I caught on Labor Day at my friends’ lake. Daddy Cat and I were both pleased our dinners!

  10. Melissa says:


    Well, I must admit, you are very witty. As for your intellectually enhanced curves, no reason not to celebrate them at every age! And you know, a dedicated yoga practice makes for an ample booty anyway.



    Thanks for the visit and the comments. Wish you were closer, I’d join you for dinner!


    Yes, I love my tamari (GF of course). Your blog is a wealth of information to me as well. Not to mention the amusing writing!


    How can anyone not like salmon? Well, that just leaves more for you. I love making leftover salmon into a salad and eating it wrapped in Napa cabbage leaves. Yum!


    Bluegills? That’s a new one on me. Must check into that. You’re always a wealth of interesting tid-bits.

  11. Michelle says:

    what is your take on canola? Some of the sources I have read suggested that the processing oxidizes all of the PUFAs and you end up with trans fats.
    Your salmon sounds yummy! Maybe I can even convince DH to try some (though if he doesn’t it is more for me hehehe).

  12. Melissa says:

    Hi Michelle,

    I never use canola oil. I use coconut oil, ghee, and olive oil. I used to use grapeseed oil on occasion because of its high smoking point, but the organic version was too expensive and I didn’t know enough about it, so that went by the wayside. If I saute something on very low heat, I’ll use olive oil on occasion or coconut oil. If the heat goes up, I use a touch of broth as my sauteing ingredient.

    There are lots of different opinions about canola oil, but I’ve decided it’s not a good choice. It’s actually a hybridization of rapeseed oil. It has been “tweaked” to be lower in erucic acid than true rapeseed. Erucic acid may be harmful in higher doses. Long story, but the name “canola” came from the words Canada and oil (marketing ploy). Because there are too many conflicting stories surrounding canola oil, I prefer not to use it.

    Hope that helps.

  13. Melissa–It’s interesting to see your thoughts on canola oil. I’ve read some of the controversy and just did some more reading online. When we were in Alberta a few years back, our friend (a native) showed us field after field of the source plant. However, I did not know how the word Canola came about … now I do. He had just said that we were looking at the plants that canola oil was made from.

    I have been paying closer attention to how I feel when ingesting a variety of foods lately, not just gluten. I had noted that each time I used canola oil I did not feel well. I wondered if it was my imagination driven by concerns I’d read. The salad dressing I was using fairly often had canola oil as its primary ingredient. Then, I had my husband do the old-fashioned muscle testing on me (which I believe in) and sure enough, I did not react well to canola oil. So I’ll stick to olive oil. (I can’t do coconut oil either.) I really value your opinion–thanks for this information.

    Key–A bluegill is good eating and fun to catch! They are also beautiful fish. We have them in the lake we live on and in the Shenandoah River where our mtn property is. On our lake in the shallows off our shore, we can even see them spawn and raise their babies in the spring. It’s adorable to see the fathers circle their nests repeatedly to protect the eggs.

  14. Alisa says:

    I make a salmon recipe very similar to this one, but sometimes I also drizzle on a light wasabi sauce for extra punch.

    I looove salmon, only wish my husband did too!

  15. Kay says:

    Blue gills are rather small panfish, sometimes called sunfish. I usually catch a lot of them when I’m fishing for bass.

  16. […] Wild-caught salmon (as mentioned above) Please check out this past post I did on EFAs and why they are important for brain health. The post also includes a detailed […]

Leave a Reply

Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for informational and educational use only and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Consult with your physician regarding any health or medical concerns you may have.
recent posts

my book
(co-written with Pete Bronski)

stay connected
Gluten Free For Good on Facebook Gluten Free For Good on Twitter Gluten Free For Good RSS Feed

Subscribe with Bloglines
Add to Feedburner
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to Google
Add to NewsGator
Add to MyAOL