How Seafood Can Improve Mental Wellness

In the U.S., one in five Americans suffer from mental health issues each day, which is over 40 million Americans. Almost half of adults (46.4 percent) will experience a mental illness during their lifetime. Unfortunately, the mental health crisis has been on a steady incline.

Your diet not only makes an impact on your physical health but also on your mental health.

With that in mind, at the last Foodable.io event in Seattle, there was a panel solely focused on mental health and the role a healthy diet plays.

We gathered three nutrition experts including Linda Cornish, president of the Seafood Nutrition Partnership, Dr. Tom Brenna, director at Seafood Nutrition Partnership, and Lionel Uddippa, chef de cuisine at Salt in Alaska to see how a rich seafood diet, in particular, has been proven to help improve mental health.

Seafood has been shown to reduce symptoms of schizophrenia, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and other mental disorders. Specifically, people who regularly eat fish are 20 percent less likely than their peers to experience depression. The American Psychiatric Association has even endorsed the fatty acids in fish as an effective part of depression treatment.

"The brain is fundamentally an omega-3 organ, it's richer in omega-3 than any other organ in the body...the effects of omega-3 EPA in depression specifically have been very consistent where those diagnosed with major depression using omega-3 rich oils have seen a consistent alleviation of symptoms," says Dr. Brenna.

Listen to the full podcast episode above to learn more about how seafood can make a positive impact on mental health and how the chef community can support itself and its customers through the food it serves.

Sustainability-Focused Brands Share Best Practices

Thanks to today's technology and data analytics, we are well aware of the impact we have on our environment. But knowledge is power.

Brands across the country now have teams dedicated to improving sustainable practices, all committed to a larger mission to reduce their carbon footprint.

At the Foodable.io Seattle event, we sat down with three sustainability experts– Jessica Myer, environmental specialist for Ste Michelle Wine Estates, Julia Person, sustainability and manager for Kona Brewing, and Nelly Hand, founder & and fisherman to learn about each of their roles and how their brands are providing eco-friendly solutions.

But to make sure that sustainable practices are being universally used within a business isn't always easy.

"As we grow as a company and our sustainable practices are actually coming into fruition, our biggest challenge is that our locations in eastern Washington and Oregon are very rural, so we don't have access to the recycling seen in Seattle or Portland. The city of Walla Walla (in Washington) doesn't have any glass recycling, which seems insane. But we have to find innovative ways to get our products recycled," says Myer. "Another thing is the plastic challenge. We are having to sometimes paid to recycle our plastic now, which is not necessarily sustainable for a business but we want to make sure we're doing the right thing."

This movement encompasses much more than recycling. There's water conservation, alternative power sources, fishing techniques, and harvesting practices– that all make an impact on our planet and its resources.

Listen to the full episode above to learn more about how these brands are looking for new ways to be more eco-friendly, while also closing the loop on consumers demands around full sustainability and responsibility from all sides.

What is the Real Cost of Protein?

With headlines published in the media like "Two-Thirds of the World's Seafood is Over-fished" and "Science Study Predicts the Collapse of All Seafood Fisheries by 2050," what is really the state of the ecosystems in the Earth's oceans?

Will we deplete the ocean's resources in the near future? or do we have time to make adaptions to ensure the vitality of fisheries?

At the Foodable.io event in Seattle, Foodable Host Yareli Quintana sat down with Dr. Ray Hilborn, professor of Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington who has been researching the topic of conservation and quantitative population dynamics of seafood for the last eight years.

Hilborn starts out by pointing out that there a two environmental challenges when it comes to seafood supply.

First, it's the substantial fuel used to catch the fish, which generates carbon foot and then, the impact on biodiversity. As specific fish populations continue to be caught, this is changing the ecosystem of the ocean.

The seafood conservation expert also clears up a common misconception that our ocean is being depleted.

"Within the last 20 years the abundance of stock has really turned around in many places, there are certainly exceptions where that's not true though," says Hilborn.

But that doesn't mean that chefs shouldn't be concerned about what fish product that they are serving.

Each type of seafood makes a different impact on the environment. For example, Maine lobster generates a lot of energy to catch, while sardines, oysters, and mussels, on the other hand, make a really low impact.

Oyster and mussels feed themselves and most of the environmental cost comes from feed production.

Then there's the problem of food waste, which is a challenge for restaurants, but more so, for consumers eating at home.

"One of the big issues of fish and food, in general, is waste. Globally, about 30 percent of food is wasted. In rich countries like the U.S., that's mostly at home...So it's important to be more careful about making sure you buy what you need and use it," says Hilborn.

Watch the Seafood Talk Session above to learn more about the sustainability, research and management practices that are being worked on and adjusted every day in order to do right by nature and to feed the masses.

Ensuring the Vitality of our Fish Supply for Years to Come is a Group Effort

It has become more important for restaurants to be socially responsible when it comes to serving seafood.

To ensure the vitality of our fish supply, we need to evolve our relationship with the ocean’s resources.

But how can suppliers and operators work together to achieve this common goal?

At our recent Foodable.io event in Seattle which was focused on the topic of seafood sustainability, we sat down with Jennifer Bushman, director of sustainability at Pacific Catch, Kami Couch, a filmmaker/fisherman from Alaska, and David Nichols, executive chef at Rider to discuss how each in different roles of the seafood supply process are making a sustainable impact.

Nowadays, consumers want to know where their protein is coming from. But to deliver this information, it is a group effort between supplier, distributor, and operator.

"For us, it's about making sure we know what's coming, holding our suppliers' accountable, watching it every day, training our staff because staff training is so exceptionally important, and then what the James Beard Foundation and others are calling 'storied fish,' which is when we close the loop with the marketing and engagement we have with the consumer so that we can tell those stories on the ground," says Bushman.

Then it's up to the operator to collect as much accurate information about the fish as possible and to pass it on to the team.

"This is still a very new movement, it's been making huge strides in the last few years and it's only going to continue to get better. On my end, it's about training my staff," says Nichols above.

By operators and chefs making an effort to better educate their customers and partners, this will only continue to give life to the sustainable movement.

Watch the full episode above to learn more about how we can improve our relationship with this vital ocean resource and some of the helpful apps out there revealing seafood sourcing information for chefs and consumers.

Gender Relations & Leadership: Outlook of the Future of the Food & Bev Industry

On this podcast recorded at Fodoable.io in Seattle, our host Yareli Quintana speaks with three leaders in the foodservice and beverage industry who also happen to be women. The conversation begins by each identifying some of the changes they’ve seen happen in their respected industries throughout the years.

First, you’ll hear from Zoi Antonitsas, executive chef of Little Fish, Seattle’s first modern-day craft cannery and restaurant which will be found in the heart of Pike Place Market once it opens. Chef Antonitsas has over 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry and says she’s been fortunate to have worked with incredible men and women up and down the West Coast.

“I’ve never really felt like I’ve ever been discriminated against as far as being a woman, with the exception of a few, I would say, financial question marks…,” says Antonitsas. “There have definitely been a couple of times where I’ve had to fight to get financial compensation for my work, where I know for a fact that some male counterparts have received more money without having to ask.”

Then, you’ll hear from Brenda Lobbato, the Northwest Region Vice President at Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. She got into the beverage industry 30 years ago and has been in her current role since 2016, where she manages 26 percent of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates’ revenue totaling to $698M. Lobbato shares with the speakers that she’s recently seeing a lot more women getting into the beverage industry, which, for a long time, has been a “good ol’ boys network.” She’s proud to share that she’s helping spearhead a women’s group within Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.

“We have this thing we call Women of  Wine... we call ourselves WOW and so we started this WOW organization from the standpoint of having concerns that affect all employees, but that women are bringing forward,” says Lobbato. “So, if that’s a mentoring program or that’s a skills program, like public speaking or financial acumen, whatever that is… it’s making those topics and resources safe to talk about.”

Throughout the podcast, you’ll also hear from Roz Edison, co-founder of Marination Ma Kai, a food truck turned into brick-and-mortar locations serving up Hawaiian-Korean fusion cuisine across Seattle. Ten years ago, Marination Ma Kai’s food truck was “the first on 10 rolling in the streets of Seattle.” That number has grown tremendously since then and now Edison and her business partner are also established entrepreneurs in the fast casual space.

“Sadly, though, I just came from a 3-day conference from my industry. It’s called the Fast Casual Executive Summit, so about 150 to 300 C-level folks from chains that range from 50 to 800 units. Almost every single panel had 100 percent white, male panelists…,” says Edison. “...I had really hoped I would run into a female CEO or a female director of operations. That, I’m not seeing in the fast-casual side of it.”

The four speakers later dive into topics like employee relations, mentorship, and hopes for the future of the industry as it pertains to women. Stay tuned to hear which direction this interesting conversation took and how each panelist feels about each topic discussed!