omega-3 fatty acids not prozac
April 1, 2006

Not as catchy, perhaps, as Potatoes Not Prozac (and Andrew Stoll of Harvard has already beaten me to the book option), but I feel I've made a breakthrough here. You see, it's a night just like any night; I'm on my way home after a frustrating day at work—the kind of day that, for me, leads to mopiness. And the question is (it always is): salmon fillet from Park Slope Seafood, or sushi takeout? I've never really thought about the fact that when things go wrong or I'm feeling down, I want salmon (my sushi fixation is largely salmon-based). But suddenly I'm making the connection: It isn't laziness, indulgence or lack of creativity. I'm self-medicating.

I look it up and, not only is it true, I'm on the cutting edge of psychiatric research. It's been clear for some time that people with depressive disorders have low levels of Omega-3 Fatty Acids (found in salmon, sardines, mackerel, walnuts, flaxseed, canola oil...). What's only about a month old is a study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine that indicates that Omega-3's mood altering properties work for healthy people also. It's not just in my head: I probably do feel happier after eating sushi.

What I've always craved about salmon (grilled salmon, baked salmon, smoked salmon, raw salmon) is that first bite: It's smooth and silky and it feels good to eat. I've always pictured my blood flowing more easily and felt my chest get lighter (but I come from a heart-conscious household and even sans mental health benefits salmon is encouraged).

So I compile recipes: Honey-Glazed Salmon with Roasted Corn Salsa from the first dinner party I ever threw (disastrous—I burned the salmon and my knuckles—but I still went to bed happy); Smoked Salmon-Wasabi Tea Sandwiches from what still may be my favorite party Tracy and I have ever thrown; Irish Seafood Chowder from Kinsale (they serve it along the southern coast with big chunks of salmon—I think the recipe is a decent approximation); Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon (plus Pimentón, borne of my Spanish obsession); Foil-Baked Salmon with Creamy Corn, which I invent for the night in question (suspect Mexican chili powder and avocados to be mood enhancers also); and on and on.

So, what do you say to salmon seven nights a week?