Saturday, December 23, 2006

New Year's Resolutions

Most of us choose the beginning of the new year to commit ourselves to areas of self-improvement. While some of us resolve to exercise more, become a savvier investor or finally redo the bathroom, others contemplate how they can successfully weed out some of life’s responsibilities in order to de-stress.

As our society evolves, we are increasingly caught between our Western impulse to accomplish and acquire more and the Eastern mantra that beckons us to slow down and quiet our desirous mind. The former energy is always focused on the future, the latter is steeped in the present. So where are we better off investing our time and energy? Challenging ourselves with new goals, be it changing careers or training for a marathon, helps us to fully realize our potential. But peeling back the clutter of our lives that can take the form of mindless Internet surfing or hollow social obligations equally shrouds us from our potential.

Before we can commit to the right resolution, we need to understand the difference between wanting to do more and needing to do less. Will learning a new instrument create more joy in our lives or will it become that obligation that weighs heavily on our sleep-deprived psyches? Only by taking inventory of what is and isn’t working in our lives will we be able to determine whether speeding up or slowing down offers us the greatest opportunity for rebalancing in our lives.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What Makes a Fish Organic?

A recent controversy at the Department of Agriculture has the seafood industry swimming in all different directions. Given the cache of the "organic" label, there is a lot of interest in being able to finally market fish as such. But unlike other agricultural products, what constitutes such designation is quite mirky when it comes to seafood. The issue comes down largely to what a fish eats. In order to qualify for the organic label, the fish must be fed an organic diet. This is easy to control for vegetarian fish like tilapia and catfish, but what about fish like salmon that eat other fish? Or, for that matter, wild salmon who were not farmed but rather fed off the ocean's habitat? According to current regulations, wild salmon would not be able to be labeled organic yet farmed salmon that abided by organic bylaws could. So when it comes to buying seafood, it may be important to look beyond the label and find out where your fish swam before making its way to your dining room table.