Fish & seafood, especially mollusks, are very nutrient-dense foods. I have been eating fish and shrimp since before SCD but lately I have been trying things like mussels, scallops, fish eggs, and oysters.
Oysters are a great source of nutrients that many people with digestive problems lack. Iron, vitamin D and B12 are often low in people with autoimmune or gut problems and oysters are a great source. Another important nutrient is zinc, which also helps with acne. As someone with a history of low iron, B12 and still struggling with acne, this is a good option for me.
Maybe coming from my experiences eating organ meats once a week, I was expecting it to have a strong (gross) flavour but they were tasty. When I first tried oysters I was scared to eat them raw so I steamed them. They were ok, taste was good but they were a little chewy. Once I got the courage up to have them raw, I loved them. The texture was great, not at all slimy like I thought it would be. Just soft, easy to chew, with the perfect amount of saltiness. Yum!
If you’re not eating organ meats, you should be eating oysters. And if you’re not eating organ meats or seafood, you’re missing out on the best foods!
Although they are relatively low in fat, the fats oysters do contain are excellent with more Omega 3 than 6. Here is a sample Omega fats content of 6 medium oysters:
Omega-3 fatty acids 565mg
Omega-6 fatty acids 48.7mg
Check out the vitamin and mineral levels, again for 6 oysters:
See full nutrition information on the Nutrition Data site: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/finfish-and-shellfish-products/4189/2
That’s quite a high amount of Vitamin D, B12, iron, zinc, copper, and selenium. Magnesium and other B vitamins are in decent amounts as well. Something that may come as a surprise is the Vitamin C content. Some organ meat and seafood are pretty good sources if eaten raw.
Where to Get Them
If you want to eat them at home, find a good fish market and ask them when they get their shipments in. Live oysters will keep over a week at refrigerated temperatures but it’s best to get them as fresh as possible. Also ask them where the oysters are from and how they are caught. Wild oysters are best for nutrient levels, and it’s always best to support sustainable catch methods. I get mine in Ottawa from the Whalesbone Sustainable Oyster and Fish Supply or at restaurants that are supplied by them. If you live near the coast, you might even be able to get them fresh at farmers markets. If you can’t get them fresh, you might want to look for smoked and canned oysters, which have a long shelf life.
How to Eat Them Raw
If you have an oyster knife and know how to shuck them properly (without slicing your hand open) then they’re pretty easy to do at home. If once open they smell bad or are black, they aren’t safe to eat (it’s pretty easy to tell). Here’s an example video showing how to shuck them: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_YPxcF1ta4.
If you’re squeamish or don’t have an oyster knife, it’s easiest to go to a good restaurant and try them there. Look for a place with oyster happy hour.
Raw oysters are usually served at restaurants with a few choices of spicy sauces. The restaurant I went to told me the ingredients of each and there were none completely SCD-legal (most had sugar, or Worcestershire sauce) so I had them with grated horseradish and a squeeze of lemon juice. They were delicious just like that.
How to Eat Them Cooked
The first few times I tried oysters I just didn’t want to try them raw so I steamed them. Place them all in a steaming pot for about 3-4 minutes. Let them cool enough to handle them. They should be just opened enough to be able to grab with your hands to open them fully. You can use a spoon to scrape out the oyster into a bowl or plate. If they don’t open easily, it’s best not to have them as they might be spoiled. You can cook oysters pretty much any way, grilling, baking etc, I just found steaming them to be the easiest for me. I also like to make a little sauce to go with them if they’re cooked.
Garlic butter sauce
2 tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, chopped
dash lemon juice
Melt butter in a pan, add garlic and saute a few minutes. Add lemon juice and pour over oysters.
1 tomato, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tbsp butter
salt & pepper
Saute tomato and garlic in butter, add salt & pepper to taste. Pour over oysters.
Check out http://girlgoneprimal.blogspot.com/2009/08/primal-by-beach.html (4th picture down) for a different method and topping. Broiled with bacon and cheese! Can’t go wrong with that.
And if you don’t think kids would like oysters, check out this: http://www.cheeseslave.com/2009/03/22/these-toddlers-love-raw-oysters/