Give me one reason… to eat toro

I read with dismay “Tuna’s End,” The New York Times Magazine, June 21, 2010, by Paul Greenberg. It is tragic that the world’s stock of bluefin tuna is approaching extinction. And it is appalling to see Japan actively promoting bluefin fishing (and the Japanese blithely savoring their toro sashimi). Sure, eating toro might be integral to Japanese culture, but cultural practices do not trump our universal human responsibilities. (And I’m Japanese.)

Reading the article (and the comments), I contemplated my decision last December to stop eating fish. In the past six months of vegetarianism, I’ve rarely, if ever, craved fish (despite my tasty memories of fleshy salmon, nostalgic tuna sandwiches, and velvety smooth sashimi).

My mind can appreciate eating fish while also knowing that it was off the table now. It’s as if a light was turned off (or on).

I recalled one of my earliest posts, “Planting the seed of an idea,” which discusses the way we set (and change) our beliefs. Once an idea takes root, I wrote, it colors our thought process and spurs us to make the right decision. By “right,” I mean appropriate for ourselves at a given time in our lives. Here, it was remarkably easy to stop eating fish.

Reading the Times Magazine article further convinced me of my decision. The only compelling reason to change my mind is inadequate protein from soy, dairy, and eggs (my current sources). Since January or February, I’ve faced a lingering injury or two; nothing major but I want 100%. I’m wondering if my body “needs” fish (we Japanese are a fish-and-rice-eating people, after all). If I eat fish again, I’d choose small fry that aren’t endangered. But I’ll stick with vegetarianism for a while longer. And you?

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Image: The New York Times



  1. my parents raised me veggie with fish and i gave up the fish when i was 12 or 13. havent missed it in a long, long time. twin lobster used to be my special birthday meal… now i get variety 🙂


  2. Me too! I live in Japan and love sashimi but ecological and a whole bunch of other reasons mean that I’m more and more vegetarian these days. If you’re looking for an aquatic source of veggie protein you may want to try spirulina. It worked for the Aztecs!


  3. If you’re concerned about your protein intake, check this out: “Becoming Vegetarian: the complete guide to adopting a healthy vegetarian diet” by a couple of Canadian Registered Dieticians, Vesanto Melina and Brenda Davis. They go into a lot of detail on all the essential macro and micro nutrients. It’s a great reference!

    I used to love sashimi, too, but I don’t miss it. I’ll have the edamame, gomae, spicy agadashi tofu, roasted eggplant, avocado roll, vegetable tempura or vegetable gyoza. It’s surprising, but my neighbourhood sushi place has more interesting and delicious vegetarian options than a lot of other restaurants out there.

    So, you probably don’t need to eat the Toro… unless you want to. Eating as practice — the opportunity to separate our craving bodies from our craving minds… : )


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