My Alaska Journey: Salmonberries and the Purest Alaskan Omega-3


When I’m investigating something new, I go to the source to touch, taste and fully experience it. My latest travels brought me to some of the most pristine areas of Alaska, a perfect place to continue my quest for pure ingredients. I spent time there with the Inuit people to learn about their traditions and the deep respect they have for the ocean and land they call home.

I was fortunate to spend time with an Inuit woman with the English name, “Sandra.” Sandra’s grandmother taught her that the ocean is not a place to play, but rather where their people work, and how they eat. The ocean feeds Sandra and her people, nutritionally and spiritually and therefore is a place of deep respect. Especially important to their livelihood are the living creatures in and around the ocean. Namely, one fish they revere is cod. Cod is a traditional food in this part of the world, where all parts of the fish are enjoyed, not just the flesh, but the eyes, and the organs, including of course the nutrient-dense livers.

Sandra shared with me how she doesn’t need to drink coffee to boost her energy because she eats the organ meats of the cod to fuel her energy. This traditional wisdom holds scientific weight, as the organ meats of fish and other animals contain precious nutrients like:

• Iron, zinc, choline, Vitamin B12, CoQ10, and Vitamins A and D.

And, they are a concentrated powerhouse of nutrients that are not so easily found in other foods. But their concentration, making them so valuable, is also what makes them so vulnerable…

The organ meats of fish and all animals not only concentrate the nutrients, but they also concentrate any toxins the animal is exposed to in its environment. This makes it of utmost importance to source organ meats from only the purest sources. Just like the organ meats that Sandra has access to.

Naomi Whittel in Alaska

Learning of the Inuit’s traditional diet piqued my curiosity about how we might be able to harness the cod’s liver to manufacture the purest and efficacious cod liver oil. Currently, in the US, we don’t have a product that is 100% sustainably caught from our own pristine waters and flash-frozen to preserve the vital nutrients for our health and well-being.

The precious nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids that the cod liver provides, contributes to a robust immune system, cardiovascular system, and glowing beautiful skin and hair. Concerned about any of the following?
• Inflammation and cellular health
• Healthy aging
• Neurological and brain health

Perhaps consider taking a high-quality cod liver oil supplement. But first, let me share more about what I have in store for you!

My Alaska journey deepened as I met up with my friend and colleague Dr. Jeffrey Bland, co-founder of the Institute of Functional Medicine. His expertise in nutritional biochemistry made him the perfect partner to develop an MSC certified cod liver oil supplement. The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is a non-profit organization that works with scientists, fisheries, and manufacturers to promote sustainable fishing and to ensure the health and safety of our oceans for generations to come.

To honor this sacred bond between people and land that the Inuit people so eloquently display, the product Dr. Bland and I are creating will be using cutting-edge technology to ensure it is as pure and fresh as possible. It began when Dr. Bland realized a fishing boat out of Dutch Harbor, AK, were actually discarding the livers from the freshly line-caught cod! Since this is a complete contrast from the traditional wisdom of the natives, Dr. Bland and I knew we had to seize this amazing opportunity to reclaim the livers and harness the beautiful health-giving oils.

You can see why I’m so excited to bring this product to market! Not only will it be the first US procured, processed and manufactured fish oil but it’s an important step in honoring the local Inuit people’s ancient traditions of respect for the sea by not wasting these precious parts of the fish.

We’re using a nitrogen-based, cold processing system to immediately flash freeze cod directly line caught from the pristine waters of the Bering Sea. Our product will be the equivalent to the purity and nutrient availability seen in “grass-fed” and wild meat. Let me paint the picture for you: when I was holding the cod livers in my hands I could see specs of glistening sea vegetables in the liver. It doesn’t get any purer and thus, stronger and more important to produce a product than that!

I hope you can feel the excitement I have in bringing this to you!

Salmonberries in Alaska

Before I go, let me share one more thing I learned about while I was there: Salmonberries!

Salmonberries are related to the more common blackberries and raspberries and get their name from the salmon roe they resemble. These luscious Vitamin-C rich berries have a mildly sweet and tart flavor and are pretty irresistible. That must be why the people eat them from morning to night when in season. Stay tuned for recipes on how you can enjoy these tasty berries as well, in tomorrow’s recipe!

And next week I’ll tell you all about how to look for high-quality cod liver oil and why it’s so important to your health

Naomi Whittel


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