Should You Avoid That Tuna Salad Sandwich?

The last post was on fruits and vegetables, so I guess we’ll just keep with the food theme (though Fearless Pregnancy is admamently against diet obsession). Now on to food… I attended a clothing swap party last week (if you haven’t had one, you should. It’s a fun way to get friends together. Invite everyone to bring gently used clothing they no longer want and, yep, have at it. In this economy, why shop when you can swap?)  At the swap, I met someone exactly my age who was due with her second child at the same time I’m due. We hit it off, of course. Except when she saw me munching a sandwich. She was horrified! “Wow! You’re eating that? I wouldn’t. I’m totally avoiding tuna and mayo.” Ironically, the sandwich I was eating turned out to be chicken salad and the pasta salad she’d just eaten (which I had brought to the party) did contain tuna and mayo! I didn’t have the heart to tell her this, but did give her some FP advice: I understood her good intentions, but also thought she was being unnecessarily cautious.

When I got home, I emailed Dr. Fischbein and Joyce Weckl for some more professional-sounding, postable advice. Dr. Fischbein responded first:

Fearless Doc: “Eating good food of just about any type in moderation is OK. There is nothing wrong with eating tuna on occasion. The concerns that mercury levels will hurt your baby from eating a top of the food chain fish are overblown. If you ate any cetain food to excess it might have some detrimental effects. Balancing out your food groups and choices and eating small portions frequently throughout the day is a good common sense rule.”

Later, Joyce responded. She’d spent too many hours at a long labor and delivery and was a bit tired. She said she agrees with the FISCH-bein. Ok, Joyce, we’ll let you off the hook on this one (I couldn’t resist).

In case you’re interested in more info on fish, though, here is the FDA and EPA guidelines for pregnant women. Basically, they encourage us to eat fish for the health benefits but say keep it to two servings a week of certain fish (tuna, salmon, catfish, shrimp, etc.)  And here’s another interesting tool…look up the mercury content of fish local to where you live.

As for the risk of eating spoiled mayo, you can usually taste and smell bad mayo. So don’t eat it if it smells! But, apparently, the spoiled mayo thing is a bit of a myth anyhow. Most prepared mayo contains acids, preservatives and pasteurized eggs, which make the risk of food poisoning from it almost nil. –Victoria Clayton

posted by Victoria Clayton in Fearless Pregnancy blog and have No Comments