New York Times bestselling author, slow cooking expert and mommy blogger next door
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A Year of Slow Cooking

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

mercury in food, a last-minute gift giveaway, and the best ham(s) ever

this is a compensated post. I was asked by BlogHer to help spread the word about  Mom's Clean Air Force.

I stopped eating tuna fish about 11 years ago, when I first became pregnant. I took my baby-prep research seriously, and followed all the "rules" the "experts" told me I should and shouldn't do. 

After my first was born, I remember quizzing the pediatrician, "I can eat tuna again, right?"
I will never, ever forget her non-answer: "I don't think anyone should ever eat tuna. It's just not worth the risk since we don't know enough about it." 

She was talking about mercury poisoning. Until a few days ago, I didn't know much about mercury except that it was bad. I didn't know it actually came from burning coal, and the coal emissions get in the clouds, which then get into the water supply through rain and snow. Every state in the country has issued a fish advisory of some type because of unsafe mercury contamination. 

If you really think about it, everything has a high level of mercury because it's in our water supply; all fruits and vegetables are watered with it, and all of the animals we eat have consumed it. 

Mercury is linked to Alzheimer's disease, cancer, premature birth, brain damage, premature death, and birth defects. 

I can't fix this. 

All I can do, and all you can do, is become educated. Be aware. I've been asked to share the Moms Clean Air Force website with you. Please consider joining, take the time to read the literature and pass it along; change happens from the bottom up. 

I've also been asked to share this youtube video for further information.

Hug your kids tight.

thank you.


in other news, I've got book giveaways over on the review page for you. I've got my friend, Crystal Paine's (the Money Saving Mom) new book, Hallie Klecker's new cookbook, The Triumph Grocery Guide, two DVDs that Elana Amsterdam sent, and 5 copies of Totally Together. Last minute gift ideas? No problem, I've got you covered!

also, our buddies at DinnerTool wanted to share that they are feverishly working on adding new recipes. They are eager to share their Chili Cook Off recipes with you, and would like to give you a head's up that in February they will be hosting a slow cooker recipe contest. 

Gluten Free Home for the Holidays is happening right! now! at Gluten Free Easily. Tune in each day for the whole month of December for a new recipe and new giveaway. The grand prize is a Vitamix!

Ham! I've got ham! Every day this week I've gotten an email about ham in the crockpot. Yup, it works, and it is WONDERFUL. Here are our favorites:

maple ham

honey glazed ham with thyme

have a wonderful day.
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CShipe said...

While I support taking care of our environment and preventing pollution, I TOTALLY disagree with the method Mom's Clean Air Force is taking to reduce mercury poisoning. More government regulation is NOT the answer. Since when has the government had successful oversight of anything? Schools? Social Security? Medicare? Taxes? Almost everything that the government has control over is a mess. Handing them the role of regulating companies' pollution emissions is not going to help the environment.

Kirsten said...

I do believe that clean air is important to us all, especially children, but more government regulation is NOT the answer. Remember the new mercury light bulbs that the government is telling us we all will HAVE to use soon? *sigh* What a mess that will be when in a couple years everyone is disposing of the spent bulbs and mercury is blowing out of our landfills and flooding our drinking water more than it is today!

lynn said...

Agree with CShipe and Kirsten. But appreciate what you are trying to do.

Catt of the Garage said...

I don't agree with that. Governments aren't perfect, but if they don't regulate, who's going to? Are you going to hand voluntary restrictions to private companies and expect them to stick to them? Good luck with that.

I understand suspicion of government up to a point, but I have never understood the idea that "the government messes things up sometimes, so we'll let private companies deliberately destroy everything instead." If you don't regulate anything, pretty soon you'll be left with nothing.

Catt of the Garage said...

On the subject of mercury in fish, from my research while pregnant, the main problem seems to be with predatory fish, like tuna, and the higher up the food chain you get, the higher the mercury levels - fish like swordfish and shark, which prey on other predatory fish, seem to be the worst. Presumably the mercury builds up as you go up the food chain? I've never heard any warning about white fish.

thefrugallery said...

I agree with you about the tuna. Think about it, you wouldn't eat or drink something if someone told you "there's only a little poison in it." Except, everyday--people do! I stay away from tuna unless it is raised an organic farm and even then I realize that it may not be 100% safe.

Lynn said...

A quick google search brought up this by the FDA:

"By following these 3 recommendations for selecting and eating fish or shellfish, women and young children will receive the benefits of eating fish and shellfish and be confident that they have reduced their exposure to the harmful effects of mercury.

Do not eat Shark, Swordfish, King Mackerel, or Tilefish because they contain high levels of mercury.
Eat up to 12 ounces (2 average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury.

Five of the most commonly eaten fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish.
Another commonly eaten fish, albacore ("white") tuna has more mercury than canned light tuna. So, when choosing your two meals of fish and shellfish, you may eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) of albacore tuna per week.
Check local advisories about the safety of fish caught by family and friends in your local lakes, rivers, and coastal areas. If no advice is available, eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) per week of fish you catch from local waters, but don't consume any other fish during that week."

Full link here

CeltChick said...

Catt has it right:government regulation of industry came about because so many industries exposed their employees, and their neighborhoods, to excessive pollution and other hazards, all in the name of making a buck. Teddy Roosevelt spoke out against these greedy tactics; industries are still wriggling around regulation any way they can to fill the bottom line! It's not the fault of the regulating agencies if big business pushes the envelope every which way. This is just "good business" practice, and will likely continue for as long as there are businesses that value money more than they value people & our planet.

pbnj said...

It's not just's in all fossil fuels (natural gas, crude oil, etc.). So even if we ditch the coal power plants, we may still have mercury problems until we as a nation cut down on our energy consumption.

Anne said...

This is an important article about selenium and mercury. Apparently selenium binds with mercury so if a fish contains more selenium than mercury, it would be safe to eat. Fish is important for getting omega 3's.

Huh? said...

Isn't this a food blog? I guess I'll go to political blogs for my slow cooker recipes from now on!

Dmarie said...

I was shocked when my daughter's ob/gyn advised she could eat tuna once a week during her pregnancy. here in western KY, too few docs are up on such dangers. *sigh*

Rainyday said...

All I know about mercury is from a bad B horror film I managed to watch at my grandparents as a very small child. There was mercury running off into a stream and the animals and frogs mutated. There were deformed babies being born. There was a half human half frog mutated swamp creature going around killing people, turned out to be the abandoned mutant baby of one of the towns inhabitants and she had to battle with it to kill it.

Still eat tuna, though, just not frequently.

Kelly said...

We are tuna eaters here. Remember, the government is forcing you to fill your house with encased mercury in all the flourescent lightbulbs. Mercury turns to gas when it is exposed to the air, so your home will become toxic if you break one of the new bulbs.

Anyway, great meatball recipe! I'm going to try it out. With five kids I LOVE slowcooker recipes!

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