Mercury in Tuna: Especially beneficial read for Pregnant Women & Children

A little fishy food for thought for those who love Tuna Salad or Canned Tuna. 

Canned tuna, Americans’ favorite fish, is the most common source of mercury in our diet. New tests of 42 samples from cans and pouches of tuna bought primarily in the New York metropolitan area and online confirm that white (albacore) tuna usually contains far more mercury than light tuna.

Children and women of childbearing age can easily consume more mercury than the Environmental Protection Agency considers advisable simply by eating one serving of canned white tuna or two servings of light tuna per week. A serving is about 2.5 ounces. Expect a 5-ounce can to contain about 4 ounces of tuna plus liquid.

The heavy metal accumulates in tuna and other fish in an especially toxic form, methylmercury, which comes from mercury released by coal-fired power plants and other industrial or natural sources, such as volcanoes.

Fortunately, it’s easy to choose lowermercury fish that are also rich in healthful omega-3 fatty acids. That’s especially important for women who are pregnant or might become pregnant, nursing mothers, and young children, because fetuses and youngsters seem to face the most risk from methylmercury’s neurotoxic effects.

Results from our tuna tests, conducted at an outside lab, underscore the longheld concern for those people. We found:

  • Every sample contained measurable levels of mercury, ranging from 0.018 to 0.774 parts per million. The Food and Drug Administration can take legal action to pull products containing 1 ppm or more from the market. (It never has, according to an FDA spokesman.) The EPA compiles fish advisories when state and local governments have found high contaminant levels in certain locally caught fish.
  • Samples of white tuna had 0.217 to 0.774 ppm of mercury and averaged 0.427 ppm. By eating 2.5 ounces of any of the tested samples, a woman of childbearing age would exceed the daily mercury intake that the EPA considers safe.
  • Samples of light tuna had 0.018 to 0.176 ppm and averaged 0.071 ppm. At that average, a woman of childbearing age eating 2.5 ounces would get less than the EPA’s limit, but for about half the tested samples, eating 5 ounces would exceed the limit.

In 2006 we scrutinized the results of the FDA’s tests in 2002 to 2004 of mercury levels in hundreds of samples of canned tuna. The agency’s white-tuna samples averaged 0.353 ppm; light tuna, 0.118 ppm. But we found that as much as 6 percent of the FDA’s light-tuna samples had at least as much mercury as the average in white tuna—in some cases more than twice as much.

Given the uncertainties about the impact of occasional fetal exposure to such high levels, we urged the FDA to warn consumers about occasional spikes in mercury levels in canned light tuna. More than four years later, the FDA still hasn’t issued such a warning. When we asked why, an FDA spokesman indicated that the agency had already taken the spikes into account when formulating its mercury advice.

Bottom line

Canned tuna, especially white, tends to be high in mercury, and younger women and children should limit how much they eat. As a precaution, pregnant women should avoid tuna entirely. Our answers to the questions in Fish Q & A can help you get the nutritional benefits of fish and minimize exposure to mercury.

 

 

Thank you to our friends over at Consumer Reports for this article!

“www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine-archive/2011/january/food/mercury-in-tuna/overview/index.htm”

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Rave Review: Rod’s Steak & Seafood Grille

I’ve eaten at Rod’s a few times now and it is consistently impressive and worthwhile!   I was there with a group of 8 for a bachelorette party dinner this past weekend and we had a great time.   The service was good, the timing was pretty good ( we waited a bit longer than ideal but the food more than made up for it)  I started with the Rodney Strong Russian River Pinot Noir ( a favorite)  and two blue point Oysters ( TERRIFIC)  I am so picky about oysters. They are either Very good or Dreadful, there really is no in between.  These were terrific. Next time I visit I will certainly be ordering more of these!   They were flavorful without being too much, they were fresh and absolutely perfect.   I then had the 9oz sliced tenderloin with pureed potatoes and sweet onion strings. Fantastic!  I order my meat medium rare  and will not hesitate to send it back if it’s medium or over.  This was cooked absolutely too perfection and specification.  The potatoes were very good, the onion strings were fantastic and the demi glace was absolutely delicious.  Each bite was terrific, there wasn’t an ounce of fat anywhere and I cleared my plate.  There were 3 orders of the Filet & Lobster Tail with Maryland Blue Crab that came out and looked fabulous.  I believe the comments from the three girls sitting next to me with the Surf & Turf said, this might be the best meal I’ve ever had! The roasted chicken that came out looked awesome. Portions are NOT skimpy here so you will never have to worry about leaving hungry.  The Roasted Vegetable Entree looked great as well.  The eggplant looked tender not mushy or overdone, the mushrooms looked great as well.   The salmon looked unbelievable.  It was a great cut of fish, not overcooked, not undercooked, the Fennel Cream was a great addition and everything was plated beautifully.

We were absolutely too full to even order dessert but I’ve had it before and it’s spot on!  

One of my first time at Rod’s was with an ex of mine for his birthday.  We ordered the lobster and I had the 9 oz  filet au poivre with a side of creamed spinach ( amazing!)  We ended up having to leave in the middle of the meal before anything had come out and we happened to be staying in the hotel, so they were more than accommodating and brought everything to our room, along with a birthday cake for him and two glasses of champagne on the house.  It was absolutely above and beyond the call of duty and a great gesture for them.  

I will forever be a fan of Rod’s and look forward to many more excellent meals!

Check it out!

 

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The Girl Can Grill: London Broil

Since I started my Gluten Free/Paleo Diet  I’ve been eating more Meat, Fish & Protein in general.   London Broil has always been a favorite of mine and I came home to find a London Broil Marinating in Olive Oil, Garlic & Onion.  I decided to throw it on the grill and call it an evening.   Armed with a glass of Vino ( The Path Merlot- Found Exclusively at Wegmans) my grill tongs and a smile I set out to fire up that bad boy and slap the London Broil on it!

My family has always preferred meats to be Rare/Medium Rare ( I personally think anything over Medium is a waste of meat) So for a 2 inch thick Top Round Roast I seared on each side for about 5-6 minutes, flipped it over and let rest for a good 8-10 minutes.   This is a  GREAT and super easy recipe to do and London Broil is actually the method in which you cook, NOT a cut of meat. 

I encourage all you meat eaters to give this one a try!

 

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Wonderful Water: Why I’m Having a Love Affair With Water

So we all know it’s been blistering hot the past few days in NY/NJ. Finally the heat broke this weekend and it rained but we had a few scorching hot days where I was grateful to have a liter of water in my bag.   I’ve never been a huge water drinker. I prefer bubbles in my water BUT last week it was absolutely necessary.  I’m on a kick to lose 25 lbs ( to start) and my day today has very much revolved around my consumption of water. I am currently on my third liter of water, that’s 33.8 x 3 = 101.4 oz for you mathematically challenged.    They say 8 cups of water a day is the standard.  I’m past that and feel great!  Some of my favorites ( and no water is not just water)  are: 

Fiji

Poland Spring

Smart Water ( No it doesn’t actually make you smarter)

and finally

Voss Water

 

Everyone drink up and enjoy! 

Paleo Friendly Dinner: Steamed Clams

I’ve recently begun the Paleo Diet to try to kick start a new healthier lifestyle!   I made some changes and substitutions to my usual Linguini & Clams to accommodate.   It’s not the easiest diet to follow and I miss certain things ( yes, already)  but I am off to a great start and really looking forward to seeing some results 

 

Julia’s Steamed Clams

2 Dozen little neck clams

1 cup clam juice

2 lemons

2.5 cups of white wine

6 cloves garlic

2 shallots or 2 yellow onions

2 Cups Chopped Spinach

1/4th Cup Water

Olive Oil/Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

Thyme

Parsley

Basil

 

fresh basil

fresh parsley

 

Heat oil in large saute pan, roast garlic and shallots/onion until lightly browned.  Add thyme, basil, parsley and white wine and let simmer for 5-10 minutes on medium heat.  Add 1/4 cup water  & clam juice ( eye ball it if there isn’t enough liquid to steam clams add more wine/water.)  Add clams,  you can 1-2 cans canned clams as well. Cover and let steam for 10 minutes. Avoid rubberizing your clams by twirling the pan every so often.  Add spinach and let cook down at the 5-8 minute mark.  

 

Eat Immediately. This is not a dish you want to have sit and come to room temp.  For you NON Paleo’s a slice of multi grain, French or Italian bread compliments this VERY well.

 

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Happy Fathers Day: Julia’s Bacon & White Cheddar Inside Out Burgers

This is an old favorite of mine that I break out for a variety of things.  Bite sized appetizers, bbq’s, grill a thons etc.  For fathers day this year we did a small bbq at our house and the burgers made an appearance. I’ve included the recipe ( originally a Racheal Ray Recipe but with my tweaks I’ve made it my own) as well as a pic! 

  • 8 slices bacon cooked and chopped
  • 4 scallions, cleaned, trimmed and diced
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 1 1/3 pounds ground beef sirloin
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce ( I add another dash after) 
  • 1 tablespoon steak seasoning blend or coarse salt and black pepper ( I use Montreal Steak Seasonings or Creole Seasoning) 
  • 1/2 pound extra sharp white cheddar cheese, crumbled or grated  ( you can use blue cheese instead or as well) 
  • 1 cup mayonnaise or reduced fat mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin ( use to your liking) 
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 Kaiser Rolls, Hamburger Buns or whatever you eat your burger on
  • Ketchup

 

In a sauté pan brown bacon over medium high heat and drain on paper towel lined plate.

Combine ground beef with Worcestershire and steak seasoning. Divide meat into 4 equal parts. Combine cheese crumbles and cooked bacon. Take 1 ball of the meat in your hand and make a well in the center of it. Pile in cheese and bacon, then form the burger around the cheese and bacon filling. Make sure the fillings are completely covered. When all 4 burgers are formed place on hot grill. Cook 2 minutes on each side over high heat, reduce heat to medium low and cook burgers 7 or 8 minutes longer, turning occasionally. 

 

Chop green onions and add to a food processor. Add mayonnaise and cumin to the food processor and pulse the onions and mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper, to your liking

 

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Sunday Brunch: The Alai Way

This morning I decided I was going to do a simple yet delicious Sunday Brunch for the family.  Now I am not an egg yolk fan so the picture you will see is of MY egg white benedict but everyone had the standard egg. 

Hollandaise Sauce

2 Egg Yolks

1/2 Tablespoon Water

1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice 

1 Stick of Butter (Unsalted)

Salt & Pepper to taste

Paprika ( just a light sprinkle) 

Melt butter in small saucepan without browning. In a blender combine egg yolks, lemon juice and water until frothy and bubbly.  Slowly add melted butter and blend until smooth and light yellow in color.  Add Paprika, Salt & Pepper after combined and set aside ( cover so it stays warm) 

Eggs Benedict

4 Eggs 

4 Slices Taylor Ham/Pork Roll ( For you non Jersey folks use bacon or Canadian bacon) 

6 Slices of Asparagus

4 English Muffins ( Whole Wheat or Regular)

Hollandaise Sauce ( See Recipe Above) 

Slice your taylor ham/bacon into thin rounds and cook over low heat until crisp but not brown.  Toast english muffins and set aside.   ( There is a debate in my house as to whether you butter the english muffins or not,  I DO NOT.  Why butter when your hollandaise sauce is butter based??)    Poach 4 eggs ( either in a poaching pan or the old fashioned boiling water way.   Sauté asparagus in olive oil or grape seed oil until lightly browned and soft ( feel free to add a pinch of salt)  

Assemble on plate as follows: 

Lay English Muffin bottom on plate, top with slice of Taylor Ham or Bacon and lay 2 asparagus on top, then transfer poached egg on top and drizzle hollandaise over.  Lay English Muffin top along side and enjoy! 

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Bon Appétit ! 

Asian Fusion Surf & Turf: Filet Mignon & Clams

This is one of my absolute Favorite recipes.  I am a huge surf and turf fan so anytime it’s modified I always opt in.   My dad had found this awesome recipe and usually we make it with shrimp and filet however this time we decided on clams and filet.  This is a GREAT recipe for those who love Asian Fusion, a kick to their food or someone who has a cultured taste and pallet.  It’s not the easiest recipe to make and involves quite a bit of prep but it is well worth it!   I will be posting the recipe in a few weeks as part of Seafood Week in July! 

 

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Clams with Fermented Soy Beans, Ginger, Shallots, Garlic, Soy Sauce, Rice Wine Vinegar & Cilantro

 

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Filet Mignon with Fermented Soy Beans, Cilantro, Shallots, Garlic, Ginger, Soy Sauce and Rice Wine Vinegar  with a side of white rice and green beans 

 

 

 

Stress Reliever Super Food: Avocado

So we all know the saying you are what you eat and that food can set the mood.  For those of us with a slightly unhealthy stress level or those just looking to unwind and relax a bit I was doing a bit of research online looking up healthy tips and ways to manage stress and avocados just kept popping up.  Like a banana they are loaded with potassium which is GREAT if you have a high stress level, get headaches or migraines etc.

Avocados ALSO help to keep blood pressure low.  I’ve added a favorite recipe of mine courtesy of Melissa D’Arabian of the Food Network’s 10 Dollar Meals

 

 

Pineapple Avocado Salsa

 

Ingredients

  • 1 (14-ounce) can sliced pineapple in juice, drained and juices reserved
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeds removed and diced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium avocado, halved, pitted and flesh cubed
  • 2 tablespoons minced cilantro leaves

Directions

In a medium bowl, make the dressing by mixing 2 tablespoons of pineapple juice with the lime juice, honey, oil and jalapeno. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the pineapple and onion. Gently fold in the avocado and cilantro. Let the flavors blend for at least 15 minutes before serving.

 

 

 

 

 This recipe is courtesy of Melissa D’Arabian and her 10 dollar dinners!

Quick & Easy Comfort Food

I was babysitting the other night and had a craving for something “comfort food.” To me, a ham and cheese sandwich always does the trick and can be so versatile.  You can grill it like a grill cheese, you can add tomato, turkey or any other add ons and jazz it up, which is exactly what I did!

 

2 Slices Whole Wheat Bread

3 Pieces of Ham ( I used Maple Glazed Christmas Style Ham)

2 Slices Apricot Glazed Turkey Breast

Julia’s Special Sauce ( Ketchup & Mayo with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar)

3 Slices Swiss or Provolone Cheese

 

 

 

So easy, so quick and so satisfying!

 

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Cinders Wood Fire Grill: The Review

We held my friends bridal shower at cinders in April.  The basement event room is gorgeous and they were absolutely helpful and accommodating but that’s about where the positives end.  We opted for a buffet (never again) and by the time the first table ( the bridal party ) got to the food it was cold and congealed. I’d love to say there was something that absolutely blew me away but it did not. The cake was terrific but I’m not sure it was made on sight.   We had the chicken francaise ( completely congealed and a mess) the paella ( I opted to skip) a pepper steak, eggplant rollatini (man was that bad) and a few other random things. The best part was the bruschetta and sangria. They did not do an open bar and there was only a limited amount of sangria available which was less than ideal for the amount I know was paid for the shower.

All in all I’ve herd mixed reviews from people in the past but based on my experience I wouldn’t rush to go back.  Now maybe a traditional lunch or dinner there is better but I would safely bet against it.