Euphoria’s Blog for Green Mamas

advice, news & freebies

But What about My Tuna Sandwich? May 7, 2009

Filed under: Breastfeeding,Healthy Living,Pregnancy — Rachel @ 3:04 pm
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Let’s face it, when most of us eat fish… it’s tuna from a can.  Since eating DHA-rich fish is so important for our health – especially if we’re pregnant, nursing or feeding a young child – a cursory reading of my last post may send you to the cupboard for some tuna.

STOP!  Did you know that the Environmental Working Group (EWG) strongly recommends that pregnant or breastfeeding women and children under 5  “not eat albacore tuna at all, because a significant portion of albacore tuna has very high mercury levels.”  Basing their conclusions on the FDA’s own guidelines for what constitutes a safe amount of mercury, the EWG warns, “People eating this tuna will exceed safe exposure levels by a wide margin.”  And, what about light tuna?  We don’t know.  Light tuna contains less mercury, but no one (including the FDA) has determined what amount is safe for pregnant women.

You can get all the details at EWG’s Tuna Calculator.  The calculator will determine how much tuna you can safely eat, based on your weight, if you’re NOT pregnant, nursing or a child under 5.

P.S.  Need another reason to ditch the canned tuna?  It’s CANNED.  Canned foods are lined with BPA-tainted plastic.  Yup, virtually all of them!  Only a very, very few brands are starting to use non-BPA can linings, but they’re few and far between and very hard to find in your local store.

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Mercury, Fish and Pregnancy – The FDA Scandal December 18, 2008

Filed under: Pregnancy — Rachel @ 4:21 pm
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Have you heard the latest sad story about corruption in the FDA?  Here’s an excerpt from the good folks at the Environmental Working Group:

On Friday, December 12, the Environmental Working Group made public internal government documents disclosing the Food and Drug Administration‘s secret plans to reverse federal warnings that pregnant women and children limit their fish intake to avoid mercury, a neurotoxin especially dangerous to the fetus and infants… The Washington Post broke the story, and other national stories followed.

Reaction from Capitol Hill was swift and sharp. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-VT., denounced the FDA: “Now, in the administration’s 11th hour, they are quietly trying to water down advisories for women and children about the dangers of mercury in fish, disregarding sound scienceon this issue. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin capable of impairing childhood development at very low levels.”

I read the full Washington Post story, and the whole situation is just sad.  The last thing that pregnant woman need is more ambiguity about what is or is not safe to consume while pregnant.  I absolutely agree that pregnant and nursing women (and young children – ok, all of us) should severely limit consumption of fish known to carry dangerous amounts of mercury.  In fact, after doing some research I didn’t eat tuna at all during those critical times.  And, now, I still don’t eat canned tuna because all tuna cans are lined with BPA-emitting plastic.  It’s just not worth a tuna sandwich!

It’s true that fish is a unique source of extremely important omega-3 fatty acids, which are rare in the average American diet.  These omega-3’s are important for brain growth.  BUT, you can provide these nutrients for your family with a high-quality fish oil supplement (we use Nordic Naturals), by eating wild-caught Alaskan salmon (which is unlikely to contain mercury) and by eating walnuts, another food packed with omega-3 fatty acids.

 

Purify Your Breastmilk June 16, 2008

Fit Pregnancy’s current issue has a great article on how mindful mamas can keep their breastmilk pure.   Since scientists can easily test milk for contaminents, we know of quite a few toxins that do find there way to baby through mother’s milk.   Some toxins, like alcohol, clear out from the body rather quickly.  Unfortunately, many more toxins linger in the body for years because they are stored in body fat.  When you breastfeed, your body taps into those fats to make breastmilk.  Experts say that despite these toxins, breastmilk is definitely best for baby.  Still, I know that your goal, like mine, will be to produce the purest milk possible for baby.  Here are some tips from Fit Pregnancy:

  1. Alcohol (consumed): an occasional drink is OK, but do so immediately after nursing to give your body time to clear before the next feeding.
  2. Biphenal A/BPA (consumed/absorbed): Don’t eat or drink from plastics with recylcing code no. 7; avoid canned foods.
  3. Flame Retardants (consumed/inhaled/absorbed): Choose curtains, furniture, and mattresses without brominated flame retardents.
  4. Mercury (consumed): Don’t eat tilefish, shark, swordfish, or king mackeral.   Fit Pregnancy says to “limit tuna”, but from my research, I’d stay clear.
  5. Pesticides (consumed/inhaled/absorbed):  Don’t use flea treatments or insecticides in your home or office.  Eat organic food.
  6. Plastic Softeners/Phthalates (consumed/inhaled/absorbed): Avoid vinyl of any kind (shower curtains, packaging and plastic toys are common culprits),  “cling” wrap, plastics with recycling code no. 3.
  7. Solvents (inhaled/absorbed): Avoid conventional nail polish, nail polish remover, cleaning solvents, paints, dry cleaners and pumping gas.
  8. Synthetic Fragrances (inhaled/absorbed): Choose fragrance-free cosmetics, detergents and deodorants or those fragranced with “essential oils” only. 
  9. Unnecessary Medications (consumed/inhaled/absorbed): Ask your doctor before taking any over-the-counter or prescription drug.  For info on risks, visit motherisk.org. 

Although these recommendations are designed for breastfeeding moms, they really pertain to us all.  If you’re pregnant, your lifestyle protects baby during his or her most critical times.  If your baby is weaned, your child is directly interacting with plastics, cosmetics, mattresses, etc. so you’ll want to purify your lifestyle to support your child’s personal development.  Every step you take to a cleaner, toxin-free life is a step in the right direction for us all!