Have you ever heard it through the grapevine that you shouldn’t overconsume tuna and such fish so as to not overexpose yourself to mercury? Is there any truth to this?
Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
Despite the fact that there are different types of mercury out there, the type us humanoids are majoritarily exposed to is the methylmercury type, the type found in aquatic environments (and thus fish). When methylmercury (also known as organic mercury) enters our organism, it accumulates in our red blood cells, and thus becomes what is detectable and assessed when our doctors order blood tests for mercury levels. However, mercury is lipophilic (lipo = fat, philic = loving), meaning it “dissolves in” or “likes” or “concentrates in” fat, and thus in our fatty tissues, such as in our brain, which is composed predominantly of fat. This is to say that blood mercury levels alone do not give an accurate overall picture of your whole body’s mercury concentrations.
The reason mercury is toxic for us is that it can bind bodily molecules that contain sulfur (molecules in almost every enzyme and in our mitochondria (our cell’s power plants – they generate most of our cells’ energy or ATP)). Different people have different capacities when it comes to processing mercury, and individual mercury metabolism can be affected by polymorphisms (genetic variations). Polywhaaaaa? In our bodies, it is glutathione (a detoxifying agent and antioxidant) which participates in mercury metabolism by binding it and helping the body rid itself of it. However, genetic variations can cause individuals to have problems with their glutathione, and thus mercury excretion. This explains why, in my practice, I have seen people who consume fish seldomly find out they have high serum mercury levels after undergoing blood tests, and just the opposite: people who eat relatively high mercury fish several times a week and who do not have any detectable blood mercury issues (again, the blood test does not assess for total body mercury).
The truth is, fish that are at the top of the food chain (must be nice!), such as shark, swordfish, roughy and blue marlin, contain higher concentrations of mercury in them. Watch out!
When eating fish, avoid the grey/brown part just above the scales, as this is where most of the mercury is found (for example, when eating salmon). Please note: salmon is generally a low mercury fish 🙂 .
After the health issue comes the sustainable issue. To eat fish or not to eat fish becomes the question (Shakespeare had it all wrong), and this can become quite the ethical dilemma. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch can help you out with this; they’ll help you identify the most sustainable types of fish to eat, if fish is a part of your diet.
No matter how creative or inventive you try to be in the kitchen, sometimes it’s good to stick to the basics. I grew up on tuna sandwiches and I must admit (#confessional), they’re quite scrumptious. However, this mock tuna sandwich tastes so much like the real deal, you won’t even miss actual tuna (Sorry tuna! #harsh).
For this fantabulous recipe, celery, pickles and onions add the crunch factor, the chickpeas, nuts and seeds combo mock the tunafish texture, while the dulse takes care of adding the “seafood flavour”. This recipe also gets brownie points for containing nutritional yeast, which vegans should regularly ingest as it is a great source of vitamin B12, which normally is obtained from animal-based foods.
Anyhow, here is the recipe! A recipe fit not only for mermaids and mermen. Speaking of mermaids and “mock” things, please don’t get stuck watching this documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aM6gNrjl94M which, as it turns out, is a mockumentary, lol. I am a huge fan of documentaries and somehow ended up watching a few minutes of this 45 minute fake documentary. Damn you, stupid YouTube black holes, haha! I’m guessing it happens to the best of us…
Mock Tuna Salad, For the Win
For the tangy and creamy mock tuna:
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1/2 cup soaked sunflower seeds (soaked overnight)
1/4 cup sesame seeds (soaked overnight)
1/2 cup soaked almonds (soaked overnight)
1/3 cup finely chopped celery or fennel (or 1 stalk – see how much 1 stalk yields)
1/3 cup chopped onions
1/3 cup chopped dill pickles
2 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. kelp powder or dulse flakes
2 tbsp. fresh parsley (see if is necessary)
2 tbsp. fresh dill
1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise like “Vegenaise” (or you could use organic Greek yoghurt)
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. sea salt
Variation: add diced apples, sweet corn kernels or raisins for a sweet touch, if you’re into that 😉 .
- In a food processor, pulse the sunflower and sesame seeds and almonds with the soy sauce, kelp or dulse, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and vegan mayonnaise together until you form a paste.
- In a bowl, mix the chickpeas, celery, pickles and onion, fresh herbs.
- Add the freshly processed nut and seed mix to the bowl and mix together.
- Serve immediately on two slices of the bread of your choice, in a green salad or on crackers.
This phony tuna tastes authentically delicious.
Chicken chickpeas of the sea?
Do not try this at home. Try this at home.
I do this too much. Scoozi!