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Why not?

Ads don't usually get me all up in arms. The babywearing Motrin ad (that's been like a year now? 2?) didn't bother me at all. Formula commercials get me a little huffy sometimes (how they dare even insinuate it comes close to mother's milk!), but that's usually it. However, this commercial really got under my skin:

First of all, she's having a craving for sushi, then they show fish oil capsules. How in the world are a few fish oil capsules going to help a sushi craving? As someone who has had some STRONG sushi cravings herself (and who currently lives a little too far from a good sushi joint... perhaps that's the basis for some of my testiness on the subject...) I know that there is only one thing to do about a serious sushi craving... EAT SOME SUSHI.

Which leads me to my next point. Why are we so adamant that pregnant women shouldn't eat sushi? No one questions it, they just figure "well, everyone seems to think it's a big deal, so why take the risk?" I'll tell you why.

There are many, many types of food poisoning and many ways to get them. I was just skimming a CDC line incidence report and in January of '94 there were 3 cases of food poisoning from fermented beaver tail (not at all relevant, I just find it mildly amusing). But there are three that are of major concern to pregnant women because they can wreak havoc on a fetus; listeria, salmonella, and toxoplasma. Listeria and salmonella are most commonly found in meats and dairy, although lately there have been several instances of contaminated produce and packaged foods. Toxoplasmosis is usually contracted either by contact with the feces of an infected animal (usually cat poo) or by handling the raw meat of an infected animal.

None of these types of food poisoning are commonly associated with sushi.

According to this article from the NY Times your chances of contracting food poisoning from sushi are 1 in 2 million; your chances of food poisoning from chicken are 1 in 25,000.

Furthermore, Japanese women, who are healthier as a nation than we are, eat fish during pregnancy. Not only do they do it because it is a part of their routine diet- they also do it because they know it is a fantastic way to nourish a growing fetus. Fish oils are some of the healthiest fats a person can consume and are especially instrumental in the formation of skin and brain cells. This is purely anecdotal but when I first started seeing my midwife I always took Izzy, then just 2, with me. She is generally of above average intelligence for her age, but her speech is and always has been 1)astoundingly clear, and 2) ridiculously fluent. So my midwife was like "you took fish oil when you were pregnant, didn't you?" (I didn't, but I have always been big on eating fish a few times a week, and I did put olive oil, which also has brain building fats, in all of her veggies when she started eating solids).

Another reason some give for avoiding sushi during pregnancy is mercury (I'm not kidding). That is plumb retarded. Yes, pregnant women should avoid certain kinds of fish, cooked or not, because some fish contain high levels of mercury. But implying that sushi specifically should be avoided because of concerns about mercury leads people to believe that mercury can be cooked out- it can't. You are ingesting just as much mercury in a cooked piece of albacore as you are in a raw one. So know what fish are safe to eat when you are pregnant, and eat them in moderation (once or twice a week).


1 comment:

Cagney said... we need to go our for sushi. :) I love me some sushi!

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