the smell of my desperation has become a stench

To stave off the Doritos

One of a few diet tips my trainer shared with me when I started working with her over a year ago was to snack on canned tuna (diet here does not refer to losing weight, but instead to eating healthy), and before you go and make that gagging noise that Jon does every time I even mention it, just hear me out. Or maybe you can’t hear me over Jon’s gagging. That’s fine. Sometimes he can’t hear his geek podcasts because of the sound of my eyes rolling.

So I buy little cans of StarKist solid white albacore tuna and add a little flavor either with soy sauce or a spicy mustard. It’s 110 calories with 20 grams of protein, and I’ve never had a snack keep me so satiated between meals. Also, it helps my muscles recover after my workouts. Does it smell like tuna? Yes, it does. And if your husband is wont to break out crude jokes he learned in middle school, brace yourself.

Today I got home from spin class and headed straight for the cabinet where I keep the tuna. Marlo has an amazing radar when it comes to food, can sense it when we’re even thinking about eating, and she wants a bite of whatever you’re putting in your mouth. She has no fear, no hesitation, and if she doesn’t like the taste of something she’ll just open her mouth and dig the offending food off of her tongue with her hand. Sometimes she’ll just open her mouth and wait for it to fall off or for Coco to come and take care of the dirty work.

You parents without dogs… my god, the work you must do sweeping up crumbs.

I hadn’t even opened the can of tuna and Marlo was tugging on my pants while saying, “Up! Up!” This should be interesting, I thought, especially since I was opening up a new exotic mustard I found online. You guys, this combination is awesome, and it gets even more awesome if you add in a whole wheat tortilla, some shredded cabbage and a blow job!


So I made my little concoction, picked up Marlo and sat down for my snack. And I had everything balanced so that I could give her a bite. Except… as the fork got closer to her mouth she started to get that who farted? expression on her face. And then she started to move her head as far away from it as she could, her face contorting even more until she let out an audible, “Ewww!

Oh, whatever, kid. I’m not the one who lets a dog eat out of her mouth.

  • theotherlion

    2011/02/07 at 2:49 pm

    Hey, at least you don’t have to share!

  • photogmomma

    2011/02/07 at 2:52 pm

    Something you should watch out with albacore tuna is that it can be high in mercury…. You may want to check your brand to make sure that it’s coming from an area that has been shown to have lower mercury. (Predator fish have higher mercury.)

    But holy moly, that sounds like a yummy snack! 🙂

  • Tricia

    2011/02/07 at 2:59 pm

    Thanks for the tip! I love tuna salad, but always ruin it with Miracle Whip, sweet relish and apples. Delicious, but not as healthy as it could be. 🙂

    How much mustard do you add to a (5 oz?) can?

  • GingerPeach

    2011/02/07 at 3:12 pm

    Love this. Trader Joe’s has some tasty tuna in a pouch that has a bunch of indian spices, too. If you’re worried about mercury, canned turkey or chicken is perfectly tasty with enough mustard, celery salt and fresh herbs.

    Also, try kale chips if you’re feeling like you want something crunchy – not as filling, but sometimes you’re just looking for the tactile experience of eating chips. It’s really simple – cut up a head of kale, remove the big stems, lay flat on a cookie sheet, giving them enough space, and sprinkle with salt, cayenne, etc. Pop them in the oven for 10 minutes and what will emerge will be crunchy chips that are just vegetable! No need to add oil or anything.

  • jbd1020

    2011/02/07 at 3:21 pm

    Agreeing with others on the mercury thing. Albacore tuna is really high up there on the list and the FDA recommends no more than 6 ounces of it per week. Light tuna has a lot less. But it still bioaccumulates as you eat more and more of it. LOL and I won’t even get into the BPA in canned foods. But to reduce mercury exposure, you could alternate albacore with light tuna, salmon and chicken.

  • bawb23

    2011/02/07 at 3:22 pm

    The solid tuna can have higher mercury than the chunk type, but both should be enjoyed in moderation. The NRDC says 1 can of solid every 11 days for a 120 lb person vs 1 can per 4 days for chunk. Sad, but you need to protect the brain function you have.

  • smelton99

    2011/02/07 at 3:22 pm

    I’m cracking up because my 20 month old son Sam is the same way with food. He loves to chew up bites of apples and oranges and then open his mouth and let them fall out for the dog. He also takes food out of his mouth and hands it to me or puts it on my plate. This tuna idea sounds awesome, thank you for the tip!

  • susanne

    2011/02/07 at 3:23 pm

    I wouldn’t eat more than one serving per week to stay on the safe side (for the mercury)… Also, tuna is going extinct due to overfishing. Not a sustainable choice.

  • curlsz

    2011/02/07 at 3:39 pm

    That’s awesome! Ok I like Tuna but with mustard, I’ll leave that alone just so you can have more, sacrifice.

  • Tobie

    2011/02/07 at 3:41 pm

    Agreed with susanne….

  • vjl0027

    2011/02/07 at 3:44 pm

    Heather, I was wondering if you meant what you implied about Marlo and Coco. I should have known that it wasn’t an oversight – your perfectly crafted ending made me laugh out loud. Thanks for that! When one of my nieces was little she used to kiss her dog on the lips all the time. Ew.

    Since everyone is focusing on the tuna and not the canine, let me join the fray. I’ve read that sardines, or whatever we here in the USA get that are labeled “sardines,” are better in terms of mercury levels and sustainability because they’re lower on the food chain . While I’ve eaten amazing fresh sardines in Portugal, I haven’t yet been able to make the switch to the canned ones.

    GingerPeach, thanks for the tip about the kale chips, they sound great!

  • LisainNE

    2011/02/07 at 3:44 pm

    You are in such big trouble for your snack. Oh wow. Anyway, I love plain albacore tuna. I buy it in the pouch so I don’t have to drain it and face the nasty looks of my husband and children for leaving tuna stink in the kitchen sink. I stir a tablespoon of lemon into it. Yum!

  • tokenblogger

    2011/02/07 at 3:49 pm

    If only you had a doghouse for Marlo to climb into and eat the dog food right out of Coco’s dish!

    (My son at 18 months old.)

  • Tobi D

    2011/02/07 at 3:52 pm

    This sounds like a great snack, but agreed about the moderation thing. Another quick snack is to put a poached egg on top of a 1/2 cup of brown rice and sprinkle with Cajun Seasoning. You can get individual brown rice servings that cook in the microwave in 60 seconds and I cook my egg in the microwave as well in a small Corningware creme brulee dish.

  • tallnoe

    2011/02/07 at 3:53 pm

    I like to have lemon juice and capers in my tuna… but I do eat tuna in moderation, due to the fishing issue and the mercury… UGH.
    Monterey Bay Aquarium fish guide to the rescue!!
    Okay, it’s actually the Seafood Watch Program.
    But it means the same thing.

  • piprobins

    2011/02/07 at 4:05 pm

    Yes, I was surprised to see “tuna” and “healthy” in the same sentence. Pretty much the worst thing you can eat in terms of your brain.

    That being said, it’s been 15 years since I’ve eaten it, but I really miss tuna and dill pickle and mayo sandwiches.

  • Janice

    2011/02/07 at 4:40 pm

    I applaud what you are doing with the healthy life style and all but I hate tuna, I hate fish. They never have to worry about me making any of them unsustainable. If I had tuna in my mouth, I would hope my dog would rescue me by eating it off my tongue. Did appreciate the person who mentioned turkey or chicken in a can. Must look into that. That mustard looks mighty tasty though. Will you please share a link or are you gonna make me search for it?

  • juliejackson

    2011/02/07 at 4:51 pm

    Seriously, try this tuna, it will change your life. It’s sashimi grade and tons better for you, and much tastier!

  • jsides

    2011/02/07 at 4:53 pm

    I too have recently discovered how yummy tuna is. I use the P90X tuna salad recipe for lunch 2X each week.

    1 can chunk light tuna in water
    lemon zest
    squeeze of lemon
    sprinkle of Mrs. Dash
    1/4 shredded carrot or celery
    1 tbs. light mayo

    Mix together. Yum!

  • AJAngert

    2011/02/07 at 4:59 pm

    I had tuna over the weekend. Hubby told me I had lesbian breath.

  • Jen Cottrell

    2011/02/07 at 5:11 pm

    I love my tuna with just enough plain yogurt to make it creamy, chopped red onion, chopped cucumber, and a pinch of garlic salt and pepper to taste. I put it on a whole grain Wasa cracker. Dee-lish!

  • watercolordaisy

    2011/02/07 at 5:26 pm

    Seriously. You could see an angel fall from Heaven, catch it, and send it back with nary a scratch and people would still tell you that you did it wrong, wouldn’t they?

  • workroom

    2011/02/07 at 5:37 pm

    tuna’s also good with a nice chunky (fat free!) salsa too!!!

  • ieattofu

    2011/02/07 at 6:24 pm

    Hmmm… I can’t seem to find the sentence in your post requesting advice about your tuna consumption. Guess all these mercury-in-tuna experts are more perceptive than me. I, for one, say eat all the damned tuna n’ mustard (ewww) you desire!!

  • Mialulu

    2011/02/07 at 6:49 pm

    This is kinda funny… Only because my mom is going to Belize next month so over the weekend she said she was going to eat tuna every day for lunch. I told her she shouldn’t do that because she would get Mercury poisoning. What’s that she asked. So I had to explain it to her, then I proceeded to tell her the other options such as canned chicken. hehe… So as I was reading this, It brought me back to our conversation. Now I feel bad that everyone has hounded you about your tuna intake and it’s probably annoying. But I think it’s all out of love. I think it’s quite funny, really, not in a funny haha way, but funny queer – Everyone loves you apparently!

  • Pandora Has A Box

    2011/02/07 at 6:55 pm

    That’s a great snack! True, you might have to watch mercury levels, but lean protein and lots of flavor. Yum.

    I had smoked trout last week for lunch. The two year old demanded some and ate it. Then again, when I was pregnant with him, I craved pickled herring like no one’s business.

    Sadly, the DoCo Cats are failing in their duty to pick up crumbs from the floor, but Mr. Box refuses my overtures to get a dog.

  • hilaria23

    2011/02/07 at 7:41 pm

    Dulcet’s curried ketchup totally kicks butt! It isn’t good on tuna – but is GREAT on all sorts of ketchupy foods.

  • playrawkstar

    2011/02/07 at 8:59 pm

    on a non-mercury related side note – i just bought that mustard here in slc! they have it at liberty heights market on 11th & 13th. they actually carry a number of their mustards, but i just happened to pick up the curry one just the other week. =)

  • OrangeLily

    2011/02/07 at 10:34 pm

    To add to the tuna fray, EXCEPT from the opposite end:

    There was a study not long ago, (sorry, don’t have the link), that compared British children with American children, at 3, 5 then 7 years of age. From what I understand, Britain don’t have the same warnings against mercury-containing-fish that America does, or at least, they eat more fish nonetheless. Ideally you eat fish to boost your brain power, but with the mercury Americans are avoiding it, especially during pregnancy. What to do?

    According to the study, the British kids were ahead of the American kids in each of the age groups, in social, emotional, mental, intellectual development. It turns out that the Americans were unintentionally creating the scenario they were trying to avoid. It was better to eat fish (at least the safer fish) than avoid them altogether.

    So I ate sushi and sashimi while I was pregnant, mostly salmon but sometimes a little tuna. (I hate canned tuna – yuck! – but love raw tuna, go figure. And I was a picky-eater-kid.) So there! Nyah! But I did try to avoid the high-mercury ones.

  • Amy K

    2011/02/07 at 11:01 pm

    My daughter Emily (20 months) made that face today over coleslaw, lol.

  • sawtooth

    2011/02/08 at 12:15 am

    I love using a mashed avocado (instead of mayo) to make tuna salad. Pile it on flaxseed tortilla chips for a most delicious snack!

    Not even touching the mercury debate here. Once I broke a (mercury-and-glass) thermometer in a batch of candy I was making. I was so sad, because the candy is so good and the ingredients are rather spendy. I had that moment of “but I can’t see the poison!” before I threw it all out (following proper guidelines, don’t worry).

  • dianaparkhouse

    2011/02/08 at 3:17 am

    It’s fascinating and also delightful how different Bobo is to Leta!

  • amyj

    2011/02/08 at 4:57 am

    You should try tuna with Franks Red Hot. It’s way awesome. Way, way awesome!

  • mook

    2011/02/08 at 5:28 am

    Can you please tell me where you got that mustard? I love mustard and I love curry! That looks awesome! Thanks!

  • lostinamsterdam

    2011/02/08 at 5:52 am

    I can confirm the crumbs issue for the non-dog owning parent. My parents have two labradors whose faces totally light up when my children hove into view.

    We call them “the contract cleaners”…

  • Elyse xo

    2011/02/08 at 5:54 am

    My friends agree with (and love) tuna mixed with salsa as well.

  • ninesandquines

    2011/02/08 at 6:28 am

    i have a feeling that jon posted this under the guise of being you so you could get all of these anti-tuna comments and then say “oh wow maybe i should stop eating it” and he’d get his way of you stopping eating it without ever having to lift a finger…or not…but the comment about marlo and coco? priceless!

  • Laura Jones

    2011/02/08 at 7:09 am

    I learned my son liked tuna when I opened a can of cat food and he demanded some. He was 10 years old. I kept telling him cat food is not designed for human consumption. I had to go to the store for the Starkist and he ate it right out of the can. He won’t eat lasagna, macaroni & cheese, plain ole baked chicken, or chocolate covered ants. This he loves, room temp, nothing added.

  • Mme Wong

    2011/02/08 at 7:58 am

    I won’t even touch the tuna debate. All good things in moderation.

    But every single day, part of my brain tells me a dog wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Now, our household’s crazy schedule would make for a pretty unhappy canine, but my floors would be a lot less “crunchy”… Oh well, I’ll just live with the dirty floors!

  • tuggs

    2011/02/08 at 8:21 am

    According to the StarKist site (yes, I’m interested enough to have Googled it and yes, I’m going to choose to believe what it says rather than suspecting it’s all a huge conspiracy):

    Canned tuna is safe and canned light meat tuna is listed on the EPA/FDA advisory as one of the fish that has very low levels of methylmercury. The trace levels of methylmercury found in canned tuna are far below the 1.0 parts per million (ppm) standard the FDA has set as safe. FDA testing has shown that canned light meat tuna has an average of 0.1 parts per million (ppm) and that Albacore (white meat) tuna has an average of 0.35 ppm. StarKist has appropriate testing procedures in place to ensure that both our light meat canned and white meat canned tuna are well below the FDA limit of 1 ppm.

    For more information, go to the FDA’s website at or call the FDA Center for Food Safety Information Line at 1-888-SAFEFOOD.

  • sgigs

    2011/02/08 at 8:26 am

    Please consider a more dolphin safe tuna. That is all; otherwise, happy snacking!

  • tuggs

    2011/02/08 at 8:29 am

    Starkist (I swear, I don’t work for them, but if you’re going to make a point, make it correctly) was apparently the first company to adopt a dolphin-safe policy, back in 1990. Hence the dophin-safe logo on their products.

  • photomelissa

    2011/02/08 at 8:31 am

    Does your trainer suggest other things that can be added to the tuna besides mustard and soy sauce? I don’t like soy but I think the mustard would rock. (crumbled up Doritos mixed in probably would, too!)

  • luv and kiwi

    2011/02/08 at 10:39 am

    i just realized i spelled doritos wrong on a facebook post. SHAT!

  • Twinkie

    2011/02/08 at 10:50 am

    Opinions on mercury aside, this discussion reminds me of a line from a movie starring Harvey Keitel.

    When someone asked him if wanted sushi, he says “No thanks. If I want mercury, I’ll eat a thermometer.”


  • Snarkmeister

    2011/02/08 at 11:00 am

    I love canned tuna. Here is my favorite tuna salad recipe:

    1 can olive oil-packed tuna, drained
    handful of tiny tomatoes, chopped
    1 rib celery, finely diced
    half a red bell pepper, finely diced
    couple of tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley
    couple of tablespoons of red wine vinegar
    drizzle of olive oil
    salt & pepper

    Then we eat it with tortilla chips. Because we like to take things that are marginally healthy and counteract it with things that are absolutely not at all healthy.

  • lisdom

    2011/02/08 at 12:00 pm

    You know, I really like tuna, so this might be a good option for me besides the usual cottage cheese and fruit combo I do.

  • Just Jill

    2011/02/08 at 12:58 pm

    I don’t own a broom; I have dogs. 🙂

  • AuburnD

    2011/02/08 at 1:12 pm

    Love canned tuna and stumbled upon this winning combination by accident (was out of lemon and wanted to avoid mayo):
    -canned tuna
    -several TBs of pre-made pesto (I buy the kind from the grocery store made without cheese)
    -fresh lime juice
    -caperberries and diced red onion, if I’m feeling fancy
    -salt and pepper

    Great out of the bowl for a snack or on a bed of greens for a meal!

  • Mama to Henry

    2011/02/08 at 1:33 pm

    Another fun and healthy swap is butternut squash fries. If you have a mandolin you can get really thin slices or a crinkle cutter for more traditional fries: Take 1/2 a butternut squash (peeled, de-seeded and cut to desired shape) and sprinkle on some kosher salt. Cook at 425 degrees on a cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick spray for 40 mins or so, flipping halfway. They are roughly 10 cals and 3g fiber/ounce. A good option for kids whose only vegetable intake consist of french fries and ketchup!

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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