Chicken of the campus

Kristine Gill

I knew I had to develop better eating habits if I wanted to keep off the weight I had lost during my two-week diet. So I did some very reliable Internet research and consulted my vast supply of knowledge picked up throughout the years from various magazines and TV shows.

It was through a rigorous selection process that cottage cheese and cream of wheat made it onto my new diet. Cottage cheese is low in fat and high in protein and supposedly a great diet food when coupled with fruit. I was also recently introduced to cream of wheat by a close friend. Skeptical at first, I soon embraced the creamy goodness for its bland taste and complete lack of fat, sugar and cholesterol. Cream of wheat is solid carbs, and it’s super cheap. When you add water or milk and microwave it for two and half minutes, it quadruples in size from a few tablespoons to a whole bowl full.

These two foods have become staples of my self-proclaimed diet. However, neither compares to StarKist Tuna in the flavorful pouches.

I have found the miracle food. Tuna is chock full of protein and people who eat it turn into rock-hard muscle builders. It’s going to make me one, too. It’s also going to give me heart problems and the shakes.

After two weeks of laboring under the delusion that mass tuna consumption was extremely good for me, I began to recall a lecture from my high school AP biology class. My teacher talked about levels of mercury found in tuna and the FDA’s recommendation that it not be consumed multiple times per week. I remember thinking how unfortunate this news was because it was Lent. As a sandwich artist at Subway, I had been making myself tuna subs frequently under the impression that not only was it extremely healthy for me, but that it also fulfilled my Lenten requirement. Imagine my fear and dismay after learning this horrid news.

Now, the fear is back. I just stocked my fridge with various tuna flavors and now have to worry about the mercury plaguing my body. Site after site online warned that canned albacore tuna had significant levels of mercury. It was really only recommended that children and pregnant women not eat more than one and a half cans per week.

I have been eating the equivalent of four or five cans per week.

I guess that’s fine as long as I don’t start noticing symptoms of mercury poisoning. (Although one symptom is weight loss, which I could tolerate at this point in my steady gain of the freshman 50).

I didn’t read the news and panic because I had to immediately purge my fridge of this toxin. I panicked because I still planned on eating lots and lots of tuna, and I will now have to suffer the effects of chronic exposure to mercury. According to one site I will face ‘cardiovascular challenges’ and damage to my central nervous system.


But I have made my decision. I choose to live a life of herb and garlic, one of taste and affordability. So when my roommate walks in on me convulsing on our futon, she’ll just have to comfort me saying that this too shall pass. After all, it is better to have eaten and convulsed than to have never tasted at all.

Kristine Gill is a freshman prejournalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].