I hope this isn’t the first time you’re hearing about this. If it’s old info, I hope that I can just re-inspire you! If it’s new to you….please read on and see if there are some changes you can make to improve your health and that of our home planet. I promise I’m keeping this short because I want to keep your attention.
You may have seen these stickers on those plastic water bottles you’ve bought or your plastic storage containers: ‘BPA free’ and think that you’re doing a healthy act for yourself and your family. I thought so too, until I learned recently that this isn’t even the half of it.
The facts on BPA’s:
- BPA stands for ‘bisphenol A’
- It’s been used in food storage containers such as cans and bottles since the 1960’s.
- It can mimic the hormones and can interfere with the body’s ability to produce, secrete, transport, function and eliminate natural hormones.
- It can imitate the body’s estrogen, which can disrupt your own usage of estrogen.
- It’s 100 times more toxic than we were lead to believe.
- BPA’s are found in plastic water bottles because it’s used to make them lighter and more ‘squishy’
- Also found in cash register receipts, so every time you’re touching those, you’re getting it onto your skin.
- When found in the adrenal glands (fight-or-flight glands) it has been found to increase the production of cortisone (your body’s natural anti-inflammatory).
- BPA can seep into food and beverages and can create some serious health issues down the line
- Possible health effects on the brains of babies and children, leading to behavioural changes
- Long-term exposure to plastics and BPA’s can contribute to some kinds of cancers
- Even when a product has a ‘BPA-free’ label, there are even worse substitutions that are being used by companies.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found upwards of 90% of the population showing measurable levels of BPA’s and phthalates in their bodies.
Plastic is incredibly hard to avoid but here are some alternatives:
- Buy your products in glass or stainless steel whenever possible. It’s hard to get away from the plastic in many products, but there are still some companies who use glass for their juice, oils, and milk.
- Plastic water bottles are pretty bad. San Francisco has banned sales, and I wish Santa Fe would do the same. Remember to take your own water bottle with you. This can be an old jar that you can re-purpose or purchasing one of many adorable (or super cool) water bottles to take along. Here are some of my favorites.
- Buy fresh, whole foods including beans and nuts from the bulk section at your stores. Take one of your own cloth, mesh bags so that you reduce your exposure to more plastic. I have these amazing tight-weave produce bags that I use for the bulk bins at Wholefoods. I collect my dried beans, grains, and even flours in these bags and then transition them to my glass storage jars at home.
- Straws….these are THE WORST! When I pick up trash on the street, I see so many of these and they are so, so bad for the environment. Take your own stainless steel straws with you. I always have mine with me.
- Plastic utensils. If I wasn’t aware of this, I’d get these at every place I get take out. I have my little pouch with my straw and bamboo utensils in my purse so that I can have them handy. I’ve had it for about a year now, and I LOVE it and not having to use all of that extra plastic. And for my daughter, there’s a kids’ pouch of utensils.
- Plastic packaging and bags. Even though you’re not eating food directly out of the plastic bags, you’re being exposed to the plastic packaging. Whenever possible, make sure you take the food out of the plastic before you heat it. The heating of the plastic is the most toxic. Consider taking your own reusable bag with you for produce or for shopping bags. This can help reduce the plastic residue that ends up in our ground water and soil.
My Challenge to you…..
Start looking at your refrigerator and take notes of how many food products you have in there.
- Is there anything you see that you could start purchasing in glass instead of the plastic?
- Maybe instead of buying carrots in the packaging, you could buy the loose ones and put them in your own cloth or recycled bag.
- Instead of buying cooked beans in a can, could you buy the dried, bulk beans, put them in your own cloth produce bag, cook them, and then freeze them in a glass storage container for when you need a quick meal?
I’m a big proponent of small changes made over a period of time to maximize your health and longevity. When I think of health, I think of myself, my family, my community and the planet. Sometimes I pay a little bit more for items because I’m purchasing it in glass or at the farmer’s market to reduce waste, but I have to hope that my little contribution can help all of us. I invite you to join me!