Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Canned Foods & Soups = Poison to our bodies

This article was released last week on canned food and the BPA contained in the lining and it sickens me that the cans are still on store shelves and in your pantry ready to be consumed by your children and yourself. Do you not believe these studies or are you just turning a blind eye to potentially poisoning your children? I grew up on Campbell's soups, Progresso, Spaghettio's and the like - perhaps that's what caused my thyroid disorder...

Here's the article:
People who ate canned soup for a Harvard study had BPA levels 1,200 percent higher than those who ate freshly-made soup. Is it time to nix canned foods from the kitchen?

Eating canned soup can cause the amount of BPA in the body to soar, compared to eating soup made with fresh ingredients, according to findings from the Harvard School of Public Health. BPA — that's bisphenol A, a widely-used chemical found in plastic and canned food packaging — is an endocrine disruptor that some researchers have linked to obesity, breast cancer, neurological disorders and more. The Food and Drug Administration says a small amount of BPA in the body is OK but maintains that its overall health effects are unclear. Meanwhile, Canada has declared BPA a toxin, and Europe has banned BPA in baby bottles. The chemical is thought to be especially harmful to fetuses, infants and young children.

The soup study

To test the amount of BPA absorbed by the body, volunteer participants in the Harvard study ate a can of vegetarian soup each day for five days, while another group ate soup made from fresh ingredients. Then, BPA levels were measured in the participants' urine. For those who ate canned soup, their BPA levels were 1,200 percent higher compared to those who ate freshly-made soup. reports that the Harvard study, first published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, is the first to measure how much BPA the body absorbs from canned food. Though the research zeroed in on canned soup, the results likely apply more broadly to other canned foods and beverages, according to

Cabinet overhaul?

The Harvard soup study is part of a growing body of evidence that highlights the dangers of BPA, says Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff, the executive director and CEO of Healthy Child Healthy World, a Los Angeles-based group that raises the awareness of harmful environmental chemicals. So, is it time to clear canned foods from the kitchen cabinets? "We have to be realistic: especially for busy families, sometimes packaged foods are a necessity," Sarnoff said in an email. "Rather than recommending that parents overhaul their pantries, we hope that parents will read labels and do their own research to make sure the foods they are choosing are the safest possible."

Tips for going BPA-free

  • Look for food manufacturers like Eden Organic that are making the shift to BPA-free packaging.
  • When choosing a refillable water bottle, choose one made of stainless steel, rather than plastic or coated aluminum. 
  • BPA is found on sales receipts from retailers, so wash your hands after shopping.
  • Because BPA is thought to be especially harmful to babies and children, choose BPA-free baby bottles and sippy cups
  • Check your food storage containers as well. Make sure they are BPA-free. Glass is best.
Knowing these facts should make you want to change your food buying habits. But I've told a few people and it's like they could care less. I don't understand it. If you knowingly and repeatedly give your child canned food and soups, you are putting their health at risk. Why won't food manufacturers find an alternative? Ok, I'll get down off my pedestal now...

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Holiday 15

You know when you go away to college and gain the "Freshman 15?" Well last year, the period from Halloween to New Years was almost a record gain for me. I vowed to eat clean in September, but didn't set parameters for myself. For example, I was eating platters instead of plates of food. I was gorging on my holiday favorites and by New Year's Day, I was regretting every last bite I put in my mouth. I was eating whole foods for the most part, but too much and not exercising.
So, this year, things are very different. I actually can't eat that much anymore because my stomach has shrunk and too much food leaves me feeling bloated and sluggish. I've learned to eat slower, chew every bite, savor the meal and feel fuller before my plate is finished. I still have a hard time throwing away uneaten food. I think that comes from the years of brainwashing as a child to "finish your plate, there's children starving in Africa." Well, that is true, but forcing yourself or your child to finish his/her plate is a detriment to their health. Kids are born with the ability to know when they are full and they instinctively stop eating. I've had to catch myself a few times when my kids say they are done and I gently nudge to eat a few more bites. I have to respect their tummies and know that pushing them to eat more will only take away that gift of knowing when to say when!
So, this holiday season is going to be different. I've come to realize that if I want to maintain the 31 pound weight loss thus far, I've got to change up some holiday recipes and perhaps even skip making some of my favorites. For example, I'll be revamping my stuffing recipe. I used to use a bag of cubed dressing and a loaf of torn bread - that's going to change.
I also used to make this cabbage casserole with tons of crackers, butter and milk. Now that I'm dairy free and trying to cut back on carbs, this one will go and be replaced with fresh greens like braised kale. I'll probably be disowned if I don't make mashed potatoes, so perhaps I will keep them and just use chicken broth instead of milk.
I'm swapping out pecan pie for pumpkin pie and making homemade marshmallows to put on top of my sweet potatoes.
So, we'll have plenty of veggies, fresh cranberries, a pastured Organic turkey and a yummy pumpkin pie. I don't think anyone will miss what's not there.

Christmas will be a bit tougher. My parents will visit and their eating habits are not the same. Plus, my family sends a big care package full of cookies, fudge, caramels, and treats galore. It's fun to get and savor a treat or two, but if you're like me, I just can't have it in my house or I gorge on it! The temptation is too difficult. Just knowing those warm cookies my mom just pulled out of the oven are right there on the counter is almost too much to bare. I lack sufficient will power. One is not enough. That's why I just stopped buying any kind of treat. There are no cookies, candy or sweets in my house. Does anyone else have this problem? Surely I'm not alone in the "I can't stop eating these delicious cookies" disorder!
I secretly wish I could just run away and hide during the holidays. They are not the simple fun times I enjoyed as a child. Too much shopping, stress, wrapping, card-making, baking, and parties to attend. I think I may even say no to some this year. The less temptation the better. I'm feeling a bit "Scroogey" at the moment. Hmmm...perhaps I just don't want anything to ruin the strides I have made. 31 pounds is a big deal, 2 dress sizes down is huge for me! I've had to go shopping and buy all new pants of course. I have a whole closet full of clothes I can't wear...that's good and bad!
Luckily I have a goal in March. I registered for a half-marathon. Now, I'm not a runner. Not even close! So this is quite a feat for me. Hopefully the running will help work off some of that pie! And a cookie or two!