BPA – To Ban or Not to Ban? – Part 2

In my last post, I gave a quick summary of the BPA issue, including the FDA’s decision to not ban it, and some of the risks associated with it.

So, in case you’re worried about the effects of BPA on your family, here are 5 helpful tips to reduce your exposure:

  • Be a mindful shopper.  Look at the containers before you buy, especially for acidic foods.  Avoid cans; go for Tetra Paks instead.  For plastics, the recycling number 7 usually means it contains BPA.
  • Be wary of what you put in the microwave/dishwasher.  Although the packaging might say the container is microwave/dishwasher safe, plastics easily leach BPA when heated.
  • Switch to glass or BPA-free plastics.  It’s a win-win for the environment and for your health.  And while you’re at it…
  • Bring your own refillable BPA-free water bottle.  Or at least make sure not to leave your disposable plastic ones in a hot or freezing car.
  • Educate yourself.  The more you know about BPA, the better – that way you can easily make your own decisions, regardless of what the FDA or hardcore environmentalists push at you.

As for me, I try to avoid BPA.  I don’t eat much canned food (it’s probably healthier that way anyway), I have several refillable BPA-free beverage containers that I use throughout the day, and I try to stay educated in the world of nutritional news, including the BPA issue.

How about you?  Are you doing anything to avoid BPA?

Do you think it should be banned?  Why or why not?


BPA – To Ban or Not to Ban? – Part 1

Yesterday, the FDA denied a petition for the ban of the chemical BPA in food packaging (cans, bottles, et cetera).  You can read the full article from ABC here.

BPA, otherwise known as Bisophenol A, is a chemical commonly found in aluminum cans, plastic water bottles, and other food containers; it is already banned in Canada.  Why?

According to the LA Times, studies have shown BPA to be linked with “developmental and reproductive abnormalities, precancerous changes in the prostate and breast, and other health problems… including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and liver problems. “

Many people are also concerned because of its relation to hormonal disruptions.  By mimicking estrogen, BPA may cause growth problems, especially in young children.

But if it’s only in the container, it’s not really in your food, right?  Well, BPA can easily leach out of the container and into your food, especially when the container is exposed to extreme temperatures (e.g. microwave or freezer) or when the food is acidic (e.g. tomatoes or soda).

Concerned?  Stay tuned!  In my next post, I’ll give you 5 tips for limiting BPA exposure.

(Click here to read part 2.)

The Hunger Games, Movie Theaters, and Mindless Eating – Part 1

Have you seen The Hunger Games, yet?!?

I haven’t, and it’s all I can think about!  (I’m planning on going this week, so no spoilers, please!)

If you have seen it, lucky you!  If not, try to recall the last movie you saw in a theater.  Did you have any theater food while you were there?  What did you eat?  How was it?  Don’t you remember?

Think about it.  At movie theaters we spend so many dollars and calories on food, but do we actually pay attention to what we eat during the film?

This concept ties in with my “quest for conscious eating” theme.  What’s the point of sound nutrition advice, good food choices, calorie-counting, et cetera, if you’re not going to pay attention to what you’re eating in the end anyway?

Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m not trying to completely bash eating at the movies.  In fact, popcorn itself can make a healthy snack – when it’s not drenched in artificial butter, of course!

My point here is not what you eat, but how you eat it.

The thing is, here in America, we’ve grown accustomed to using external cues to determine how much to eat (e.g. an empty plate), rather than the natural, internal cues (e.g. no longer feeling hungry).  For example, when you’re at a restaurant with friends, do you honestly assess your level of fullness to determine when to stop eating (listening to your body = internal cue)?  Or do you just continue grazing until your visit is over and/or plate is empty (listening to outside forces = external cue)?

When you eat without purpose or without consciously thinking about it, this is called mindless eating.  We all do it at times.  But the good news is, if you do some thinking ahead of time, you can actually use mindless eating to your own advantage: since you’re not really paying attention to your food anyway, you can easily make healthier choices in advance and you won’t even notice the difference!

In my next post, I’ll give you four simple ways you can do this.

To be continued…

(Click here to read part 2.)