Monday, 8 February 2010

Plastic in my food :(

by Throwback at Trapper Creek

We all love our modern conveniences, and plastic is one of them. But our world is also getting more toxic for us, because of our modern way of life. Most of us have been affected by cancer, if not personally, probably a loved one, or dear friend has battled the disease. My brother died of cancer 20 years ago, this past December. His long illness, made me rethink my life.

At that time, I was trying to make a decision whether or not to expand my ornamental nursery work on our farm. I was having second thoughts because of the chemicals required - my brother's illness, and ensuing death put the nail in the coffin of my nursery business, literally.

I was free of uncertainty, and vowed to come clean in areas that I had a choice in. Food was a big one. I ramped up my garden production and preservation. What I didn't can, I froze in plastic freezer bags and containers. I had no idea that plastic wasn't ideal for food storage. It is handy, convenient and fairly inexpensive, if you don't count the replacement cost and throw away aspect of it.

Several years ago, I had another wake-up call. A uterine fibroid run amok. I lost a lot of blood, had to be hospitalized for a blood transfusion and day surgery to remove the fibroid. I was lucky, I still have all my plumbing. My doctor quizzed me about my diet and how much plastic I used, and how I cooked. I scored points for no microwave, but failed miserably on food in stored in plastic. She went on to explain she understood the convenience of plastic, but that xenoestrogens (chemicals that act as estrogen mimickers) are thought to be the main culprit in the formation of fibroids and other types of reproductive organ maladies in both sexes. Xenoestrogens are a by-product of the chemical industry. Fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, plastic, and common household products are all contributors. We are bombarded daily. Even canning lids have BPA in them to protect the metal from leaching.

I understand the convenience of seal-a-meals and freezer bags and containers. But I also think this is place where I can personally make some changes for my health, and my daughters reproductive health. The answer was right under my nose really, in my old canning books, and on every box of canning jars. FOR CANNING AND FREEZING. I just needed to look. I already froze my butter in pint jars. Plastics are a huge marketing coup for the oil industry. And I was raised in the 60's when convenience for the homemaker was the ultimate. I have to admit, plastic is very useful. Change is hard. But, with so many factors in our lives out of control these days, this is one thing I can control.

As with any changeover, it takes time. Foods with fat cause the most leaching because of the interaction of fatty foods with the plastic, so that would be a good place to start. The rest will fall into place.

All but four of the jars in the photo above came from the freezer, it is still a work in progress.