So, most of my posts in this series have been about how to achieve or maintain a healthy weight; but, there’s more to healthy eating than weight. What you put into your body has far-reaching effects that go beyond weight. Today’s healthy eating tip is about long-term health, about minimizing your risks for serious diseases:
Eliminate as much Bisphenol A, also known as BPA, from your diet. More importantly, eliminate as much as possible from your kid’s diet, especially infants.
BPA has been linked to developmental and neurological damage, reproductive health damage, and so many other things in kids I can’t even list them all here. In adults, it’s been linked to breast cancer, obesity, Down’s Syndrom, endocrine disruption, and a host of other things. Many other countries have banned BPA in infant toys and bottles, and some have banned it in containers; but, big industry still rules here in the US, and it’s interests come before those of the general population. So, this is going to take a concerted effort. It won’t be possible to remove it all unless you live off the grid, but you can work to minimize your exposure.
BPA is the chemical that makes many hard plastics hard. It’s found in almost all hard plastics, from PVC water pipes to food containers, to the liners in aluminum cans. It’s fairly all pervasive, but there are some steps you can take:
-Use glass containers to store food. There are “BPA Free” containers that are plastic, but even many of these have been shown to have some BPA in them. Use glass whenever possible, and the BPA free when it’s not. If you must use plastic containers, wait until food is cooled before putting into the container, as heat leaches out more BPA faster.
-Stop using that plastic water bottle–right now. Yes, even your beloved Nalgene has been shown to leach BPA into drinking water. Disposable bottles are generally the worst, but the hard plastic water bottles for the gym aren’t a lot better (again, even the “BPA free” bottles have been shown to leach out BPA). Use a metal water bottle.
-Use glass baby bottles. See above.
-Stop using food canned in aluminum cans, unless they are BPA free cans. Some manufacturers have started using an alternative lining that does not contain BPA, but this is still pretty rare. Switch as many foods as possible to dried, fresh, or jarred.
-Replace your water pipes with copper. Right, I realize we can’t all do this. I can’t, we live in a rental. But, if you can, do. If you can’t, just be aware that BPA has now been shown to be absorbed through the skin, so forget setting in those long, hot baths.
The bottom line is to reduce your family’s use of hard plastics. I did an article on this a while ago that has more ideas, and please feel free to contribute yours in the comments.