March 4th, 2013

3 Foods to Keep Out of Your Kitchen

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3 Foods to Keep Out of Your Kitchen

I think most of us can agree that not all foods are created equal. Keeping up with the latest and greatest information on food can be somewhat of a challenge. There’s so much information floating around out there, making it hard to know where to begin and what to believe.

I received an email last week asking for advice on what foods should be avoided. While many foods could easily be on this list, I decided to put together my top 3 foods that I try to keep out of my kitchen.

Canned Tomatoes

Most epoxy linings in canned foods contains bisphenol A (BPA) which leaches into the contents of the can, some at very high levels. An FDA study found canned green beans contaminated with as much as 730 parts per billion of BPA. Some manufacturers are working hard and have been successful in finding an alternative to BPA (which could be just as bad as BPA!) in tin can liners, but tomatoes are acidic so the packaging options are limited. Almost all canned tomatoes have BPA in the lining.

According to the Breast Cancer Fund-

Exposure to BPA, used to make the epoxy-resin linings of metal food cans, has been linked in lab studies to breast and prostate cancer, infertility, early puberty in girls, type-2 diabetes, obesity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Childhood exposure is of concern because this endocrine-disrupting chemical can affect children’s hormonal systems during development and set the stage for later‐life diseases.

Solution

Grow your own tomatoes! If gardening isn’t your thing look for tomatoes packaged in glass containers.

Farm Raised Salmon

Environmental groups such as Seafood Watch and the Environmental Defense Fund, have put nearly all farmed salmon on their “red” or “avoid” list. Farm-raised fish are generally placed in crowded cages and given antibiotics and exposed to pesticides. Their living environment is less than desirable. Wild fish are out in the wild, living and swimming in open oceans as they were meant to be. Wild fish aren’t exposed to the same toxins as their farm-raised cousins.

Farm-raised salmon generally has artificial color added to give it that nice pink color. When salmon are raised in a farm-raised environment they are  fed “fish meal”, made up of ground fish parts, and as a result, the fish color is a shade of gray rather than pink. Coloring is added because consumers expect their salmon to look pink.

Some bad news: Frankenfish (genetically engeneered salmon) could be on your dinner plate by the end of the year. If the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves this we will have no way of knowing whether the salmon we are eating is genetically engineered because at this time there’s no labeling requirement.

Solution

Look for wild salmon at the market, which should be clearly labeled. All Alaskan salmon is wild-caught. Support current actions to demand GMO labeling as listed over at GMO Inside.

Microwave Popcorn

Making a bag of microwave popcorn is about as convenient as it gets. Put the bag in the microwave and in about 4 minutes you have a bag of delicious popcorn. It turns out that microwave popcorn is one of those foods that just doesn’t belong in your kitchen.

The lining of the microwave popcorn bag contains PFOA, a chemical that has been linked to cancer in animals. The chemical was also found to have been associated with a lower vaccine response in children, making them more vulnerable to disease. The Environmental Protection Agency says that PFOA is a “likely carcinogen” and is likely to cause cancer in humans, although no definitive studies have been released yet.

There’s another chemical in the actual microwave popcorn called diacetyl, which is found in the imitation butter flavoring. When heated the fumes released from a bag of microwave popcorn contain this chemical and have caused microwave popcorn factory workers to have a respiratory disease called “popcorn workers lung”.

Some popcorn manufacturers have attempted to replace diacetyl with substitute ingredients, but findings show that these replacements are just as bad or worse.

Solution

Make your popcorn the old fashioned way-in a pot with some salt and oil. Another solution is to invest in an air popper for a low-calorie, healthy snack.

What other foods should be on this list? 

photo credit: PetitPlat – Stephanie Kilgast via photopin cc

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17 Responses to “3 Foods to Keep Out of Your Kitchen”

  1. Wow! This could be a long list… These three are worthy of note. How about anything with HFCS, artificial colors or artificial preservatives?
    Anne recently posted..World Health Report Exposes Dangers to Young Endocrine SystemsMy Profile

  2. Yes it does feel that this list could be longer.. I would add.. conventional apples (can contain up to 48 different kinds of pesticides), any type of no-sugar-added drinks (they usually contain aritificial sweeteners)
    Annabelle Randles recently posted..New Mother’s Day Bouquet – Spring Daffodils Limited EditionMy Profile

  3. All three of these are on my list to avoid, too. The toughest is the salmon. I love it, but it is often so hard to find wild caught where we live.

  4. I like this post Lori, very interesting and informative. You need to tell me more about this fake salmon, sounds like something I definately want to avoid.

  5. Wow, I never knew about canned tomatoes! We buy salmon a lot from Whole Foods will have to check if it’s wild caught..do you know if it is?
    Isra {TheFrugalette} recently posted..52 Ways to get Happy For FREE: Make Your Bed (Week 8)My Profile

  6. Great tips, Lori. I posted something similar that expands the number to 7: http://souliciouslife.com/2011/12/30/7-foods-you-should-never-eat/. Annabelle will find her conventional apples on it, as well as milk produced with hormones and non-organic potatoes.

    We love our air popper! Topping the popcorn with organic flavored coconut oil is most delicious!
    Kim @ The Soulicious Life recently posted..Thinking Outside the School Lunchbox: It CAN be Done!My Profile

  7. Conventional beef. One of the first foods I stopped eating after reading Omnivore’s Dilemma when I started going green.
    Betsy (Eco-novice) recently posted..My Favorite Non-toxic Hair ProductsMy Profile

  8. Oh I agree great tips. I had just recently heard about the tomatoes. I am so glad that we grow our own!

  9. Thanks Alicia!What type of tomatoes do you grow?

  10. Hi Betsy, Beef wasn’t on my radar because we don’t eat it! I read the Omnivore’s Dilemma too and loved it. I think it’s time for a re-read!

  11. Thanks Kim. Interesting how the lists contain many of the same foods. We recently bought a Whirley Pop and love it. I’ll have to try coconut oil. Great suggestion!

  12. Hi Isra, Whole Foods sells both wild and farm-raised salmon. Their farm-raised salmon has color added-which is always disclosed on a little sign at the counter. Whole Foods is really good about labeling their fish. Hope that helps.

  13. Thanks Regina. We all want to avoid Frankenfish! The problem is that there’s no requirement to label it so we might not know we’re getting it. It’s not out there yet, so keep your fingers crossed that the FDA doesn’t allow it on the market.

  14. I’m surprised that you can’t find wild salmon by you Cathy. You’re so close to the ocean! Everything in moderation is my best advice.

  15. You’re right Annabelle. The list could be much longer. Maybe I’ll do a party two. Yes, conventional apples and anything with artificial sweeteners.

  16. The only thing we DON’T have on this list is the popcorn. We eat canned tomatoes and salmon regularly. I went 2-3 years without eating salmon but I love it SO much!
    Calley recently posted..10 “Green” Things Every Baby Registry Should IncludeMy Profile

  17. Salmon is one of my favorites too Calley. Another, healthier way to make microwave popcorn is to use a brown paper bag-that’s it!

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney, mom of three and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. I hope you'll join me as I embark on a journey to live a healthy life. Along the way I might make a few pit stops to fight for issues that affect the health and safety of our families. Come along with me as I work hard to make the world a little safer for each of us. Together we'll discover that simple, small changes can lead to a healthier lifestyle and a greener planet.

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