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Do NOT let your food touch this stuff...
June 26, 2012

This is the everything-you-need-to-know-to-be-as-healthy-as-possible newsletter, brought to you by Kristy Russ, pharmacist and health consultant. I have close to 20 years experience in helping people improve their health. I specialize in nutritional medicine, which is the secret of "true" preventative medicine. Yes, if I'm successful in getting people to follow my advice, I will put myself out of a job.

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Plastic: Are We Killing Ourselves For Convenience?

I know it's only Tuesday, but I'm really looking forward to this weekend because I will be camping with my family over the long weekend. Hopefully the weather cooperates, but even if it doesn't, I know I'll be relaxed and rejuvenated so it's all good. (And it will give me a much needed break from our bathroom renovation... :) I can't pinpoint exactly what it is about camping that I love so much- all I know is the whole family has a great time and I wish the camping season were longer where I live. I know it's not everyone's cup of tea- you either love it or you hate it, it seems.

Anyway, today I thought I should expand on the comment I made a couple of issues ago about not heating plastic...

Plastic has become so integrated into our lives that I don't think we could possibly remove it at this point- nor am I suggesting that you do.

What you really need to do is keep it away from your food and drinks- definitely more do-able.

Here's why: No matter how durable the plastic is, it will always leach out toxic chemicals under the right conditions. Most people know not to throw plastic or styrofoam into the fire because toxic gases are released that are even more dangerous when inhaled. Well, kitchen plasticware can do the same thing, whether or not you can actually see or smell it happening.

The chemicals being released are called "endocrine disruptors", because they mimic the hormones in your body, which disrupts the delicate hormone balance. These have been linked to neurological problems, infertility, breast and uterine cancer, decreased testosterone, insulin resistance and diabetes, obesity and heart disease. The effects are amplified and even more devastating in fetuses, infants and young children because their neurological and reproductive systems are still developing.

The most well-known of these chemicals, BPA, has been banned in infant products. Most people assume the ban is for everything, but that's not the case. And even BPA-free products have other toxic chemicals that can leach out.

Getting back to how the kitchen plasticware releases it's chemicals: "Heating and microwaving (especially), repeated washing in dishwashers, scratching or cracking, and prolonged contact with fatty foods and oils will damage plastic enough to allow dangerous chemicals to leach out." Sounds crazy, doesn't it? Aren't all of those things why we love the convenience of plastic in the first place?

Here's what you don't want touching your food:

  • Styrofoam containers!!!!!!
    This is the worst culprit, because the styrene that is the main building block is a carcinogen and toxic to the gastrointestinal, kidney and respiratory systems. Considering heat is one of the worst culprits for releasing toxins, it's scary that we drink HOT beverages out of these cups. Also, most restaurant leftovers are packed in these and then people actually reheat the food in them! Aack!

    Turns out heat isn't even necessary to release the toxins- eggs stored in styrofoam containers for only 2 weeks had huge amounts of styrene in them! So make sure to transfer your leftovers into glass containers as soon as you get home and buy your eggs in cardboard.

  • Plastic wrap
    Luckily, the plastic wrap that you buy for home use no longer has PVC as an additive- because they had to remove it due to its harmful effects. However, that's what gave it it's "stickiness" (you may have noticed it's not as effective as it used to be). Because of that, most delis, butchers and restaurants continue to use PVC-based wrap.

    Your best bet is to remove the meat or cheese from the packaging as soon as you get home, trim away the parts that were touching the wrap or styrofoam (if possible) and store it in a lid-sealed glass container.

    And no matter what type of plastic wrap it is, DON'T use it in the microwave!

  • Cans (as in canned food)
    Yes, even cans are lined with BPA, which of course leaches into the food that's stored in it. Especially because it's hot when they can it. I was dismayed to find out earlier this year that BPA levels in people eating canned soup once a day for 5 days were astronomical- now I have to make my own soup :(
  • Water bottles and plastic "Go" mugs
    For sure the flimsy one-time-use water and soda bottles aren't great- and if you leave it in your hot car, throw it away!!!! Don't even open it first to see if it smells OK- it's not. And please tell me why it's so difficult to find a to-go coffee mug that isn't plastic on the inside? You're putting HOT beverages in a plastic container people- the toxins are practically flying out of the plastic into your drink!

    Even the re-usable, hard plastic water bottles can be an issue. Check the number inside the recycling symbol on the bottom. If it's a 2, 4 or 5, you're good. Otherwise, get rid of it (if it doesn't say anything, it's likely 7 which can contain BPA).

    Stainless steel is your safest alternative for all to-go beverage containers- nothing at all leaching out. Make sure it's not aluminum though- they're lined with a resin that contains BPA so it's just as bad. (I know, it shouldn't be this difficult to be healthy right?)

  • Any re-used plastic container
    Any plastic container that you purchased food in (yogurt, margarine, trays, etc.) is not stable enough to be washed and re-used. Instead of re-using, just recycle it.

If you're like most people, you've just discovered that you've been exposing yourself to a lot of toxins. So don't feel bad, this is new information most people don't know.

The best thing to do is to start replacing all of your plastic kitchen containers with glass or ceramic. Glass containers with sealing lids (the lids are plastic, but at least it's not in constant contact with the food) are readily available now, so it's almost as convenient. Replace your water bottles and "Go" mugs with stainless steel, and make sure never to put plastic in your microwave.

If it seems too complicated to remember all the details, just remember this:

Avoid your food and drinks coming into contact with plastic as much as possible!!!!!!

Obviously it's going to be impossible to completely avoid it, just do the best you can. Hopefully regulations will come sooner than later that mean we don't have to worry about it...

Because Laughter Really IS Good Medicine...

In honor of Canada Day coming up this weekend... (and a happy Independence Day to all of my American subscribers)

You Know You're Canadian if:

You know how to pronounce and spell Saskatchewan without blinking

You put on shorts as soon as it hits plus 10, even if there is still snow around

You know what a toque is

You are excited whenever an American television show mentions Canada

You make a mental note to talk about it at work the next day

You use a red pen on your non-Canadian textbooks and fill in the missing 'u's from labor, honor, and color

You have Canadian Tire money in your kitchen drawers

Pike is a type of fish, not some part of a highway

You drive on a highway, not a freeway

You know what a Robertson screwdriver is

You understand the sentence, "Could you please pass me a serviette, I just spilled my poutine."

You drink pop, not soda

You go to the washroom, not the restroom or bathroom

You have worn shorts and a parka at the same time

"Eh" is a very important part of your vocabulary and you understand all the 1,000 different meanings of "eh"... eh?

Someone accidently stepped on your foot. You apologize.

You stepped on someone's foot. You apologize, then apologize for making them apologize

Happy Canada Day!

What's New at

Low Glycemic Diet

Not only is eating a low glycemic diet the healthiest way to eat, it is truly the most effective AND, more importantly, permanent weight loss diet you could ever do.

Check out my new web page

Antioxidant Discussion Forums

Create your very own webpage on my site! (Don't worry- you don't need to know anything about how to do it. If you can type, done!) If you have an interesting story to share or have a comment or question about a topic on the site, you can post it right onto the website. Read about how others have been affected by antioxidants, make a comment on someone else's submission or post your own.

It's fun. It's free. And you don't have to register for anything.

Click here to post your own story, comment or question.

Nutrition News

Here are links to informative and/or interesting news articles on nutrition...

Nutritional Supplements And The Current State Of Scientific Research

This is why non-fat products aren't always better...

Salads With Dressing May Be Better For You Than Without

Bad Sleep Leads To Unhealthy Food Choices

Natural Compound Found In Fruit, Nuts And Wine Led To Improved Strength And Endurance

Can Too Much Salt Damage Blood Vessels? Yes

Comments? Ideas? Feedback? I'd love to hear from you. Just reply to this zine and tell me what you think!

See you next month...

Good Health to You,

Kristy Russ, BScPharm Pharmacist and Health Consultant

P.S. Give your body the best nutrition possible. You'll not only feel better now, but you'll also have that quality of life in the future that you've always imagined for yourself. Click here to find out more.

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