As the mom of a 10-month old, I've begun introducing solid foods over the past three months by encouraging my kid to eat anything from squash to black beans. I'll admit that, as a working mom, cutting corners is sometimes my lifeline to sanity and one of those cuts is to use canned foods instead of starting from scratch every meal.
The problem is most canned foods contain BPA, the estrogenic chemical I've been trying avoid since the birth of my son by purchasing BPA-free baby bottles, sippy cups and just about everything else. I thought I was doing so well just by ridding my house of the clear plastic containers and only purchasing glass or stainless steel bottles and cups.
My concern for my son comes from the fact that BPA has been linked to prostate cancer, obesity, cardiac disease and lowered sperm counts. On top of that, I am also concerned about the links between BPA and increased breast cancer risk for myself, my young nieces, my friends' baby girls and the little girls in my neighborhood.
I've decided to kick the can for the month of July to tell canned food companies that until they get the BPA out of their products, I’m willing to take a pass on purchasing their foods.
I’m committing to reworking the recipes and adding a little additional time to the nightly food preparation to see how easy (and hard!) it is to try to go BPA-free for the next month. Luckily, I've got an abundance of fresh produce at my fingertips to help me in this journey, but I admit I'm nervous that the amount of time this could add to my nightly schedule might make kicking the can harder than I'd like to think. How am I going to re-work that chili recipe, what about the baked beans that I always bring to our neighborhood cookout?
I know avoiding canned food for a month will impact my family's BPA levels. A study from the Breast Cancer Fund and Silent Spring Institute published this spring found that when families ate fresh food—not canned or packaged in plastic—for three days, their BPA levels dropped an average of 60 percent.
More than anything, I'm committed to kicking the can in July because I want to send a strong message to canned food manufacturers that we shouldn't have to worry about chemicals in our food when we serve dinner to our families. In the long run, we can't shop our way out of this problem. We all deserve a safe and healthy future no matter where we shop, how much time we have to cook and whether we happen to know about BPA in canned foods.
I hope that you’ll follow my lead and join me in the coming month by kicking the can yourself.
P.S. Need tips on how to kick the can this month? Visit our website, which will give you simple ideas on how to replace canned foods with BPA-free alternatives.