Kicking the Can: Can Busy Families Skip Canned Foods during the Month of July?
The Breast Cancer Fund organization hopes that many families opt to “kick the can” this July and avoid using canned foods for at least an entire month—if not longer. Why is the Breast Cancer Fund advocating such a change to the lives of many consumers? Canned foods serve up more than convenience for busy families—they serve up high concentrations of BPA, or Bisphenol A, in each can as well.

Why worry about BPA? Scientific research into BPA and other consumer use plastics has soared in recent years. While the FDA stands behind the safety limits it has set in manufacturing and food standards—many consumers, advocacy groups and lawmakers question whether those limits truly offer adequate protection—especially for children. BPA has been scientifically proven to cause health risks—that is not in question. The problem lies in just how much risk consumers should take—or should be willing to take with the products he or she purchases and uses regularly.

Why skip canned foods? Research indicates that much of the ingested BPA comes from commercial food containers and food storage methods. The FDA says that current health and safety standards and limits imposed on food manufacturers are adequate—and have, to this point, declined to ban the chemical in consumer and food grade products. Many consumers view the potential risks differently. If a consumer can protect her family from a known risk (and BPA’s are known to be risky), shouldn’t she? The Breast Cancer Fund organization is urging consumers to do just that: become informed about the risks of BPA’s in canned foods and show food manufacturers that long term health is more important than convenience.

Why am I writing this in the middle of July? Yes, I am jumping on this initiative a bit late—but, my delay is more in the fact that I rarely use canned products or processed products in daily life...and sometimes forget that this practice is a bit rare. Why do I skip cans and boxes? I have had migraines for nearly 20 years. My migraines, while sometimes triggered by inevitable hormonal surges or weather fronts, are primarily triggered by my diet: processed foods in particular. While BPA is not a culprit in my migraines, other preservatives and processing methods do play a large role. Although my family is not obviously affected by boxed mixes, frozen meals and even lunch meats and other processed meats—they rarely enter our home because common sense (and a background in environmental, health and safety) tells me that if additives and preservatives are yielding a negative response in my body---they are likely triggering other responses in my family as well. Responses that I fear we may not see for 20, 30 or even 50 years.

Canned foods are not easy to kick for many families! No kidding, really? Obviously, commercially canned foods have become the modern alternative to Grandma’s fruit cellar. Most families do not grow and preserve their own foods—and the local grocery store offers quick, low cost alternatives and variety. Plus--commercially canned foods cook much faster than preserved fresh foods because of the canning processes.  The only canned food that I do use more often than rarely is canned green beans. Frozen green beans are horrible (in my humble mom opinion) and fresh green beans are pretty time consuming to prepare.

However—preparing fresh green beans, with a little kid inspired snap-power, and some alternatives to the seasonings of Grandma’s days—kicking even the green bean can is a reality in the Thompson house this July with one of our favorite fresh green bean recipes!

If you are not familiar with BPA, check out the article from Environment California.  The FDA also has a resource page for those interested in the background forming the FDA stance on regulation of BPA in consumer products.

If you are ready try to kicking the can in July---check out the Breast Cancer Fund’s Kick the Can Pledge page, sign up—and let us know how you did!

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