Recently I posted an article titled 7 Foods Even Food Safety Experts Won’t Eat. Item #1 is canned tomatoes. The linings of cans contain Bisphenol-A (BPA) which has received a lot of attention in recent years. It sparked a discussion on the Facebook page about which tomato cans were now BPA-free. Tomatoes are especially concerning because the acidic nature of the tomatoes can increase the likelihood of toxins leaching from the can.
There was some confusion about Trader Joe’s, so I emailed the company. Here is their response to me on Feb. 19, 2013:
While I am glad they are making strides to rid BPA from their cans, I wonder what it is being replaced with. Some replacements may not be any safer than BPA. And Consumer Reports recommends choosing fresh over canned when possible after finding BPA in many canned products.
Ideally, I avoid canned foods when possible, like cooking my own beans. Tomatoes are difficult. I want to can or freeze my own, but we’ll see how that goes this summer. I have heard the Eden has tomatoes in amber glass jars, but I haven’t found them around here yet. Anyone know where they can be purchased?
Do you avoid BPA where you can? If so, how?
Top Photo by St0rmz used under Creative Commons license
This post has been shared at Frugal Days Sustainable Ways
|Joel Salatin, Polyface Farms
credit: Polyface Farms
The movie Fresh, produced in 2009 by Ana Sofia Joannes, focuses on the troubles with conventional farming. By discussing what people around the country are doing to combat the negative effects of big agriculture, the film does a great job of explaining the problems and giving solutions.
The film shows Virginia farmer Joel Salatin who raises cattle, pigs and chickens using natural methods – mimicking nature and therefore not needing antibiotics for disease or having other issues coming about when too many of one thing are in the same place. One of the main points for me was that nature has this sustainability thing figured out already. We humans are messing with it and we aren’t seeing that connection. By confining one species to one small location (as what happens in conventional meat production) we introduce many diseases and problems not seen in nature. Now you have to combat those issues (giving antibiotics to keep livestock healthy) which introduces other issues. The cycle goes on and on.
I have heard these figures before but they really sunk in this time. 70% of the corn produced goes to feed cattle, which by the way are not designed to eat corn. They are herbivores and should be eating grass. 70%!! Think of all the people that could be fed with that amount of land.
The other point I found most interesting and contrary to what is normally heard is the profitability of Joel Salatin’s farms. He stated that his farm can yield $3000 per acre while his conventional farming neighbors makes closer to $165 per acre.
The film balances these points by interviewing other farmers who feel like they have been forced into growing corn or soybeans to survive. It opened my eyes to the struggles the small farmer faces.
The more I learn, the more I think vegetarians and vegans are on to something. Meat eating seems to be the root of so many problems – health, environmental, even financial to some extent.
Have you seen Fresh? What did you think?
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If you’d like to join the Friday Film Fest, take a look at the complete list of films.
Up next week is Plastic Planet.
Celery – I have seen organic for not much more. You could just leave it out of your recipe, or substitute chopped cabbage, cucumbers or water chestnuts for the crunch and celery seed/salt for the flavor. If you do buy organic celery and won’t use it all, try freezing it. I have chopped celery, frozen it and used it in soups with much success.
Friday night is movie night at our house, complete with popcorn. When I started going green I stumbled across some information on microwave popcorn that I did not like.
According to an article on Care 2 – Dangers of Microwave Popcorn, microwave popcorn contains diacetyl in the fake butter flavoring. While the real concern for exposure to diacetyl seems to be concentrated on people who work in popcorn factories, there isn’t any proof that we as consumers of microwave popcorn are not being exposed as well. Diacetyl can cause a condition called popcorn lung.
Another concern with microwave popcorn is with the coating used on the bags. The FDA indicates that this chemical coating breaks down into a substance called perfluorooctanoic (PFOA). Nasty stuff according the EPA which identifiues PFOA as a “likely carcinogen”. Not what I had in mind when we started Family Movie night!
So, the solution, pop your own. At first I thought, “OK this will take a little more time, but I am NOT going to be feeding that stuff to my kids.” Well, it is soooo easy, tastes way better and is cheaper! Who doesn’t like that?
¼ cup popcorn kernels
seasoning of your choice
Place the popcorn into a sandwich sized paper bag.
Fold the top over twice.
Place in microwave sitting upright.
Cook on High for 2 – 4 minutes. I found that it takes this method the same 2 minutes in my microwave that the store bought packages did.
Done! Add real butter, salt, whatever you like.
The first time I made this, my kids LOVED it better than the microwave kind. The best part, I have found that Whole Foods sells organic popcorn, in bulk for $1.39 per lb.! That is the best price I have found anywhere. It is comparable in price to non-organic popcorn at Market Basket! The total cost for this homemade version is 25 cents. The equivalent microwave bag of popcorn, purchased at BJ’s, would cost 34 cents. Cheaper, better for you, and easy! Win, win and win!
Yes you are using a paper bag, but the health concerns outweigh that small amount of paper in my book. You can save the bag and use it a few times to cut down on the bags. After a while the steam causes holes in the bag. But you can recycle the bag at that point.
There are microwave poppers available. Most I found were plastic – not a big fan of putting plastic in the microwave so those were out. Of course there is the stove top method or using a hot air popper which would reduce the need for a paper bag.
Can’t wait for movie night now!
[Top photo used under Creative Commons license by Ayelie/Flickr]
I am an Electrical Engineer school and work-wise and Mom of three. For 12 years, I worked as a software engineer in the defense industry. After deciding to stay home full time with my children, I found my passion for green living. I truly want to make the world a better place for them. I started going green at home after a very inspiring Oprah Earth Day show in 2006 and haven’t looked back.