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Thanksgiving Conundrum – Best and Safest Storage For Leftovers

There was some good conversation at the Thanksgiving Table last week on plastic. Specifically plastic used in sous- vide cooking (explanation to follow), but also with regards storing holiday left-overs.

Most people are aware and have heard that plastics are not good and that a possibly more healthy alternative are bisphenol-A (BPA)-free plastics. BPA is a chemical that is found in several plastics and plastic additives. It’s in the water bottles some folks carry to gyms, the canned staples they cook with and in the baby bottles moms use to feed their infants.

We have know for a long time that BPA has estrogenic activity. Chemicals with estrogenic activity (EA) are those that mimic or antagonize the actions of naturally occurring estrogens. These chemicals are capable of binding with one or more of the estrogen receptors in the body. In vivo animal studies and in vitro cell-culture studies have linked low-level estrogenic activity associated with BPA exposure to diabetes, ADHD, heart disease, infertility and cancer.

Recent strong evidence shows that even low levels of BPA exposure can cause harm especially in vulnerable populations like infants and children, chronically ill, the elderly and pregnant women.

From this research, BPA should be avoided, but an even more recent study looked at BPA-free plastics and found that they also have chemicals with estrogenic activity (EA) and can also cause serious health issues as well.

According to the Environmental Health Perspective study, all of the 500 plastic products tested leached when stressed, and 90 percent of leached even without stress. Additionally, some BPA-free products had even more EA than BPA-containing products!

Special note for the Sous-vide people!:  I must say, I have never been a lover of the sous-vide methods for the reason that I like my food free of any potential chemical leaching or contamination.  I cannot fathom eating anything that has been in contact with plastic and especially heated.  I know it produces incredibly flavorful and consistent results.  But, I seriously have no complaints of my cooking not using sous-vide.  So, why ruin a good thing…..

In light of this evidence that even BPA-free plastic bags leach chemicals with EA, I thought erring on the side of caution would be wise. You will likely hear about silicone products for sous-vide which do in fact leach EA. The FoodSaver Bags out on the market don’t appear to have any independent third party testing to prove them out.

I am going to assume that all plastics are created equal until proven otherwise.

Here are some tips to reduce your exposure to chemicals with EA:

-Use glass and canning jars for storing food and leftovers
-Use stainless steel containers in the freezer rather that freezer bags
-Drink tea, coffee and water from an insulated thermos’ like Libre
-Use a glass or stainless steel water bottle (like the Klean Kanteen) instead of plastic bottles
-Parents: use glass baby bottles instead of plastic. Evenflo is a commonly available brand you can buy at Target, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Rite-Aid, etc. and online at Amazon and other retailers

Sources:

http://www.npr.org/2011/03/02/134196209/study-most-plastics-leach-hormone-like-chemicals

Some resources for total avoidance of plastic:

http://lifewithoutplastic.com/

http://plasticisforever.blogspot.com/

Cat Dillon

This blog is my journal, where I share everything wellness. From tips on healthy lifestyle to creating as much deliciousness in your life as possible.

Cat Dillon is the Cat in Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness.

Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness is a unique combo of nutrition, fitness and cooking coaching all in one pretty package. Read more about Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness.

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