For most of my life I've packed a brown-bag lunch. PBJ's slipped into folded plastic sandwich bags, apple slices in Ziplocs, crackers in plastic store packaging. This is how I ate in elementary school. The high school lunches changed to rice cakes with peanut butter and an apple or orange, but I still packaged everything in plastic bags. As an adult, I graduated to leftovers in Tupperware-type storage containers, which I would microwave for a hot lunch every day. For years and years and years I have exposed myself unknowingly to the toxic effects of plastics, all in the name of saving money and eating healthily.
My diagnosis of hormone-positive breast cancer in early 2014 made me take a closer look at this particular lifelong habit. I had read and heard that plastics were bad for us and I knew I shouldn't heat up my food in plastic, but I had little motivation until that point to change my behaviors. Everything became very personal when I researched reasons that might explain why there was so much estrogen in my body. This NPR transcript from "All Things Considered" gives some background on the estrogenic effect of plastics.
Now, I'm not about to blame my breast cancer on my overuse of plastics alone. Most scientists agree that the causes of cancer are multi-faceted and vastly different for each individual. However, I AM going to avoid plastics as much as possible from now on to help decrease the estrogen in my body, which will hopefully keep my cancer from coming back.
This means no more drinking water bottled in plastic. No more sports water bottles made of plastic or Nalgene (even BPA-free products are off limits). I now use glass or stainless steel beverage containers. Klean Kanteen is one brand we use in our home. Sigg and h2go are two others. I threw out all of our Rubbermaid/Tupperware-type food storage containers and bought glass containers. I got mine at the local supermarket and are actually a Ziploc product., but I am open to trying other brands. I don't like the plastic lids that I'm currently using so will broaden my search for a completely non-plastic alternative.
As for the plastic food storage baggies, I'm struggling to replace those. They are so handy to hold veggies at the supermarket so they don't roll all around in the cart (and my fridge). I still have various sizes and types in a kitchen drawer just in case. I'm working on this, though, and am on the hunt for cleaner alternatives. Wax paper, aluminum foil, and parchment paper are alternatives for wrapping and storing. I'd love your ideas for other storage methods.
It feels good to make these changes in my life. I hope it's not too late for me. It's NOT too late for you. Bottom line-- instead of beating myself up for making lots of mistakes along the way, I'm looking ahead to making better choices based on science and then I promise to share what I've learned with you.