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Welcome to Dupage Mamas! This blog is a place for Mamas to connect, share their experiences, and recommend great finds and ideas (or let us learn from your mistakes!) If you are raising kids in Dupage County, then we'd love to have you along for the adventure!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Improving my diet, one BPA free meal at a time

This is the next post in our new series on Feeding our Family. If there is a specific idea or post topic you would like to read about as part of this series, e-mail us at dupagemamas(at)gmail(dot)com.

When it comes to feeding my family healthy-not-harmful food, I've long since decided that "perfect" isn't going to be my goal. Instead, I'm shooting for marks like "improvement" or "better." When I shoot for perfection I realize it doesn't exist, so I fail and get discouraged and end up doing less. When I shoot for taking baby steps towards improving I succeed and get excited and end up making real progress.

So, I'm always looking for rules of thumb or tips I can follow. I recently came across the three tips that EWG suggests for feeding your family. They suggest you limit your exposure to foods with pesticides, foods with BPA, and foods with growth hormones.

Ok, that sounds about right. But how?

Avoiding pesticides typically means buying organic, which I find is often easier said than done. The single most helpful "hint" I've found is this document, which lists the "Dirty Dozen" - the 12 items of produce that carry the most harmful pesticide residue - and the "Clean 15". So if you can only afford to buy some organic foods, this list will help you know what to prioritize and when its ok to buy conventionally grown foods.

Then there's the little matter of BPA. The main place where this nasty chemical will show up in our diet is in certain kinds of plastics and basically all canned products. The way to avoid it is to be sure that the plastics you use for storing water and food are BPA free. The worst plastic for BPA is the kind with a #7 recycle label, while those with a #1, 2, 4, or 5 do not have BPA. As for canned goods, by fresh or frozen instead of canned whenever possible. That goes for veggies, fruit, soup, pasta, beans...if it comes in a can, it has BPA.

As for growth hormones? These may be showing up in your non-organic meat and dairy, but cannot be used in meat and dairy that is labelled as organic. I personally haven't made this leap yet, and its a costly one.

So here are the rules of thumb for healthier eating:
  • buy organic produce, at least when shopping for "the Dirty Dozen"
  • avoid using #7 plastics for food or water and stick to #1, 2, 4, or 5
  • avoid canned goods when possible
  • consider buying organic meat and dairy
This isn't going to make my family's diet perfect, and I won't be following this perfectly either. But these tips have helped me improve our diet. One step at a time.

Do you have any rules of thumb or quick tips for improving your family's diet? Please share! You can leave them here in the comments or, better yet, write your own musings on feeding your family and we will post it as part of our series.


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