These days it’s wise to avoid all processed/packaged and adulterated food containing artificial ingredients and colours in packets and boxes, take-ways including pizzas, processed deli meats, trans fats in most oils including vegetable, sunflower, canola, etc., commercial icecreams, non-gluten or non-sprouted breads, noodles, spaghetti (contain sugar & carbs), all rice products (including organic as they may contain arsenic), plus all those items whose labels include names you cannot pronounce.
The emulsifiers used in packaged foods is in bread, mayonnaise, and icecream are known to increase intestinal permeability (leaky gut) and to cause a chain reaction of inflammation and autoimmune disease.
Sulfites are used as an additive in many processed foods as a preservative to retard spoilage or prevent discoloration and destroy vitamin B1, bring on asthma attacks and stimulate allergies. Watch out for foods containing sulfites like: dried fruits (apricots should be brown not orange), and prepared foods where they may occur as sulfur dioxide, sodium sulfite, or sodium or potassium bisulfite (and metabisulfite, so read all labels.
You are wise to abandon use of the microwave since they change the molecular structure of all food.
Cut out all soft drinks, sugary juices including commercial orange juices. Diet soft drink consumption may increase one’s risk of stroke and cause kidney damage, due to the phosphoric acid used as an acidifying agent to give soft drinks their tangy flavour.
Foods left out of the refrigerator longer than 2 hours are rife for food poisoning whilst food left in the refrigerator for more than 3.5 days (be wary of seafood) is a risk to consume. Rice left out on the bench picks up bacteria very quickly. If you wish to defrost food, don’t leave it on the bench for hours, particularly in a warm climate, it’s safer to defrost it in the refrigerator.
Food handling is very important. Many people fail to wash their hands prior to food preparation and it is for this reason so many people get food poisoning which burdens the body. Use a suitable place mat if you have glass shelves in your refrigerator and place leftover foods in a glass lidded container immediately and pop it into the refrigerator.
The compounds in plastic drink and food containers are phthalates which can leach out. Bisphenol A (BPA), is used in tough polycarbonate products and epoxy resins that line tin cans.
Tests by the U.S. Centers For Disease Control And Prevention in 2004 found BPA in 93% of urine samples taken from a group of 2,517 people. A report on BPAs published in 2008 by the U.S. National Toxicology Program concluded that there were concerns over BPAs effects on the brain, behaviour and prostate gland development in foetuses, infants and children. It also found that because of the ratio of body weight to exposure, ‘the highest estimated daily intake of Bisphenol A in the general population occurs in infants and children’. It may be wise to consider changing over to wooden spools, etc. in lieu of plastic in the kitchen and drinking from stainless steel flasks.
BPA and phthalates act as ‘environmental oestrogens’, so-called because they mimic the hormone estrogen in our bodies. This can lead to low testosterone in males, male boobs and more. It has been proven in tests in several developed countries, including Israel and Denmark, that male fertility rates have fallen by about 50% and rates of testicular cancer have soared since the use of plastics became widespread after World War II.
Minuscule amounts can make an impact and many Studies have shown that small amounts affect the development of foetuses in the womb. Scientists say that environmental oestrogen can act as an ‘endocrine disrupter’, i.e. it can affect sexual development, leading to breast, prostate and testicular cancer, reduced levels of fertility, and undescended testes.
In polluted rivers, it has led to some fish and molluscs changing sex from male to female.
There are 25 different kinds of phthalates and several are already banned in children’s toys in the EU and some food packaging.
Research shows that babies who are breast fed on demand are more likely to have a higher IQ and perform better at school.
The problem if you want to avoid BPA and phthalates is that you probably can’t. They are all around us: in car parts, compact discs, carpets, floor tiles, cosmetics – the list is endless. All plastic that is soft and pliable is because of phthalates. If you’ve noticed how your re-used water bottle becomes brittle over time – that’s because the phthalates have leached out of it and you have ingested them.
Today it’s wise to eliminate all plastics out of your life. Juliette Scarfe says: ‘I know so many women who are having difficulties conceiving and I am convinced it is because of hormones in the plastics around us. My partner and I plan to start a family, so I’m steering clear of them as much as I can.’
Thirty-six-year-old singer/songwriter Daniella Hunter is another turning her back on plastic. ‘It’s a work in progress, but as anything plastic wears out, I’m replacing it with glass, wood or ceramics,’ she says.
Daniella says she began to have doubts about the safety of plastics when her oldest son, 11-year-old Luca, was instructed by his school in Camberley, Surrey, to take a particular polycarbonate water bottle into class each day.
‘It had that horrible plastic smell and when I washed it I thought it stank. Later, when I researched Bisphenol A and phthalates, it really worried me and I threw it out.
‘When my five-year-old Kai started school, I refused to use the school-issue bottle and got him a stainless steel flask. This issue has slipped below most people’s radar because we take plastic for granted, but we should be asking about the health implications.’