Thinking Outside the Box

Have you ever struggled with your weight? Especially around holiday season, it can be so profoundly frustrating to see other people flitting to and fro, enjoying potlucks and baked goods at the office, while you sit on the sidelines suffering inside. Afraid to have a bite, although you're dying to.  Fearful that if you have a little, you'll eat the whole thing and then awful about yourself.  What's even worse, you'll physically feel terrible because of how some of that food effected you.  

That used to be me.  I blamed myself. I thought I was making mistakes or that something was wrong with me.  But there is a scientific reason why some people struggle more than others and an elementary solution, that's been scientifically proven many times over! 

What I didn't know, was that changing the way I ate AND things I brought into my home, the things around my physical environment, would begin to change everything for my health. Even when it may not be the most popular thing to do, thinking outside the box may be the best thing for you.  

I've always been a tree hugger and a recycle freak. And in service of that passion, I did things like re-use the same Poland Spring water bottle for a week (or more!) at a time. It would even begin to have a funky smell. So gross! But I was doing it to save the Earth. Doing my part and encouraged others to follow suit!  Ahh!  I didn't know that chemicals like phthalates, or PETE as you might see on the bottle (or might not!) which make some types of hard plastics soft and flexible, can readily be released from the product and leach into the food or liquid it comes in contact with.  This partly explains why it's recyclable and other plastics are not...And the hotter the plastic got from: sitting in sun, commuting back and forth with it, and however the bottles even got to my office in the first place; the increased rate at which chemicals leached into my water. Saving the Earth while destroying my body. Not smart!

Quick science lesson here:
 Plastics are made up of a string of chemical polymers mixed together in a certain way to produce certain results. But not all of the molecules are tightly bound. These chemical molecules are constantly in a state of falling off and breaking down. Constantly.  Year after year. All plastics.  

stained plastic food container
Here's an example: have you ever noticed your plastic Tupperware containers stain with tomato sauce? One of the fixes is to spray the container with PAM cooking spray and it's all good. (Don't get me started on PAM, just know I DO NOT recommend it and you can message me as to why) :) I digress.


Back to our orange-stained containers: hot, oily, acidic sauce that's touching the plastic food storage container is actually eating into the plastic. Add heat and scrubbing while you're cleaning it and the sauce is not merely staining the plastic, it's IN the plastic. That's why it doesn't wash off no matter how hard you try. 


Why is this a problem? Chemicals like phthalates and BPA, which is another chemical found in plastics and other places responsible for, among other things, make plastics hard and rigid; are hormone disruptors.  They can both mimic estrogen in the body, effect thyroid, promote fat cell growth and inflammation. 


Yes, these are small amounts that are leaking into our water, or our food, but small amounts can sometimes matter more!  Traces of chemicals in our bodies are measured in parts per billion doses (ppb). To illustrate what this means, 1 part per billion is equal to diluting 1 tsp in a 600,000 gallon Olympic sized-swimming pool or one pancake in a stack that's 4,000 miles high!  Many prescription meds are delivered at parts per billion doses or even fractions of parts per billion does.  To put this in perspective, the NuvaRing, one of the most widely prescribed types of birth control is delivered at 0.035 ppb. so the reality is we know that low does have an impact on the body!  And when we're exposed to some of these chemicals prenatally, we can become predisposed to gain weight as children and even as adults. This is why it's not your fault.  Nor the holidays. 

What's the best way to avoid this exposure?
1. Never put hot food in plastic containers.  Whether it's take out or leftovers, only use glass containers for food you intend to eat. (Plastic is fine to hold non-edible items)

2. Although the weather has turned to fall and colder for most of us this time of year, you have no idea of knowing where your bottled water comes from, nor how long it sat or traveled on a hot truck, only to be put into a refrigerator later for your drinking enjoyment.  Whenever possible, avoid drinking bottle water.  

3. While traveling, bring an empty glass container and refill once you're through security at the airport.