we dont really drink apple juice around here, so that "arsenic in apple juice" stuff never really mattered to me. a few weeks ago i had found an article about arsenic in rice milk. i was startled but from what i read i wasnt feeling pressure to change things up immensely, since we are kinda painted into a small corner already with Xs food sensitivities.
excerpts from arsenic in rice milk article:well today, i saw more about arsenic and rice (brown rice syrup as sweetener this time, but still rice). the bulk of the article had to do with infant formula, so it didnt pertain to me, but it still continued to send the message that rice is a natural sponge for arsenic and i should really think about modifying our intake.
- "research examined 60 samples of rice drinks and found low levels of arsenic in all of them"
- "as a precaution, toddlers and young children between 1 and 4.5 years old should not have rice drinks as a replacement for cows’ milk, breast milk, or infant formula. this is because they will then drink a relatively large amount of it, and their intake of arsenic will be greater than that of older children and adults relative to their bodyweight."
“consider the frequency of your consumption. if you eat [products with brown rice syrup] all the time, you might want to cut back, but having a product with brown rice syrup occasionally probably won’t cause any harm.”on a whim, after reading this stuff i typed in "arsenic" and "iron levels" into google. lo and behold, iron is used to treat arsenic-laden drinking water. iron apparently binds to arsenic and takes it out of the system. mmm, interesting. maybe this is related to Xs low iron levels in her blood? i went to pubmed to look for some evidence of iron and arsenic relating to each other like that biochemically (ie in a living system) and i was able to find a few animal (rat and pig) studies suggesting that, yes, that does happen. alright, i need to take action...
arsenic action item: finish off whatever products in the house have rice ingredients (rice flour, rice sweetener, etc) and our rice milk cartons and seek out products and alternative milks that dont have these things. we will not be throwing out anything, nor will we stop having wild rice with our meals on occasion. im not going to go crazy here, just start making more thoughtful decisions. i bought oat dream and hemp milk today to see what we think. ive had both before (oat dream was fine, hemp milk made me cringe, but this time i got the vanilla flavor, so hopefully it will be palatable for X), but i wasnt interested in the non-enriched coconut milk that they offer at our grocery store. its too fatty and non-nutritious to really be worth it.
and, so, while i was already changing up our food products and thought processes, i thought back to BPA. i looked up an article i had saved and decided to get that issue back up on my brain. BPA concerns have been rampant for a couple years now and i just didnt know how much i was going to stress about it, aside from doing the easy thing and avoid plastics when i can.
excerpts from the BPA article:
- "evidence that eliminating canned foods and plastic food packaging from your diet can dramatically reduce the concentrations of bisphenol A (BPA) and DEHP metabolites in your urine"soooooo, this was a pretty compelling push to add this to my list of action items. we dont eat that many canned or plastic packaged foods these days, but we do still eat them. mainly these are canned beans and chickpeas, squash purees, and tomato things. ive already been starting to move away from things in cans (buying dried chickpeas and soaking and cooking them as needed. thinking about what it would take to do our squash purees for X another way), but now i need to actually make a strong move.
- "over a 3 day period, the families ate food that was prepared and stored with minimal canned foods or plastic food packaging...study results showed that while the families were eating the 'fresh food' diet, their BPA levels dropped on average by more than 60%."
BPA action items: buy more dried beans in bags (the ones we use most frequently). find good ways to prepare them. this may mean finally buying a slow cooker. also, this will require more fine-tuned weekly dinner planning, but we already meal plan on a basic level so that shouldnt be hard.
as for purees, X likes sweet potato, butternut squash and pumpkin purees from an organic company ive found here. these are extremely convenient since its not really easy to find fresh or frozen squash (and sweet potato) chunks around here. of course i could grab sweet potatoes and possibly (occasionally) butternut squash from the grocery store and start entirely from scratch and somehow make a HUGE batch in the tiny arsenal of pots i dont have here in halifax, but that is not likely to be a sustainable practice for me. im going to hit our health food store soon and look in their frozen food section to see what squashes they might have so that i could just steam a bag and blender it up every so often and freeze the end-product in some (soon to be purchased) glass containers.
as for the tomato-in-cans issue, i think we will have to just buy fresh tomatoes, sharpen our lame knife and factor in a bit more time for tomato-based recipes.