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by Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP: Avoid food packaging that has been known or suspected to contain toxic chemicals that can leach into food. Eat whole foods, make your own meals (out of whole foods) and avoid industrial processed foods.

In 2009, Jane Muncke, a researcher with Emhart Glass, conducted a study of 50 legal food packaging substances that are known endocrine disruptors. She concluded that “food contact materials are a major source of food contaminants,” that many toxic chemicals and suspected endocrine disruptors can leach from food packaging, and that many chemicals that can leach from food packaging remain unidentified and unstudied.

Incidentally, food and beverage packaging is also a major source of waste, accounting for 55% of global packaging waste.

Source: The Daily Green

We’ve already discussed why to avoid foods that come in cans:

Now let’s talk a little about why we should be avoiding industrial processed foods.

One example. Kellogg recalled as many as 28 million boxes of cereal because a chemical is suspected to be leaching from the food packaging into the cereal. The company issued the recall last Friday on its Corn Pops, Honey Smacks, Fruit Loops and Apple Jacks breakfast cereals. The Food and Drug Administration states the reason for the recall as “uncharacteristic off-flavor and smell coming from the liner in the package.” Other sources call it a wax-like substance, and parents are being warned that it may cause diarrhea or vomiting, particularly in sensitive children (the recalled cereals – Apple Jacks, Corn Pops, Froot Loops and Honey Smacks – are sugary staples of the Kellogg line, marketed with cartoon characters primarily at children).

Source: The Daily Green

The recent Kellogg cereal recall points up another problem with industrial packaged foods. Not only do most non-organic cereals contain genetically modified ingredients, the cereals are made by an extrusion process that renders the grains unfit to eat and the cereals usually have unhealthy amounts of sugars, sodium and so on.

How do you avoid toxic chemicals at breakfast?

Make your own. Granola, old fashioned porridge, oatmeal, bacon (from organic, pastured pork) and eggs (from organic, free-range chickens), pancakes, organic plain yogurt with organic fruit, muffins… the list is endless.

Always remember, preparing food and eating it should be a pleasurable experience not a bothersome chore. We need to shift the way we think of food. It’s amazing to prepare a delicious, healthy meal and have the people you love savor every bite. It’s extremely unsatisfying to microwave some processed food and serve in during the nightly news.

“It’s better to pay the grocer than the doctor” was the saying that my Italian grandmother would frequently use to remind us of the love and attention to detail that went into her cooking  ~John Forti

Janet Flammang, a political scientist, writes in her book The Taste for Civilization: Food, Politics, and Civil Society “Significant social and political costs have resulted from fast food and convenience foods, grazing and snacking instead of sitting down for leisurely meals, watching television during mealtimes instead of conversing”—40 percent of Americans watch television during meals—”viewing food as fuel rather than sustenance, discarding family recipes and foodways, and denying that eating has social and political dimensions.” The cultural contradictions of capitalism—its tendency to undermine the stabilizing social forms it depends on—are on vivid display at the modern American dinner table.

In a challenge to second-wave feminists who urged women to get out of the kitchen, Flammang suggests that by denigrating “foodwork”—everything involved in putting meals on the family table—we have unthinkingly wrecked one of the nurseries of democracy: the family meal. It is at “the temporary democracy of the table” that children learn the art of conversation and acquire the habits of civility—sharing, listening, taking turns, navigating differences, arguing without offending—and it is these habits that are lost when we eat alone and on the run. “Civility is not needed when one is by oneself.”

Source: The Food Movement Rising by Michael Pollan

My Green Sides’ web pick of the week:

Simply Recipes
A site full of wonderful recipes (all tested by the site’s founder, Elise Bauer, or her family/friends), tips and tricks, and some great cookbook reviews.

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1020am (CDT) every Wednesday at

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by Wendy Gabriel

Like millions of parents, I had my wake-up call when I was pregnant with my first child. The goddessesThe wake-up intensified when my second daughter had a less then favorable reaction to her Well Baby shots when she was one years old. At that point I began looking at everything that went into, on or around my daughters little bodies. I was horrified at some of the toxins that are prevalent in a baby’s world.

One of the places I’ve found to have incredible and timely information for parents is Healthy Child Healthy World. They are an organization you can depend on to have the health of our children forever present in their minds and hearts:

We’re trying to wake-up as many people as we can to the issue of chemicals in everyday products and get them engaged in our community to vote with their dollars in the marketplace and vote with their voices when push comes to shove with the flurry of bills being introduced to Congress this year.

What’s more important than the health of our children? Wake up!


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By Wendy Gabriel

Yes.  Toilet Paper.  Now, before we begin talking about toilet paper and its affect on your derriere, bum, butt, posterior . . . take a deep breath and remember, we are saving the world one GREEN TIP at a time.

GREEN TIP:  Buy chlorine-free paper products.

The majority of paper products that we use, from wrapping paper to toilet paper, has been bleached with chlorine or chlorine compounds.  When these chemicals react to wood pulp (used to make paper products), they release a variety of chlorinated toxins called dioxin.  According to The Green Press Initiative, chlorine used in manufacturing processes is damaging to the environment and to human health. As early as 1985, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) labeled dioxin “the most potent carcinogen ever tested in laboratory animals.”  Dioxin also does not biodegrade quickly and stays in the environment for a long time.  And, according to The Seventh Generation Guide to a Toxin-Free Home, dioxin is so widespread in the environment that virtually every man, woman and child in America has it in their bodies.  Wow, that can’t be good.

I’ve discovered that it’s difficult to find out who is using this process by looking at labels or a company’s website.  For example, Cottonelle doesn’t have any sort of list of ingredients on their toilet paper or their website although they do proudly declare their Cottonelle® Ultra Toilet Paper is not made with any recycled fiber.  “No, it is made with virginwood fibers.”  Hmmm. 

So, look for paper products that proudly proclaim they are whitened without chlorine, unscented and use recycled paper.  On the label of Green Forest paper products, they write “We use 100% recycled paper, not trees, to make Green Forest paper products . . . A minimum of 40% of the paper in Green Forest products is post-consumer recycled paper, meaning material that has been recycled from our homes and offices . . . (our) products are also whitened without chlorine bleach.  The use of chlorine can release dangerous toxins which have been shown to be linked to cancers and other health problems . . . We believe that more companies need to produce products that lessen people’s impact on the environment.”  That’s more like it.

Toilet Paper World offers some “fun facts” about toilet paper and other paper products.  Another good resource I stumbled upon is Treecycle Recycled Paper.  And the Oregon-based Fiber Options Paper Company catalog, although I’ve been unable to locate a website for them, is thought of as one of the most complete sources for tree-free paper.

Don’t give your backside the bum’s rush; learn all you can before making all-important paper product decisions.

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