By Jill Anenberg Lawrence, NLC
Plastic is like a crazy ex… it’s everywhere!
Look around your kitchen: Blender, food processor, strainer, spatula, water bottles, snack wrappers, Saran wrap, bags—all plastic. Take a peek in the bathroom, it’s in your shower curtain too.
As a health coach, I’m here to tell you that the plastic that has taken over the world (and your life) is the third wheel getting in the way of your love affair with healthy living. I want you to make your own food, but I don’t want you to ingest chemicals and destroy the planet because of what you used to cook or store those goodies.
But fear not my friends! I’ve got the skinny on plastics and a couple of suggestions to help you kick the plastic habit once and for all.
What’s My Organic Beef with Plastic?
Some plastics contain an endocrine disrupting chemical called BPA, short for Bisphenol-A. This bad boy is a chemical with estrogenic activity, meaning it can behave like a synthetic estrogen, sometimes blocking or mimicking the natural estrogen in our bodies.
While more studies in humans are needed, lab and animal research studies suggest it could affect the reproductive system in serious ways. Research also points to the biggest risks for developing fetuses and children, including potential effects on brain development and behavior.
While manufacturers have started using BPA-free plastic over the past few years, that old, marinara-stained food storage container you’ve had since 2003? It’s likely BPA’s favorite place in the world, and when you add heat, acidity, abrasion, and oil to BPA, it can seep into our food and drinks at an exceptionally high rate.
And like that ex you just can’t get rid of, plastic always promises to be better. “I’m BPA-free!” says a single-use plastic cup. Oh no. Don’t be swayed back to using plastic just because it says BPA-free. A recent study found that BPA-free alternatives often aren’t any safer than products containing BPA. Plus, plastic is filled with other chemicals and it’s hard to ever be sure what’s seeping into your food…so I like the precautionary principle: why not skip it if you can?
Finally, as an animal-obsessed environmentalist, swapping out plastic is my form of hugging the planet. Every year we use 300 million tons of plastic, and the majority of it ends up in our oceans suffocating, puncturing, or killing Shamu’s friends. Think sea turtles, seals, fish, whales, and dolphins. According to a study from Plymouth University, plastic pollution affects at least 700 marine species, while some estimates suggest that at least 100 million marine mammals are killed each year from plastic pollution. No wonder Shamu was so angry!
How to Break Up With Plastic
Raise A Glass
Say “Peace out, plastic!” by upgrading to the hard stuff. Not only is glass better for the environment, it’s safer. I drive my husband crazy (for, well, many reasons) because I save every single glass jar that store-bought food comes in. After a sexy soak in hot water, the label slides right off, and the jar is yours forever. Cheap date!
Stainless Steel Fo’ Real
Most mornings when I bring a superfood smoothie on the run, you better believe that baby goes in my stainless-steel travel cup. A metal cup just makes you feel like a boss. Plus, according to Feng Shui, the Chinese practices of balancing the energies of our space and things, metal offers a crisp, clear, fresh and dynamic quality of energy. Metal is also helpful if you feel frustrated, overwhelmed, or are just experiencing low energy. Glass and stainless-steel water bottles and tea or coffee mugs look beautiful and work perfectly. I’m also a fan of glass or stainless-steel straws.
The Bottom Line
There is a lot we DO have control over! Bring your own reusable bags when shopping. Gift yourself and others glass or stainless-steel straws and to-go cups. Goodbye Tupperware, hello Mason jars. And don’t you look fine…
Jill Anenberg Lawrence is a holistic health coach, certified through The Institute for Integrative Nutrition and The Nutritious Life Studio. Jill also whips butts into shape as an ACE-certified personal trainer and releases humorous exercise videos on YouTube with silly cameos by her two rescue dogs. Raised by very health-conscious parents, a healthy lifestyle has always been second nature for her, and it’s a topic she’s consistently asked about. Jill’s first passion was laughing so hard her abs got a workout. After many years performing stand-up, she transitioned that love of entertaining into educating others on health and wellness while keeping it fun and edgy. Visit her at jilllawrencehealth.com and follow her on Instagram.
(Featured Photo: Shutterstock)