Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Eden Foods Organic Beans--No BPA

As I continue my quest to find out what canned foods do not contain BPA - - - this from Eden Foods: "Eden Organic Beans are packed in steel cans coated with a baked on oleoresinous (a natural mixture of an oil and a resin extracted from various plants, such as pine or balsam fir) c-enamel lining, that does not contain bisphenol-A. These cans cost 14% more than the industry standard cans, which do contain bisphenol-A.

It looks like they've switched to glass for their tomatoes products too.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

General Mills and BPA-lined Cans

I wrote General Mills the following email:

>Original Message From:
I am writing because I am concerned about BPA in the canned food products that your company sells. I like the convenience of canned products but am concerned about the effects of BPA on my family. I am hesitant to continue buying these products as long as the can liners contain BPA. What is your company doing to phase out BPA in your can liners and what safer alternative are you using to replace BPA? I look forward to your response.

This is the response I received:

Dear Ms. Olson:
Thank you for contacting General Mills about bisphenol-A or BPA.

Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a critical component of protective coatings widely used in metal food packaging to help preserve food and maintain its nutritional value and quality. Most canned food and beverage products on the market today use BPA in the can lining or can lid.
Scientific and governmental bodies worldwide have examined the science and concluded that the weight of evidence continues to support the safety of BPA, including comprehensive risk assessments in Japan and in the European Union. While studies continue, food safety regulators are not recommending any specific changes or actions in can lining applications, including those using BPA.

General Mills uses can coatings that fully comply with all applicable global requirements for safe use in food contact materials. But we know that some consumer would like us to pursue alternatives – and we are working intensively with our can suppliers and manufacturers to develop and test linings that do not use BPA. While alternatives have not been identified for all types of foods, we did identify a safe, viable alternative for our tomato products under the Muir Glen brand. We began transitioning those to the alternative cans with the fall 2010 tomato harvest.

With other alternatives currently being tested, we are optimistic that new options will be identified in time. When viable alternative prove safe and effective for other products, we would expect can suppliers and the food industry – in response to consumer interest – to convert to alternative coatings.

Your views are important to us. Be assured that your comments will be forwarded to the appropriate persons here at General Mills. Again, thank you for contacting General Mills, and thank you for your support of our products.


Paula A. Vaughn
Consumer Care Specialist

So for those of you who use canned tomatoes, looks like Muir Glen brand is a good choice.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Ultra Quick Dinner

A healthy dinner in 15 minutes! Yes, it's possible. I made these Crispy White Beans (10 minutes), sliced a couple of farmers' market tomatoes and snipped fresh herbs over them, and served with leftover pesto pasta (even if I'd made the pasta, it still would've been a quick dinner). And the family gobbled it up!

BPA from canned foods

Scientists from the Breast Cancer Fund recently published a study that showed that eliminating processed foods significantly lowers BPA exposure. BPA is a toxic industrial chemical used to harden plastic. It is commonly used in plastic food and beverage containers, lids of glass jars, epoxy lining in metal cans and dental sealants. Research has shown that BPA leaches out of the plastic and into food and can be harmful even at low doses. Hundreds of peer-reviewed studies have linked BPA to health and development problems, including birth defects, breast and prostate cancer, early puberty, infertility, obesity, chromosome and reproductive abnormalities, diabetes, heart disease and neurobehavioral problems. (Read more here.)

So, according to the Breast Cancer Fund, here are some tips for reducing BPA in your diet:

- Switch to stainless steel and glass food storage and beverage containers.
- Move foods to ceramic or glass food containers for microwaving.
- Consider a French press for coffee – home coffee makers may have polycarbonate-based water tanks and phthalate-based tubing.
- Eat out less, especially at restaurants that do not use fresh ingredients.
- Limit canned food consumption.
- Choose fresh fruits and vegetables when possible, and frozen if not.
- Soak dried beans for cooking (you can make extra and freeze them).

So -- as I read this, I'm thinking I've already done most of these . . . but then they have a list of the canned foods to especially avoid -- the ones high in sodium, fat, and acid - - - which pretty much covers all canned foods. Recently, I've been consciously working toward eliminating canned foods . . . for me, that means beans, tomatoes, and coconut milk. In fact, today I have a big batch of white beans in my slow cooker that I will use some of for dinner and freeze the rest (in glass containers, not plastic). Here's how--in case you're interested.

Soak 2 cups beans overnight in a lot of water. Drain the beans. Place in slow cooker with 8 cups water. Add a strip of kombu (sea vegetable) if desired--helps to soften beans and reduce gas effects. Cover and cook on low about 8-10 hours. Makes about 6 cups beans.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Baked Artichokes

I recently read an article on artichokes that talked about different ways to cook them besides the usual steaming. It said you can stuff and bake them. So I tried it and WOW -- so yummy and what a great meal for company. Very impressive looking, delicious, and you do all the work ahead of time and then just stick them in the oven.

Here's my recipe:

Baked Stuffed Artichokes

4 small (4-inch) artichokes
2 slices bread, stale or toasted--ends okay
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
grated peel of 1 lemon
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Remove the bottom leaves around the stem of the artichokes. Cut off about an inch off the top of the artichoke. Snip the pointy ends off any remaining leaves. Slice the artichoke in half length-wise and use a teaspoon to scrape out the choke. Wash the artichoke well. Arrange the artichoke halves, cut side up in a baking pan.

To make the stuffing. Tear up the bread and place in a food processor with a metal blade. Process to make bread crumbs. Add remaining ingredients and pulse to mix. Dived the stuffing between the artichoke halves, filling the choke cavity and kind of pressing into the leaves. Add about 1/4-inch of water to the bottom of the pan. Cover the pan tightly and bake about 45 minutes, or until leaves feel loose and stuffing is golden brown.

Serves 4 to 8

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Slow Cooker Moroccan Lentil Soup

I was talking to a friend last weekend about my slow cooker experiments and said she loved Moroccan Lentil Soup--so that was the experiment of the day. And yum -- I really liked this version. I may continue to fine tune the spices -- I didn't have coriander but think that would be a good addition. But for a first try, very pleased!

Slow Cooker Moroccan Lentil Soup

1 onion, diced small
2 stalks celery, diced
3 carrots, diced
1 1/2 cups brown/green lentils
3/4 cup brown rice
12 cups water
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground tumeric
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
black pepper to taste

Turn slow cooker to high or low depending on when you want it ready. Add onion, celery, carrots, lentils, rice, water, cumin, ginger, tumeric, and paprika (in other words everything but the tomatoes, salt and pepper). Cover and cook 4-5 hours on high or 8 to 10 hours on low. Stir in remaining ingredients and serve or keep on warm until ready to serve. This actually gets better as it sits.

Serves 10