Greenies Like Us: No Mo’ Foil

As you know, I have really struggled with the next issue at hand. Giving up foil and plastic wrap. They are so convenient that I must confess I haven’t yet made the switch to being completely off the stuff. I already know that plastic wrap is bad for your health and the environment. (Made from PVC, does not break down in landfills, leaches toxins into your food, etc.) So you’d think I would at least be off that. The only step I’ve made so far is to not use plastic containers in the microwave and switch over to (mostly) using glass storage containers in the fridge. I still have two rolls of the stuff and use it when I’m in a hurry or because I have yet to buy enough containers for all our needs. As far as foil goes, I didn’t know much about it so I did some research to help me make a decision, once and for all, about getting rid of both vices. So what did I find? A lot! Oh my, if this doesn’t do it, nothing will. See for yourself:

Foil facts – Did you know that minuscule amounts of aluminum collects in our brains and in a worst case scenario (aka, a lot of aluminum in the brain) it can cause seizures and reduced mental alertness? The aluminum count is even higher still in Alzheimer’s patients. Wow. Osteoporosis, colic, rickets, gastrointestinal problems, interference with the metabolism of calcium, extreme nervousness, anemia, headaches, decreased liver and kidney function, memory loss, speech problems, softening of the bones, and aching muscles can all be caused by aluminum toxicity. Seriously.

Now, aluminum isn’t necessarily evil… it’s found naturally in our air, water and soil. The problem is that we overload our bodies with it due to the way we live. We use it for cooking and storing food. And it doesn’t end there. It is found in many over-the-counter pain killers, anti-inflammatory products, antacids and douche products. I’m not kidding. (I can hear the thud from y’all falling off your chairs.) Aluminum is also an additive in most baking powders, is used in food processing, and is present in antiperspirants, toothpaste, dental amalgams, bleached flour, grated cheese, table salt, and beer, (especially when the beer is in aluminum cans). The biggest source of aluminum, however, comes from our municipal water supplies. Gosh. Enough is enough already. Is there anything out there that is safe for us poor souls?

Yep. But you have to change the way you live. And we all knew that right? So I will take the steps necessary to protecting my family as much as one little soul can do alone. Finding safe alternatives to the list items above is easy enough. Some seem costly, but worth it. The hard part will be, you guessed it, replacing foil. (Did I mention how convenient the stuff is?) So here’s what I’ll do:

I’ll buy a few more baking dishes: Pyrex or other glass, stainless steel, stoneware and/or ceramic. I might get a dutch oven to see if I like it or not. I heard that silicone mats have many uses so I’ll try that too. I know there are many choices out there, all with lids and of all sizes. A quality roasting pan, for instance, usually comes with a lid that will cover large meats like a turkey. No need for foil here!

When we barbecue veggies or shrimp, I’ll test out using a cookie sheet on the grill instead of lining it with foil, and let you know how it works. (I saw this suggestion on a message board – sounds good enough.) I’ve also seen BBQ tools for grilling – a stainless steel fish and vegetable basket comes to mind.

And of course, I will have to get more containers for all our needs. I already have a drawer full, but I can see that I need more. The containers above have plastic lids, which is okay for refrigerator use, but not for the microwave. Live and learn. And maybe a few silicone splatter guards for the microwave. Yeah, now I’m thinking. And, duh! I have two covered cake plates and a cookie jar that will store anything – not just cakes and cookies. Boy, I’m on a roll. It shouldn’t be hard at all.

Well, you should stay tuned. In the mean time, here are a few tips for aluminum poisoning prevention:

  1. Eat foods that are high in fiber. Just flush it right out.
  2. Reading the labels is not just for food – if the product contains aluminum or dihydroxyaluminum, then don’t walk – run away from it.
  3. You can ask your doctor about doing a hair analysis to determine how much aluminum is in your body. Until you get the test results back, stay clear of any nuclear reactors.
  4. If all you have is aluminum pots to cook with, just know that it is a bit safer than using straight foil. For now. But the longer you keep them and the more they corrode, the more they leach aluminum directly into the food as it cooks. Acid dissolves aluminum which forms as a salt on the pans. Got salt? Scrub the pans very well prior to use. Try to avoid cooking high acid foods in them like rhubarb, sauerkraut, cheese, meat, cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes, turnips, spinach and radishes. Keep wine, coffee, black and green tea out of aluminum containers. Skip going to the movie theater just 10 times and you’ll have enough money for a new set of pots!

So, should we all take the pledge? Invest in a lifestyle change once and it benefits you forever. Done!