I couldn’t help but be aghast when my colleague Cheryl sent me an article and video on Huffington Post today about a woman in Ohio who allegedly found a rat in her can of Chef Boyardee pasta! Yes, a RAT, you read that correctly. Clean eating, this is not!
You must take a moment to watch this video and tell me what you think — true or hype? Does it make your stomach turn like mine?
Honestly, it looks pretty darn authentic to me, but even if it’s not, it got me thinking about the quality of food we eat everyday and especially about eating canned food. It sure is convenient but for so many reasons, I limit my intake of canned foods to organic canned beans (no salt added), tomatoes and coconut milk. That’s pretty much it. Why so few items?
Let’s start with the fact that a huge portion of canned food would hardly fall in the clean eating category. Over processed and often full of too much sodium (think canned soup), calories or unhealthy fats, it doesn’t usually provide us with the essential nutrients we need. In addition, most cans are lined with BPA (bisphenol A) – a chemical in plastic that’s been linked to increased risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease in animals. Even in the healthiest of canned foods, you’re likely to find BPA.
Even if I wasn’t already focused on eating clean, whole foods, simply watching the video would be enough to make me pause and think about the choices I make. Am I making the best decisions? What, if anything, do I need to change? Honestly, it’s hard to have confidence in our food supply these days and this sure doesn’t help.
This is one more reason to eat fresh, clean foods. With a focus on more vegetables, fruit and whole grains, it’s hard to go wrong. That’s especially true if your food is locally grown and you know specifically where it’s coming from. But even if you eat frozen veggies, that’s a big step up from canned. Know what else? Even if I’m going to eat pasta, I’m sure not eating it from a can. How about a little extra time to cook some up with jarred sauce, at the very least? With some simple meal planning, any of us can reduce our dependence on questionable canned and processed foods and support a healthier lifestyle with more fresh, whole foods that boost our immune system and help stave off chronic diseases.
What will you do to minimize the impact of canned foods and eat more fresh, clean eating, whole foods?