#BPA Free: What’s the Correlation Between Organic and BPA Free Canned Food?

Bisphenol-A aka BPA is a synthetic hormone (a component of epoxy resin – eww! reminds me of glue) found in many food grade plastics, canned goods, and paper (like bank receipts), which  has been linked to illnesses such as cancer, developmental disabilities, heart disease, and more. Several studies have been conducted to determine levels in our bodies and conclusive evidence suggests that almost all people surveyed had some level of BPA in their system.

But what does the U. S. government consider a “safe level“? And how do we know what our level is?

From touching your ATM bank receipt to drinking from plastic water bottles and eating canned goods, you are exposing you and your family to this toxic chemical. Canned goods with a white lining or resin code 7 (inside the triangle) are suspect to BPA.

White can linings are likely to have Bisphenol-A, a resin that has been linked to numerous illnesses.

After reading more about BPA lined canned goods, I wondered if there is a correlation between government labeled “organic” brands and BPA free canned goods.

Some of my research findings below:

1. Don’t judge or trust a can by its label! Even though a canned food states it’s “BPA free” it is not always true – even organic brands.

2. Type of canned food, not always brand specific, contain inner linings with BPA. An organic or non-organic brand produces several types of food products, but only selected canned food products may or may not contain the toxic chemical.

3. Safe levels are outdated and inconclusive. One study in 2008 suggested that “0.0024 micrograms per kilogram of body weight” was a safe level for humans (study was done on lab animals), but that study’s results were tossed with the wind in 2009 since it probably contained skewed data from the plastics industry. (Concern over canned foods, Consumer Reports, 2009.)

4. Highest levels of BPA (parts per billion – ppb) were found in green beans and soup according to a Consumer Reports study. And Con-Agra (not by far organic!) was the worst offender for BPA levels.

5. Some, not all, organic brands use BPA free metal cans. Some brands include

  • Eden Foods (BPA free since 1997)
  • Muir Glen tomatoes
  • Amy’s (since 2012)
  • Some Trader Joe products
  • Whole Foods 365 canned goods (only 27% are BPA free)
  • Farmer’s Market Foods (canned pumpkin, pie fillings)
  • Annie’s
  • Earth’s Best Organic
  • Imagine

Download and print a free BPA Free Canned Food Pocket Guide from BPA Free Canned Good blog.

Alternatives to canned foods are fresh, frozen or dried varieties. Although plastic packaging for frozen foods are not always BPA free, the levels are likely much lower than those found in metal cans. Plastic containers that are “safe for the microwave use” likely have higher levels of BPA as well.

Best bet? Buy fresh and can food yourself in BPA free glass jars or freeze for future use. DO NOT heat reusable plastic food containers or those plastic microwave meals! You are more likely to get a higher dose of BPA in your food than using glass containers. And remove those plastic lids from glass containers before reheating too!

Did I miss a brand or health issue related to BPA? Please comment below, I’m always looking for more insight.

Pope Francis Pushes for Environmental Climate Change to Save the Poor

Pope Francis sets to transform climate change, wealth and poverty in light of environmental issues Thursday, June 18.

Pope Francis will address climate change and its effects on the world’s poverty.

Halleujah! Pope Francis, dare I say, “endorses” protecting the environment for the poor and the world for all of mankind this week.

Peter Turkson, the president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and close to the Pope, said in a recent speech, “I think a question that we are not asking ourselves is: isn’t humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature? Safeguard creation because, if we destroy it, it will destroy us. Never forget this.”

The Pope’s letter will address much more than environmental issues, but also important matters to all of humanity. This is a letter that will speak volumes not only to Catholics but all of mankind. Archbishop Pedro Barreto Jimeno of Peru, one of the Pope’s advisors was quoted:

It will address the issue of inequality in the distribution of resources and topics such as the wasting of food and the irresponsible exploitation of nature and the consequences for people’s life and health.

The Pope’s letter comes at an opportune time, since he’ll be meeting with U. S. President Obama in September before his address to the US Congress and the UN general assembly concerning emissions among other controversial topics.

Read the entire article from The Guardian.

Planting an Eclectic Organic #Garden

I do not have a “green thumb” and all my organic gardening attempts have been experiments. This is my 3rd year of experimenting with growing veggies, herbs and flowers in a small space and without use of pesticides. If nothing dies, I feel successful.

A couple ideas I have incorporated into my organic garden experience this year began at the end of last season. First, I wrote down a simple list of plants and how well they did. Second, I wrote down what I wanted to plant again the following year. Third, I collected seeds from local farm produce I bought throughout the summer to plant the following summer. And finally, I read, Pinned, and read more about gardening ideas throughout the winter and spring months.

This year, I didn’t plant as much. However, what I did plant will be abundant – bell peppers and herbs. I didn’t plant any flowers last year, but my next door neighbor did. I wanted my front space to look equally as appealing and under the old mulch was an abundance of hard working earthworms. Why let good soil be covered by mulch again?

I planted spinach, cucumber, red bell pepper and cantaloupe with the seeds I collected last summer. The cucumber seeds have sprouted already! And I built a simple vertical herb garden with 2 steel buckets I found at various flea markets last year. (My favorite part of the garden this year.) Also, found a couple used window boxes and ceramic drainage sections to use.

Vertical Herb garden with 2 stainless steel buckets and organic soil.

One failed attempt last year was use of pallets, but I’m reusing them this year as a trellis for the viney plants. Another idea was to plant onions that had already started to sprout in my cupboard. Celery can also be started in water, then transferred to the ground.

It’s my eclectic garden this year. Some new ideas, a few old ideas, but all an experiment in a little space.

What have you tried with success or failed attempts to grow?

5 Reasons to Invest in a CSA Share from Riehm Farms

How would you like to have a bounty of fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy while also supporting a local business and farm?

I had never heard of CSA until I attended a health fair last October where I work. The Riehm Farms representatives were there and I was excited to learn about a Community Supported Agriculture, CSA, and what they offered. After learning about the local farm and benefits of participating in a CSA, took a pamphlet to to discuss the option with my husband. Since he grew up as a local farm boy, he loved the idea.

Here are 5 Reasons You Should Invest in a CSA

  1. Who is Growing Your Food?
    This is Riehm Farms’ motto, and wouldn’t it stand to reason that you might want to know who is growing your food since it’s providing nourishment to your family’s growing bodies and minds?
  2. No synthetic pesticides are used or artificial fertilizer; ground water pollution and toxic residues are avoided. Riehm Farms prefers to use organic farming practices. Not only are you avoiding many of the toxins on your foods from factory farms, but your product will be better tasting than that which is in a grocery store chain
  3.  Buy healthy local food.
    You spend money on food every week.  The best way to get the most value for your dollar is buying food that is healthy and nutritious from a local farm, instead of produce that is picked before it’s ready and shipped hundreds of miles.
  4. They seek to put extra quality care into the soil and daily procedures.
    This means they  test the mineral content of the produce you’ll receive to ensure the best quality produce.
  5. Not just produce, Riehm Farms not only sells vegetable shares, but also fruit, eggs, and beef.
    Imagine eggs that have bright yellow yolks that stand up when you crack them! Fruit picked at their peak of freshness because it doesn’t have as far to travel.  Local beef, raised in humane conditions at a family farm instead of a factory farm!

If you want more information about Riehm Farms, contact them: Riehm Farms, 7244 North State Route 53, Tiffin, Ohio 44883 or 419-992-4392.  Ask about signing up for a CSA and a tour of the farm!

What is a #CSA Food Share?

An example of a CSA Food Share

Community Supported Agriculture, CSA, is a way to buy produce, eggs and sometimes farm raised meat directly from a local/regional farm.

You, the customer, invest in a “share” ahead of the planting season to guarantee your food harvest in the spring/summer months. Monies go towards seeds, planting and harvesting so that you get farm to table fresh food every week during the season.

One local CSA in Northwest Ohio is Riehm Farms. It’s family owned and run near Tiffin, Ohio.

A regional CSA is Yellowbird Food Shed, a partnership of area farms in Ohio and Tennessee that deliver food shares throughout Ohio.

CSA Facts and FAQs

Why should I invest in a CSA?
When you join a CSA, you make a choice to help create a sustainable food system and you have a whole season to fresh, quality food that was grown with intention and close to your home.

Locally grown vs store bought?
A CSA share is locally produced, it is rich in the valuable nutrients and flavor that is lost in transit when food is shipped from thousands of miles away.

More variety than store bought produce.
Small family farms plan a diverse variety of food that they grow on their land. This offers so many more choices that have been ignored due to the industrialized farming model. Not only is the food fresh, but regional farms offer local artisan products and heirloom varieties that you would not find at a store.

Less toxic chemicals including pesticides are used on crops.
Many CSAs use sustainable methods without the use of harsh chemicals, including  pesticides. While CSAs are not labeled certified organic by the federal government, they are in the truest sense, organically grown.

Develop a relationship with the farmer who grows your food.
Have questions about what’s in your weekly food share? Not sure how to store or use the food share? This is your opportunity to talk to the people who grow your food. Establish a relationship, and learn more about the food you’re eating. You cannot get this information if you buy it from a grocery or big box store.


7 Tips to Prevent Contaminated Runoff into Water Sources

Useful tips the average citizen can do to prevent contaminated water runoff from entering local drinking water sources.

What is in your water?


Do you ever wonder how clean your drinking water is? And what you can do to prevent water runoff?

Here are seven tips you can do to prevent contaminated water runoff into drinking water sources from the NRDC.

  1. Don’t over- water your lawns and gardens. Over-watering lawns not only wastes water, but can also increase fertilizers leaching into groundwater.
  2. Grow plants and flowers that native to your area. Native plants need less water, are more tolerant of drought conditions, cost less to maintain and provide habitat for birds and butterflies.  The less water needed for plants, means the more drinking water you have for your community.
  3. Use natural fertilizers. If you only apply natural fertilizers, such as compost, peat, rotted manure, and bone meal to help stimulate plant growth and retain soil moisture, you’ll decrease the use of chemical fertilizers that pollute local water sources.
  4. Use a drive thru car wash instead of washing your car at home. If you take your cars to a professional car wash, they are required to drain the wastewater into sewer systems, where it is treated before being discharged. This prevents oil and other fluids from your car from running into a sewer unfiltered and contaminating water sources.
  5. Recycle and properly dispose of all trash. When you improperly dispose of trash, such as flushing diapers or baby wipes, you can damage the sewage treatment process. Without proper water treatment, you could incur more costs and unsafe water.
  6. Make sure you dispose of all pet waste properly. Pick up pet waste before it has an opportunity to enter storm drains and water supplies from rain runoff.
  7. Do not dispose chemicals down the drain. When you need to dispose of caustic chemicals that could find their way into drinking water sources. of drinking water, (examples here)  Contact your local sanitation, public works, or health department to find hazardous waste collection days and sites, and check Earth911.com for local recycling options.

These are a few steps you can take to protect our natural water resources in your communities.  Next article will provide tips how to protect drinking water if you live outside the city limits.

Simple Breakfast #Recipe: Pampered Chef Brownie Pan Omelettes

A simple recipe for mini omelettes using the Pampered Chef Brownie Pan with veggies on hand and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes and they’re ready!

I’m soo excited to finally use my brownie pan from Pampered Chef.  After seeing so many delicious recipes on Pinterest and Pampered Chef parties, I had to try it this morning.

Mini Omettes

You can make this recipe ahead to use as a quick breakfast on the go during the week. Use whatever veggies you have on hand or crumble sausage in place of the veggies.

This recipe makes 6 mini omelettes.

Heat oven to 350F.

What you’ll need:
1 Pampered Chef Brownie Pan
Spray oil
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk or milk substitute
Diced veggies – mushrooms, spinach, etc
Shredded cheese
Herbs (I used my own garden mix and dill)
Salt and pepper,  as needed


  1. Spray each square cup with spray oil

Pampered-Chef-Brownie-Pan2. Crack 6 eggs (or 1 per square cup) in a mixing bowl
3. Add 1/2 cup almond milk (milk or substitute)
4. Whisk, and set aside
5. Chop and dice veggies
6. Sprinkle veggies in each square cup
7. Pour egg mixture into each square cup.

Veggies and Egg Mixture - Mini Omelettes

8. Sprinkle cheese and herbs atop egg mixture.

Cheese on Mini Omelettes

9. Bake at 350F for approximately 20 minutes or until eggs are light and fluffy.


Remove from oven.

Using a small non-stick spatula, remove from brownie pan and serve. If baking ahead, allow to cool then place in microwave safe containers like the Pampered Chef Leak Proof containers.

This was my first attempt and they turned out fluffy and delicious!

fluffy mini omelettes

I cannot wait to try the mini lasagnas using cheese ravioli this week too!

Can Ohio Save Lake Erie?

Lake Erie with too much phosphorus and nitrogen.
Lake Erie with too much phosphorus and nitrogen.

Have you been to this Great Lake, lately?

It’s in dire need of a cleanup. From “toxic” green algae blooms to high levels of phosphorus from farm manure. Do you really know what’s in your water supply?

Water pollution is one of the top 30 environmental issues America is facing, so what is the solution for Lake Erie?

According to The Detroit News, “Ohio lawmakers approved new rules for farmers and water treatment plant operators to … reduce the spread of algae blooms in Lake Erie.” However, much more is needed to combat the spread of toxins and pollutants into our most precious  natural resource.

How do you think lawmakers should approach the cleanup of the 12th largest lake in the world?

Look for more posts about water pollution.



DIY Canning 101: How to Select Tomatoes for Canning

Selecting the best tomatoes to can is important for taste and quality. Where are the best places to find canner tomatoes? Find the answer here.

Fresh garden-picked tomatoes.

It’s July and canning season for tomatoes will be upon us in 4-6 weeks. Now is the perfect time to prepare yourself to can summer’s harvest of tomatoes.

Before you sanitize your first jar, you’ll need to take into account the following:

1. Where you purchase the tomatoes. You can find the best tomatoes in several places, such as:

  • Your Own Garden
  • Farmer’s Markets
  • Roadside Stands
Local farm markets like this one in Alvada, Ohio are a great resource for fresh produce.

2. Price. It’s not worth it to can if you’re paying exorbitant prices. The least to the most expensive options are:

  • Your own garden – is always a good choice and the least expensive option.  You control the insecticides used so you know exactly what you’re eating.
  • Farmer’s Markets – patronize local farm markets use a limited amount of pesticides (hopefully, but always ask).  If you start checking every week in early  August, then you’ll know when canner tomatoes are available. They’re not as pretty as the tomatoes from the  beginning of the season, but they’re considerably cheaper and still taste wonderful.

If you want to save even more money, there is the option of purchasing “seconds.” These are the flawed tomatoes that aren’t as in good shape as the regular canning tomatoes. You’ll need to cut off some spots, but they are oftentimes much cheaper.

Remember to have a good rapport with the employees of these places. Sometimes it’s possible they will call you when the canner tomatoes are ready, or they can hold back regular or second canning tomatoes just for you.

  • Roadside stands – I would advise against this because these places sell  mostly tomatoes that look pretty but are higher priced.
Tomatoes ready to be cooked and canned.

3. When are you planning to can the tomatoes? It’s best to can them within 24-48 hours to maximize your investment by making sure you are able to use the tomatoes before they spoil.

Next is how to can tomatoes for the beginner canner.