Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A shower for me

I recently decided to shower myself. I'm not talking about the kind with water, but yes, I do that every day anyway. No, I'm talking about showering myself with gifts. Gifts of the household variety. The kind we all frequently gift others for bridal showers.

Why this act of generosity toward myself, besides the fact that we all deserve to be good to ourselves here and there? Well, I told you before that hubby and I have been married more than thirty years now, so it struck me one day recently that I still had some items in my kitchen from my own bridal showers those many years ago. I took a close look at my varied collection of Rubbermaid® and Tupperware® (I was a Tupperware pimp, I mean, dealer, in the '80s, so I had every piece you could ever imagine, all at a tempting discount for me to display at demonstrations) and I realized that it was time to replace it all.

While contempating the retirement of my Tupperware, I also took a closer look at some glass dishes and containers received at my bridal showers that I hadn't really used much over the years. I realized it was time to reevaluate those decisions I had made to use plastic over glass. The more I thought about it, I knew I had some good stuff right in front of me that wasn't getting its fair share of use in my kitchen. The time was right to shower myself and overhaul the contents of my cabinets.

Now I do have to admit that some of this urgency to update my food storage collection was prompted by all the negative press about plastics leaching chemicals into our food and drink.

I'm never afraid to acknowledge that we're all going to die of something, but I'm also one to not seek out ways to speed up the inevitable or even slowly help it along. But sometimes in the past I've made allowances for some questionable habits, figuring that I'm not doing too many things that could be detrimental to my health. I've never smoked, I'm quite a healthy eater, and I exercise regularly.

But I've mentioned before that I was overlooking my use of artificial sweeteners as not so bad. And also, to me, despite the controversy in the news, heating up leftovers in "microwave-safe plastics" didn't seem to be the worst thing I could be doing either. Until I started looking more closely at the etchings and pit marks that I found on some of my containers, especially those that were used to heat leftovers with fats, meats, gravies or tomato sauce.

No longer just a slight annoyance to see these marked containers, I'm now acknowledging that it certainly looks like plastic has found its way into my food. It doesn't make me feel so good. I work really hard to choose and cook healthy foods for my family, yet I was willing to overlook the implications of the research and how it applied to what I was seeing in my own food storage containers. So just recently I resolved that the use of plastics to heat food is no longer acceptable to me and I would make a change for myself, the only thing I can control.

If the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) raised concerns regarding exposure of fetuses, infants, and young children to Bisphenol A (BPA) in plastics, Canada declared BPA a toxic substance, and the European Union and Canada both banned BPA use in baby bottles, then it's about time as a country and for corporations with a conscience to listen. And so we slowly have.

Many plastics today are marked as free of the controversial BPA and most companies advertise their products are now made of Tritan™ plastic that resists stains and odors. Hmm. Many of my old plastic food storage containers also said they were microwave-safe and would resist stains, but that isn't what happened, so I reserve the right to doubt this new plastic also. To me, there aren't enough studies yet on Tritan, so I'm not interested in waiting until later to hear about issues with this replacement plastic on the evening news.

Without getting into all the rest of research out there, and believe me, I've done my due diligence to read both sides of the controversy, I feel good about my own decision. I no longer will use plastic containers in the microwave or to store my leftovers. Using plastic may or may not present an issue when storing leftovers, but I'm not interested in transferring food to be reheated from plastic storage to glass dishes for microwave use. So it's easier to just store everything in glass up front and not be tempted to heat in the plastic to avoid more dishes.

Yes, I know I've already been eating and drinking "plastic," as have my children and family, for more years now than I care to note, and this certainly isn't the first I've heard of these concerns about plastics, but I am truly of the mindset that once I know something (or finally decide to listen to and accept information that I was previously aware of ), then I can't go back.

So what have I done now? I've pulled all the plastics out of my kitchen cabinets. (Yes, I'm famous for making messes where there is none.) And as I said, I went out and showered myself with new glass containers: Pyrex®, Anchor Hocking®, CorningWare®. Even Rubbermaid and Ziploc® are in on the glass trend. I've actually had myself a bit of fun hunting in stores and online for containers that replace the sizes of the tried-and-true receptacles I've been using for luscious leftovers and work lunches.

I'm a woman on a mission, gratified to find that I can make this change work in my kitchen and in my life. I'll admit that hubby is sometimes perplexed by the change from plastics to new glass storage, as he now has to think about which containers to pull to use. But he'll adjust. It's never bad to mix things up and force yourself to think. And besides, hubby's used to me investing time and effort into fine-tuning our experience in this wonderful adventure of our life, so he'll eventually adapt and be fine.

I'm loving my new stacking Pyrex storage bowls with blue lids.
Yes, it's glass and stainless steel food storage containers only for me now. I purchased a larger lunch bag to accommodate my glass salad bowl or glass rectangular dish to heat my coveted leftovers, along with small glass containers for fruit. I even found small stainless pinch bowls with lids to store my tidbits of cheese or chocolate to end my meal on the go in the Mediterranean way.

Hubby teases me that my lunch bag is quite heavy now, but I see that as another opportunity in the day to lift some weight. Good for my bones. I need that now that I don't have plastic streaming through my system, "fortifying" my bones. Ha!

So far I've been very pleased with my new shower gifts to myself. And it's been interesting to chat with others by the microwave in the work kitchenette who are also using glass containers. Just like you start noticing that everyone on the road is driving the car you just bought, I'm now more aware of other like-minded folk now that I've gone plastic-free.

I'll be honest, though. I didn't get rid of every plastic container I owned. I've saved some in the best shape and am sure they'll be useful for storage other than food. For example, I'm now using a clear plastic canister to hold non-disposable utensils for picnics. Easy to find and very convenient to grab for a barbecue in the yard or a meal on the go.

So replacing your plastics with glass food storage might not be tops on your list, but the message here is that you should be good to yourself and do what makes you happy. If something is important to you, remember to take care of your own needs. You do everything for others. Don't forget to be good to you.

Shower yourself. And not just with water. Give yourself the little gifts that make you happy when you can. You are worth it.

Until next time, yours in fun and being good to yourself...Therese