New Year's Resolution Solution: Make Mindful Food Packaging Choices
Is honing a healthy lifestyle among your 2022 New Year’s resolutions, but you’re caught at a crossroads on where to begin? Finding the right balance between fitness, nutrition, positive sleep habits and mental wellness to cultivate a healthy lifestyle is time-consuming – and part of the reason so many people abandon health-related resolutions before the end of January.
Instead of looking at healthy living as an unscalable mountain, any small victory is a step in the right direction. Yes, you can join a gym or subscribe to an array of inventive fitness apps. Yes, you can curate Pinterest boards full of healthy recipes and then make meticulous grocery lists to gather the ingredients. Yes, you can buy blackout curtains and start a yoga nidra practice before bedtime.
But what if there was a healthy habit that takes less time than working out and even less time than searching for recipes on your phone at 2 a.m. (another habit you should break)? There is – and it’s easy! Start with making mindful choices about food packaging.
Plastic Permeates Our Lives – and Our Refrigerators, and Pantries …
Humans ingest as much as a credit card’s worth of plastic a week, according to a study from the University of Newcastle for the World Wildlife Foundation. The plastic in our systems is coming from the air we breathe, absorbed through our skin, and the foods we eat. It’s gross, for one, and it’s unsettling when you consider the potential health consequences.
Plastic permeates our lives. Go look in your fridge and pantry for two minutes and you’ll see what we’re talking about. Your strawberries come in a plastic tub, your salad dressing comes in a plastic bottle, your fresh deli meat is wrapped with a plastic barrier; even your low-cal veggie soup is touching the hidden plastic liner inside the metal can. Now that you see it, it’s not as hard to see that microplastics are ubiquitous.
“A lot of people are trying to live a healthier life, which is amiable, but it’s so difficult,” laments Dr. Jane Muncke, an environmental scientist and the director of the Food Packaging Forum. Muncke is among the growing cadre of scientists who are demanding consumers be made aware of how the chemicals that migrate are contributing to chronic illnesses. They say the long-lasting, worldwide impacts food contact chemicals are having on humans is as much of a public health crisis as COVID.
“We have to talk about this – allergies, immune system deficiencies, infertility, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes …” she says.
Simple Chemistry of Glass Packaging
You can’t easily do much to control the air you breathe, but you can be more mindful to choose kinder packaging materials.
Unlike other substrates that are created by synthetic man-made chemicals, glass packaging is made of four simple raw materials: sand, limestone, soda ash, recycled glass. And it does not interact with the foods and beverages it contains.
“If you look at glass, the chemistry is super simple,” Dr. Muncke says. ”With plastic, with paper, with coated metals, there’s a whole host of unknown chemicals in there.”
Choosing glass packaging when you can is a simple, quick step you can take as you work toward your healthy New Year’s resolutions. Sure, improving your fitness, your diet, and your sleep are important parts of the equation, but making the mindful decision to choose glass when you’re shopping is a choice you can feel good about.