Not too long ago I decided to see if I could cook without using food from cans. I was inspired to try this because almost all canned foods are lined with plastic that has BPA (for more info check out EWG's blog). In addition, the benefits of eating whole, fresh foods go far beyond just avoiding BPA, so in my opinion eating less packaged food is a win-win situation. Anyways, I thought I'd update on my no-can endeavour.
Overall, it has been fairly easy. I think we were already relying mostly on fresh and frozen ingredients so ditching the cans wasn't too difficult. At first, I wondered if I would be able to find alternative ways to get certain ingredients that traditionally we have only found in cans (e.g. pineapple, peaches, black olives, tuna and certain imported foods like water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, coconut milk...). But a purposeful trip to the grocery store resulted in finding most foods in plastic or glass containers. For example, pineapple and peaches are available in plastic (#5) and olives in glass. However, Tuna is only available in cans and they do have the plastic liner. But we don't eat tuna that often due to it's potentially high mercury content, so we won't miss it too much. We have had to use some canned ingredients (for yummy Thai and Chinese cooking) but we have been lucky that so far they have not been plastic-lined. I am not sure why some cans are lined and others not. But so far we've been lucky that the brands we've used have not been.
I have been pleased that I've been able to avoid using plastic-lined cans quite easily...at least easier than I thought it would be. Even if we have needed to use ingredients that are not usually available fresh, I 've been able to find them in plastic and glass containers or in cans that are not lined. So the one week challenge has transpired into a long-term lifestyle change, which is what I had hoped we would be able to do! There's always room for improvement though, eating healthy and in an environmentally conscious way does take some work, planning and consideration. But there are so many options and so much info out there that it is not as hard as some thing. On that note, I am off to read a cookbook I got this week from the library, "Fresh & Local" by Craig Flinn. I hope to find some yummy recipes!