We are what we eat & what we come in contact with.
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals, also known as EDCs, are substances in our food, environment, or consumer products that may interrupt our hormones.
Hooray. Chemicals and toxins! Let’s keep this real surface level: We come into contact with a lot of “stuff” during the day. We can’t avoid that from happening, but we CAN (and should) do a little quality/quantity control to minimize exposure where we can.
Xenoestrogens are a type of EDC that may mimic estrogen-like action in the body or interfere with estrogen signaling pathways. Curious why we might be seeing more males than ever with “man boobs”, low sperm counts, and love handles? Or females struggling with menstrual cycle issues or little girls menstruating earlier than ever? It could be a bi-product of our food and environment.
If hormones are happy, we feel pretty dang good: High energy, crushing the gym, sleeping well, high sex drive, solid body comp, etc.
Reversely, when hormones get a little off, all that quickly goes to sh*t: We feel run down, we hate the gym, hate our spouse & job, struggle to lose weight, can’t sleep at night, struggle with food cravings, etc.
Our body is normally pretty great at filtering out the junk, but when it’s got an over-exposure to too much junk on a regular basis, THAT is where we may start seeing issues.
Certain plastics (such as Bisphenol A) are a known EDC/xenoestrogen. It would be near impossible to be 100% plastic-free, but every little bit of diligence sure helps!
Common Exposures to Plastic:
- Meal prep and food storage containers
- Plastic silverware, dinner/drinkware
- Water bottles
- “To go” Coffee cups
- Grocery bags, produce bags
- Packaging for food
- Grocery store receipts
Ideas on Minimizing Exposure:
- Ditch the plastic shaker bottle. Blender makes a stainless steel version
- Do a kitchen audit and to glass and stainless steel as much as possible (bakeware, dinnerware, drinking cups, food storage containers)
- Swing for glass water bottles rather than plastic
- Swap to metal drinkware like Yeti, Swell, or Hydroflask
- Use fabric produce & grocery bags
- Stasher bags are made of silicone & great to replace plastic baggies
- Minimize use of microwavable rice packets, frozen steamable veggie bags, or steamable meals that come in plastic bags or food trays
- Minimize food from cans (plastics may line the inside of the cans)
- If plastic is unavoidable, try to avoid heating up food or beverages in it
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Frye, C A et al. “Endocrine disrupters: a review of some sources, effects, and mechanisms of actions on behaviour and neuroendocrine systems” Journal of neuroendocrinology vol. 24,1 (2012): 144-59. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3245362]
Jeng, Hueiwang Anna. “Exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals and male reproductive health” Frontiers in public health vol. 2 55. 5 Jun. 2014, doi:10.3389/fpubh.2014.00055. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4046332/]
Legeay, S, and S Faure. “Is Bisphenol A an Environmental Obesogen?” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2017. [www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28622415].
Yang, Chun Z et al. “Most plastic products release estrogenic chemicals: a potential health problem that can be solved” Environmental health perspectives vol. 119,7 (2011): 989-96. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3222987/]