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Are you eating your way to a hormonal imbalance? 50 foods to avoid.

PROPYL PARABEN

Are you eating an endocrine disruptor?

The pastry you’re thinking about buying may contain the preservative propyl paraben, linked to disruptions in hormone signaling.

According to ingredient data obtained by EWG’s Food Scores: Rate Your Plate, an online database and app that helps consumers eat healthier, propyl paraben is in 49 widely-available processed foods, including Sara Lee cinnamon rolls, Weight Watchers cakes and La Banderita Corn Tortillas.

Last year, EWG turned the spotlight on propyl paraben in its Dirty Dozen Guide To Food Additives because the federal Food and Drug Administration has listed its use in food as “Generally Recognized As Safe.” Despite mounting evidence that propyl paraben disrupts the endocrine system, the FDA has failed to take action to eliminate its use in food or reassess its safety.

In 2002 researchers at the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Public Health discovered that propyl paraben decreased sperm counts in young rats at and below the concentrations which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers safe for human consumption in food (Oishi 2002; 21CFR184.1670).

Other researchers have confirmed propyl paraben’s effects on the endocrine system. It acts as a synthetic estrogenic compound and can alter hormone signaling and gene expression (Routledge 1998; Terasaka 2006; Vo 2011; Wróbel 2014). A recent study by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health suggested that exposure to propyl paraben might be associated with diminished fertility (Smith 2013).

Proper endocrine signaling is particularly important during critical windows of development—while in the womb and during childhood and adolescence. Chemicals that disrupt hormone signaling can lead to adverse effects on development, reproduction, and the neurological and immune systems.

Citing the study by the researchers in Tokyo, the European Food Safety Authority issued an advisory in 2004 that the presumed safe exposure level for propyl paraben in food was no longer valid because it affected sex hormones and the male reproductive organs in young rats (EFSA 2004). Based on that advice, in 2006, regulators removed propyl paraben from the list of food additives authorized for use in the European Union.

Propyl paraben is starting to disappear from some cosmetics, so it is a wonder that it is still allowed in food. If you browse the personal care product aisles in any drug store, you are likely to see labels advertising that certain body washes, lotions, and other items are “paraben free”. Under pressure from EWG and other health advocates, in August 2012 Johnson & Johnson voluntarily pledged to remove this and other members of the paraben family from all its baby products. Brands such as Alba, Origins and Burt’s Bees don’t use parabens at all.

Yet Americans are still widely exposed to this chemical. In 2010 research led by Antonia Calafat, Ph.D., a respected chemist at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reported that 92.7 percent of Americans tested had propyl paraben in their urine (Calafat 2010).

via Propyl Paraben | EWG.

50 Foods Containing Propyl Paraben

  • Amport Foods Chocolate & Nut Trail Mix
  • Archer Farms Gourmet Dessert Cookies
  • Arizona Snack Company Canyon Runner II Trail
  • Arizona Snack Company Sweet Energy Trail
  • Cafe Valley Apple Spice Mini Muffins Apple Spice
  • Cafe Valley Banana Nut Mini Muffins
  • Cafe Valley Blueberry Mini Muffins
  • Cafe Valley Cake Pumpkin Cream Cheese
  • Cafe Valley Chocolate Chips Mini Muffins
  • Cafe Valley Corn Mini Muffins
  • Cafe Valley Lemon Poppyseed Mini Muffins
  • Cafe Valley Orange Cranberry Mini Muffins
  • Cafe Valley Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins
  • Creative Occasions Old Fashioned Carrot Cream Cheese Cake
  • Elizabeth’s Naturals Psychedelic Sunday Mix
  • Emerald Breakfast On The Go Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Nut & Granola Mix
  • Energy Club Fancy Mojo Mix
  • Energy Club Nuts N Chocolate Blend
  • Entenmann’s Coconut Crunch Donuts
  • Essential Everyday Classic Trail Mix
  • Island Snacks Fancy Chocolate Mix
  • La Banderita White Corn Tortillas
  • La Banderita Yellow Corn Tortillas
  • Little Debbie Pecan Spinwheels
  • Newton’s Naturals Get The Munchies Trail Mix
  • Nuevo Leon Tortillas
  • Oh Yeah! Candies Chocolate Caramel
  • Ole Mexican Foods Corn Tortillas
  • Patissa Pumpkin Pie Cream Puffs
  • Premium Orchard Rainbow Trail Mix
  • Private Selection Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
  • Quality Club Deluxe Moxxi Mix
  • Roundy’s Cranberry Trail Mix
  • Roundy’s Pak O Snax
  • Sara Lee Cinnamon Rolls
  • Sara Lee Honey Glazed Buns
  • Setton Farms Hiker’s Trail Mix
  • Superior Chocolate Nut Trail Mix
  • Superior Mini Chocolate Eclairs
  • Sweet P’s Bake Shop Black & White Cookies
  • Tropical Corn Tortillas, Traditional Style
  • Turano Brat & Sausage Rolls
  • Weight Watchers Carrot Crème Cake
  • Weight Watchers Chocolate Crème Cake
  • Weight Watchers Golden Sponge Cake
  • Weight Watchers Lemon Creme Cake
  • Weight Watchers Red Velvet Creme Cake
  • Weis Cross’n Country
  • Weis Milk Chocolate Candies

References:

Calafat AM, Ye X, Wong LY, Bishop AM, Needham LL. 2010. Urinary concentrations of four parabens in the U.S. population: NHANES 2005-2006. Environ Health Perspect. 118(5):679-85.

21CFR184.1670. Available: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=184.1670 [Accessed February 7, 2015]

EFSA. 2004. Opinion of the Scientific Panel on food additives, flavourings, processing aids and materials in contact with food (AFC) related to para hydroxybenzoates (E 214-219). EFSA Journal. 83, 1-26.

Oishi S. Effects of propyl paraben on the male reproductive system. Food Chem Toxicol. 2002 Dec;40(12):1807-13.

Routledge EJ, Parker J, Odum J, Ashby J, Sumpter JP. 1998. Some alkyl hydroxy benzoate preservatives (parabens) are estrogenic. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 153(1):12-9.

Smith KW, Souter I, Dimitriadis I, Ehrlich S, Williams PL, Calafat AM, Hauser R. 2013. Urinary paraben concentrations and ovarian aging among women from a fertility center. Environ Health Perspect. 121(11-12):1299-305.

Terasaka S, Inoue A, Tanji M, Kiyama R. 2006. Expression profiling of estrogen-responsive genes in breast cancer cells treated with alkylphenols, chlorinated phenols, parabens, or bis- and benzoylphenols for evaluation of estrogenic activity. Toxicol Lett. 163(2):130-41. Epub 2005 Nov 8.

Vo TT, Jung EM, Choi KC, Yu FH, Jeung EB. 2011. Estrogen receptor α is involved in the induction of Calbindin-D(9k) and progesterone receptor by parabens in GH3 cells: a biomarker gene for screening xenoestrogens. Steroids. 76(7):675-81.

Wróbel AM, Gregoraszczuk EL. 2014. Actions of methyl-, propyl- and butylparaben on estrogen receptor-α and -β and the progesterone receptor in MCF-7 cancer cells and non-cancerous MCF-10A cells. Toxicol Lett. 230(3):375-381

Dr. Court’s Comments:

Endocrine disruptors like parabens and others such as BPA, PFOA, phthalates,  and PCBs are potent chemicals that surround us ubiquitously. Their ability to disrupt our hormonal system has lead to changes in how our bodies function. BPA was originally created as a synthetic estrogen, albeit a weak one. However, because we are exposed to it all the time, those weak estrogenic effects are magnified. BPA, PFOA, phthalates and PCBs are classified as obesogens. That means they cause weight gain. They do this by increasing the number of fat cells we have and increasing our ability to store fat. More fat cells storing more fat means we are increasingly overweight. Avoidance of these chemicals is probably impossible, however, do your best to minimize exposure. First and foremost, avoid processed foods. They are loaded with these chemicals. Secondly, buy products that specify ‘BPA free’ or ‘phthalate free.’ Last, but not least, exercise regularly to assist your body in detoxifying you system.

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Protein Pancakes and Refrigerator Jam

Protein Pancakes with Chia Refrigerator Jam

Protein Pancakes with Chia Refrigerator Jam

Protein Pancakes with Chia Refrigerator Jam

I am so thankful I saw a friend post this pancake recipe on Facebook! They are delicious! With only 3 ingredients you wouldn’t expect them to be tasty and I certainly didn’t expect them to cook up just like regular pancakes. Okay, okay…they aren’t quite as fluffy as regular pancakes but I’m willing to take a flatter pancake to not crash and be starving an hour after eating the other carb and gluten laden pancakes. This is also a great recipe for those of you who say to us, “I’m so sick of eggs. What else can I eat for breakfast?”

This same person posted a refrigerator jam recipe too. And I thought it would be delicious on the protein pancakes. I was right! I couldn’t find her original post with the recipe but a quick google search for chia refrigerator jam and I had a number of recipes to choose from. I’ll show you below the combination that I came up with. It was delicious and super refreshing but in the future for pancakes I would omit the lemon. As we’re in blueberry and raspberry season now, I would use one of those if I were you!

Protein Pancakes: Protein Pancake Ingredients

1 banana

2 eggs

1 scoop protein powder

Optional:

½ tsp of cinnamon

Dash of sea salt

Instructions:

Mash banana with a fork, add the eggs and protein and mix together.

Mel t butter in a skillet on med/low heat.

Pour in batter and cook 2-3 minutes on each side.

Mashed Bananas Protein Pancake Batter Protein Pancake

Strawberry Chia Seed Jam:Jam Ingredients

1 lb strawberries, hulled and washed

1 tablespoons maple syrup

3 tablespoons chia seeds

Zest of one lemon

Quarter of a lemon wedge

Instructions:

Put the strawberries in the base of a food processor or blender and pulse until desired consistency. Transfer pureed berries to a small bowl and combine with maple syrup, chia seeds, lemon zest and juice of lemon wedge.

Transfer jam to a glass container and cool to room temperature before storing in refrigerator. Jam will thicken as it cools.

Jam will last up to two weeks in the fridge.

Lemon Zest Strawberry Strawberry Chia Jam

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Moroccan Hamburgers

 

Someone had a bite!

This recipe comes from a friend. We both love to cook and often share recipes. I’ve already posted a couple of things that she’s shared with me in the past. This is another delicious recipe from her. We buy our beef in bulk so we tend to make a lot of hamburgers but I like to spice things up by adding different veggies and herbs to our burgers once in a while. Okay, it’s more like once in a while we have a “regular” burger without all the flair. Here is a post with one of our many burger varieties.

This Moroccan burger recipe comes from myrecipes.com. I did make a few changes. We don’t eat much grain so instead of breadcrumbs I used almond meal which doesn’t affect the taste of the burger at all. I also, have to omit the red pepper flakes for Dr. Court because if you’ve been reading these posts his digestive system can’t really handle it. These are so good and will definitely be worked into our burger rotation!

Moroccan Hamburgers

2 pounds ground beef

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup almond meal

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

1 large egg

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (optional)

Combine all ingredients thoroughly; shape into 8 (4-inch) patties. Cover and chill at least 2 hours. Grill, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350º to 400º) 6 to 8 minutes on each side or until beef is no longer pink.

Thoroughly combine all ingredients.

 

Make into patties.

 

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Summer Veggie Bake

Hello Summer! It’s been a while since I lasted posted a recipe. I have to admit that I was in a new recipe funk and couldn’t come up with something interesting to share with you. We were in our easy rut of grilling our meat and veggies for dinner, Veggies Scrambles for breakfast and lunch was usually leftovers or salads since we’ve had a TON of lettuce from our CSA. However, in the last week I have tried a couple of new recipes that I am really excited to share with you because they are super easy and delicious. Today’s recipe is a Summer Veggie Bake.  We recently had a version of this at dinner party and I thought it was fantastic so I came home and tried to recreate it. I happened to have a bunch of fresh herbs on hand from other recipes and some fresh tomatoes from a local farm stand.  I think it’s turned out pretty well maybe even a little better than the one we had at the party, if I do say so myself! 😉

Give it a try and let me know what you think. What other veggies could you add to change it up a bit? Herbs?

 

Summer Veggie Bake serves 4

1 large organic yellow squash

2 small – medium organic zucchini

2 tomatoes

1-2 shallots

Fresh basil, parsley, and oregano

Salt and pepper

 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Grease an 8×8″ pan. (I freeze the butter wrappers so I used that to lightly grease the pan.)

3. Thinly slice the tomatoes, zucchini and yellow squash into rounds. Also, slice the shallots so they create thin rings.

4. Chop about 1/4-1/2  a cup each of fresh basil, Italian parsley and oregano.

5. Place a layer of tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash in the pan. Top with some shallots and herbs and a dash of salt and pepper. Continue to layer in the pan until you are out of ingredients.

6. Bake covered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the veggies are tender.

7. I cut the 8×8 dish into quarters and served a slice to each of us. You can top with Parmesan cheese if you would like.

Note: I would make my slices thinner the next time I make this dish. It still tasted yummy but it would layer a little better and cook more evenly if they were more uniform.

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Berry Good Cobbler

I have a favorite cookbook that I use all the time. You’ve heard me talk about it before. It’s called Everyday Paleo by Sarah Fragoso. I’ve only had it for a year and it’s already dog-eared, water marked and stained. It has great recipes that I don’t feel guilty eating because they’re paleo and the bonus is that they taste fantastic. I have many favorites from this cook book but today I want to share the Berry Cobbler recipe. With the unofficial start to summer last weekend it’s time to break out dishes like this. For us here in the Northeast, strawberry season is just around the corner to be followed by all the other delicious berries. Having grown up in the Midwest in a family and community of bakers I sometimes miss delectable desserts like cobbler but not anymore. With this delicious recipe I feel like I’m indulging in a very guilty pleasure. I hope you enjoy it. You could also make this with blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, a mixture of berries, peaches or apples or frozen berries like I did since fresh aren’t yet in season. Here is a link to her blog with the recipe.

 

Berry Good Cobbler

3 cups fresh or frozen blackberries (I used 1 package of frozen organic blackberries and 1 package of frozen mixed berries which was slightly more than 3 cups) (or other fruit of your choice)

1 egg

1 ½ cups almond meal

2 Tbsp coconut oil

2 Tbsp cinnamon

Drizzle of raw organic honey or maple syrup

Unsweetened coconut milk

 

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees

Pour the blackberries into a pie pan.

In small bowl, mix together the egg, almond meal, and coconut oil and shake in the cinnamon. Stir well until the mixture starts to crumble. If you wish, drizzle a bit of raw organic honey on top of the blackberries.

By hand, evenly crumble the almond meal mixture on top of the blackberries and bake in your preheated oven for 35 minutes.

Serve in bowls with cold coconut milk poured over the top.

You should check out the book.

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Fresh Avocado Tomato Salad

I love backyard BBQ’s! The problem is that not everyone we know eats the way we do so when we’re invited to a cookout I try to bring a dish that everyone will love but that’s not loaded with carbohydrates. This salad is always a hit! It’s so fresh and so tasty that it can be eaten by itself like we do or used as a dip for all the chips that will be lying around the party. Another great thing about this dish is that it only takes a moment to whip up so you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen on a beautiful day.

 

Fresh Avocado Tomato Salad

For a large batch to take to a party you’ll need:

5 ripe avocados, pit/skin removed and chopped into large bite size pieces (You don’t want them too hard and you don’t want them mushy)

1-2 cups of organic cherry tomatoes sliced in half

½- ¼ of a red onion, finely diced

1 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped

1 lime cut in half (if you roll the lime under your hand for 30 seconds or so before cutting it in half you’ll release more of the juice)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional 1 jalapeño, finely diced

 

Place avocado, tomatoes, onion, cilantro and jalapeño if using into a bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper and mix all ingredients. Squeeze both halves of the lime into the bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Mix together. It can be eaten right away but if you allow it to sit for a few hours before serving it enhances the flavor.

 

It’s easy and tastes like summer! I hope you enjoy it with your friends and family this weekend!

 

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Dijon Walnut Chicken

This recipe is a favorite at our house for a couple of reasons. 1. It’s soooooo easy! 2. It’s so good! This recipe has essentially 3 ingredients that we almost always have on hand making it perfect for those evening when we need a quick meal. I originally heard about it from our receptionist Linda and have since seen a number of versions on the internet and in cookbooks but I’ve found this one perfect for us. I like to make enough to have leftovers because it’s great on a salad for lunch too.

Dijon Walnut Chicken

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Dijon mustard like a Grey Poupon

Walnuts, finely chopped

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using a hand chopper or food processor finely chop the walnuts. The amount you need will depend on how many  chicken breasts you are using. Place the chopped walnuts in a shallow dish.

Place chicken in a large Ziploc bag and coat with Dijon mustard. Make sure each piece is covered in mustard.

Remove the chicken and roll in the walnuts to coat. Place in a 9×13 pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.

 

Seriously, it doesn’t get much easier than that! While the chicken is baking, steam some fresh broccoli to serve with it. Top your broccoli with some extra virgin olive oil  and salt and pepper and you have a delicious meal!

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