Sunday, 10 July 2011

BPA - Join the Revolution

You may remember my one-woman investigation into the fact that those of us who eat food out of tins (and who doesn’t – apart from me?) are being bombarded with an oestrogenic substance called Bisphenol-A.

Spurred on by the Breast Cancer Fund’s Kick the Can campaign, I have pledged to eat no tinned food in July. For me, it was easy: no BPA infested tinned food has passed my lips for over a year now. But for most of us, avoiding tinned food falls into the ‘too-hard basket’ of life. Don’t despair, Lily is here to give you some support.

Lily’s top tips for avoiding tinned food:


I get a weekly delivery of fresh, organic fruit from Riverford Organics. Then I cook up a variety of compotes (rhubarb; blackcurrant and apple; gooseberry; mixed berries etc) using agave syrup to sweeten them. I store the compotes in glass jars in the fridge. Fabulous for an instant breakfast or dessert with yoghurt or ice cream.

Buy organic fruit in summer whilst it is cheap and plentiful, then freeze it. Also make home-made sorbets and keep them in the freezer.

Fresh and dried fruits are great to keep around the house for quick snacks.


Dried beans, the upside: they taste much better than tinned beans. The downside: most beans have to be soaked overnight before cooking. Lentils are the exception.

Sainsbury’s now do a great range of organic beans (butter beans; black beans; canellini; lentils) in BPA-free Tetra Paks. Posher brands come in glass jars.

Organic frozen peas and broad beans cook in seconds and are available from most supermarkets.


Most vegetables in tins are completely flavourless. Steaming fresh veg usually only takes a minute or two.

I buy sweetcorn cobs with the papery leaves still on. These act as a natural wrapper. Just bung a cob in the microwave for 4 minutes (7 minutes for 2 cobs) then peel away the leaves and hairy flax. Eat the corn as is with butter, salt and pepper or cut the niblets off with a sharp knife to add to salads.

Tinned meat:

Are you crazy? Don’t eat that sh*t. Sometimes I have a ‘cooking Sunday’ when I make some organic chicken or lamb casserole and then freeze portions that can be reheated for a quick snack. If you simply can’t cook then go for a good quality, preferably organic, ready meal, but take it out of the plastic tray before heating. Reheat ready meals in a stainless steel or cast-iron saucepan or a ceramic oven dish or microwave them in a Pyrex or ceramic bowl (cover with unbleached kitchen paper).

Tinned fish:

Anchovies and tuna fish are both sold in glass jars. Frozen prawns are great for adding to curries, pasta and stews.


Buy soup in Tetra Paks – or make your own.


Again, tomatoes are available in Tetra Paks. Tomato paste can be bought in glass jars. Tomato sauce is easy-peasy to make at home and freeze.

So get on board with Lily and Ernest Hemingway (above), sign the pledge, kick the can and please let us all know how you get on.


Megan Stengel said...

Hi Lily, I found your blog when searching online for cancer resources. I started a company that designs and sells clothing for patients going through chemotherapy, dialysis, or other infusion treatments. I couldn't find an email so I'll hope you'll check out the website ( and let me know what you think! My email is looking forward to hearing from you! Thanks!

Terry McGee said...

I'm studying paper BPA contamination (absorbed through the skin) as I handle a lot of paperwork - my new white gloves will get many comments (for a bloke). I'm wondering who does BPA urine testing in Sydney.

canalily said...

Very interesting. I have read that till roll paper is coated with a substance containing BPA. So that's a problem, particularly for those who work in shops. Apparently there is a BPA-free variety but few retailers use it. What kind of paper are you mostly handling?