Growing up, I ate a lot of microwave popcorn.
That was before I knew how terrible it was for you!
What’s wrong with it, you ask? Well there are three pretty giant reasons you want to avoid this stuff like the plague.
1) The Bag
Almost all microwave popcorn varieties come in a bag lined with a toxic chemical call perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is a chemical that does not occur naturally in the environment.
- Stays in the environment for a very long time
- Is found at very low levels both in the environment and in the blood of the general U.S. population (this stuff does NOT belong in our blood!)
- Remains in human bodies for a very long time (= high toxicity load)
- Causes developmental issues, infertility, and Cancer in lab animals.
In 2006, the EPA via the 2010/15 PFOA Stewardship Program, in which companies committed to reduce these kinds of chemicals by 95 percent. They are working to eliminate them by the end of 2015.
2) The Chemicals
When comparing the top 5 brands of microwave popcorn, we find recurring ingredients:
Trans Fats: Partially hydrogenated soybean oil is a usual suspect in the ingredient list of microwave popcorn. It’s a broken, pro-inflammatory fat that will cause inflammation, clog your arteries and give your liver quite a run for its money.
According to the Center for Disease Control, trans fats are linked to 20,000 heart attacks and 7000 deaths annually.
Add in artificial flavors, colors, and other chemicals like the preservative TBHQ (a form of butane linked to cancer and DNA damage in lab animals), and Proply Gallate (another carcinogen) and you have a chemical cocktail unfolding in your GI tract just waiting to cause long-term damage.
3) The Pesticides!
Right now there are no sources of genetically modified popcorn kernels being produced (thank goodness), but there are several other GMO ingredients in the form of oil or emulsifiers to be found in these popcorn flavors (there’s that soybean again, a two for one assault!).
It’s important to note that corn is on the “dirty dozen” list, meaning that it collects its fair share of pesticide chemicals when it’s not organic. Non of the mainstream brands use organic corn so you can be sure they contain harmful pesticides that contribute to the inflammation cascade.
And remember, inflammation is the root of all disease.
Make Your Own!
Do not fall prey to convenience and pay the price in spades with your health when you don’t have to.
It’s less expensive and infinitely more healthful to make your own. And you can do it in 5-7 minutes flat!
It’s really important that we get back to our roots of preparing our food at home.
Here we go:
1 – Add coconut oil and enough popcorn to cover the bottom of the pan when the oil melted
2 – Cover pan and shake on the burner over the heat until you hear popping
3 – Pull pan off heat when you hear the popping begin to slow down considerably (to avoid burning). It will still continue to pop off the heat
4 – Pour into a bowl being careful of hot, still popping kernels
5 – Heat grass-fed butter or ghee – about ¼ of a stick or 4 tablespoons is plenty
6 – Pour heated butter or ghee and pink salt over popcorn to taste
Option two: blend in coconut sugar/cinnamon combo (and maybe a bit of pink salt as well) for a sweet treat.
Option three: Use nutritional yeast (de-activated healthy form of yeast loaded with protein and B vitamins found in the bulk section of the health food store) for a cheesy, non-dairy treat. Option to add cayenne pepper and garlic salt for more savory popcorn.