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December 06, 2011



I worked in day care summers through college, over 20 years ago, in the two-year-old room. LOTS of tantrums, mostly because the kids had ideas and emotions they could not communicate verbally yet. Wholehearted agreement on the solution. We were told to corral the screamer in a quiet corner where s/he could not hurt self or others, but otherwise ignore the behavior (or wait quietly) until s/he calmed down. Then offer comfort/ assistance with self-expression. If you don't feed the fire, it does go out. Applies to parents steaming into parent-teacher conferences to stew about perfect angel-babies not getting As, spouses needing to vent, and friends suffering through relationship problems.
I semi-ignore the BPA issue, changing what is reasonable and not worrying about what I cannot afford to change yet. Since we eat a low-sodium, plant-based diet, we don't consume many canned goods anyway. I cook my beans from dried ones. Most veggies are fresh or frozen. I re-heat everything in Pyrex. But I do use canned tomato products, as I did not get to can my own this year.
When we go to the theater, it is generally after a meal. We don't eat or drink anything. We use poor man's microwave popcorn (put cheap bagged corn in paper sack, fold sack over, pop) at home when we get the craving for it.

The Healthy Librarian

Mitzi, you always have something valuable to share! Glad you chimed in.

I appreciate hearing that this technique worked in a daycare situation--and that you "get" my comparison about treating adults who need to vent, exactly how we should treat toddlers.

Would like to get in the habit of cooking my own beans--but, I usually rely on canned beans--except for lentils.

I, too, heat only in Pyrex when I microwave--and never put plastic stuff in the dishwasher.



Yes, we take our popcorn to the movies and have for several years. When I told my daughter we did that she said it sounded like such a senior citizen thing to do! Well!

I pop mine in the microwave in a paper bag with no oil. But maybe I should get an air popper so I can spray and flavor it. The salt and nooch don’t stick and it is dry.

You’re right, we wouldn’t be eating the theatre popcorn anyway because of the fat. And it is so expensive--$10 for popcorn and pop. Glad to hear we aren’t the only ones.

Hope the theatres don’t catch on or we’ll have to go through security to get in. Ha!


Did you see this one? I know it is not new news to any of us, but waht is significant is that this made headline news in the UK, which is a real increase in the prominence given to this kind of thing (other than tobacco, where there has been a clear campaign for years). This is what progress looks like!


My take on sneaking-taking your own popcorn into the theatre is that it's not unethical. What IS unethical is legal drug dealers selling cigarettes to people knowing that they will want more and that it is killing them, and legal movie theaters selling obvious heart attack food to movie patrons for a buck, just because they will like it and want more, further taking away their healthy body long-term. I would consider their selling it slightly less unethical if it came with a warning label, similar to cigarettes.

Dr. E could probably say it better.

As you point out, you are not taking a sale away from them.


Thanks for the interesting blog on a wide range of topics today. My 22 month old grandson has his share of tantrums so I'll see what my daughter thinks of the NPR story. (Just skyped with her and she disagrees in their situation as my grandson's tantrums do not fade away even if no one says anything. He is one intense little guy, though. What works for them is picking him up and nursing - yay for breastfeeding :)

I really appreciate the advice for non-BPA cans as it has been a concern of mine and without WF or TJ's, it's a little hard to find the safe products here. Muir Glen is one brand I can find but it is pricey! I hope they all follow suit soon.

As far as movie popcorn, I just do without any popcorn as I am uncomfortable breaking rules. Also munching and watching a movie does not support one in stopping when full, I have found. At home we eat plain air-popped popcorn. At first I thought it tasted like cardboard, but over time I have become used to it and appreciate the plain taste. Might try the spritzing with water and sprinkling nutritional yeast on it, though :)

Thanks again for discussing such intriguing topics!


As far as bringing in my own popcorn goes, it doesn't apply to me because on the very few occasions when I attend the movies, I don't eat or drink anything.

I always found that ignoring the tantrum put out the 'fire' more quickly and discouraged repeat tantrums. Also, it's important to recognize the signs of the tantrum coming on before it's full blown and diffusing the situation in some way, possibly through distraction (works for 2 year olds, anyway).

Cynthia White

I have nothing to say about movie popcorn. I usually wait until a movie comes on pay-per-view when I can enjoy it at home with a nice glass of wine and some fruit. But I do have something to say about BPA. I only buy Eden Organic cans now. If what I want isn't available, I buy dried beans, for example, soak them ovenight, or I buy fresh tomatoes, macerate them a bit, etc. My huge life changer was to buy a Brita water bottle. I drink so much more water now than ever before. Other than morning coffee and afternoon tea, I am just guzzling water all the time. In fact, I feel so great that I am giving all the kids Brita bottles for Christmas!
Ps - I love your blog and all the information you pack into it every time. Thanks as always.


I live in Olympia, WA and we have an old theater that is now the Olympia Film Society, playing films that don't make the big theaters, foreign films, and documentaries. They make their popcorn plain, allowing you to salt your own if you wish. So what do people do? They bring their own melted butter! Nobody cares, even if they do bring their own popcorn. It's a pretty casual crowd.


I'm definitely concerned about BPA in cans, but I still use canned tomatoes because I haven't been able to find no-BPA versions in the smallish city where I live in Atlantic Canada (no Trader Joes, no Whole Foods). The only jarred and tetra pak tomatoes where I shop are tomato sauce (marinara), not plain tomatoes. I use Eden Organic canned beans, but Eden Organic's canned tomatoes do not have a BPA-free lining. According to their website: "Eden Organic Tomatoes are packed in steel cans coated with a baked on r-enamel lining. Due to the acidity of tomatoes, the lining is epoxy based and may contain a minute amount of bisphenol-A, it is however in the 'non detectable' range according to independent laboratory extraction tests. The test was based on a detection level at 5 ppb (parts per billion)." That's the best I can do for now, but I'm always on the lookout for other options.


With all the information about BPA you would think more companies would manufacture BPA free cans. I try to stick mainly with Eden, but on occasion I have gone with the more conventional brands, knowing they are not BPA free. Thrilled to learn that Muir Glen is concerned about consumer health and revamping some of their products to include BPA free canned tomatoes. Coincidentally, I have a can in my pantry, which expires March 2013. Hopefully, I'll hit the jackpot and find an orange liner!!!

Love the popcorn story.I freely admit to "sneaking" in popcorn, as well as other healthy bites, into the theater. Can't wait to try spraying the popcorn with water then sprinkling on the nutritional yeast. I always assumed I would end up with soggy popcorn.


I am trying to make the switch from canned to dried beans but I think I need to purchase a pressure cooker to ease the transition. I do sometimes put dried beans (after soaking overnight) in my crockpot in the morning but some beans, such as garbanzo beans, have a strong smell that my husband does not like. Using a pressure cooker would reduce the time to cook the beans as well as limit the time that the smell permeates througout the house ...fresh ones taste so much better. But I know enough people who have had pressure cooker accidents that I'm somewhat intimidated in trying them. Do you have any that you would recommend?

Jennifer Tsen

Glad to hear that Muir Glen is coming out with BPA free tomatoes. Between their tomatoes and Eden's bean, I think I'm set.
It's worth mentioning that a lot of lids for glass jars (including home canning lids) have BPA in the white lining.

Jackie Smith

Muir Glen are expensive--so when they go on sale, I stock up like crazy on every variety (but especially the no-salt-added diced). Then I have enough until the next sale.


I'd say that the rule about movie popcorn is unethical because it infringes on my freedom to put healthy things in my body. And as a child of the 60s, I know what to do about unethical rules! I suppose one could say that if I buy a ticket and enter into their establishment I'm agreeing to their terms.......Nah. What if I'm a diabetic, say, and need to eat something so my blood sugar won't plummet, but nothing they offer is good for my condition? They probably wouldn't object then. I don't think our position is that far off. Besides, it's so pleasant to be counter-cultural in a positive way!


l) I work with the public. Grown-ups have tantrums and melt downs all the time. I agree that the best way to respond is to wait it out and say as little as possible.

2) I am concerned about BPA in cans.

3) It is ethical to bring food into the theatre. The fact that the theatre would rather charge you for food in addition to charging you for attending the movie is their problem, not yours. They are not entitled to do so. You are perfectly within your rights to bring in your own snacks and treats. Having said that, I make a habit of not eating at movies. The movie should be good enough so that the experience is complete without snacking.


Can anyone recommend a good hot air popper? The Toastess one we use takes a long time and doesn't pop all the kernels. I've tried using the microwave and a glass dish but the results are even worse.


Loved the blog today...I, too, saw the "7 Foods Experts Won't Eat" article. I generally really enjoy getting new information that pertains to improving my health. Sometimes, however, I just groan, "Another item I can't eat anymore!" If it's not the emotional attachment (and sheer love of the flavor - like peanut butter, I absolutely love the stuff - and it was so hard to get over the fact that if I wanted to be healthy I would have to give it up) then it's the issue of finding a replacement and/or the cost of the replacement. Right now I'm wondering what I'm going to do with all of those cans of pumpkin I bought (for my steel cut oats breakfast - it's the kids' favorite) and where do I find ones where the cans are BPA-free? And, boy oh boy, we go through a LOT of canned black beans. This is definitely going to make things more difficult. Anybody relate?

The Healthy Librarian

@ Heidi: My trusty hot-air popper is a Presto---it's an Orville Renenbacher Model--but, all Presto hot-air poppers are the same. It's cheap--get it at Bed Bath & Beyond with a coupon.

@Chell: Re cans--my philosophy is to do the best I can (no pun intended). I continued to buy canned tomatoes before I found out about Muir Glen--and I continue to buy pumpkin for oatmeal. If I was planning to get pregnant--or was pregnant--I'd avoid all BPA. One thought about the pumpkin is to buy frozen pumpkin or squash. No BPA there. Beans & tomatoes are biggest canned purchases--most everything else is fresh, frozen, or comes in a jar. For anyone eating tuna or salmon---Vital CHoice (very expensive) uses BPA-free cans.

@Chell: I know exactly how you feel about all these,"Avoid this, avoid that" stuff. I kind of pick the stuff I concentrate on--and remember what Dr. Lou Guillette, the Distinguished Professor of Zoology at University of Florida who as the first to discover BPA leaching into our water from plastics: "Don't despair, our livers are designed to filter toxic chemicals."


I gave up canned beans over a year ago and now cook dried beans. The canned tomatoes have been harder to give up. But I'm surprised at the enthusiasm for the new type of Muir Glen liner. Who's to say that this new material is any safer than the BPA? I wish we could go back to plain old cans. It takes quite a while before that corrosion sets in.

The Healthy Librarian

@Nina: Well said. Bottom line, we don't know what's in the new liner, but I'm assuming Muir Glen did their due diligence before making such a major switch, & an organic food company pays attention to chemicals. Why can't we just go back to old-fashioned cans? Probably to improve shelf-life & the quality of the product.

Michelle NZ fan

I try to minimise BPA exposure in my family by avoiding canned tomatoes, but continue to buy baked beans for the convenience. Unfortunately it is not possible to buy non-BPA lined cans in New Zealand at present.

The Healthy Librarian

@Michelle NZ: Sounds like a reasonable plan. The tomatoes absorb more BPA than beans. I bet one of these days soon BPA will be banned from all cans. I can hope!

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