Interesting discovery on my road to dealing with chronic migraines.
I cut out everything in my life at one point. Processed meats, chocolate, fragrances, soda to name a few. The migraines would still pop up. I tried yoga, exercising, and tried to not stress. I took preventive measures in the form of medication and supplements and kept journals to see when they would strike (weather, hormones, etc.). Nothing seemed to work. More symptoms would pop up. Forgetfulness, fatigue, chronic pain, headaches (aside from the migraines themselves), tingling in the head, etc. I started (and still do) thinking that this was life. Just a never ending day of pain. I can’t even tell you how depressing that day was. At a mere 34 to envision a life of pain. Not a pretty picture. I can’t tell you how much money I spent on tests, medication, days missed from work, over the counter remedies, homeopathic ones, witch doctors, whatever would promise some relief. Nothing.
One day a few weeks ago I was reading an article about the poison in your home brewing system, specifically Keurig. In this article, this woman wrote about mold growing in the water reserve, claiming that you can’t properly drain it. I shrugged it aside, what is a little mold between friends anyway? The article, however, didn’t leave me. I did more research on mold growing in coffee makers, and as I started down that rabbit hole, I came across something else disturbing that has nothing to do with the maker itself, but the pods we use to make the coffee. Not only are they not recyclable – and all sitting in some landfill right now, they contain #7 plastic. “Oh what Mindy? What is #7 plastic?” I’m going to tell you. Or should I say, Eartheasy blog will tell you.
plastic baby bottlesThe #7 category was designed as a catch-all for polycarbonate (PC) and “other” plastics, so reuse and recycling protocols are not standardized within this category. Of primary concern with #7 plastics, however, is the potential for chemical leaching into food or drink products packaged in polycarbonate containers made using BPA (Bisphenol A). BPA is a xenoestrogen, a known endocrine disruptor.
Number 7 plastics are used to make baby bottles, sippy cups, water cooler bottles and car parts. BPA is found in polycarbonate plastic food containers often marked on the bottom with the letters “PC” by the recycling label #7. Some polycarbonate water bottles are marketed as ‘non-leaching’ for minimizing plastic taste or odor, however there is still a possibility that trace amounts of BPA will migrate from these containers, particularly if used to heat liquids.
A new generation of compostable plastics, made from bio-based polymers like corn starch, is being developed to replace polycarbonates. These are also included in category #7, which can be confusing to the consumer. These compostable plastics have the initials “PLA” on the bottom near the recycling symbol. Some may also say “Compostable.”
#7 plastics are not for reuse, unless they have the PLA compostable coding. When possible it is best to avoid #7 plastics, especially for children’s food. Plastics with the recycling labels #1, #2 and #4 on the bottom are safer choices and do not contain BPA. PLA coded plastics should be thrown in the compost and not the recycle bin since PLA compostable plastics are not recyclable.
The plastics industry has conformed to regulations by applying the required codes to consumer products, but it is up to individuals to read and understand the codes. BY understanding these simple classifications, we can best use plastics to our advantage while minimizing the health and disposal issues that may otherwise arise.
So you see it is a catch all for all the plastic that doesn’t fall into the other ones. I will bring your attention to: Some polycarbonate water bottles are marketed as ‘non-leaching’ for minimizing plastic taste or odor, however there is still a possibility that trace amounts of BPA will migrate from these containers, particularly if used to heat liquids.
“To Heat liquids”…like say for example a K-Cup coffee or Tea? Hmm. So I dig further down the rabbit hole. Even though Keruig says that their products are BPA free, there are still trace amounts of other plastics and chemicals. Chemicals that we aren’t sure what long term or even short term effects are. One of them is: styrene, which according to webmd can cause damage to the nervous system. Say what now?!
Damage to the nervous systems can include:
· Persistent or sudden onset of a headache.
· A headache that changes or is different.
· Loss of feeling or tingling.
· Weakness or loss of muscle strength.
· Sudden loss of sight or double vision.
· Memory loss.
· Impaired mental ability.
· Lack of coordination.
I bring you to exhibit a, b, c, d, sometimes e and f. Oh my gosh. Now of course you can’t say that this is the cause of all your problems. Of course not. That takes years of study and testing and goodness knows what else. We would have to have other people involved in the study, control groups…However, you can personally stop drinking the k-cup and see what happens for a few weeks.
And I did. Know what happened? The migraines stopped. I still have headaches, sure, but I haven’t had to take my migraine medication in two weeks. That is the longest I have gone without a migraine in years. I went from having a least a migraine a week to none. Tell me that doesn’t have something to do with the k-cups. Now, obviously I will have to continue this, do more research and keep tracking my headaches and migraines, but if they don’t come back with the same intensity, then I am blaming the k-cups and their plastic and urging people to stop using them .
There are other alternatives to the little k-cup pods we are all so used to seeing and using. Companies like Wide Awake or San Francisco Bay coffee make a mesh filter so you aren’t getting the plastic, then there is good old home brewed coffee. I know, I know it isn’t as convenient – I get that. But if it does come out that even a few of my problems stemmed from drinking k-cups, what else could it be doing? What are the long term effects? If they can cause headaches and memory loss, what will happen after years and years of this? I don’t think that is risk anyone should take.
I will keep you all posted on how many migraine free days I have.
*Of course every single person is different. Just because this may or may not help me, doesn’t mean it will help you. Just because this may or may not effect me it might not for you. Half my office uses K-cups and so far as I know, none of them are suffering migraines weekly.
** After writing this blog – I had a migraine! As with most of them it lasted a few days. I am still continuing on not using the pod and have actually taken to bring coffee from home. (I mean I was just POURING awesome coffee down the drain). I have this awesome thermal mug, I pour my coffee in it and doctor it up at work. Perfect. I again will keep you posted.
This is a hilarious article about suffering migraines – I mean you have to laugh otherwise you will go crazy.