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Pan-popping party!

There are so many snacks out there marketed as ‘healthy’ and/or convenient, when they are anything but. They are comprised of artificial chemicals, flavourings or ingredients that have adverse effects on the body. One such ‘snack’ is microwaveable popcorn.

There are two issues with microwaveable popcorn. The first is the use of ‘diacetyl’ found in artificial butter flavouring. Diacetyl has been linked to a rare type of lung disease, ‘bronchiolitis obliterans’, also called "popcorn worker’s lung", because it has been seen primarily in workers at microwave popcorn factories. This disease destroys the lungs..

The second issue is another chemical, ‘PFOA’ (perfluorooctanoic acid, also known as C8), used in the lining of microwave popcorn bags. PFOA is also used to make Teflon and other stain-and stick-resistant materials, including pizza boxes. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified PFOA as a "likely carcinogen", but drew no conclusions as to whether products made with it pose a cancer risk to humans. Animal studies are not looking promising though - four types of tumours have been detected in rats and mice exposed to PFOA.

So chuck out your Butterkist or Orville packs and pop in a pan with your kids. Homemade popcorn takes minutes to prepare, and you avoid exposure to these harmful substances. You can pan pop the kernels and go ‘simple’ with a little salt or sugar & cinnamon (to get the flavourings to stick, either toss the popcorn in a little melted butter in the pan or mist the popcorn lightly with some water). If you prefer savoury to sweet you can toss the popcorn with a little melted butter, fresh rosemary and grated parmesan.

So when we have our movie and popcorn 'party' nights over the weekend we like to be decadent and drizzle melted Lindt orange dark chocolate over the popcorn and then toss them with chopped pecans. Naturally, being the coconut fiend that I am, another favourite is dark chocolate drizzled popcorn sprinkled with coconut flakes or desiccated coconut (for the wintery snow-fallen feel:)

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