I'm sure you have seen and maybe done all the latest detoxes or cleanses. What about detoxing more then just your body? Maybe you never thought about what is in your home, that could be hurting your health? It can be overwhelming to think about all the things that you want to change or detox from your home, but time, money, and, understanding can be road blocks to doing the things you really want to do. I want to help you in that journey and give you things that don't cost you anything, and things that do cost if it's something you want to invest in. I always like to start in small steps. Over the last 4-5 years I have been slowing detoxing and changing what I put in my body, on my body, and how I live. It takes time and effort, but don't feel like you have to conquer the world in a day, week, or year. Make changes with the most important things to you, or things you use each day.
I'm starting with the kitchen in this non-toxic living series where I'll be sharing resources and ideas for different areas of your home as well as for your body. Starting with the kitchen is important to me as it's where we spend a lot of our time (besides sleeping in our bedroom) cooking food for family and entertaining. Now it's time to think about the things you use the most in your kitchen.
This is something we all need and it should be a big deal when it comes to choosing your foods. The best foods you can buy are either organic, locally grown, or grown yourself. Making the switch from regular conventional foods takes time, but starting with the foods you eat the most of can help. The reason for locally or organically grown foods is simple. You are getting more nutrient dense foods then you would with conventional, but the biggest thing is that you are avoiding harmful chemicals! You don't want round up, glyphosate, pesticides, and other chemicals on your food. It's harmful to your body. If you are looking to start switching specific food groups to organic, take a look at the EWG database at their dirty dozen list. It lists the top sprayed foods to stay away from as well as other helpful tips. It's very helpful when grocery shopping. You can find it on their website here: https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/.
You will find that organic can be more expensive, however, learn to shop in the fresh food isles ( and vegetable /fruit freezer sections) and you will notice that you won't spend as much on boxed items and processed foods. Even better yet, try going to local farmer markets to support local farmers and get delicious fresh foods!
Depending on how much you use spices, it can be great to switch them to organic as well because they are foods too. You can start with one thing and gradually switch other things like flours, fruits, meats, etc. Don't overwhelm yourself and take one thing at a time. The last thing you want is to get overwhelmed and defeated and not change anything at all. As I got rid of the foods I didn't want anymore, I donated them to friends, family, or a food shelf.
Since we just talked about food, it makes sense to talk about what you keep your cooked food in and what you cook it in. Now there can be a lot of things you can switch, but again, I always start with what you use the most. Here are the things I use on a daily basis: cutting boards, strainers, spatulas, spoons, kettle, and storage containers, and pans. Now don't feel like you have to immediately switch everything, remember, one thing at a time. If I were to pick one thing out of all of these it would be storage containers. Switch your plastic storage containers to only dry goods like flours, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, or extra for your pantry. Don't use it for your hot soups, meats, and cooked foods. The hot temperatures can 'help' the plastic chemicals leech into your food and you don't want that! Regarding the hot temperatures, you don't want to microwave your containers either, even if they say microwavable. You are just adding in plastic compounds into your food that shouldn't be there. So what do you use to store your food and reheat it up again in? Glass store containers or stainless steel containers. I like using glass storage containers to store cooked food in and to warm up for lunch and dinners. They won't leak nasty plastic into your food and they will keep it fresher for longer. You can find variety packs of them at most places like costco, walmart, target, etc. It's a great switch and you can even use them for mixing bowls as well. Dual purposes! Something I also like is using beeswax wraps. These are great for half eaten fruit or veggies or sandwiches! Reusable and 100% toxin free. If you are looking to be able to reuse bags for lunches or snacks, check out these wonderful silicone bags too! They are reusable and washable. https://www.amazon.com/Silicone-Reusable-Containers-Microwave-Vegetables/dp/B07TVKYQP2/ref=sr_1_8?keywords=stasher+bags&qid=1567037259&s=home-garden&sr=1-8
For those of you who want to go to the next steps in detoxing your kitchen or are wanting to improve what you have already done, here are some other good swaps.
Use your oven instead of your microwave! I know how convenient it is reheat your food quick and not waste time or, maybe you have a hungry family member or kid that is screaming for their food and they want it now. It's time to slow down a bit and remember why you are eating the food you are. If it's really nutritious, why "nuke" it and change the molecular structure of the food? Why compromise on fast food vs slow cooked? As I started not using my microwave, it was hard. I realized I had used it for so much. Little by little I was able reheat my food in the oven and it tasted way better! The oven kept my food moist and it didn't dry out. It made it taste like I had just made it instead of nuking it. Plus, it's one less item to have in your kitchen. Now if you have a microwave and you use it a lot, just slowly wean yourself off of it. Take time to sit down and eat. Enjoy each bite and don't feel rushed. Our society makes us feel busy and rushed, and we barely chew our food! It's another way to simplify life. If you need to make a swap, try reheating your food in an air fryer or a toaster oven. These will be a tad bit quicker then an oven.
Cutting Boards & Utensils
When cutting up your chicken and vegetables, think about what you are cutting them on. Using sharp knives on a plastic cutting board can actually get small amounts of plastic into your food. Plastics also contain phthalates and you want to avoid those! Watch out for cutting boards that are made with unnatural finishes as well and choose a untreated natural wood cutting board. They will last a long time if you take care of them and you won't get plastic in your food.
Regarding plastic, plastic utensils don't last as long and they can melt in your pans or into your hot foods. I personally do have some plastic utensils but I try and only use them for only dry foods or unheated foods. When cooking I like to use wood or stainless steel. These will last a long time and you won't have to worry about them melting in your food.
Hot Water Kettle & Colanders
Upgrading your plastic colanders to stainless steel/mesh is a great way to reduce getting plastic in your food. Think about those hot noodles you strain into a plastic colander. News shocker: PLASTIC and HEAT don't mix! Try stainless steel options instead. I also use a BPA free silicone strainer for my berries and only use it for rinsing cold veggies and fruits. It's a process when you have all your kitchen essentials and it feels overwhelming to switch them all. You don't need to do it all at once. Take one thing at a time. I'm even still switching things!
Regarding a hot water kettle, it's great if you can get a glass or stainless steel one. I have both. I use the glass one upstairs in my house on a multiple daily basis and use my stainless steel one downstairs if I have company over. Making the switch to one of these is so helpful because you don't want your boiling hot water to heat up in plastic.
Cooking & Baking Pans
These are definitely a bit more of an investment when you are switching what you cook with. Choose one thing that you use the most and then gradually move on from there. I have ceramic, cast iron, and stainless steel pans I cook with and like them all for different reasons. These will all last a long time. It's time to switch your cooking pots if they are flaking off Teflon (linked to infertility, thyroid disease, organ damage, and developmental problems) or PFOA into your food (those black spots you find in your food that are not black pepper!). They are cheap and are causing your body to be toxic. Choose a healthy and longer lasting option, even if you can't only get a pot or two. It will make a world of a difference. I also bake with glass ware and ceramic ware. I do have some non stick sheet pans that I will eventually trade in for some stoneware or cast iron. If you don't have stoneware, and like me you have non-stick, you can use unbleached parchment paper when you bake or make cookies! This works great and plus it's easy clean up.
Water Bottles & Coffee Mugs
The water you drink is important with what it gets stored in. Stainless steel and glass are your best options. You don't want the harmful effects of estrogen mimicking plastic chemicals in your water. Make a better choice for you and the environment by upgrading. With children, stainless steel is always better with spills and dropping. When you are putting your tea or coffee in something, choose stainless steel, especially with a hot beverage. Stainless steel will also keep them hotter longer!
Amazon sells lots of glass and stainless steel options.
This is just as important or even more important that what you cook with. For your clean up, make sure to use natural and toxin free cleaning supplies. This was one of the first things I ever switched, before I even looked at my cookware, and I'm glad I did. There are so many chemicals in cleaners, much of which are toxic. Fragrances, bleaches, petrochemicals, etc. These are not what you want in a cleaner or around your home. There are so many wonderful options now and you can even make you own. I do a combination of both. I LOVE cleaning with essential oils. They have so many antimicrobial properties and smell amazing. Thieves cleaner from Young Living is also another great option. I use this for almost all my cleaning when I don't have time to make my own. If you don't like making your own, there are many great cleaning supplies out there. Dr. Bronner's, Green shield, MamaSuds, Seventh Generation, Thrive Market cleaners, and Whole foods all purpose cleaner. Otherwise, using baking soda and vinegar with essential oils just about cleans everything!
Other Kitchen Tips
*When making soups that need to be blended, use an immersion blender and not your regular blender. A regular blend is not made for hot soups or sauces. Immersion blenders work just as good and are a much better option.
*If you use plastic straws for drinks, switch to stainless steel or bamboo straws.
*Swap plastic containers for stainless steel with your kids. Bentos boxes or thermos are great options!
*Detox one thing at a time. It won't happen overnight and everyone is at a different stage of detoxing!
I hope you enjoy detoxing your kitchen and have found this article helpful! Remember changing one thing at a time makes a difference. For a safer environment for you, your family, pets, and friends. Be sure to look out for the upcoming detoxing articles I'll be sharing.