Tips for a healthier and eco friendly kitchen
As well as looking at the food we put into our bodies, it's also worth thinking about minimising toxins from our kitchen. There have been many studies showing that your home can be more toxic than your office. Chemicals in our home have been linked to cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and dementia. These can either be directly or by damaging the beneficial bacteria in our gut, which helps to keep us healthy. We are now all much more aware of the terrible impact single use plastic is doing to the environment and also our health. With so many fish now full of plastic - we too are ingesting an awful lot, which is affecting our hormonal health. Luckily there are now plenty of non-toxic alternatives.
Tips for a healthy kitchen
Replace non-stick cookware
Cooking at high temperatures with non-stick cookware can emit toxic chemicals and gasses. Did you know that the toxic fumes released from an overheated non-stick pan can kill a bird in seconds? There are plenty of much safer alternatives – cast iron, stainless steel or the 'Green Pan', which is made from a ceramic non-stick layer made from sand that doesn't release any toxic fumes.
Plastic containers can leach small amounts of chemicals into your food or drink, which you can then consume, particularly if the food is hot when stored or is heated in the microwave. Even products labelled BPA-free can leach a chemical into your bloodstream! There are now plenty of glass and pyrex alternatives to the plastic tupperware container. Also think about replacing your children's plastic drinking bottles with glass or stainless steel. The added benefit of using a stainless steel bottle is that the water stays cooler for longer. Replace lunchboxes with stainless steel options. We particularly like the Mintie collection, which includes stainless steel lunchboxes suitable for adults and children, stainless steel water bottles and little snack boxes. Even better it’s a UK based business - find out more here.
Replace clingfilm with beeswax wraps
We have now been using beeswax wraps as an alternative to clingfilm for the past 2 years and are massive converts. Not only are they better for the environment - but they actually keep the food fresher. When we wrap a leftover avocado half in the beeswax wrap and place in the fridge it’s less likely to develop brown spots. We particular love the ones from The Beeswax Wrap Co, which stick together really well and a bonus is that it is another UK based company. And did you know that when they reach the end of their life you can pop the beeswax wraps onto the compost heap!
Replace toxic cleaners with eco-friendly brands
Analysis by the EWG (Environmental Working Group) found that many common household cleaners contain chemicals that can cause "reproductive problems, exacerbate asthma, burn or irritate your skin and harm the environment. Some have even been linked to cancer." There are now plenty of more eco friendly brands available. Or try making your own with bicarbonate of soda, vinegar and essential oils. I have started using a cleaner with essential oils and it makes my kitchen cleaning much more pleasurable!
Stop using antibacterial soaps
Did you know that using antibacterial soaps is no more effective at reducing germs than ordinary soap and water? The use of antibacterial soaps has been linked to an increase in allergies in that an overly sanitised environment can stop the development of our immune system. Again using essential oil based soaps is a much better alternative.
Use wood or bamboo cutting boards
Studies have found that plastic or glass cutting boards can harbour bacteria so make a switch to a wooden or bamboo board. However also make sure you don't chop your vegetables on the same board you chop raw meat or fish.
EWG's Guide to Healthy Cleaning Available at http://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners#
Sicherer, S. et al. (2012) 'Advances in allergic skin disease, anaphylaxis, and hypersensitivity reactions to foods, drugs, and insects in 2012' Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 131(1) p55-66
Plastic and wooden cutting boards. Available at http://faculty.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/faculty/
Ak, N,Cliver D and Kaspar C. (1994) 'Cutting boards of plastic and wood contaminated experimentally with bacteria' Journal of Food Protection 57 p16-22