5 tips for a healthier 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.
5 tips for a healthy kitchen
1. 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.
2. Replace plastic
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 alternatives to the plastic tupperware container. Also think about replacing your children's plastic drinking bottles with glass or stainless steel. The added benefits of using a stainless steel bottle are that the water stays cooler for longer.
3. 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!
4. Stop using antibacterial soaps
Did you know that using antibacterial soaps is no more effective as 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.
5. 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