There was a time the thought of spending time in the kitchen was almost laughable to me. I had no idea how to cook. In fact, the thought of even trying it terrified me. Then I had kids. And like everything else in my life, that changed everything.
These days I love spending time in my kitchen. I still remember the accomplishment I felt when I cooked my first Thanksgiving dinner for my family. I actually cried. That was the day I came up with my 3 ingredient whipped cream/Icing . Then there was the time I felt brave enough to try making game hens in honor of my Grandmother who had recently died. That was one of her go-to meals when she wanted something special. I feel connected to her every time I make them.
I talk so much about the importance of the food we eat, how it can heal and how it can build health in our bodies, but my purpose today has nothing to do with the food.
What if the very room in which so much of our daily life revolves, the room where we gather with our family, was making you sick? Years ago, when I began I focus on what total health really meant, I realized food isn’t the only important thing in our kitchen.
Here are 5 ways to create a toxin-free kitchen.
Avoid non-stick coatings on cookware and bakeware:
I know. Non-stick cookware sounds like a good idea. As easy as it may be to clean though, it comes at a cost to your health. Some non-stick cookware can expose you to PFC’s which can lead to thyroid disease, reproductive problems and kidney damage. PFC stands for perfluorinated compounds. Basically it is a family of fluorine-containing chemicals that are found in stain- and stick-resistant products. Stainless steel, porcelain coated and cast iron are a better option. Switch to eco-friendly baking products like parchment paper.
Get rid of plastic bowls, containers, utensils, measuring cups:
By now you have probably heard of Bisephonal A or BPA. It is a component of many plastic products that has been linked to prostate cancer, miscarriage, diabetes, heart disease and early onset of puberty. Here’s what you may not know. BPA leaches out of products whether or not the product has been altered. Hot water, the microwave, and sun exposure all cause BPA to leach 55 times faster. Ever used a plastic spoon and noticed it had actually melted when you were cooking? Imagine the toxins you just added to your otherwise healthy dinner. Stainless steel and bamboo are better options for utensils, bowls and measuring cups. Both materials are durable, easy to clean and toxin free. For your leftovers or other food storage I recommend glass containers.
Check your dinnerware:
Some glazed dishware can contain lead. That’s not a side dish you want to ingest! Antique dishware made before 1970 or terra cotta pottery are most likely to contain trace amounts. While you are checking your dinnerware take a good look at your crockpot. Some older models may contain lead. Here are few newer models I recommend.
Find better cleaning solutions:
Many kitchen cleaners have warnings like ‘fatal if inhaled’ or ‘fatal if swallowed’ on the label. That should be a giant red flag to ditch it! Some of the worst offenders are products that contain chlorine or ammonia. Don’t even think about mixing the two. Chlorine and ammonia together create chloramine, a toxic gas that was used as a weapon during World War I. Do you want that in your house?
Here is something else to consider. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that chlorine byproducts (known as dioxins) are 300,000 more times as carcinogenic as the chemical pesticide DDT. How scary is that?
I highly recommend Shaklee Basic H Organic Super Cleaning Concentrate. One 28oz bottle of concentrate makes 214, 28oz bottles of ready-to-use all-purpose cleaner and equates to $.05 per bottle.
According to the Environmental Working Group, some 53 percent of cleaning products contain ingredients known to harm the lungs. About 22 percent contain chemicals reported to cause asthma to develop in otherwise healthy individuals. Check out their site for a list of ingredients you should be avoiding.
If you want to make your own there are a lot of options. I use a recipe from my Healthy Lifestyle Guide.
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 2 cups water
- Juice of one lemon
Mix all ingredients together in a spray bottle. Please note that vinegar is not safe on granite.
Stop using Air Freshener:
The kitchen can have just as many bad smells as good ones! But don’t get rid of that garlic smell or mask the dinner you burned by using air freshener. Many air fresheners contain Formaldehyde, one of the leading causes of indoor air pollution. It causes all sorts of problems from asthma to cancer. Instead, burn a soy candle. If you use a paraffin candle you are actually breathing in petroleum by-products. Natural beeswax or soy candles come in lots of scents to choose from.
You can also boil a little water with cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger and your kitchen will smell better fast! Even better, open the windows! Did you know, the air inside our homes is often more polluted than the air outside?
The old saying is true. The kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where families gather to talk about their day. It’s where kids often do homework. It’s where I make dinner that I hope fuels my families health.
You give so much thought to the ingredients you use in your food that you deserve to look around the rest of your kitchen and make sure it’s as healthy as it can be so you don’t sabotage all the good you are doing.
I encourage you to start today.