Making your Kitchen Toxin-Free
MAKING YOUR KITCHEN TOXIN-FREE
3 Simple Steps to Make Your Kitchen Toxin-Free
You may put a lot of time and energy into preparing healthy food for yourself or family, with little notice to what types of toxins can leach onto your plate in the process. This can be caused by a number of things, but the good news is that they are avoidable. Here are 3 simple steps for reducing your exposure to toxins in your kitchen:
Rethink Your Cookware
The appeal of non-stick pans is fully understandable, however, the coating to keep food from sticking can purge chemicals into food and pose many health risks. Non-stick pans are coated with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) that emit carcinogenic gases when heated at high temperatures, absorbing into food and transmitting through the air. The health risks associated can cause an imbalance of your body’s hormones as well as high risk for cancer. Some safer alternatives include:
Enamel-Coated Cast Iron: Regular cast irons have been shown to emit excessive amounts of iron into food when heated. Enamel-coated cast irons are made with a glass coating. This is one of the safest options for cookware, especially when cooking acidic foods, like tomato sauce.
Glass: Glass is one of the safest materials to use in your kitchen. Glass cookware is incapable of handling extreme changes in temperature and will break, so use with caution! Read the manufacturer’s instructions to find out if their particular cookware can be used on the stove.
Lead-Free Ceramic: Lead-free ceramic cookware is another safe and healthy option. Similar to glass, ceramic will break if exposed to extreme temperature changes. Read manufacturer guidelines to know if their cookware is for stovetop or oven cooking methods.
Stainless Steel: Stainless steel is made out of a combination of metals, including chromium, nickel, and manganese. Purchasing high-quality steel pans are important because it provides a cooking surface that actively resist the heat to help avoid materials flaking into food, as opposed to lower-quality steel pans.
Avoid High Heat and Smoke
Grilling, barbequing, and smoking are all high heat forms of cooking that create compounds called heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These carcinogenic gasses become concentrated in the smoke that’s formed, and leach into food and the environment. Cooking with gas appliances on high heat can pose risks of emitting mixtures of hazardous chemicals such as nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and formaldehyde. According to multiple studies, these pollutants are usually less diluted within kitchens because of improper ventilation. Reduce your exposure significantly by avoiding cooking food over an open flame, on extremely high heat, and cut away charred portions of food. Utilize your ventilation system in your home if your kitchen is equipped, or open a window to allow air flow and distribution. The best and safest method to cook food is steaming! Water boils at a safer temperature and transforms into steam that conveys an even lower heat, shielding you and your food from toxic gasses.
Abandon Toxic Tupperware
Tupperware and plastic containers are common items used in just about every kitchen that are especially useful for storing left-overs to bring to work/school. However, most plastic-based containers are riddled with phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA), two chemicals with the potential to leak into your food. Exposure has been shown to cause long term effects like endocrine disruption and can impact brain development as well. Because problematic chemicals aren’t well regulated in our food and consumer products, ‘BPA-free’ products often contain replacement chemicals that can be just as toxic. Storing food in safer materials like glass, wood, ceramic, and stainless steel will make a dramatic impact in protecting your health from toxins.