Reusable kitchen supplies that are good for you, good for our planet, and will save you money. Consider these planet friendly gifts this holiday season.
I have spent years trying to detoxify my house and trying to teach my patients to do the same. We clean up our diets, our cosmetics, and our cleaning supplies, only to realize that our kitchen supplies are full of toxins. Plastics, Teflon, melamine, aluminum, phthalates, and other toxins are leaching into our food and into our bodies. We have to be knowledgeable about what is in ALL of our products.
Avoiding toxins for our health is of utmost importance, as we know that every day exposure to these chemicals plays a role in our health. Chemicals found in our everyday products are linked to hormone disruption, neurological dysfunction, immune system dysregulation, digestive disorders, and cancer.
We are also responsible for the tremendous amount of waste we produce and we are seeing the detrimental effects this has on our environment.
Luckily, we can avoid toxins, protect our planet by eliminating waste, and even save some money, by replacing some of our kitchen items with non-toxic, reusable alternatives. Just in time for gift-giving season, treat yourself and your loved ones to safer, more responsible products.
Non-Toxic Reusable Food Storage
These baggies keep your food fresh, won’t leak, and are freezer safe. They can easily be washed by hand or put in the dishwasher. You don’t have to throw them away! They come in a variety of sizes and colors.
Instead of ripping off a plastic bag at the store for each produce item you buy, bring your own from home! These bags will contain your produce in your cart and actually keep your food fresher than plastic bags, because there is air circulation that prevents your food from getting slimy.
Hopefully by now we all bring our own reusable bags to the grocery store. But if not, these are a must to purchase.
Plastic wrap is so wasteful, and it doesn’t even stick that well. A great alternative is this beeswax wrap that sticks tightly to your bowls and is washable so you can use it again and again.
Storing and reheating your food in plastic containers is a recipe for toxicity. Plastic, even BPA-free plastics, are a source of toxic chemicals, made worse by heating in the microwave, or even by putting hot food into them. Petrochemicals are dangerous to us, and also to our environment. Instead, use glass or stainless-steel containers to store leftovers and to take meals for on the go.
You can replace your tin foil and parchment paper with a silicone pan cover that protects your pans and eliminates the waste. It takes a wash in the sink or dishwasher but keeps your trash can free from unnecessary waste. Silicone is also completely inert, even when heated, so it is non-toxic for you.
Pots and Pans
One of the tragedies of cooking is the fact that Teflon, made with a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is a human carcinogen. While it is considered inert at room temperature, heating it emits fumes that are toxic enough to kill birds. Overheating non-stick pans and any scratching or chipping of the materials can cause these chemicals to be released. A much safer alternative is stainless steel, cast iron, or enameled cast iron. The same principal applies to cooking and serving utensils. Change out all your plastic and non-stick with stainless steel, glass, wood, or silicone options.
Try reusable straws. The latest environmental nightmare is the discovery of plastic straws littering the ocean and killing animals. If you must use a straw, try washable silicon or glass straws instead.
One of the greatest conveniences of our day is the K-Cup; no more dealing with grinding coffee or boiling water! However, these K-Cups are both BPA plastic (heated with boiling water making the health risk even higher!) and wasteful. Every cup of coffee you make contributes to dumping more plastic into landfills. If you are just too busy to make yourself a French Press cup of coffee, at the very least use a reusable K-Cup that you can fill with grounds yourself.
My favorite cup of coffee is a French Press with freshly ground beans. A glass and stainless-steel option is the best.
I have found myself reaching for the paper towels for a quick pick up only to realize I end up filling the trash can with paper. Using rags and reusable, washable cloths is a much better option.
I hope you take some, or all, of my suggestions for refitting your kitchen with non-toxic and planet friendly items. Let’s all work together to drive the chemicals out of our environment by voting with our dollars and using products that are truly safe for human use. I will refer you once again to the Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org) for more detailed reports on these and other human and planet safe products.