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When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, many people underestimate the importance of ensuring that their home is a healthy place. Rather than focusing strictly on diet and exercise, it is important to focus on all aspects of daily living. The first step to a healthy lifestyle should be converting your home into a healthy place.
Generally, the most important place to start is in the kitchen. While the kitchen is the place that houses the food that will nourish your body, it also houses most of the toxic chemicals and other unhealthy items that could interfere with your quest for better health.
Food contamination, corrosive materials, irritants, carcinogens, hormones and antibiotics in food, pesticides on fruits and vegetables…the list of potential kitchen hazards goes on and on. Taking the steps necessary to make your kitchen a healthier place can be overwhelming.
To make it easier, start with one aspect at a time.
Try focusing first on creating a toxin-free living space, then moving on to replacing unhealthy foods and cooking ingredients with healthier alternatives. By taking small steps and going back to the basics, you can give your kitchen a healthy makeover one step at a time.
Replace Non-Stick Pans
Non-stick pans are coated with material that releases harmful fumes containing PFC’s when the lining is heated. PCF’s, or perfluorocarbons, can cause liver damage and are linked to developmental problems. Cast iron, aluminum and stainless steel cookware is a safer alternative to non-stick pans.
Even if you opt for the green non-stick cookware, be sure to replace metal utensils with wooden utensils, as they will not scratch the surface of the cookware. When the surface is scratched, pieces of the lining can flake off and get into your food.
Eliminate Unsafe Plastic Containers
Many plastic containers contain dangerous chemicals that can cause a host of unhealthy effects on the body. The most commonly used and most dangerous of which is BPA, or bisphenol A. BPA is known to interfere with hormones and disrupt the endocrine system, and has been linked to the development of breast and prostate cancer.
It is also associated with infertility, diabetes and heart disease. Not all plastic storage containers contain BPA, but those that do can leech the dangerous chemicals into your food. A simple way to check the safety of your plastic containers is to check for recycling code “7”, which indicated that they are safe. Many manufacturers now label their containers as BPA-free. Another option is to replace all plastic containers with glass storage containers.
Use Safer Detergents
Many dish soaps and dishwasher detergents are loaded with toxic chemicals. Although the majority of these chemicals are washed off when the dishes are rinsed, many of them can leave a residue on the dishes. That residue can leech into foods, especially hot foods. Try replacing commercial soaps and detergents with DIY detergents or chemical-free alternatives. If you opt for store-bought, chemical-free dishwasher detergents and find that your dishes have a cloudy residue, try using some vinegar in the rinse compartment.
Use Safe Cleaning Products
When you clean your kitchen with products that contain harsh chemicals, endocrine-disrupting phthalates and other dangerous toxins, you expose your food to those harmful ingredients. Eliminate this risk by switching to natural cleaners, such as a DIY mixture of white vinegar, water, baking soda and lemon juice. There are also a variety of natural cleaning products on the market if you prefer not to make your own.