The “eat this, not that” series is a pretty common one for food, but food isn’t the only thing that we need to pay attention to when living a healthy life. What about the household items that we tend to use on a daily basis? When was that last time you thought about how healthy your cookware was?
Today’s post, “use this, not that”, will help you identify some of the items around your home that you may want to consider replacing next time you’re shopping for them.
Use This, Not That: Household Items
1 | Parchment Paper instead of Aluminium Foil
I only removed aluminium foil from my kitchen recently. Everyone talks about aluminium being toxic to the human body, which is why natural deodorants are so popular. It’s also why people generally stay away from aluminium cookware. But for whatever reason, I didn’t even think about the implications of covering my baking sheets with aluminium when roasting veggies or fish.
When cooked at high temperatures, aluminium can leech into our foods, causing a build-up of this toxic heavy metal. Toxic levels of aluminium can affect the central nervous system and the brain, and have the potential to cause certain neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s – and evidence continues to grow to support this claim. Aluminium occurs naturally in soil and in our foods, but it has no biological purpose in the human body. Knowing the potential dangers associated with high levels of aluminium, I’m comfortable saying goodbye to aluminium foil, and welcoming parchment paper into my life for easy baking clean-ups.
2 | Cast-Iron or Stainless Steel skillets instead of Non-Stick pans
I’ve researched this one quite a bit for a recent paper and have written a more extensive blog post here. Non-stick pans are coated in something called “polytetrafluoroetheylene” (PTFE), which is the chemical name for Teflon.
When cooked at high temperatures, the PTFE creates toxic fumes that have actually killed pet birds, and can cause symptoms in humans of something called the “Teflon-flu”. PTFE is part of a larger group of chemicals from the Perfluorochemicals (PFCs) family. PFCs have been found in nearly every single American, and the risks associated with PFCs include elevated cholesterol, abnormal thyroid hormone levels, liver inflammation and weakened immune system.
Instead, try cast-iron pans. They are a little more work (to keep them properly seasoned), but don’t contain these nasty chemicals. Just don’t use cast-iron all of the time, since iron build-up in the body can also be toxic. Alternate between cast iron and stainless steel skillets. Ceramic skillets are another option (not ceramic-coated).
3 | Containers instead of Ziplock baggies
And I don’t mean plastic containers. The whole idea of getting away from Ziplock baggies is to get away from plastics touching your food (not to mention the positive environmental impact!). A recent study in Environmental Health Perspective looked at 455 commercially available plastic products, and concluded that almost all leached chemicals with estrogenic activity. What are estrogenic chemicals? They block or mimic the estrogen hormone, causing an imbalance in the body which can lead to a whole whack of health issues (including breast cancer).
Instead, opt for glass storage containers or mason jars. You can also find stainless steel containers that work great for lunches and snacks. Or better yet – why not make cloth bags that can we washed and reused?
So… What needs replacing in your kitchen?