Steps to a healthier kitchen.
Environmental toxins are a big hazard. In most Indian homes we do not pay much attention to them, you should know that they trigger estrogen-mimicking compounds that can throw off your own hormonal rhythms. It’s good to be aware what these products are, and also look out for alternatives for making a healthier kitchen.
When I look at my kitchen, I look at all the cleansers I use to clean my kitchen countertops, detergents I use to wash my dishes, storage containers I use to store my produce and leftovers. Anything that is non-toxic, corrosive, and that would be a carcinogen I threw out long time back. As far as food is concerned, I try to stick to organic as far as possible (of course in the Indian context this may not be possible to apply it with the domestic-help that works for you as well, as it will throw off you household budget); but maybe you can make that choice for yourself. It’s actually really simple and just questioning the ‘ground-level’ stuff you are using, then one-by-one eliminating stuff. Our Indian scenario offers us very little in terms of alternatives, but we are getting there.
- Choose organic foods over non-organic: As mentioned, this is a budgetary-choice, and made for the entire household. Indian families are sometimes joint and not nuclear, so you need to look at bringing in organic foods from that lens. Having said that, ensuring you do indulge in organic dry goods and vegetables, will keep the poisons at bay, and are magic pills you are taking to ‘prevent’ something from happening to you in the future. I would layer it, first look at all the dried goods like whole grains, lentils, spices; then look at your vegetables and fruits.
- Clean out sugars/sugar alcohols, stuff with high-fructose-corn-syrup, packaged and processed foods: I keep mentioning these as ‘trigger’ foods. Anything packaged will have some amount of stuff to increase its shelf-life; you need to work with cleaner products to make good blood condition. Cleaning your kitchen is ultimately about cleaning yourself as well.
- Choose the right storage containers: We all know about plastic, and BPAs (bisephenols). These are the worst compounds you an expose yourself to, bisephenol is an industrial chemical that has been used in plastic (certain plastics). Basically, most plastic storage containers have them in India. This is why there has been a huge drive to remove plastic bags in Mumbai city recently. BPA will seep into your food and water over time. They do have potential dangerous and seriously damaging effects on the brain, prostate gland in men, pregnant women, children and adults in general. The way to avoid them is to stop using: plastic, read labels and identify if your products are BPA-free, then switch to alternatives like: glass, stainless steel, or cast iron. Make sure the lids on your storage containers are BPA-free (this is what you are getting in the Indian market [most of them are plastic lids], the bottom maybe glass; but the containers still use a kind-of plastic to seal the container). Replace all your spoons/spatulas which are plastic.
- Replace all cleaning solvents: By this I mean everything you use in your kitchen diluted with water to clean your kitchen counter-top or floors, these aid in removing grease, oil, and other contaminants. Mostly all of them that you are using have chemicals. For e.g., Domex cleaner is a solvent. Most of these are harmful, and have xenohormones, substances in nature that mimics the hormones. All solvents are volatile liquids at room temperature (that’s why most of the say ‘inflammable’ on their bottles). They enter the bloodstream through the skin, and they accumulate in liphic-rich tissues such as the brain (depressing the Central Nervous System-CNS), myelin (nerve sheath), fat tissues and in combination or separately have devastating effects and wreak havoc in your body. Some industries that are famous for using solvents are: the automobile industry, paint and polishing, electronics, dry-cleaning, metal-parts and many others.
So, take this seriously, and change to more eco-friendly products. Happy re-organizing!