I remember it well: scanning the kitchen, realizing that many items needed to be replaced, getting overwhelmed and then laying on the couch for a nap instead. Replacing toxic items throughout the house can be quite the project, but it does not have to be! In this article, you will find some realistic and inexpensive ways to reduce the toxic load in your kitchen.
First, I recommend re-reading my past article on replacing non-stick cookware with safer alternatives. For those of us with the means to replace cookware, this is a great place to start. As with every safer replacement I recommend, it is always best to start with the product you use the most. Are you cooking with a saute pan every day? Replace that pan with a safer option first, then move on to the next one. Every little change adds up!
What other items need to be replaced in the kitchen? One of the biggest issues we face in kitchen products is found in plastics, namely bisphenol A (BPAs). BPAs are linked to cancer, infertility, nervous system disorders, cardiovascular abnormalities, obesity and more. These chemicals are toxic, and while most companies are purposefully utilizing alternatives, often those are not ideal options either. When plastics are used in cooking and food storage, the chemicals can leach into the food before being consumed and absorbed by our bodies.
The good news is we can take back control, and the options are not nearly as overwhelming as they once were. Here are five ways to reduce the amount of plastic used in your kitchen:
1. Silicone storage bags. Single-use plastic storage bags are a terrible option for environmental welfare. (Did you know it takes 1,000 years for a plastic bag to degrade in a landfill?) Reusable silicone storage bags, like Stasher Bag, not only reduce the toxic load in your home and body, but reduce the toxic burden for the planet as well.
2. Utilize glass storage containers in lieu of plastic ones. I held off on this one for a while because I was not sure how to replace my plastic containers with glass economically. Good news, though! This glass food storage set from Sam’s is an incredible deal, and I’m happy to announce they hold up incredibly well. Bonus? You can bake in them, too.
3. Toss the plastic drinking cups for you and your kids. Truthfully this was the hardest for me when my kids were younger because we lost cups constantly. However, plastics can unleash a host of endocrine issues, so for me it was worth the switch. Look for metal insulated cups with silicone straws (if using a straw).
4. Wash your fruit and veggies and store them in plastic-free storage containers. As I mentioned before, chemicals from plastics can leach into food before we consume it. Wash your produce in a glass bowl with a lot of water and a big glug of apple cider vinegar for 10 minutes. Not only will your produce last longer, but you’ll also know that it’s safe to eat as well.
5. Buy in bulk and store in glass. Pantry staples like pasta, rice, beans, grains, flours and more can all be purchased in bulk and then stored easily in glass jars. Not only does it make your pantry more aesthetically pleasing, but you’ll also be saving the planet from a significant amount of single-use plastic and your body from the same.
In truth, we are surrounded, more than we know, by plastic. My biggest piece of advice is always to make safer switches one item at a time. These five quick changes are easy to make and inexpensive as well. For those of you looking to detox your home, just make small changes and your sanity will thank you!
Heather Disarro is the author and creator of Heather’s Dish, a clean beauty educator, a health coach, and social media boss. She loves spending time with her family doing almost anything outdoors, eating great food, reading, and enjoying everything Arkansas has to offer.