When it comes to health, there’s really no denying that what goes on in the kitchen plays a critical role. The kitchen is where we have the opportunity to prepare nutritious and delicious meals to nourish our bodies.
Likewise, the kitchen can be full of potential health hazards. And I’m not just talking about that bag of Cheetos.
As we gear up for the new year, you might find that a kitchen makeover is in order – not necessarily the kind of makeover that involves fresh paint and shiny new countertops, but the kind of kitchen makeover that makes your kitchen a safer, healthier space!
Read on for my top tips for a kitchen makeover that will leave you with a space that supports and enhances your health and well-being . . .
- Clean out your pantry. Take the time to sort through the foods you are keeping that don’t need to be refrigerated. Throw out any highly processed foods, or foods that don’t seem to ever go bad (real food rots)! Read labels and toss any foods that have ingredients you can’t pronounce. Check canned foods to ensure no added sodium or sugar, and also check to ensure cans are BPA free (BPA is an endocrine disruptor and therefore may mess with your hormones and increase risk of certain diseases). Restock your pantry with with a variety of spices and seasonings to use in cooking, whole grains like brown rice and quinoa, healthy fats like coconut oil and olive oil, and other items like nut butter, high quality protein powder, coffee and tea.
- Do a beverage check. Throw out any soda, diet soda, or other sweetened beverage that isn’t 100% real juice. Instead, stock up on unsweetened sparkling water, or fresh fruit to infuse your water with.
- Clear out your condiments. First, check for any opened condiments that are expired or starting to mold (yuck), and toss ‘em. Then look for condiments that have long ingredient lists with unpronounceable ingredients and added sugar, and toss those too. Instead, use spices and herbs, which can add great flavor to meals without the use of highly processed and additive-laden condiments. Additionally, you can experiment with making your own dressings and sauces, or opt to purchase Paleo-friendly and organic brands like Primal Kitchen or Annie’s.
- Check your cookware. Get rid of any non-stick Teflon coated pans, and switch to either stainless steel or cast iron. Why? Teflon is a synthetic polymer, which, when heated to high temperatures, emits toxic fumes that may cause flu-like symptoms. According to the Environmental Working Group, chemicals in the Teflon family (perfluorochemicals or PFC’s for short) have also been linked to thyroid issues, elevated cholesterol, low birth weight, inflammation, and decreased immune function, though more research is needed to know the long-term effects of Teflon exposure. Additionally, Teflon manufacturing is bad for the environment! Read more about Teflon here.
- Say good-bye to plastic tupperware. Plastic may leach BPA and other endocrine disrupting chemicals, especially when heated. Instead, store your food in glass or porcelain containers. If it’s too difficult or expensive to get rid of all plastic containers right away, start by cleaning out any containers that are scratched or hazy-looking, as these may be more likely to leach chemicals, and never microwave food in plastic containers.
- Get a water filter. Though a whole house filter is ideal, at the very least a carbon filter in the kitchen will help ensure clean water that is free of major toxins, like chlorine, pesticides and herbicides, benzene, radon, and lead to name a few. If you want even more protection from toxins in your water, look into a reverse osmosis system.
Are you planning a kitchen makeover? Follow these tips and let me know how it goes in the comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! I love hearing from you!
Wishing you health and happiness 🙂