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Greening Your Kitchen

By Vincent Pedre M.D. ecomii.com
June 14, 2012
File under: Green Lifestyle Tips, Health Concerns, Household tips

When we think about living a greener, healthier lifestyle, one of the most important places to start is in the kitchen.

In fact, many of the environmental toxins we are exposed to on a daily basis are found in the kitchen. These measures will help make your kitchen a healthier place.

Water

Whether it’s chlorine, fluoride or heavy metals in your water, or drug metabolites not removed by the water treatment plant, water from the tap is far from clean.  Drug metabolites have even been found in pristine lakes in the Swiss Alps!

The types of water you should consider drinking:

  1. Carbon-filtered water – removes chlorine and fluoride in water, giving it a cleaner taste.  This is the easiest to implement and with my favorite water filter, the Brita filter.
  2.  

  3. Distilled – can be purchased in plastic containers, but then you have to worry about BPA (bisphenal-A) and other toxins in plastic.  Drinking distilled water may benefit those that are undergoing a heavy metal detox, but not without properly replenishing trace and essential minerals.
  4.  

  5. Reverse Osmosis System – this system removes drug metabolites from water, along with any heavy metal ions and chlorine.  This is a great system to install as a separate waterspout at the kitchen sink, thus providing unlimited water for drinking and cooking.
  6.  

  7. Water Alkalizer – also removes heavy metals and drug metabolites from water, along with the added benefit of alkalinizing the pH.  Alkaline water has anti-cancer properties, by helping our bodies detoxify down to the cellular level.
  8.  

    Cookware

    Have you given much thought to the cookware you use to prepare food? With non-stick pans, and non-stick cooking utensils our lives were made more convenient, but at what price?

    PFOAs (perfluoro-octanoic acid), an ingredient in non-stick surfaces, such as Teflon, have been implicated as a causative environmental toxin in Autism spectrum disorders.[1]

    These persistent organic pollutants enter our bodies through the food we eat prepared on these surfaces, which then have no easy way out.  Over time, they slowly poison our cellular machinery, causing diseases that are not easily traced back to the exposure.

    So, where do you start?  Clean out your kitchen!  Watch out for PFOA and PTFE  (polytetrafluoroethylene) in non-stick surfaces.

    For pots and pans, choose those that are made from:
    Ceramic-coated nonstick, such as Bialetti’s aeternum collection
    Porcelain-enameled cast iron
    Stainless steel (great for making rice and soups)

    Use utensils made from:
    Bamboo (a renewable non-toxic resource)
    Stainless steel

    Food Storage

    We all appreciate the convenience, environmentally consciousness and waste sparing influence of food storage containers.  However, it is best to avoid plastic and use containers made from glass or Pyrex®

    Plastic Wrap

    If you are inclined to use plastic wrap, avoid those that use polyvinylidine chloride (such as Saran Wrap) choosing wrap made from polyethylene (less evil), such as Glad Cling Wrap.

    Dish Washing Soap

    Avoid triclosan, an anti-bacterial agent.  Use plant-based detergents, such as Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid, instead.

    The Problem with Microwaves

    How about Electromagnetic Forces?

    Microwave ovens are just that – small-focused microwave generators, which often leak microwaves through the door.

    Avoid heating food in microwaves, because it reduces the nutrient value of the food.  Never microwave food in plastic containers, so that the BPA leaches onto the food.

    Microwave popcorn is probably the worst.  Use a hot air popcorn popper instead to make a fresh batch of popcorn.  If you do have a microwave oven, never stand in front of it while it is on.

    Vincent Pedre, M.D. is an integrative, Holistic General Practitioner and Board-Certified Internist in private practice in New York City. Follow Dr. Pedre on Facebook and Twitter


    [1] Harmon, G. New federal data shows autism rates are booming. Local researchers are finding industrial chemicals may play a role, Current Online, published May 2, 2012, at http://sacurrent.com/news/new-federal-data-shows-autism-rates-are-booming-local-researchers-are-finding-industrial-chemicals-may-play-a-role-1.1309009?pgno=1, accessed on June 13, 2012.

 
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