How To Transition To A Nontoxic Kitchen
I spend A LOT of time in the kitchen y’all. Probably 20ish hours a day… jk but that’s what it feels like. I am sure that you can only imagine what all I am asked to make, open or get for my fam on a daily basis. My people are the people that LOVE good foods and snacking so there is no telling how much traffic goes in and out of the kitchen on the reg. Having a non toxic kitchen was a big goal of mine when I started switching to safer and it is something that I am still striving for. Since I transitioned to a non toxic lifestyle, I’ve been able to make healthier swaps and implement things that have in turn made my life easier and this most certainly includes my kitchen.
The following are just suggestions and things that I am using and focusing on in my own home. I always suggest that you research for yourself before just following anyone else’s lead.
The first thing that I focused on when I transited to a healthier lifestyle was the food I was eating. I know that this alone can be the most confusing to navigate. Food was something I really had no clue was FUELING my body and how this could potentially hinder my health. Check out this post and read more about my food journey and switching to healthier options. I live in the South so I naturally was raised on sweet tea and fried foods. It was really hard for me to mentally wrap my head around things I should focus on and things I should not focus on but over time, it’s become a lot easier for me after a few years of repetition. Things might change with what exactly our family eats but a great guideline to use when it comes to buying your produce is the “clean 15” and the “dirty dozen” lists. These are two lists of the most toxic and least toxic produce items at the grocery store via testing from the pesticides and growing practices used on each.
I’ve found few ways to make grocery shopping easier for myself and my fam and the first thing that I suggest stopping doing is physically going into the grocery store. I make a once a week farmers market trip in person but everything else is sent directly to my home or via a grocery pick up outside the store. I’ve saved so much time and money this way. I’ve even found that my grocery shoppers will not use plastic bags (here is why I suggest not using them) on my produce and can use other healthier and non toxic options instead. My favorite thing to do is unload all the foods that are delivered and organize my fridge and pantry. When I can, I grow my own food. I’ve done this for several years now and it really does help my home be healthier and focus on fresh foods.
Anytime I bring produce into our house from our garden or the store, I always soak in white vinegar before I store it. Why? Because our produce can harbor a long list of chemicals, dirt and insects even if you don’t see it from your eye. Take one side of your sink and stop with the stopper, add your produce, cover with water and add one cup of white vinegar. The white vinegar cleans and sanitizes it all without leaving a weird taste. You can use white vinegar from any place, it really doesn’t matter. Just let your items soak for 15ish minutes before cutting and storing.
Storing your food might be another area that you decide to tackle early on in your non toxic kitchen transition. For me, I used plastic for many, many years before I made the switch but even now, I find myself switching from plastic to glass and stainless steel options along and along. By adding one or two of those storage containers to my grocery delivery or Amazon order, I can transition a lot easier without draining my bank account. You can read all about my favorite food containers by clicking here. When it comes to my favorite snacking options for the kiddos, I feel like I have tried ALL THE THINGS since I had my first babe. This past year, I finally figured out what works for us and you can see all my favorite non toxic snack bags and why we use them by clicking here.
A huge nontoxic transition in your kitchen will be pots, pans and cooking containers like crockpots or an instant pot. This transition was big deal for my family because before we switched to non toxic cookware, we had our college cheap-o pots and pans and a crock pot. What I found during researching what is in our pots and pans and also after watching the Netflix documentary “The Devil We Know,” is that most of the chemicals from everyday cookware leaches into our bodies with each use. This scared me so badly that we decided to invest in a brand that is so nice it has a lifetime warranty and can be turned over for our children to one day use. You can read more about why this switch is important and we chose the pots and pans we did by clicking here. Honestly, we didn’t have a budget for this and if we could not have financed them we would have never gotten them. Other options are stainless steel, Green Pan and a Cast Iron Skillet. I also suggest using an Instant Pot over a Crockpot because of the lead levels in the creamic crock pot verses the Instant Pot. The way it was described to me that really helped me understand the importance of nontoxic cookware is “what’s the point of spending all the money on buying organic foods when you cook with cookware that leaches more toxic chemicals back into your food than there would have been if you got regular produce at the store?”
Changing from bottled water to our under the sink reverse osmosis water filter was an 8 year long process. I realized that the water that we drink is important when I heard Cheryl Crow (remember her?) talk about what chemicals are released from a water bottle into the water inside of the bottle after it sits in a hot space. That is my story, I kid you not, haha! That opened the can of worms of waters in our water and it’s just continuously gotten better since then. I switched from bottle water to a Brita filter (not the best but better), then to a Crystal Quest water pitcher and NOW we officially have an under the sink reverse osmosis and you can read about it here. I really encourage everyone that reads this post to check the EWG tap water data base to see what chemicals are in your tap water. This carries over into the rest of the house because I have Psoriasis and eczema flare ups with the kids if we do not have water filters on our baths from the chemicals that are in the city water where we live.
The last thing that I will encourage you to do is to start looking into the products in your kitchen. Small swaps are better than none at all. For instance, take the drawer where you keep things like tin foil, plastic cling wrap, plastic zip locks and focus there. It’s a small space but reducing the use of those items and using healthier like IF YOU CARE USA parchment paper, wax paper and tin oil you can reduce your toxic load in a major way!
I hope that you’ve found this as an extensive guide to switching to a nontoxic kitchen. If there are any things that you’ve changed in your kitchen to reduce your toxic load, please share!
Love your articles!! Was wondering about daily dishes ? Plates, bowls…. I fear they are disintegrating in the dishwasher .. glass wasn’t a good option with my boys!