How to Create a Chemical-Free Kitchen 

How to Create a Chemical-Free Kitchen 

May, 11, 2024

How to Create a Chemical-Free Kitchen 

How to Create a Chemical-Free Kitchen 

Unfortunately, many items at home, especially in the kitchen, contain harmful chemicals. While it’s impossible to protect yourself against all of them, you can avoid some. By making environmental efforts, you reduce the risk of a toxic cocktail effect, where the interaction of several chemicals may have unpleasant health effects. Here are some tips to simply and quickly eliminate chemicals from your life.

Use Non-Toxic Cookware

Over the decades, most home kitchens have shifted from traditional cookware to nonstick pans. However, recent findings reveal that nonstick cookware contains toxic chemicals called perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and are harmful to our health. These chemicals are linked to short-term side effects as well as cancer, liver inflammation, immune deficiencies, and developmental problems. 

When nonstick pans overheat during cooking, the nonstick coating releases PFCs into the air as fumes, which can be inhaled within minutes. With repeated use, the coating gets scratched and mixes with our food. Given the health risks, it’s important to seek out safer cookware options. Cast iron is a wonderful alternative to nonstick cookware and is available with a natural finish or an enamel coating.

Chemical-Free Coffee and Tea

Most of us start our day with a hot cup of tea or coffee. To ensure it’s chemical-free, buy coffee in bulk. In the U.S., coffee is one of the most common products to find in bulk. Make sure the coffee you buy is fair trade and organic. To make it zero waste, bring your own bag or jar to avoid having to use a wasteful paper or plastic bag. For tea, make sure to skip bagged tea and go for bulk.

Brew Zero Waste

I like to use a plastic-free tea strainer for steeping tea and a stainless steel French press for brewing coffee, but you can also use a coffee maker and a reusable coffee filter.

Clean Up Your Water

Most drinking water in the U.S. contains lots of chemicals. Of course, one solution is to filter the water; however, most common water filter systems contain plastics. The chemicals in plastic leech into your water over time, potentially causing cancer, reproductive issues, immune system suppression, and even childhood development problems.

Thankfully, there are alternatives to plastic pitcher-based water filters that produce little or no plastic waste.

Glass water dispenser — This 320-oz. premium five-stage glass water filtration dispenser is made from glass with a stainless steel base. It removes 99.6% of all dissolved solids from tap water.

Berkley systems are made entirely from stainless steel. They are easy to use, come in many different sizes, and remove 200+ unsafe contaminants.

Charcoal water filters — This is by far the easiest and cheapest zero waste water filtering system. Charcoal is in almost all water filters, so it’s no surprise that you can also use a piece of charcoal to filter your drinking water. Activated charcoal is a great material for water filters because it’s natural and effective at removing many toxins from the water, like organic compounds and chlorine.

Green Your Food Storage 

From containers to zip-lock bags and plastic wrap, plastic containers are used extensively in the kitchen, especially when it comes to food storage. Plastic is bad for our health because it contains toxins, such as the controversial substance BPA, that leak into soil, water, wildlife, and our bodies. These harmful toxins damage our hormones and nervous systems and create all kinds of problems and illnesses.

Now, on to the best part: Is it possible to store food without plastic? Absolutely!

The first thing I did when eliminating plastic was to look for glass food containers I could use for storing cooked and raw leftover food in both the fridge and freezer. Then I got smart and started saving old mason jars for food storage. They are perfect for freezing cooked beans or homemade tomato sauce in portion sizes; the large ones are great for storing soups and stews. Metal food storage containers are an excellent option for both the fridge and freezer. The bonus of using metal is that food thaws quickly in a dish of hot water.

Here is our video sharing how we reduce chemicals in our lives

Other ways to skip plastic in the kitchen are:

1.    Skip bottled water and drink water from glasses or reusable water bottles.

2.    For kids’ school lunches, use cloth sandwich bags and reusable containers. You can find them at Life Without Plastic.

3.    Avoid buying things (such as food) packaged in plastic. Buy in bulk with your own bags or glass jars, or shop at the local farmers market. 

4.    Skip plastic straws and invest in reusable metal straws.

5.    Make your homemade popsicles in reusable molds for kids.

6.    Store with bee wraps instead of plastic wrap or foil.

7.    Use reusable silicone ziplock bags. So many people ask me what I use instead of ziplock bags, and I get it. Ziplock bags are brilliant! (Minus the disposable plastic, of course.) Luckily, now you can find silicone ziplock bags that work great, are much more durable than plastic, and can be reused many times, so they save both the planet and your wallet. 

Clean Up Your Diet

Eat organic as much as possible. This will significantly reduce your exposure to endocrine-disrupting pesticides and herbicides. Limit the amount of animal products you eat. Unfortunately, meat, fish, seafood, and other animal products contain too many chemicals and toxins, as well as pharmaceuticals, so reducing your consumption of these will reduce your exposure to these chemicals.

Use Homemade Cleaning Products

Dishwasher and laundry detergents, all-purpose window, toilet bowl, and tile cleaners are surprisingly expensive. They also contain chemicals that enter our bodies and the environment via drains. 

Replacing your old cleaning products with homemade ones is super easy! You can use household supplies such as vinegar, baking soda, and lemons to create just about any household cleaner. White vinegar, for example, costs about $2 and can be used to disinfect, clean, and remove stains. Lemon juice and baking soda make a fabulous-smelling scrub for cleaning kitchens and bathrooms. They work like magic and smell better, too. One pound of baking soda costs about $0.82 at Walmart and will last a long time.

To learn how you can reduce chemicals in children’s personal care products check out this post and here is a post with tips for reducing chemical exposures in our daily life.

Fredrika Syren

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