Life can sometimes feel like Stephen King’s novel Under the Dome, secluded to a specific way of living. When we separate ourselves from what we’ve been trained to perceive as the right way, then we become open for positive changes to be implemented, starting in the home.
Take a good look at your kitchen. Is it full of organic fruits and vegetables?
Now, take a look at your pantry. Are there BPA- and EDTA-free cans to preserve your legumes?
Then open the cupboards under your sink. Do you use eco-friendly cleaning products?
If you’ve answered “no” to any of these questions, you are not alone. People might make healthy choices when it comes to the produce they choose, but are the healthy choices consistent for the rest of the kitchen?
Eco-friendly is defined as being safe to the environment and your health. Think of your kitchen as an automotive system, allowing your food to reach your mouth in the healthiest way imaginable. This system includes the safety of packaging of the products you buy, the purity of water used to wash your food, and how well your dishes are cleaned.
Let’s check around the kitchen to see if it meets eco-friendly standards, and contains natural ingredients, as you make an effort to go green in all areas of your health and well-being.
Think about your sink!
When cleaning your dishes, what do you use? Petroleum is used to fuel cars and make plastics. It can also be found within conventional soaps and dishwashing detergents under your sink. Synthetic automatic dish detergents contain chlorine bleach for sterilization, where the powdered chlorine fumes are poisonous, and leave behind a residue.
Choose natural soaps and detergents for your hands, dishes, and dishwasher, which are nontoxic and biodegradable—important to know if you want to go green. Natural soaps are produced from plants, which is a renewable resource. This means there is little modification from its original form, whereas synthetic soap requires major chemical production. Natural soap is created when plant oil mixes with a water-soluble alkali salt. Consider making your own cleaners as well, with items such as baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, borax, and washing soda.
Also, remember to wash your fruits and vegetables with clean, potable cold water. Fragile produce such as berries should be put in a colander and sprayed with distilled water. After washing your produce, remove more bacteria by gently drying with clean paper towel.
Does your pantry need a makeover?
Do you eat fresh produce and also incorporate products into your meals as well? An economical option is to stock up your pantry with dried legumes although they do require overnight preparation with soaking and cooking. When you do buy canned legumes, choose cans with liners free of preservatives like EDTA and BPA.
I first learned about GMOs (genetically modified organisms) after viewing the documentary Genetic Roulette by American consumer activist Jeffrey Smith. That moment opened the door to being conscious of what products I was consuming, choosing natural products free of common GMOs such as corn products, soy products, canola, and sugar beet.
Are your appliances eco-friendly?
You use kitchen appliances to wash your dishes, cook your food, and keep your food fresh. When purchasing new appliances, make sure they meet the quality and energy-efficiency guidelines of both the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy with the Energy Star label.
It isn’t necessary to wash your dishes before putting in your newer model dishwasher because they have built-in garbage disposal units. Also, save water and energy by only running your dishwasher when it’s completely full, and monitor your refrigerator temperature so products don’t freeze where they are unusable.
Make sure you clean all your appliances on a regular basis with natural cleaning supplies.
The Foods4BetterHealth Bottom Line
Go green! Your kitchen is your fortress. Keep it clean! Keep it eco-friendly! And be aware of the products you use and consume on a daily basis.
“Spring Pantry Clean-up: 8 Easy Natural Foods Tips for a Healthy Kitchen!” Nature’s Emporium web site, March 18, 2013; http://www.naturesemporium.com/spring-pantry-cleanup-8-easy-natural-food-tips-for-a-healthy-kitchen/.
Loux, R., Easy Green Living: the ultimate guide to simple, eco-friendly choices for you and your home (New York: Rodale Inc., 2008), 75-78.
Barnes, L., “8 Ways to ‘Green’ Your Kitchen,’ Spark People web site; http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=928, pages 1-3.
Bolton, J., et al, “Best Ways to Wash Fruits and Vegetables,” The University of Maine web site; http://umaine.edu/publications/4336e/