When starting off your nontoxic journey, it's important to consider what swaps you can make that will affect your every day life. Making simple changes is the best way to get started, saving those larger projects for your long term goals list. Whether you're far into your journey or just beginning, these swaps are a great way to make waves of change in 2024!
Glass Storage - We bought a huge box of Pyrex glass storage cubes in bulk from Costco, and they have lasted us years. Refrain from putting the snap lids in the dishwasher to ensure they last just as long as the glass bottoms. With all the research out there in regards to the accumulation of plastics in our bodies, here's your reminder to get rid of it. Storing food in plastic is harmful, especially when the food is hot. It basicslly speeds up the leaching process of the plastic, directly into your food. Yikes! You can shop Pyrex, Anchor Hocking, and other lead free options on my Amazon storefront here. Plastic breaks down over time and the glass storage is worth the investment, because it doesn't degrade in the same way.
Wooden Cutting Boards - Most people want to steer clear of wooden cutting boards because they aren't sure how to clean them. It's easy! I clean they regularly with baking soda and Castile soap along with hot water. I also spray Force of Nature on them when I'm done using them to cut meats. Wooden cutting boards have gained popularity over plastic ones for several reasons. First, wood has natural antimicrobial properties that can help inhibit the growth of bacteria, making it a more hygienic choice. Additionally, wooden boards are less likely to dull your knife blades compared to plastic, providing a longer lifespan for both your knives and the cutting board itself. Yes to all of this!! Wooden cutting boards also tend to be more aesthetically pleasing and can add warmth to your kitchen. They are my favorite, and if taken care of correctly, last forever! Finally, they are often more environmentally friendly, as wood is a renewable resource, while plastic cutting boards contribute to the issue of plastic waste.
Pans / Cookware - We all know nonstick pans are harmful, so why keep using them? If they get scratched, it's even more dangerous. Exposure from Teflon and forever chemicals can significantly affect your health. My husband had a hard time swapping out his beloved nonstick pans, but now we cook on cast iron with ease. We tried Greenpan, and have a few of their pots still- but they aren't very good at "nonstick" like they claim to be, get scratched easily, and just don't last very long. Stainless and cast iron are fan favorites. I have an in-depth blog post here, which has recommendations for safe cookware. You can also shop additional options on my Amazon storefront here.
Wooden or Stainless Cooking Utensils - My husband still won't let his silicone spatula go, ans swears it's the best thing for scrambled eggs. It's the only piece of silicone utensils we have. Why? Selecting wooden or stainless steel utensils for your kitchen offers numerous benefits for both cooking and health, surpassing silicone alternatives. Wooden utensils, made from natural materials, are non-reactive and won't leach harmful substances into your food. They're gentle on cookware, preventing scratches and preserving the longevity of your pots and pans. Moreover, wood is naturally antimicrobial, reducing the risk of bacterial contamination during food preparation. Sadly, silicone has leach siloxanes at freezing or high heat temperatures, and is basically just another form of plastic.
Stainless steel utensils, on the other hand, are durable, heat-resistant, and corrosion-resistant. They do not absorb flavors or odors, ensuring that your dishes maintain their intended taste. Unlike silicone, wooden and stainless steel utensils can withstand high temperatures without releasing toxic fumes. Choosing these materials aligns with health-conscious cooking practices, providing a reliable and safe option for your culinary endeavors. Keep the scrambled egg spatula if you must, but swap out the rest! Silicone with red colors also contain high levels of cadmium, so limit them as much as possible. If your baby uses silicone plates, bowls, etc. make sure the company did their homework and had it tested for heavy metals. I would highly advise against baking in silicone molds, like the one pictured below.
All Purpose Cleaner - This swap is one of the first ones you should make. Toss that toxic Lysol and Clorox and use a disinfectant for your kitchen that is free from harmful chemicals. Lysol and Clorox products often contain potent disinfectant chemicals, such as chlorine bleach or quaternary ammonium compounds which is what people look for, especially after handling meat.
They are designed to effectively eliminate bacteria and viruses. While these chemicals are efficient at sanitizing surfaces, they can be considered toxic in concentrated forms and pose health risks, especially to children. Prolonged exposure or misuse can lead to respiratory irritation, skin sensitivities, and other health concerns. So why no swap to Force of Nature? It's my go-to, for floors, counters, bathrooms, and everything in between! This link has a list of all my current promo codes, including one for Force of Nature. Electrolyzed salt, water and vinegar make this product stronger than bleach but safe to use.
Bakeware - Most people swap out their pans but don't consider bakeware. It's just as important! This was one of the first things we did in our kitchen, because we bake often! You can shop clean bakeware here, linked in my Amazon store. There are stainless steel and glass options that are lead free.
Cooking Oils - Don't make all these swaps but forget about oils - they are just as important!! You consume them with every dish you make. The choice of cooking oils plays a pivotal role in maintaining a healthy diet, and opting for alternatives like coconut or avocado oil over traditional options like vegetable or canola oil offers a myriad of benefits.
Coconut oil, rich in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), has been associated with various health advantages, including improved metabolism and potential weight management benefits. It also possesses antibacterial and antifungal properties. Avocado oil, known for its high monounsaturated fat content, is heart-healthy and may contribute to reducing bad cholesterol levels.
Unlike vegetable or canola oils, which are often highly processed and contain unhealthy trans fats, coconut and avocado oils are minimally processed, preserving their nutritional integrity. Additionally, these oils have higher smoke points, making them suitable for various cooking methods without the risk of producing harmful compounds at high temperatures. Since we cook at high to medium heat, these oils have been perfect for our tasty dishes. Olive and Grapeseed oils can be additional choices to stock in your kitchen.
Opt for Organic Spices - Making the switch to organic spices is a prudent choice for those seeking a healthier option, like us! Organic spices are cultivated without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or genetically modified organisms, which means you're avoiding potential harmful chemical residues on your spices. Choosing organic ensures that the spices are grown in soil free from synthetic fertilizers, promoting better soil health and biodiversity. Moreover, organic farming practices often prioritize sustainable water management and reduce environmental impact. From a health perspective, organic spices may contain higher levels of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants since they grow in nutrient-rich soils. Ensure your spices are also free from heavy metals, including lead. Companies can provide their testing reports via email, and you can prioritize your favorite brands. Jacobsen Salt is by far the tastiest and cleanest salt out there, and we use it daily. Shop it on my Amazon storefront here. It also makes a great hostess gift. Opting for organic spices, you're not only prioritizing your well-being but also supporting a more environmentally friendly and ethical approach to agriculture.
See my video version of this blog post here and don't forget to follow me on Instagram for more wellness and clean living content. Have you made any of these simple swaps at home? Share below in the comments!