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Plastic is everywhere. We’ve become so reliant on the use of plastics that it is easy to be unaware of just how much of it we use everyday. Plastics are inexpensive and tend to hold up well. But, plastic is not the healthiest option for the objects we use regularly. Especially those connected to the kitchen.
Have you ever stopped to think about how much plastic is in your kitchen right now? Dishes, cooking utensils, cutlery, plastic wraps and bags, water bottles, food storage, food packaging and a lot more.
But while plastics are convenient, there is a dark side that could impact your health. Many plastics contain chemicals that are carcinogenic and can lead to cancer. Some of these same chemical components are also endocrine disruptors which mimic hormones such as estrogen and testosterone. This can lead to hormone imbalances, reproductive issues and more.
Chemicals such as these place a whole lot of stress on the body’s detoxification system. And if it becomes overloaded, it may store toxins in the organs or in fat within the body. When this happens they can begin to cause health problems.
Some simple swaps reduce your exposure to these chemicals and help to take some extra stress off of your liver, kidneys, intestinal tract and lymphatic system.
Simple swaps for plastic in the kitchen
Store food in glass or metal
We’ve gotten very used to convenient plastic containers to store leftovers or other types of food. I personally did away with most plastic a few years ago. I use different sized glass storage containers like these. They do have plastic lids, but if you are sure that the food doesn’t touch the lid then you can avoid any of the chemicals leaching into the food. I also have quite a collection of glass mason jars in different sizes. I store everything from herbs to quinoa and even leftovers in them. Do be aware however that metal mason jar lids are often lined with chemical containing plastic. So keep any food from touching the lid.
Skip the plastic cutlery
Yes, there are times that plastic knives, forks and spoons can be convenient. But when you’re trying to reduce the amount of plastic you use, it’s a better option to skip the plastic cutlery. Instead, use good, old metal reusable cutlery. You will have to wash them after each use, but that’s a small price to pay for reducing your plastic use.
Bring your own reusable bags to the grocery store
A large amount of the plastic used goes to making plastic grocery bags. And these things are everywhere! The good news is that more and more states in the US and countries throughout the world are starting to turn away from plastic grocery bags. Reusable grocery bags are the way to go! And many of these bags are foldable so you can stash them in your glove box or trunk for when you need them. They carry much more than plastic bags…without ripping! And many are washable too!
Stop using plastic water bottles
There was a time when if you wanted a reusable water bottle, plastic was your main choice. Unfortunately, many were made of BPA plastic which has been found to be bad news for your health. Now there are some great non-plastic water bottle options for you to choose from! One option are specially designed glass water bottles. These bottles are usually covered in a silicone protective sleeve to prevent them from breaking easily.
Glass not the best option for you? That’s okay! A sturdy stainless steel water bottle may be a better option. Look for one that is double wall insulated so you can keep your drink hot or cold longer. This type of water bottle is the most popular option for those looking to move away from plastic water bottles.
Use these instead of plastic wrap
One very convenient, but not so healthy product that many people use regularly is plastic wrap. A few years ago it was next to impossible to find anything natural to replace plastic wrap. But boy, that has changed! Now there are some really great alternative options! If you’re looking for the most natural option, then you may want to check out reusable beeswax food storage wraps. I know several bloggers who began making these from scratch at home. But now they are available for purchase, making them much more accessible for everyone! These wraps are typically make of fabric that has been coated with beeswax. These wraps can be used up to 150 times before needing to be replaced. You can also find organic versions of these wraps.
Another option for covering bowls or other dishes are silicone covers. These covers are stretchable and can fit different sizes of container. Most brands should be free from BPA, Pthalates, plastic, lead and should be non-toxic. Be sure to read the find print to be sure they are before purchasing!
Choose this type of cup
Now I will admit that I used to have a cupboard full of plastic cups. I had a lot of them…and I drank from them regularly too! When I learned more about the health dangers of using plastics regularly, I started replacing them. The easiest option is to switch to glass. Glass drinking glasses are relatively inexpensive and easy to find. But what if you have kids and it’s not so practical to use just glass glasses? Stainless steel is now an option as well! Perfect for kids and for both indoor and outdoor use too!
Just say no to plastic baggies!
Do you still buy disposable plastic food storage bags? Now I have to admit that they are VERY convenient, so there is not any judgement here! When I first started on my own natural lifestyle journey, I looked for a better substitute, and there just weren’t a lot of options. Of course, that was almost a decade ago and things have really changed since then. Now you can find reusable silicone food storage bags that are non-toxic and safer for your body…as well as the environment! I wish I’d had these years ago!
Swap plastic cooking utensils for these
Plastic cooking utinsels are inexpensive and incredibly easy to find. Because of this, they are a popular choice for the kitchen. But there are some other great options that you can use instead! I personally have both bamboo and stainless steel cooking utensils that I absolutely love. The stainless steel are incredibly sturdy, and will last a long time. The bamboo are non-toxic and look amazing as well. And although not as sturdy as stainless steel, they are pretty hearty utensils. I love knowing that I am cooking with utensils that aren’t toxic to my body!
Choose foods with less packaging
Have you ever paid attention to just how much plastic is used in food packaging? A lot! Even if you buy fresh produce, you often have to put it into a plastic bag. Or do you? Of course, factory processed foods are often packaged in plastic. And moving away from those foods is better for your health and the environment. But often you still have to purchase meats wrapped in plastic or put produce in plastic bags. Here are some options. If you can, find a meat department that will give you meat wrapped in butcher paper. I know of three grocery stores in my area alone that offer this. It’s more likely that you will find this if a grocery store has a meat case where you can select the amount of meat you want. But even those that will break down meat packages for you may have butcher paper. So don’t be afraid to ask. For produce, bring your own bags! There are some great, reusable bags available that you can purchase to hold your produce in!
As you can see, there are plenty of ways you can begin to reduce the amount of plastic in your kitchen. When you begin to make the switch, your body will thank you!