This post first ran on igokids.com.
The kitchen is at the heart of my very busy life. My four children’s ample appetites guarantee that I’m a regular in that space, faithfully whipping up meals, snacks and drinks like a pro. And while I’ve learned that homemade whole wheat pizza is really tasty and that spinach can be secretively blended into a smoothie, I’ve also learned that the kitchen is ground zero for many common, synthetic chemicals that can find their way into children’s very vulnerable bodies. The best take-home lesson though, is that there’s quite a bit we can do to protect our families from these toxicants.
Other than promising to shed unwanted pounds and vowing to spend less time on your cell phone, resolve to ring in 2014 with some easy actions that will banish certain chemicals from your kids’ diets and help green up your kitchen as well.
Opt for organic: Pesticides – many of which are carcinogenic and neurotoxic – are a particular menace to children’s growing bodies. But fear not. You can reduce your child’s exposure to these synthetic chemicals without turning over your whole kitchen. Check out the Environmental Working Group’s list of the most contaminated produce – which includes many kid faves such as apples, grapes and strawberries – at http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/
Score some stainless steel: Six years ago I snatched up a bunch of stainless steel water bottles from hwww.kleankanteen.com/ and, since then, my kids have rarely put a plastic bottle to their lips. And that’s a very good thing. Single use and reusable plastic bottles can leach endocrine disrupting chemicals and carcinogens and they further our reliance on petrochemicals. In addition, bottled water is often not regulated; filtered tap water is a better option.
Nix the non-stick: Your might think that your non-stick pans are vital to Sunday brunch, but your weekends will look a lot healthier without them. The gasses that are released from brand name coatings like Teflon are highly toxic and linked to many health problems including developmental concerns and cancer. They’re nothing you want your kids breathing in. So start by swapping a few non-stick pans for stainless steel or cast iron ones; you can find some great stainless options at allcookwarefind.com. They are safe and, with a little EVOO warmed up, your omelets will slide off of them just beautifully.