Pesticides in your produce, carcinogens in your cookware, arsenic in your agua-it's enough to make you lose, well, your appetite. But the kitchen doesn't have to be a source of despair. Follow these simple tips, and you can eat, drink, and be merry in the healthiest possible way.
Tips for becoming a greener gourmet
1. Eat your organic veggies. Eating organic food is the best way to weed herbicides and pesticides from your diet. Confused about where to start? Some foods with the highest levels of pesticide residues include milk, apples, potatoes, and ketchup. Rinsing produce carefully is a good way to get rid of dirt and bacteria-you can use water or make your own veggie wash-but since it won't remove persistent chemicals, peeling conventional produce is also wise. When it comes to storing all that organic goodness, Sara Snow's got the info on maximizing your fridge's potential.
2. Drink it up. Bottled water may be tempting with its allure of purity, but in truth, it's usually no better-and can often be worse-than the stuff that comes straight out of the tap. Have your tap water tested to determine if you need to use a filter, then give bottled water the boot for good.
3. Stick it to non-stick pans. Non-stick cookware can contain low-levels of chemicals known as perfluorochemicals, which have been linked to a host of health disorders. Though exposure via pots and pans that are in good shape isn't too worrisome, scratched up pans could potentially cause problems, and washed-up pots tossed into landfill may eventually leach bad stuff into the ground. A more durable and safer alternative is cast-iron cookware, which has been used for generations and offers natural, long-term, non-stick benefits when properly cared for. Stainless-steel pans are another good option. For more hot cooking tips, Sara Snow's your girl.
4. Use old-school soap. The way soap is marketed these days, you'd think the human race was waging war on bacteria. But antibacterial soaps aren't necessarily keeping us safe from harm. Instead, they provide a chance for bacteria to build up resistance against these products. Plus, antibacterial soaps don't protect us against viruses like the flu. Unless you are at risk due to poor immunity or have infants in the house, plain old garden-variety soaps should serve you just fine.
5. Storing up trouble? Studies have shown that contaminants from plastics may leech into foods; others portend that plastics are making us fat. Err on the safe side by storing food in glass containers. In particular, avoid using any containers made from type three (PVC) or seven (a mix of or unidentified) plastics. The numbers are usually displayed on the bottom of a container. PVC-based plastic wrap, which can contain hormone-disrupting chemicals, should also be placed on the don't-use list.
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