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About a year ago, I listened to a webinar presented by Stonyfield Farm on the benefits of eating organic foods and how synthetic foods have been found to cause many health issues in both children and adults. Prior to the webinar, purchasing organic foods wasn’t top on my list of priorities. I was using food safe cookware, storing our food in bpa free containers, and avoiding plastic in the microwave so I thought I was doing just fine! But the webinar quickly changed the importance I placed on organic foods and made me re-think the connection between the food I was buying and how I was cooking it.
I started to ask myself:
- If I’m making sure to cook my food in non-toxic cookware to keep chemicals out, then why am I purchasing foods with chemicals in them?
- For others who have actually made a conscious effort to purchase mainly organic foods, are they cooking in non-toxic cookware? Why purchase chemical-free and healthier foods if you are going to allow chemicals back in through un-safe cooking methods?
It’s almost as if the mere connection of non-toxic foods and non-toxic kitchenware had been in front of me the entire time, and luckily it took a webinar to bring the concept to light! So, with a new outlook, I decided it was worth the extra long trip to an organic food store to purchase organic foods to cook in my non-toxic cookware for a healthier home.
Because of the positive changes this lifestyle has brought my family and me, I thought it was important to share our story and tell others about the benefits of organic foods and non-toxic cookware. I hope you can take something away from this to help you and your family make changes, big or small, towards a healthier home.
“Organic foods” are defined as foods that are grown without the use of modern, synthetic products (such as pesticides and chemical fertilizers), do not contain genetically modified organisms, and are processed without industrial solvents or food additives. In other words, they are foods grown without chemicals, pesticides, drugs, and hormones. There are many benefits to choosing organic foods; here are a few that have stood out to me:
- No chemical pesticides: Studies about the detrimental effects of synthetic products on our health are rampant across the media, and by eating organic, I’m taking one big step towards avoiding chemicals from entering my body.
- Nutrition: Organic foods have a higher nutritional content than conventional foods. The chemicals used to keep our non-organic fruits and vegetables looking beautiful right up to the dinner plate actually kill microorganisms in the soil they are grown in. These chemicals prevent soil from enriching our food with nutrients; but organic foods help avoid this problem!
- Water supply. Growing organic food is better for our water supply than conventional growing methods because the pesticides used by industrial farmers inevitably make their way back into our water supply and the environment.
- Soil. As for our earth’s soil, not using chemicals in soil helps keep it healthy. This healthy soil feeds organic plants, which give carbon back in return, leaving us with better soil in the long run.
There are many types of cookware available, so narrowing down your options can be time consuming and difficult. One thing to keep in mind is to avoid cookware with a non-stick/PTFE coating, which has been found to leach PFOAs (a harmful chemical with negative health effects) into your food. If you want to learn more about the different types of cookware available, please visit our Cookware Article and to learn more about PFOAs, click here! In the mean time, here are “cliff notes” on two types of cookware known to be safer for cooking:
- Cast Iron Cookware. Iron is essential to producing red blood cells in our body. While large amounts can prove to be poisonous, iron cookware only provides less than 20% of total daily iron intake, which is within safe levels. Many of us don’t get enough iron rather than too much, so cast iron cookware is a great choice!
- Stainless Steel Cookware. As the most popular type of cookware in North America, stainless steel cookware is lightweight, fairly inexpensive, easy to use, and considered one of the best and safest options for cookware! The chemicals found in stainless steel cookware include iron, nickel, and chromium. These chemicals only leach in small amounts, which do not cause enough harm to create concern. To help avoid these chemicals from leaching into your foods, use a less abrasive method of cleaning to help avoid scratching the surface.
By combining these two concepts, you can help create a healthier kitchen for you and your family! While this is just a start, keep in mind there are numerous ways to create a healthier home that don’t just end in the kitchen.
Bio: Hannah is the oldest daughter of six. She is the President of Essential Safe Products,which was founded by her mother to help spread the word about toxic chemicals, and writes for the blog A Cup of ESP.