Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Non-Toxic New Year's Resolution

Many of us make New Year's resolutions revolving around health - generally of the lose weight, exercise more and eat better kind. But few stop to think about other things that affect our health. Sure there is quitting smoking and wearing seat belts and other very valid resolutions. But what about reducing your exposure to toxins? And not just if you live near a pesticide sprayed field or a superfund site.

No, I'm talking about the toxins we are exposed to in our every day lives. Toxins like Bisphenol A (BPA) that's found in plastics, canned foods and on store receipts that cause hormone disruption. And, what about Triclosan, a potent anti-bacterial, that's found in many things from hand soaps to toothpaste and tennis shoes that can contribute to super resistant bacteria and cause a whole host of health issues not just for humans but for fish and aquatic life downstream?

I propose that this year you look at not just the amount of food and what kind you are eating when trying to be healthy, but also what you are putting on your skin and breathing in that also impacts your long term health. And, because the whole topic of toxins in consumer products can be extremely overwhelming, I recommend people focus on the following low-hanging fruit of toxins.

For this year's New Year's Resolution try this instead of or in addition to your other pledges:

1. Get rid of the anti-bacterial soaps. Nobody needs them - studies show that good hand washing is just as effective at cleaning as anti-bacterials. Avoid the ingredient: Triclosan

2. Ditch the non-stick. Start with your frying pans and work your way through your bakeware. Choose quality stainless steel, glass or cast iron instead.

3. Avoid artificial fragrances. You'll be surprised at how many products in your home contain artificial fragrances which house the chemicals phthalates, which are powerful endocrine disruptors. Avoid the ingredients: artificial fragrance or parfum.

4. Stay away from canned food. Most canned items are lined with BPA, which has been shown to cause healthy breast cells to act like cancerous ones. Make your own soup and store it in glass jars, buy dried beans and look for BPA free cans. And, while you're at it, stay away from soda cans.

5. Buy organic food. Stay away from pesticides by choosing organic foods over conventionally sprayed ones. Your body and the environment will thank you.

Are you willing to pledge to lower your toxic exposure? Which ones are you avoiding?

16 comments:

Amber said...

After reading your book, I decided to remove as much PVC as I reasonably can from my home. I've started with my kids' lunchboxes, and I'm slowly working through the PVC items that I have control over. Some things - like the PVC piping - will be staying, but I don't need a bunch of old binders kicking around. Especially when they're empty. So much useless off-gassing!

BluElf said...

Maybe you mean "choose quality stainless steel" instead of "aluminum" for the cookware..? Btw, just finished reading your book recently and really appreciate the collection of information! You're research inspires us and while we already made many changes we are happy with we are choosing more this year to be even safer and more confident. Thank you :)

b20dec36-3799-11e1-b271-000bcdca4d7a said...

The bacterial soap is the one thing I'd like to rid our house of, but my husband is a mild germ-a-phobe. I have to give him at least one concession. He uses the anti-bacterial soap in the bathroom, I use a goat's milk bar myself.

LOOOOOVE cast iron cooking!

Heather said...

We try not to have the anti-bacterial soap in the house. I use bar soap, which my husband doesn't really like, but uses because I do the shopping. I am trying to get away from the canned foods. I try to make most of my beans from dry beans, but I do tend to keep some cans in the cupboard for convenience. And we don't have access to the canned beans that use the BPA-free lined cans. Maybe I should look into a pressure cooker...or start to plan a little better when I know I need beans most every day :-)

Adrienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adrienne said...

I'm already on board with no tricolsan soaps (regular soap is "anti bacterial" in that it will kill bacteria if you wash with it!), and only have one non-stick pan, no non stick bakeware or pots or anything else. The rest of these I do as much as I can. I have really cut down on canned stuff but *still* have not found any BPA free tomatoes, not even super expensive ones at the local frou-frou organic store. Not sure what to do about that b/c I'm not going to quit using tomatoes entirely.

Eco Yogini said...

you know, i really like the idea of making my own soups and jarring and freezing them. I was looking for a 'new eco' thing this year- and that might be it! (we already do the other 4 :) )

Kathleen said...

Adrienne - Rather than buying canned tomatoes, I buy a box of "canning" tomatoes at the farmers' market and freeze them. It is super easy. Wash the tomatoes, cut them into quarters, place them on a cookie sheet.

Put the cookie sheet in the freezer until the tomatoes are frozen, then put them in your favorite labeled freezing containers. Because they are tray frozen you can take out what you need and then prepare any way you need. I find them to be much more flexible and better tasting than canned tomatoes.

Crunchy Chicken said...

BluElf - Yeesh. That's what I meant - I was thinking of the aluminum core in our All-Clad. I changed it.

Anonymous said...

Is it the soda you are suggesting people stay away from or is the can itself the issue?

Crunchy Chicken said...

Anon - Well, since you asked, both. But primarily because cans tend to be lined with BPA. If you really want a soda, get it in glass :)

Mama Hen said...

I just found your blog from Healthy Child Healthy World and I look forward to reading your book. I made many changes when I had my baby. Helathy Child Healthy World opened my eyes to many things. There are so many toxins in our every day lives. We really need to make as many changes as we can. I look forward to reading your blog and following. Come and visit Mama's Little Chick when you get a chance and say hi! Have a great day!

Tanya @ Lovely Greens said...

Great recommendations - I'm down to just one non-stick pan and it's on it's last legs at the moment. The lining on the bottom has actually started to peel up a bit. Eek! I think I'll replace it with cast iron this asap...

jj said...

Check, check, check. We pitched the non-stick in 2008/09, and we've never been into anti-bacterial anything or artificial fragrances. Sometimes I mix a little essential oil in water and spritz a room, but that's about the extent of extra scents in our house.

The BPA we're working on - like others here, beans and tomatoes are tough to change on. We tried canning our own tomato sauce, and found it very laborious and frustrating - a lot of work for little result. We will be trying again, though, as I have heard of some ways of doing things that might be easier. I need to learn to (pressure) can my own beans, as that is a convenience I am reluctant to give up.

As for the organics, they are simply not available in a lot of places, including the grocery store my middle-of-nowhere town. However, we've compensated by growing our own and doing a lot of preserving. We've still got a long ways to go, but we're working on it...

Little Home In The Country said...

What a great list! We have been working hard in our home to do those very things... plus a few more as we can. Those chemicals scare me! Homemade deodorant, using homemade soap for hair washing, no fabric softener (vinegar scented with essential oils instead)... to name a few. Still learning, still figuring out suitable substitutions...

Fröken grön said...

Thank you for your list! I will definitely think extra about the non-stick this year. My boyfriend and me will move in together and have to buy a lot for the kitchen and so on. I think I will go for glass instead of non-stick when it comes to baking-stuff. Thank you for making the world a cleaner place!

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