I am excited to be collaborating with Katrina Bogdon at Our Healing Roots with a video series Healthy Home and Body. I am contributing to the "Healthy Kitchen" portion of the series. Kitchen Therapy is my Inspired Nutrition and Health Coaching business. My mission is to a catalyst for change in the kitchen through simplicity, systems, and community. I am also the owner of 2B Well Collaborative, a space for people seeking natural preventative healthcare and healthcare providers who want to collaborate with other professionals and support their businesses.
I will include this as a module in my Kitchen Therapy Membership, so now is the perfect time to sign up.
I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and when preparing healthy meals, I value the nutritious ingredients I'm using and how those ingredients are stored, organized, and prepared.
In this first series on the Healthy Kitchen, I will be discussing problems with plastics in our kitchen, alternatives to use instead of plastics, and freezing and reheating food in non-plastic containers. Please don't feel like you have to change everything right away. Change is essential for health, but it is also a process and can be overwhelming—one step at a time. I am here to support you.
It is hard not to find foods that have not been stored in plastic. Think about all the foods you buy and how much of them come in plastic. The next time you purchase food or drinks, notice how much of them come in plastic. It is everywhere, but you can take some simple measures to reduce your exposure to this toxin.
As you are transitioning into a healthier kitchen, an excellent place to start is letting go of is your plastic containers. That project may seem overwhelming, but it is a process and does not need to be stressful—one step at a time.
It is essential to try and avoid storing food in a plastic container because it might leach harmful chemicals such as Bisphenol (also known as BPA) and phthalates into your food. This dangerous toxin becomes even more likely when you heat food in plastic or store hot foods in plastic containers if you want to learn more about these toxins. EWG (Environmental Working Group), a great resource: https://www.ewg.org/.
Learn more about BPA here: https://www.ewg.org/areas-focus/toxic-chemicals/bpa
Learn more about Phthalates Here: https://www.ewg.org/areas-focus/toxic-chemicals/phthalates
Safe Food Storage Options:
Glass containers are the healthiest and most sustainable food storage. They are easy to find and relatively inexpensive. You can even reuse glass jars that you have bought something else in at the grocery store. You can find these glass storage containers at many standard stores. You can order them in a set if you overhaul your plastic containers and replace them with glass.
Glass Storage Containers (all sizes)
Some of these containers will come with plastic lids. If you have these or purchase them make sure to look for BPA-free lids, but there are ones with bamboo lids now. These containers are often oven-safe, but you need to read the manufacturers and ensure you don't put cold items in a hot oven. You can set the food in a cold oven and allow the glass to heat up slowly and naturally by turning on the heat after you put it in. Otherwise, it might break. Also, enable food to naturally cool before putting it in the refrigerator or freezer. I will place the food container in the fridge first before putting it in the freezer to not shock the glass. When freezing, make sure and leave about 3/4 inches at the top for expansion.
If you step into my kitchen and garage, you will quickly notice it's my favorite kitchen tool. There are many reasons I love Mason Jars in my kitchen. It allows me not to use plastic when storing leftovers and produce from farmer's markets, CSA's, and my garden. The transparency and easy organization help me see clearly what food I have to eat, reducing my food waste. I also love using jars to put herbs on my window sill and displaying fresh flowers.
Mason jars are great for storing and sustaining food in the pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. They are available in a variety of sizes. I like the wide-mouth jars, and it is easier to get food in and out of the container. I also highly recommend getting a wide-mouth funnel if you don't have one to help with ease and spillage when pouring in.
Metals are another option for plastic-free storage and are great containers for foods you don't need to reheat. These metal containers are great for cold items in lunches, dressings, condiment cups, and sometimes leftovers. They are still better than plastic. I have a few of these in my pantry.
The silicone material may look very similar to plastic, but it is much different. Silicone is made from amorphous silica. Just make sure that when you are looking for these products, they are 100% silicone and food or health-grade. I use oversized ice-cube trays for freezing batches of soups and sauces. I also love to freeze homemade chocolate in silicone molds.
Here are some options I have found helpful:
Beeswax wraps have become one of my favorite kitchen tools. It is super handy. You can let go of plastic wraps in your kitchen. It is great for storing leftovers. You can easily wash by hand using cool water using ethanol-free dish soap, air dry, and store.
To activate your beeswax:
1. Roll it up in a tight ball.
2. Shape it over or around your food.
3. Seal it by using the heat and pressure from your hand to hold the wrap in place. You can find adorable designs.
These wraps can last for two years so that you will be saving on money and plastic.
Changing can be challenging but sometimes an essential part of our health journey. Remember, this is a process. You don't have to get rid of and purchase all of the stuff at once. Make a plan or reach out to me for support by scheduling your Free Discovery Session.
Brandy Lane Hickman, NBHWC
2B Well Integrative Health Collaborative, Owner Inspired Nutrition, National Board Certified Health Coach, Kitchen Therapy
Board President, Missouri Nutrition Alliance Non-Profit