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Healthy Kitchen and Home
A home should be a place where you and your family feel safe. The kitchen of a home is often where everyone congregates the most, this is where you cook your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and holiday meals. Homemade foods are generally considered healthier than restaurants or fast foods since you know what ingredients are used and how they are processed. The problem is that ingredients are only half of the issue, and the other half is the cookware and general cleanliness.
Nonstick cookware items allow for less butter, less oil, and it is also very easy to clean. According to the Environmental Working Group, toxic fumes from Teflon chemicals released from pans and pots at high temperatures may kill pet birds and cause people to develop flu-like symptoms. Not all nonstick cookware is dangerous; qualified nonstick coating will only begin to decompose at very high temperatures (500 degrees F). Use good quality kitchen cookware. Here are some additional alternatives.
Stainless Steel: cookware made from stainless steel retains heat effectively. It is also non-toxic and the material distributes heat evenly across the surface. Stainless steel is easy to clean as well; you can scrub it down with steel wool to prevent layers of oil from accumulating on the surface. Some companies are even making solid stainless steel without PFCs, carcinogens known to contaminate products. High quality stainless steel cookware including knives, pots, pans, and pressure cookers are always better and healthier options than nonstick ones. There is a chance food will stick to them, but a little effort in cleaning is worth it.
Glass: it is non-toxic, chemical-free, and a durable material, but many different types of cookware made of glass are too difficult to find. If you have stainless steel pans, pots, or roasters, you can complement them with glass lids. It is a combination made for healthy cooking. Glass pans are actually available, but they may not be effective for all kinds of foods; they are best for savory dishes such as baked pasta, breads, or pot pies.
Ceramic: there is also cookware made from a combination of stainless steel, glass, and ceramic. Stainless steel is the material for the main body, but it uses ceramic coating and glass lid. Ceramic is also good conductor, meaning it distributes the heat across the surface well. With glass lids, you have better-controlled cooking too.
Some small household items may seem perfectly safe, but this is not always the case with all your home decor. VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are surprisingly used in many household products including air freshener, perfumes, and aerosol spray products. VOCs are very small that they can enter the bloodstream when you inhale air from certain home items like candles and air fresheners. A good alternative to certain air fresheners are scented candles, but these can be dangerous too especially when you are using paraffin candles. Paraffin is petroleum-based, which means you are adding more CO2 to the indoor air and chemicals from the scent. To get the benefits of scented candles without introducing all the bad effects of paraffin candle, you can use soy candles instead. Apart from being chemical-free, soy candles offer plenty of other advantages.
Advantages to Soy Candles:
Healthier: when burning, soy candles produce 90% less soot than their paraffin counterparts, so they reduce the amount of indoor air pollution. They are non-toxic, and release no harmful materials when burning.
Longer Burning: soy candles are probably more expensive, but they actually burn longer. You may have to pay more for the initial purchase, but you will need to buy again less often.
Better Scent: soy candles hold onto the scent from essential oils well. Because they burn more slowly, the scent is released gradually rather than as a wave of immediate burst of scent. This natural wax also holds onto color, making them more attractive.
Another important thing to consider is cleaning your appliances. Regardless of how hard you try, there will be dirt and debris in the house. It can hide in the carpet, couches, cabinets, beds, or even in the car. The conventional shampoo-based cleaning methods can probably kill bacteria, but shampoo and other chemical-based cleaning solutions introduce pollutants to the house. The invisible pollutants in the air are inhaled every time you breathe.
For a chemical-free cleaning, use a steam cleaner. The best thing about steam cleaners is they don’t need cleaning solution of any sort except water. They heat water to high temperature to produce steam hot enough to kill bacteria and remove stain without leaving chemical residue behind. Modern steam cleaners even have built-in vacuum, which absorbs relatively big debris. Using only water, there will be no discoloration to carpet or other upholstered furniture pieces.