Use glass, avoid plastics, especially soft plastics. It appears that these plastics release “pseudo estrogens” which are harmful on many levels. The high level explanation appears to be that the substance mimics estrogen in the body and may contribute to causing various cancers.
Water bottles, Tupperware, any sort of plastic container in contact with food or drinks should be avoided in favor of glass or stainless steel (example: we have stainless steel water bottles that we take to the gym).
We recommend paper towels free of inks, dyes, or bleach. These are now widely available. There’s no sense in allowing the toxins¹ that make up the dyes, ink or bleach to transfer to your food. The mindset here is that this is a potential source of exposure. Every place you can reduce exposures is a win. This doesn’t even take very much effort especially since there are many bleach free alternatives on shelves today.
Critics will use the above recommendation as an example of how crazy this mindset can be. The fact is these materials do use toxins to produce the finished product. I acknowledge people far smarter than myself have tested these items extensively to make sure they’re safe to use. However, the chemically sensitive individual doesn’t have the luxury of blind trust and what we’ve learned about what used to be good for us and is now bad leaves much to be desired.
¹) Fun fact: did you know that the chemicals often used to de-ink recycled materials includes the following: chlorine, benzene, cadmium and cadmium compounds, carbon tetrachloride, chloroform, chromium and chromium compounds, cyanide compounds, dichloromethane, lead and lead compounds, mercury and mercury compounds, methyl ethyl ketone, nickel and nickel compounds, tetrachloroethylene, toluene, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, trichloroethylene, and xylene?
Also, did you know that the dyes and inks out there can be created with trace amounts of the following toxic heavy metal ions: lead, cadmium, mercury, or hexavalent chromium?
Teflon and Non-Stick
There are two arguments against using Teflon or non-stick coatings on food. Fumes and particles. With regard to fumes, there is the potential for gasses to be released at high temperatures that are toxic to humans. Studies have been done on this and the FDA/EPA says it doesn’t pose any risks. That’s all well and good but why take the chance? Especially considering other studies have shown that at high temperatures, ultra-fine particles of toxins are released into the air and go deep into the lungs.
More importantly these coatings over time have the potential to chip and scratch. Micro particles can end up in your food. There is no question that these particles are highly toxic. The safest thing to do is avoid Teflon or non-stick. While not as convenient, its safer and reduces a potential source of toxins.
This change was surprisingly easy for us. We cook with olive oil and a little added to coat the pan before any ingredients saves us a lot of work. Plus we don’t have to worry about scratching our nice pots and pans anymore.
Getting rid of your microwave:
There has been a lot of controversy about microwaved food and the potential danger it presents to your diet. The research I’ve seen remains largely inconclusive and since I have yet to identify “Big Microwave” as a lobbyist group the research might be fair.
We do know that microwaving removes more of some nutrients than other methods of cooking. Conversely it also removes less of some other nutrients compared to different cooking methods. It seems to be a wash.
There are two reasons why I would recommend getting rid of your microwave:
1. It represents a distinct break with previous dietary habits.
2. The EMFs (electro-magnetic fields) it emits may be harmful to those sensitive to EMF’s.
Rather than going into detail on the latter reason, I’ll just point out that I’m not a physicist, scientist or in any way qualified to render judgment on this. We do know and have come into contact with people who are sensitive to electronics and have negative reactions when they’re around them. As part of your illness, you may find your environmental conditions more bearable if you start unplugging things and reducing EMF’s around you.
With regard to the former reason, a break from previous dietary habits, the microwave represents an easy way out. If you go through the trouble of buying organic or natural, changing your eating habits, eating more vegetables, less meat and doing all the things we know are good for us, the microwave is unnecessary. Cook your food with the stove or oven. Take time preparing it. Food is a central component of a healthy lifestyle. I encourage you to put in the effort it deserves.
This is not the most critical change to make and many of you would consider it overkill. I guess it comes down to the fact that when you switch over to a healthy diet, the contents don’t generally come with microwaving instructions.