Life Tips by Mehreen: How to replace hidden hazards in the kitchen?
Baaghi TV presents tips to help replace some commonly found hazards in the kitchen.
Health truly is wealth, as rightly argued by the wise, so each one of us should aim to maintain healthy and hope to advocate a healthier environment for our coming generations as well. Although, many processed and/or comfort food items around us make this goal hard to achieve but we can always try to reduce the usage of them for the sake of keeping ourselves healthy.
Why are hormonal issues, polycystic ovaries syndrome (PCOS), diabetes, obesity, cancer, liver and heart diseases becoming so common among us?
For more details on such issues and some easy and simple hacks, do watch my episode “Life Tips by Mehreen: Things to be Eliminated from our Kitchens” on my YouTube channel, Mehreen’s Corner.
One of the main reasons for our deteriorating health conditions lies in our household, especially in our kitchens, in the form of our daily cook wares – the PET bottles and plastic boxes that we use and some other items which need to be replaced with immediacy.
At Baaghi TV, we want to create a safe and healthy environment for all so, we have compiled the following list carefully designed to help you in your path to a greener or healthier lifestyle.
A. Refined Oil:
The first item that needs to be replaced is our refined oil, which we generally use to cook our food. Have you ever thought why it is termed as ‘refined’? The literal meaning of refined is to ‘purify’, and can you imagine the process it has to go through to get purified?
This so-called refined oil passes through lots of chemical processes, the first of which is the addition of an acid to purify it, passing through many cleaning procedures and heated at very high temperatures, the oil oxidizes and releases trans fat. In the end, a cleaning process is carried out with the help of a bleaching agent to deodorize the pungent smell in the oil, and that bleaching agent is, of course, a chemical.
So, we all can imagine that the harmful ingredients in refined oil can lead to serious health issues one of the main being our heart and cholesterol. The trans fat released in the refining process is dangerous for our heart and can also increase our cholesterol levels.
REMEMBER: The continuous use of this oil may lead to cancer too.
We should substitute our refined oil such as corn oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil and many such with olive oil, mustard oil, palm oil and/or ghee, preferably.
Mustard and olive oil have qualities to keep our cholesterol in check thus keeping us fit in comparison to other oils used.
B. Aluminum utensils:
The second kitchen tool that needs to be removed is, our aluminum utensils, with which our kitchens are generally stocked. The reason these aluminum utensils are so common is that they are cheaper in price than other products. Moreover, they are abundantly and easily available in our markets, are rust free and light weight too.
The aluminum metal in these cook wares is harmful for our health because when our food is cooked in them, around 1 to 2 mg of this metal enters our food and ultimately our body. Aluminum acts like a slow poisoning agent to our bodies, and thus effects our kidneys and brain.
Additionally, it decreases our capacity to absorb zinc metal, which leads to slow functioning of our brain. Zinc is also necessary for our immune system, if not present in desired amounts, can result in hair loss, eyes and skin sores and loss of appetite.
REMEMBER: When British rule was prevalent in the subcontinent, prisoners were given their food in aluminum utensils, which acted as a slow poisoning agent and could result in their early deaths.
From this we can easily get a picture of the harmful effects of using aluminum cook wares in our daily life, they should instead be replaced by stainless steel, ceramic or glass cook wares which have no chemical substance in them and are far better to use.
C. Aluminum Foil:
The most commonly used item in our kitchens and homes is aluminum foil, which is widely used for packing, storing and wrapping food stuff. The harm comes when we keep our warm food on that foil, letting the aluminum seep in our food and then to our body, poisoning our body slowly and damaging our brain, kidneys and lungs.
It would be much safer if we use butter paper for wrapping food stuff and lining our baking dishes, also a cotton cloth can be used for covering hot food items.
D. Non-stick cookware:
Non-stick pans are very popular, the reason being that they have a special coating on them that doesn’t allow the food to stick to the pan. The surface allows us to use very little oil or butter to cook our food. Non-stick pans are used for flipping pancakes, turning sausages and frying eggs.
But are they safe enough to keep using for a long period of time?
Most nonstick pans are coated with polytetrafluoroethylene, also known as Teflon. And there are a lot of rumors out there that Teflon might be toxic and that these pans may not be safe to use.Teflon, which is a synthetic chemical made up of carbon and fluorine atoms, and has a number of other applications. It is also used to make wire and cable coatings, fabric and carpet protectors, and waterproof fabrics for outdoor clothing such as raincoats.
When these non-stick pans are heated the teflon gets mixed in our food, making it hazardous for our health.
It has been linked to a number of health conditions, including thyroid disorders, chronic kidney disease, liver disease and testicular cancer. It has also been linked to infertility and low birth weight.
When a non-stick pan is heated, the chemical teflon is released in the air and you can smell it in the fumes, which may lead to Teflon flu causing chills, fever, headache and even body ache.
The precautionary measures to be taken here are; not to preheat the pan because it releases the polymer fumes; not to cook on a very high heat and keep your flame on a medium level. When Teflon coatings start to visibly deteriorate with excessive scratches, peeling, flaking and chipping, they are ready to be replaced.
REMEMBER: It is better to substitute your non-stick pan with a grill, skillet pan and/or cast-iron cook wares which are ideal to use.
When it’s seasoned properly, cast iron is naturally nonstick. It also lasts for a longer time and can withstand temperatures well above those considered safe for nonstick pots and pans.
E. Plastic boxes and plastic bottles:
The plastic boxes that we use in our kitchen for storing food contain a chemical BPA (Bisphenol A) which has an adverse effect on our bodies. Not all plastic containers are very harmful, a good quality plastic box may have less adverse effect than a low quality, low price plastic one. However, since we can’t be so sure about the quality and making of plastic containers, so it is better to avoid them.
It should be avoided at all costs to keep your warm food in a plastic box because the plastic releases its chemical in the food and ultimately into your body.
Similarly, try not to warm up your food in a plastic container (even if it is marked microwave safe), because upon heating, it releases a chemical that changes the genetic compounds of our food thus, making it harmful for our health.
In the same way, plastic and disposable bottles used for water and drinks should be avoided, as the chemical BPA and many other chemicals of a plastic get mixed up with water and seep in our body. The plastic bottle becomes very harmful if it is exposed to heat or when it becomes old. Frequent cleaning of the bottle is required with luke warm water and dish washing soap and immediate replacement should be done after usage of a long period.
REMEMBER: The toxic chemical released from the plastic decreases our immune system, creates hormonal imbalances and lessens the insulin sensitivity in our body which may lead to high blood sugar levels and Diabetes.
This chemical is also one of the reasons of ever increasing obesity in us and its mixing up in our food may cause further heart problems.
Prolonged use of same plastic box or a bottle may lead to cancer and liver and kidney issues, so it is advisable to keep on changing them frequently.
The best alternative is to use glass containers and glass bottles, which are safe and eco-friendly. Although glass might be expensive, heavier to carry and easily breakable but it is not harmful for our health. Similarly, metal bottles and boxes are also a good option to go for. Children should drink water in stainless steel metal bottles, as they are durable, do not rust easily, and will not release chemicals when exposed to sun.
With these small helpful tips, I hope we all start making changes starting from our home thus, creating a safe environment all around. Our health should be our main concern, so look after yourself and be prepared to take small steps towards the road to betterment.
REMEMBER: It may be difficult in the beginning to make small changes, like replacing disposable water bottles with a glass or a metal one but these changes put together, create a lot of difference.
Let us all hope for a better and healthier future. Do share your feedback with us and stay tuned to Baaghi TV for more information.