Today I’m going to talk about the chemicals from plastic toxins that are leaching into your foods and messing with your hormones and metabolism. I have a lot of patients in my practice who are really great at eating clean but haven’t done a kitchen makeover in a while. What I’m talking about is cookware. I’ve noticed a pattern in some patients with elevated cadmium, lead, and aluminum in their blood when I test their blood for chemicals and toxicity. I had to wonder, why do we have so much of these toxic chemicals showing up? The reality is that a lot of our cookware is loaded with cadmium, lead, and aluminum. It is either what the items are made out of or it is present in the enamels. Lead in particular is in a lot of enamels that are used to with the brightly colored cookware. Even great companies like Le Creuset admit to using a little bit of lead in their cherry red colored cooking vessels. Cookware is not something that comes to mind first when thinking of toxicity, but it is important because these chemicals are linked to thyroid conditions and metabolism issues.
A lot of people use plastic utensils when cooking. When plastic is heated up it releases all kinds of chemicals. Add to that a non-stick pan that has an enamel on it, that is perhaps scratched, and you’ve got a lot of ways that chemicals are getting into your food. If you’re using plastic containers for leftovers, straws in hot beverages, or drinking out of to-go cups, you’re raining chemicals onto the food you’re eating. When the plastic is heated up it leaches chemicals and toxins right into your food. Even if you have glass containers with plastic lids, when you put hot food into the containers it is going to heat up that plastic. Day in day out, you may be eating completely clean, but you’re inundating yourself with hormones from plastics.
HOW TO AVOID PLASTIC
Today I’m going to talk about what can you do to avoid plastics as much as possible. Honestly, it is unlikely that you will be completely plastic free, but there are some rules you can live by to limit exposure to this toxic substance:
#1: Never heat or microwave your food in plastic containers. This is a great way to get an inundation of tons of chemicals. The generic term is xenoestrogens. They act like estrogens in your body and they will build up and cause issues just like regular estrogen can. For women in particular, if you have horrible periods or hormonal issues, you’ve got to stop the microwaveable meals. If you are trying to lose weight or have thyroid issues, adrenal fatigue, or infertility, all of this has to do with chemicals getting into your body!
#2: Find food and water containers that do not have Bisphenol A. This is more commonly known as BPA. This is on the inside lining of a lot of our canned goods. There has been a push for labels on products that are BPA free, so make sure you’re looking for those. You’re going to get in touch with BPA if you use wax, parchment paper or aluminum foil. Most of the disposable plastic water bottles have BPA. You are drinking chemicals if you are drinking bottled water. Clear plastic bottled water lets in sunlight that warms up the plastic, and then you have xenoestrogens and BPA released into your water. Both of these are hormone disruptors that will mess with your fertility and periods, as well as contribute to weight gain and thyroid problems.
I recommend getting rid of any plastic cooking utensils in your kitchen. These often have BPA in them as well. There are some high-quality silicone products out there such as Tovolo that makes superior kitchen utensils.
#3: Avoid plastics labeled #3, #6, and #7. Those have the most chemicals that are going to be leached into your food and into your environment. You can find this number on the bottom of most plastic containers.
#4: When possible, look for items that are phthalate-free. Phthalates are now being added to different hygiene products and things like makeup removers, laundry and dish soaps. Phthalates trigger cell death. This is a problem because it can kill your thyroid cells and kidney cells. Phthalates can also cause obesity by killing your mitochondrial function and slowing down your metabolism. Phthalates are also connected to testicular disease, and a decrease in testosterone and sperm production.
WHAT TO COOK WITH
Many people are overwhelmed by this since I’m recommending avoiding non-stick cookware, aluminum pans, and stainless steel. So how do we cook our food?
There are some companies out there that create good quality cookware. CeramCor makes ceramic pans that are glazed with a nontoxic substance. The company shares what is in the glaze, how it has been tested and the chemicals in the ceramic glaze. It is very low-level in terms of toxic substances. I don’t believe there is any cookware on the market at this point that is completely free from some type of toxin.
Cast iron pans are another great alternative, but for some the iron levels can be overloading. I recommend that you rotate your use of cast iron pans, using them maybe 3 times a week. Dr. Mercola also makes ceramic cookware that is low in toxins. This type of cookware is the best out there in terms of the least toxic load when heated.
DETOX YOUR BODY
If you’ve been using all sorts of plastic, non-stick pans and are looking for a way to aid your body in getting rid of all these chemicals, I recommend doing a liver detox. You can do this a few times a year using DIM Detox by Pure Encapsulations. This is a great product that cleanses your liver, and removes excessive xenoestrogens. Another wonderful product is Moducare. This has antioxidants to help to rejuvenate your mitochondria and get your metabolism on track.
There are many different chemicals and toxins lurking in our kitchens that we often overlook. Giving your kitchen a makeover is another way to consciously keep your toxin load down. If you’re eating clean and addressing other aspects of your life, you want to make it count and reduce the load of plastic and toxic items in your kitchen. How you feel is directly connected to what goes in your mouth and what happens in your body.
Do you have a favorite nontoxic kitchen product? Let me know in the comments below.
This blog post is a summary of a podcast by Dr. Jannine Krause – Click here to listen to the podcast!