We all love products and produce with minimal chemicals. Have you ever wondered how much progress has been made in a decade, where we now have wide healthy choices for our families? While they are more available, they are still not inexpensive. Many families find it takes more than a whole paycheck to sustain this lifestyle across everything that we buy.
Here is my favorite list of items to scrutinize carefully across important categories:
Warm weather fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, peaches, or nectarines – beware! These are notorious for the chemicals sprayed on top and the bottom of the plant. If a fruit has an outer layer like oranges, watermelon and avocados, it’s reasonably ok to skip organic. According to an analysis conducted by the Environmental Working Group, the pesticides on berries are hard to wash off so it is deeper than the skin.
Where possible with your recipe, go traditional and use cast iron. It’s what centuries of humans have used, very successfully. Most non-stick pots, pans that are popular in the market, come coated with Teflon and /or some form of fluorochemical. These coatings when exposed to excessive heat can lead to breathing issues and long-term damage for your lungs.
A lot of household cleaning products available in the market contain phthalates. These are considered as endocrine disruptors and disturb our hormonal systems, there have been recent studies linking it to cancer. There are just so many options such as castile soap made of olive oil to clean your floors or the good old super cleaners in vinegar and baking soda. We anyway live in an era of super hygiene that gut bacteria is a key concern, so we normally err on the side of dirt in our family.
Sleep related products
Mattresses are one of the most underrated item that we often overlook in our homes. Many of the artificial mattresses available in the market are treated with toxic flame retardants. These retardants are associated with learning, memory and behavioral issues. A new wave of sleeping is emerging with organic cotton futons based on age-old traditions of Japan and India. Any organic mattress made of natural materials such as latex and cotton are great sleep choices as long as there are no additional layers of memory or petrochemical foams.
Plastic bottles and storage containers
Multiple studies have been conducted and its almost common knowledge that reusable plastic bottles and containers contain BPA or Bisphenol-A. Scientific research shows evidences linking it to breast cancer in women and lower sperm count for men.
It is essential to switch over to containers that have a stainless-steel lining or glass containers with rubber casing for protection, as a fall-back option you could also consider BPA free plastic containers. This category cannot be emphasized enough for kids and pregnant women given.
Diary is a contentious subject, as research is still being confirmed over areas like A2A2 and strains of cows, besides other aspects like grass fed or free range. A lot of organic milk is ultra-pasteurized, which as a process kills all good bacteria. In fact, this type of milk can very well be stored outdoors for 6-9 months without going spoiled. It was the marketing genius of Parmalat that helped launch this type of milk processing.
In general, using common sense, it is wise to choose milk that is obtained from native or free-range cows and from business that are close to where you live in farm sharing agreements.
These have recently been getting a bad rap with strings of bacterial infections caused by its consumption. These greens are a powerhouse of nutrients and vitamins but are very susceptible to pests. To reduce the infestation of pests, a copious amount of pesticides, and a neurotoxic insecticide called Permethrin is sprayed on them. Opting for locally sourced spinach or organic spinach from the market is your best bet here.
Sodas and Sauces
When picking up pasta sauces, ketchup, or liquid items always opt for glass jars rather than tetra packs or tin cans. Tin containers are prone to corrosion due to mild natural acids present in sauces. Tetra packs are lined with plastic and contain BPA that can leak into our food. The other aspect is most of the sodas are filled with High Fructose Corn syrup, which is again being shredded by research. You don’t need to buy organic, but just go for sugar or naturals in any of these.
It is necessary to choose products that are good for our health as well for our environment, but everything needs to be within the wallet. Let us know if you have more things to add to this list or if you find these useful.
About the author: Sid Kamath is the owner of Bed and Wood and a proud father of two kids. He is passionate about natural living and balanced ecological footprint.