Cutting down the many materials in your kitchen drawers doesn’t just reduce cost and clutter, it preserves your health too:
• Overheated non-stick pans emit a bunch of chemicals that may cause cancer, birth defects, immune system suppression and increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Such chemical culprits are also found in water- and stain-repellent coatings on carpets, clothing, ironing boards and oven interiors, besides your pots and pans.
• Also keep plastic utensils out of your kitchen. All plastic is heat-reactive to varying degrees, and all cooking involves heat!
• Get rid of aluminium, copper and brass pots and pans for cooking anything that contains salt or any acidic substance. It’s fine for boiling milk. But for most other uses, you are better off with glass, stainless steel, ceramic or cast-iron cookware (one of the advantages of cast iron is that it actually adds small amounts of iron to acidic food cooked in it).
• For spoons and spatulas, choose stainless steel, wood, bamboo, glass and other non-reactive metals such as brass.
• Beware of plastic measuring cups as well: You never know when you need to measure hot liquids.
• Instead of plastic wrap or those cheap plastic bags, wrap cheeses and meats in waxed paper. Or bring your own metal tin.
• Never accept cooked food packed in plastic bags. Even aluminium foil is not a great idea. It’s best to bring your own box.
• Remember, many old ceramic containers used lead glazes. Not safe for food!
Good enough for good health
• Getting five servings of fruit and veggies (instead of the recommended ideal of nine) still lowers stroke risk by 31%, a Harvard University study says. Just keep it colourful (red/orange/yellow/purple/dark red, green).
• Can’t drink the mandatory eight glasses a day? If you aren’t thirsty, have a headache or flaky skin, you’re probably fine. Water isn’t the only dietary source of, well, water! Sip something with each meal, and put an eye-catching bottle on your desk.
• No time to gym? Just 2 hours a week (17 minutes a day) reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by 27%; 2-3 minutes in 30-second sprints offer the cardiovascular benefits of 40-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise!
• Weight training once a week has the same benefits as thrice a week—as long as you lift slowly and keep at it.
• Swapping saturated fats for monounsaturated fats (olive or nut oils, nuts, avocado) can trim your waist, even if you don’t cut calories!
Try a pesticide-free vegetable oil for hair conditioner and moisturizer. If you add it to your bath water, you’ll need lots less than slathering it on requires—and you will not come away sticky.