Safe & Green Kitchen: Utensils

The theme for this week at Naturally Glowing is discussion on making your kitchen a safe, green, and clean place. As talked about in Safe & Green Kitchen: Cookware;  it is so important to not end your healthy journey at the food you eat, but start where you prep, cook, and store your food as well. I have a good response on the cookware article, and now we are moving onto kitchen utensils! There a couple materials we will talk about when it comes to choosing your kitchen utensils: bamboo, stainless steele, plastic, and silicone.

The most dreaded material to have in your kitchen is plastic! I know it’s cheap and sometimes you can’t afford anything but that, or a second cousin by marriage bought a set for you and your hubby and you can’t refuse it….I don’t care, get rid of it, throw it away! It’s not safe, healthy, green, or clean. Plastic contains toxins such as, phthalates and bisphenol; which are known endocrine disruptors that can leach into your food!! And people wonder why there are so many of us with illness such as PCOS, thyroid problems; a little note…if your endocrine system is messed up, your whole body’s hormones are too! Plastic also contains BPA which is a developmental, nueral,and reproductive toxin. Scientists have even linked low doses of BPA to cancers, impaired immune function, early onset puberty, obesity, and diabetes. It can be transferred from the plastic to drinks and food. Plastics that say they are BPA free still contain chemicals that are possibly toxic and might be carcinogenic. This is a a BIG NO, NO is my book and in my kitchen. No plastic here! So, toss yours too!

Next up is silicone. Silicone has become pretty popular lately, espically in the baking world. I hate making muffins, cupcakes, or mini meatloafs in a baking tin without a liner; because, it always sticks! I also hate having to buy cupcake liners everytime I bake something. They are a waste of money and a waste to put more trash in our landfills. Why spend money on something, that isn’t food or necessity, that you are just going to end up throwing away? Anyway, back to food grade silicone. Silicone is made up of silicon, which is a natural element that is found in rock and sand, and oxygen. At this time there seems to be no harm in using silicone. With its’ high heat (500*F) resistance, it doesn’t leach any chemicals into the foods. As per my research I haven’t found any forgein chemicals in silicone products; that is just my research…  However, be aware when buying silicone. Some companies use a filler, which can omit an odor in your food. Before buying silicone twist and move around the silicone, if any white shows through then it contains a filler; which not only leaves the odor in food but may not be as heat resistant as it should be. There is still little research about silicone in cooking, but seems to be ok. It is also comparable in price to plastic; so making the switch shouldn’t hurt your pocket book to much!

Thirdly, we have stainless steel. Now, I have no problem with stainless steel; it’s strong, durable, non porus. It doesn’t react with food, even acidic foods like tomato or vinegar based foods. It is well liked in the kitchen for it’s durability. Is not known to have any toxicity or chemicals present. However, as stated in Part 1: Cookware, stainless steel can sometimes contain copper; and it’s really not good. Copper can leave a metallic taste to your foods and is not desirable in the kitchen. Most cheap stainless steel will carry copper or other unsafe metal compounds in it. Pristine Planet offers some good stainless steel choices, Buy Green has a nice selection as well as Natural Home. Stainless is on my top picks!

Now, for my absolute favorite of them all, BAMBOO!! Did you know that bamboo is a member of the grass family and not the tree family? I didn’t until about 4 months ago; thought that was pretty crazy! Bamboo is also naturally anti-microbial, which means that it will stop the growth of bacteria; which also makes it a great place for the bathroom as well as a kitchen (more on the bathroom later :p ). Bamboo is also one of the strongest, yet lightest materials available; 16% stronger than maple and 33% lighter in weight compared to oak. When bamboo is harvested its natural root system spreads out and starts regenerating another plant; therefore it is also eco friendly in the sense that we are not wasting tons of trees. It only takes up to about 4 years for a bamboo tree (err grass) to reach maturity and ready to be harvested. Obviously, there are no chemicals or toxins used in bamboo products! Which makes them a great essential in the kitchen! One of my favorites is the core grip, over the sink bamboo cutting board from I love this company! A totally awesome thing about Core Bamboo is that they use 100% Organic grown bamboo. They also use laquer that comes from cashew trees and all of thier products meet USA and European standards. If they meet European standards then they are pretty good because Eurpean countries have awesome, strict regulations! Buy Green also has some great bamboo products!

So, when buying new kitchen utensils and tools use your judgement. First use bamboo, then stainless steel, lastly silicone, and never ever use plastic…please! If you have any recommendations, comments, or concerns leave them in the comment section below!
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