Are Your Utensils Causing Dementia?

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the conflicting stories in the news about what pan is safe to use? Are you starting to eyeball that plastic waterbottle of yours like it might contain a Medici poisoning? Was the homeless man actually right – is aluminum foil causing brainwaves? Would someone please answer the question – is all this utensil fear-mongering based on myths, or not?

Here is a good, solid article from Prevention magazine about what to toss from your bottom cabinets. I like this article (two stethoscopes up!) because, if you can’t replace an item, the author includes tips on how to minimize your exposures until you can. Now’s a great time of year to sort through those kitchen shelves, and budget a little extra to treat yourself to a healthier version. Spring clean for health! But do you get sticker shock when you look at the safer products? We here at the Doc Gurley Healthcare Headquarters (also known as “home”), all gave each other one relatively expensive safer water-bottle for a gift treat (birthday coming up, anyone?). It sounds like a lame gift, but in actual practice was fun, self-indugent-feeling, good for the earth, and came with that extra gift of owner-smugness that always makes a present sooo worthwhile.

If there is a downside to the Prevention article, I’d say the authors didn’t take some of this information to it’s obvious logical conclusion. For example, if there is a huge amount of data (and even manufacturer’s warnings) to support never using a Teflon pan at high heat, that means NO ONE should own a Teflon-coated wok. Ever. Also, if your hard-plastic water bottle leaches bad chemicals when it gets hot (as do other plastic containers) then NO ONE should leave water bottles in a closed, hot car. Ever.

Also, while it’s really great that the authors included tips to minimize exposure risks, it would have been nicer if they included more cheaper alternatives – such as buying a roll of parchment paper and using that, instead of aluminum foil, to line a baking sheet. And, while it’s true that microwaving plastic is not a good idea – how are all of us going to make the switch away from it? How about storing all your glass containers right next to the microwave and/or frig, so that the first, easiest thing to reach is glass? If you, like a lot of us struggling with gas prices, are brown-bagging your lunch to work these days, make a point to carry in a few glass reheating bowls and store them there. Sure, you’ll need to give them a swish after lunch, but it’ll be a lot easier than carrying lunch back and forth in glass containers.

Final tip – if you’re doing a total cabinet spring clean and tossing some plates, be sure to get ones that are 1) lead free (I know, sometimes it can be really hard to tell, but worth the effort) and 2) smaller. Lots of studies show that we humans eat what’s on our plates (no matter how big the plate is), and, with smaller plates, we usually don’t notice the difference in amounts. Here’s to healthy kitchen cabinets!

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