June 26, 2017
Kitchen activities, random thoughts and safety in no particular order.
The kitchen is often the busiest room in any house. It is a place of much joy where young children can learn to feed themselves. The basics of kitchen life and cooking are rooted in experimentation. Knowing that children love to experiment, makes the kitchen a great place for a child to learn resilience after a failed recipe turns around in round two.
As you and your children mess around in the kitchen trying to produce a culinary masterpiece, here are a few ideas for health.
1) Most importantly - do not cook or reheat in plastic of any kind. This includes using plastic wrap during microwaving, boiling in plastic bags or styrofoam. Many of these plastic devices have endocrine disrupting chemicals in them. They are released during the heating process and then consumed by us. EDC"s can mess with your hormonal function by sending mis information. Steer clear of them.
2) Do not use metal utensils in questionably safe non stick cookware, i.e. teflon. You will scratch off pieces of this toxic chemical into your food. Ceramic and cast iron cookware appears to be a better choice.
3) If you use non stick pans, do not heat on high with them. This will cause the coating to give off a toxic gas that can be inhaled. These are carcinogenic and troublesome for lung tissue.
4) Do not use lots of omega 6 oils - like soy, vegetable and corn types. These are unhealthy pro-inflammatory oils with unstable bonds that are easily oxidized at high heats.
5) Separate your cutting boards. Use one for meats and fish while the other is for all else. This will prevent you from inadvertently contaminating vegetables with bacteria that can cause food poisoning.
6) Avoid burning your proteins, especially meats. This releases toxic by products like heterocyclic amines. There is a gene polymorphism that some of us have called NAT2 that increases your risk of cancer because we have a genetic weakness for detoxifying the amines.
7) Deep frying. Never healthy. Lots of oxidized dangerous fats that promote inflammation.
8) Do not salt your food before tasting it. Too much salt has negative consequences of blood volume homeostasis.
9) Do not boil your non starchy vegetables. You lose much of the nutrients to the water. Steam until al dente or bake instead.
10) Do not touch your eyes or face after cutting peppers or onions. The oil does not come off easily causing a painful experience.
11) Turn pot handles in and preferably cook on the back burner as to prevent spills on young toddlers. We have seen too many burned toddlers from spills of hot oils or liquids.
12) Show your children every aspect of the cooking experience and discuss safety issues along the way. I often refer to the medical teaching model of see one, do one and then teach one. When your child can safely teach another how to cook something, they are on there way to mastery.