So, you’ve quit the sugary drinks, tossed out the fragrant candles, and even invested in a water filter – all in the quest to bring down your overall toxin burden.
If you’ve gotten this far, then all your efforts deserve a standing ovation! You are well into a journey of a toxin-free lifestyle and are making smart decisions to keep your family’s health the best it can be.
You may be familiar with the functional medicine belief that longevity and wellness begin in the kitchen. Whether you prepare a fancy Thanksgiving meal or simply share a quick breakfast with your loved one on a busy Monday morning, kitchens are nurturing places that foster love and well-being.
But how many of us are inspecting our kitchen habits? Is our kitchen setting the gold standard of health, or is it actually becoming a toxin hotspot?
As a functional medicine physician in Houston, I work with several patients who pay little attention to the way they cook and store food. While there is hours of social media content on meal prepping, there’s very little awareness of kitchen habits that may impact your metabolism.
When we work to resolve the root cause of illness, seemingly small actions can have a significant impact and reduce our overall toxin burden.
So how can you ensure your kitchen habits aren’t increasing your exposure to chemicals? What are some effective ways to cook food and retain its nutrition? Let’s find out!
Baking or roasting your food at temperatures between 300°F to 450°F (150°C to 230°C) can help preserve nutrients while enhancing the flavor. This method exposes your food to dry, radiant heat, allowing it to cook evenly without losing its essential vitamins and minerals.
Cooking Tip: Use good fats like olive oil or avocado oil to enhance flavor and maintain nutritional value.
Blanching or boiling your vegetables requires hot water to cook food (usually below 212°F or 100°C). Extended boiling can lead to nutrient leach, whereas blanching is a quick 1-minute process and preserves nutrients.
Cooking Tip: Use a minimal amount of water to help preserve water-soluble vitamins. Also, consider saving the nutrient-rich cooking water for soups and sauces.
Frying or sautéing food can be done at temperatures around 350°F (175°C). While it might not be the most nutrient-friendly method, you can minimize nutrient loss by healthy fats such as coconut oil or ghee. Keep the cooking time short to limit nutrient degradation.
Cooking Tip: Cook at lower temperatures, avoid overcrowding the pan, and choose oils with a high smoke point to reduce oxidation.
Slow cooking, often done in a crockpot or a slow cooker, maintains nutrient content due to its low and steady heat. Cooking at temperatures between 180°F to 200°F (80°C to 95°C) in plenty of liquid allows flavors to develop. The broth is full of water-soluble vitamins and minerals.
Cooking Tip: Use grass-fed meats, bones, and plenty of vegetables to create nutrient-rich, hearty soups and stocks.
Steaming your food involves cooking at a low temperature, usually around 212°F (100°C), which helps preserve nutrients. Steam gently surrounds the food, cooking it without direct contact with water, limiting nutrient loss.
Cooking Tip: Steaming retains the natural flavors of your ingredients, so season with herbs and spices rather than salt.
Apart from cooking methods, many people are unaware of how their habits may be turning their kitchens into toxin hotspots. We may have picked up some of these in our childhood, others may have been born out of sheer convenience and efficacy. Regardless, it is important to know how certain kitchen choices can impact our overall toxin load and well-being.
By being aware of these habits and making conscious choices in your kitchen, you can reduce your exposure to toxins and improve the overall quality of your meals. Functional medicine encourages a holistic approach to health, including how you prepare and cook your food. If you are dealing with chronic symptoms and need guidance to navigate a health crisis, book your free discovery call with us today.