When I first switched to a grain-free, paleo-style diet, it was just that...a diet. But as I continued along, it became more than just excluding things from my diet. I became more aware of what I was including in my diet and my home, how those things affect my health, and the health of the earth! Instead of grabbing whatever I wanted off grocery store shelves, I became more thoughtful on where my food was coming from, supporting farmers who are raising and growing food in a sustainable way, and being conscience of what chemicals I was exposing myself and others to.
This awareness has spread to other areas of my life and my home. While I was always good about recycling, I've found more creative ways to exclude chemicals (including plastics) and minimize waste. I am going to do a whole series on different areas of my home and life, but I thought I'd start in the kitchen. Below are some products I use that help me play a part in reducing waste and supporting sustainable companies.
Pyrex- When I first started changing the products I use for my body and my home, one of the first changes I made was to minimize plastic. As far as we know, plastic doesn't decompose. Once something plastic has been created, it stays in our landfills and on our earth FOR.EV.ER. Plastic can also leach chemicals into our food. I got a great deal on Pyrex on back friday one year, and they still look good as new. I've had to replace some lids, but the glass is durable. I use these for all my food storage and meal prep.
ukonserve glass containers- I love using these containers in our lunch boxes. They generally hold as much food as we need, they're thick and heavy duty, they never leak, and the silicone sleeve makes them more protected if they're dropped. I even throw mine in both the microwave and the toaster oven at work (without the sleeve) and it works great! I bought ours from Thrive Market.
stasher bags- This is a great way to get rid of disposable plastic zipper bags. These bags hold a surprising amount of stuff, and zip closed just like your old favorite. These heavy duty baggies are silicone instead of plastic, so they won't leach chemicals into your food, and you can throw them in the dishwasher to use over and over again! I bought mine from Thrive Market, but they're also available on Amazon.
bees wrap- this is the perfect plastic-free version of plastic wrap. It's basically fabric that is coated in bees wax. The wax works to help protect your food from air and water, and also helps the fabric keep it's shape. It takes some finagling, but you use the heat of your hands to help mold the bees wrap into the shape you need. It doesn't stick to dishes as well as plastic wrap, but it gets the job done. I bought mine from Thrive Market, but it's also available on Amazon.
Sustainable/compostable parchment paper- I love this brand of parchment, (and their muffin liners, too (it's called If You Care). The paper used is grown and used in an environmentally sustainable way, and it isn't bleached, so it's not exposing you to more chemicals. Also, it's approved for both at-home or commercial composting if you're into that. Besides all of that, it works great!
unpaper towels- globally, paper towel waste is the cause of 254 million tons of trash every year. 254. Million. TONS. That's a lot, man. The problem is that I love paper towels, haha. So I've got to admit that I haven't totally done away with paper towels, and still use them for soaking up bacon fat off my pan. But these little unpaper towels have helped me to reduce my use. They're thin, washable cloths, and I use them to mop up all sorts of messes. Sometimes I rinse and re-use, but other times I use them once and throw them in the laundry. They're really versatile, and I love them! I bought these from a local Denver store called Zero Market.
cloth napkins- I realized one day that we were throwing away paper at every.single.meal. What?? This was one of the easiest swaps I've made. We used up the last of paper napkins and I grabbed a cup pack of cloth ones from Target, and that was it! Easy! We use our napkins multiple times, but when they get a little gross (after eating ribs...) or when we have company over for dinner, I throw the old ones in the laundry and grab some fresh ones. It's so much easier always have some one hand, and not have to go to the store to buy more napkins every time we run out. Saving trees and money!
silicone/steel mason jar lid- I used to have those plastic coffee-cup style lids that you can put on a Mason Jar to drink out of them. Then one day I found a stainless steel version by a brand called Eco Jarz. The best part is that it came with a little silicone plug so I don't have to worry about spilling it as I run to my car. I love mine and bought it at Zero Market in Denver. I often use it for a big jar of iced cold brew in the mornings.
stainless steel tumblers- Stainless steel travel cups are really superior to plastic because they keep your drinks cold longer. I have several different insulated tumblers/cups that I love. I use them to make sure I'm getting my daily water in, or to transport my iced coffee or giant smoothies. They're also great to use if you want to put essential oils in your water, because EOs and plastic are a no-no.
nespresso- I LOVE my Nespresso. I'm absolutely a latte girl over coffee any day. But, another huge reason I love Nespresso is because their metal coffee capsules are recyclable! Plastic Keurig capsules are an environmental nightmare. Thankfully Nespresso has taken steps to be more environmentally friendly, and it's so easy. Request a free bag, fill it up with used coffee capsules, ship it back to Nespresso for free! Done. They do all the work on their end and make it easy for you.
ecover dishwasher detergent- This was another change I made early on in my kitchen's transition. I realized that I was dousing my dishes with chemicals everyday. I mean, I eat off my dishes, and I avoid chemicals in my food so why would I put it on my dishes? It just really made me think about the many ways we expose ourselves to toxic, unknown, or unnecessary chemicals every day. So I switched to a brand called Ecover. These tablets come individually wrapped, but the plastic they're wrapped in is recyclable. I have tried quite a few "natural" dish soaps with some disappointing results. These consistently get my dishes clean, and they're super affordable. I buy mine from Thrive Market, but they're also available at Whole Foods and Amazon.
Thrive dish soap- With much the same mentality as changing my dishwasher detergent, it may be even more important to change dish soap. These chemicals are not only on your dishes, but also get absorbed through your skin. Again, I've tried many options, but I've been super happy with Thrive Market's brand of dish soap! It's super affordable and gives me a consistent clean.
Thieves hand soap- Thieves is a super germ-killing essential oil blend from Young Living. They've created an entire line of cleaning products using this blend, and I love it for all it's natural germ killing capabilities. I trust this hand soap to get my hands clean, even when I've been handling raw meat and eggs.
Green Pans- When I was looking for pans to replace my teflon-coated non-stick pans, I decided on ceramic. I still wanted some sort of non-stick coating, but didn't want them expose my food to unnecessary chemicals. I originally decided to try 2 Green Pan skillets that I got on sale at Williams Sonoma. I love them! They're heavy duty and the non-stick works great. Then, on super clearance I found an entire set at Target for about $100 (it included 6 pans with lids). I've been really happy with this brand and highly recommend them. Here's something similar to the set I have.
Thieves cleaning spray- This spray is from the same Young Living line as my hand soap. This spray is sold as a concentrate and it only takes 1 oz. of concentrate mixed with 30 oz. of water to make an entire bottle of cleaner, so the concentrate lasts for years (unless you clean waaaay more than I do). It is gentle enough to use on the entire house, but I trust it to get my cutting boards and counter tops clean, even when I'm cutting up raw meat. And, it's completely safe, even if consumed, so I don't worry about contaminating my food, like I would if I used bleach. Best of all it smells like warm spices like cinnamon, so it leaves your house smelling welcoming instead of like pine sol or bleach.
While the goal is not perfection, I hope this has given you with some ideas for easy swaps you can make to transform your kitchen into a healthier, less wasteful space. You can also Pin this for later so you don't forget about this resource when you're ready to replace some old kitchen stuff with new items.
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