The kitchen is often the heart of the home, a bustling place to enjoy a good meal and mingle. But many common convenience foods, drinks, and gadgets found in the kitchen could be putting your health at risk. In fact, just last month, researchers found evidence that bisphenol A, or BPA, a chemical commonly found in kitchen cabinet contents, could be causing heart attacks in women. The kicker? You're probably paying more for these toxic rip-offs compared to safer alternatives.
Here's how to ID—and avoid—unhealthy stuff in the kitchen.
There's probably nothing more convenient that cracking open a can of soup and popping it in the microwave. A hearty meal in two minutes flat! That convenience comes with a cost, though. Most food manufacturers coat the inside of metal food cans with a BPA resin, one that's definitely leaching into food at alarmingly high levels. For instance, a recent study found that people saw their bodily BPA levels jump more than 1,000 percent after eating Progresso soup for lunch for five days straight. Save money by cooking up a big pot of soup or stew and enjoying it all week. For greater savings, look for in-season organic produce, make your own stock from scratch, and tap organic, dried beans as an economic protein source.
Read More: The Truth about Canned Soup
It's the microwavable popcorn bag—not the popcorn itself—that's the problem. These bags are often coated with nonstick chemicals that have been linked to thyroid disease and male infertility. The chemicals help prevent grease from oozing out of the bag, but undoubtedly wind up on your snack, too. Commercial microwavable popcorn often contains questionable artificial flavors, so it's best (and cheaper) to make your own from scratch.
Buy plain, organic popcorn kernels and add them to a pot with a little butter, coconut oil, or olive oil. Cover the pot with a lid and gently shake the pot over a medium flame. When the popping sounds significantly slow down, it's done! Still like the convenience of a nuked snack? Make your own safer version of microwavable popcorn.
Americans spend about $850 a year on soda, the type of carbonated beverage linked to skyrocketing obesity and diabetes rates. But empty calories are only the beginning of soda's role in sabotaging your body. Most contain artificial food dyes and sweeteners linked to brain cell destruction, ADHD, and other ills. Mountain Dew and certain sports drinks even contain toxic flame retardants. (And you're paying for it!)
Cleaners under the Sink
Isn't it ironic that the ingredients in many common cleaning products actually pollute your indoor air? Although ingredients don't need to be disclosed on the label, many are linked to asthma attacks, allergies, and even breast cancer. Arm yourself with DIY cleaning basics like white vinegar, baking soda, and castile soap, and use these green cleaning recipes for safer products that cost only pennies to create.