Category Archives: Environmental Toxins

Choosing the Healthiest Cookware

Upgrading your cookware to healthier options is always a great idea, if you’re interested in creating your best health ever. Why? Your current collection may be a source of unwanted toxins for you and your loved ones, depending on what you use.

Much of today’s cookware contains even trace amounts of metals such as aluminum, lead, nickel, and endocrine disrupters. People may experience health issues of various kinds and levels, influenced by either the accumulation of toxins such as the above, or from their immune system being so sensitive, it responds to even the smallest amounts of these compounds.  In fact, breast-fed babies have been shown in studies (click here 2 read) to have high levels of various chemicals in their bodies when their moms were exposed to high levels – it transfers into breast milk.

I don’t personally recommend aluminum cookware that is not enameled,
nor most non-stick cookware. Aluminum may react with acidic foods (like tomatoes) – and leach trace amounts into the food, and into your body.

Like slowly dripping water erodes limestone, tiny amounts of aluminum or chemical exposure over long periods of time may erode your health.  For more info on the potential effects of aluminum, see this article.

In my professional opinion, choosing the most ‘inert’ or non-reactive cookware is the way to go. This is by no means an exhaustive list:Pots

  1. Glass. Corning Vision cookware is no longer sold tores, but you can find them easily in thrift stores, and online. I love glass because it’s easy to clean and there is no chemical leakage whatsoever into the food. I’ve been using it in my kitchen for over a decade, without any problems or breakage
  2. Enameled steel or enameled cast iron. My personal favorite brands are LeCreuset and Chantal, both European brands you can easily find in the US, and they are often found on sale, too. Both brands are certified to not leech anLeCreusety metals or anything else into the food – largely because I know their enamel is metal-free. There are many other options, too.
  3. Cast iron. An option for frying pans. It’s the tried and true option our grandmothers used all their lives. It can leach small amounts of iron into the food, and some women actually benefit from it. I use enameled steel or cast iron, mostly because I love them and they are easy to clean. But compared to non-stick frying pans, a cast iron pan is a healthier choice. There are new pans being produced that are non-toxic, but I don’t personally know enough about them to recommend them or not.

If you are concerned about your levels of toxic metals, a hair analysis is an excellent way to find out. For more info, check out my website. If you still need a gift, a hair analysis is a great idea, too!

Enjoy Coffee The Healthy Way (like this!)

On super cool and busy days, many folks love to indulge their Starbucks – substitute your favorite coffee or tea brand – habit. If that is you, you may consider sipping your treat without the light-colored, plastic lid.file0001494662016


While much awareness has been raised about the potential of BPA to disrupt the endocrine system of both males and females, those handy plastic lids still contain BPA, also known as bisphenol-A. (Click here to read more about this compound, courtesy of the NIH)

If you are a super healthy, Olympic athlete, it may not make much difference to you. My personal thought is, the less chemicals we are exposed to in the sea of chemicals that are being produced and used every single day, the better.

If you have been diagnosed with immune or chemical sensitivity issues – and especially any type of autoimmune issues like hashimoto’s, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus etc., this is one way you can protect your body from having to work harder.

While a BPA containing product is never the best option, it may be especially harmful when combined with anything acidic – such as coffee – that is also heated. The equation goes:

Heat + BPA + Acid = leaching of BPA into the coffee….and into your body.

So before you sip, see if you can remove the cover – or have Starbucks pour your cup o’joe into your own BPA mug….and enjoy!file000595017308

Of course, if you have the time – or can take the time – take a break, sit down and enjoy coffee the old fashioned way; or in my case, a lovely cappuccino – my personal favorite.

Inflammation: Keys to Taming it

Inflammation seems to be one of the new buzzwords these days. What is it? Just what it sounds like – some part of our body gets ‘inflamed’ – gets hot, red, swollen, as in a sore throat, infected skin cut, swollen ankle. Our goal is always to tame or stop the inflammation, after the cause is determined. file1211269799749

In addition to this more ‘local’ type, another type of inflammation can also affect any part of our body. In the heart, it can contribute to heart disease, in our fat cells, to obesity, in the thyroid to thyroiditis, in the brain, it may ultimately lead to depression, even autism, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, in the eyes, blindness. As Barry Sears, MD says,

What we see as heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s are not different diseases, but simply different manifestations of long-term damage caused by a continued inflammatory attack on your organs.

An initially protective mechanism (the immune system, through the white blood cells and chemicals called cytokines, designed to shield you from foreign invaders of any kind) ends up going awry for some reason and leads to our body being in a chronic or constant state of (systemic, rather than local) inflammation, potentially wreaking havoc and causing our health to deteriorate – even if for years, you may not have symptoms, which is why some doctors call this type of inflammation “silent”.

The causes of inflammation are many, such as:

  • Toxins (e.g. the up to 85,000 chemicals we may be exposed to in daily life, hidden mold in walls and basements of the buildings we may live and work in, heavy metals such as mercury, lead, etc)
  • Infections, especially hidden viral, bacterial
  • Undiagnosed food allergies and sensitivities (both acute, like a nut allergies, but delayed, which may not affect us up until 72 after ingestion)
  • Extreme, chronic stress and trauma, mental or physical
  • Lack of healthy amounts of exercise
  • An unhealthy diet and ultimately and potentially harmful contents of foods such as transfats, including anything containing partially hydrogenated oils, steroids, antibiotics, hormones, even refined sugars, in excess

Taming inflammation…What can you do?

You may have heard of one popular means for helping prevent dementia by using a ‘non-steroidal anti-inflammatory OTC drug’ like Advil or Tylenol (with some unwelcome side effects for some people). You may also consider some of these alternatives to help your body deal with or minimize your risk of systemic inflammation:

  • Increase intake of Omega-3 fatty acids, which many people are deficient in. Enjoy some extra salmon or sardines, or take a good supplement, tested and purified of PCBs and heavy metals such as mercury
  • Exercise…even a daily walk or walking a few times a week is a great start. If you prefer, enroll a family member for some rounds of tennis or other active game, or go play outside with your kids
  • Clean up your diet
  • Reduce consumption of refined sugars and carbohydrates, especially processed and calorie-laden but nutrient-“empty” foods
  • Start using the wonderful anti-inflammatory herbs and spices in your cooking, such as ginger, turmeric (which gives curry its yellow color) and even rosemary
  • Determine whether you might have delayed food allergies

Certainly, if you or someone you know suspects they have inflammation, talk to your doctor. You may ask about a blood test called Highly Sensitive C-reactive protein (HS-CRP), which is a marker for general inflammation.

So see if you can pick one or two suggestions you might work on…one small change in your diet and lifestyle over time will make a big difference in your health.

If you’d like to take this to find out if you (or someone you love) have potential toxicities that could be contributing to your health issues, check out Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis. I’ve been using it in my health coaching practice with great results. You may find pertinent details here.

As always, please remember that this information is for informational purposes only, is not medically diagnostic in any way and does not substitute the care of a health professional.