Everyone needs some fundamental kitchen equipment for your basic food preparation, even if you don’t cook every meal at home. Here are a few of my recommendations for equipping a healthy kitchen with essentials that will make your life easier and healthier. When my children were at college, they called and asked me what kitchen items they needed for their new apartment, and I compiled a short list of what I consider to be the most important basic essentials for your kitchen.
With just a few simple kitchen tools, you will be on your way to preparing healthful, delicious meals for your family. Many of these are a good investment for your health and home. Some of them can last you a lifetime of use.
- A Blender. A blender is probably my most useful kitchen tool. I am really hard on my blender, as I use it almost every day. I was wearing out a blender about every three months. Then I bought a Vitamix. Though Vitamix blenders cost more than most, it is a good brand and has a seven-year warranty. Mine lasted over 15 years. I now have a Breville blender, and I love it as well. The Blendtec and the KTec Champ HP3 blenders are two other great brands.
If you soak hard foods (like raw almonds) in water overnight to soften them, they won’t be so hard on your blender when preparing.
- A Juicer. The Breville juicer is easy to use and reliable. I juice carrots, celery, and a cucumber in mine almost every day, but you cannot juice wheatgrass or sprouts in this type of juicer.
I tried the Green Star brand, but it wore out fairly quickly from overuse. Green Star was good for juicing wheat grasses and sprouts, but it broke easily and was very expensive. . I now use a smaller hand-cranked juicer for my wheatgrass and sprout juicing, and it only cost about $30.00.
The Hurom juicer works in the same way as the Green Star. One of my friends has the Hurom juicer and says it works great.
- A Food processor. Food processors are very useful for making large amounts of raw food or mixing dense or heavy foods, like hummus. Small ones work just fine for most jobs. If I was buying a large food processor, I would only buy a 10-inch one. My 12-inch has a gap that, in my opinion, doesn’t work as well.
- A Toaster or toaster oven. (So you won’t have to heat up your large oven).
- A Paring knife and a large cutting knife.
- A Cutting board. Buy a cutting board that is dishwasher-safe, so that it can be sanitized completely.
- A Stainless-steel sieve.
- A Spatula and scraper.
- A Dehydrator. I use this to make raw food: breads, snacks, etc. It takes up a lot of room and is fairly expensive, but it is great if you wish to prepare healthy raw food recipes, where you can control how warm the food gets when you are dehydrating it.
- Glass, stainless steel, or lead-free ceramic baking dishes.
I prefer to use freezer to oven glass bakeware. Be careful about Pyrex dishes. The Pyrex company was bought by a Chinese company that changed the formula, and now some of the glass cookware has been exploding in heated ovens.[i] I look for vintage Pyrex at antique stores and estate sales, where you can find some really great kitchen equipment for a good price.
Regarding aluminum, please be aware that aluminum cookware can leach aluminum into your food. Aluminum is linked to Alzheimer’s disease.[ii]
I also do not use non-stick cookware. Studies show it releases toxins into the air when heated to high temperatures. “There’s a whole chemistry set of compounds that will come off when Teflon is heated high enough to decompose,” says Robert L. Wolke, PhD, a professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh. “Many of these are fluorine-containing compounds, which as a class are generally toxic.”[iii] Dr. Kurunthachalam Kannan, PhD, an environmental toxicologist at the New York State Department of Health’s Wadsworth Center, explains: “At temperatures above 500°F, the breakdown begins and smaller chemical fragments are released.”[iv]
According to the Consumer Safety Group, Teflon and nonstick pans are dangerous to your health. “Dangers : Increased risk of kidney and testicular cancers, as well as thyroid disease. Higher levels of exposure have been linked with miscarriage and fertility issues or birth defects. Findings: Teflon (brand name) maker DuPont has been found guilty in several personal injury and wrongful death suits, after the chemical was found to have tainted water surrounding the plants where they made their nonstick coating for cookware. A paper released in 2015 called the Madrid Statement was signed by over 200 scientists from 40 countries and presented evidence that Teflon, created in part by chemicals called poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), is carcinogenic. Additionally, these toxins were confirmed (both by independent scientists and DuPont’s in-house team), to be released by the nonstick pans after just 2-5 minutes of heat on the stove.
Regulatory Status: The EPA has ruled that a substance closely linked to PFAS, perfluorinated compounds, is a likely carcinogen. In 2005, the EPA fined DuPont for hiding information on the health hazards associated with PFAS. In 2010, the EPA launched a voluntary program to encourage manufacturers to reduce, and by 2015, eliminate these chemicals in their products. Though the Teflon brand name is no longer used, non-stick coated pans containing PFAS are still widely available in the cookware aisle. “ v
- A Water Purifier. I use a reverse osmosis water purifier that sits on my kitchen counter. Aqua Tru is a countertop reverse osmosis water purifier that is certified to create bottled quality water from your tap. No plumbing or installation required.AquaTru provides great-tasting pure water. AquaTru, which is reverse osmosis, takes out virtually all toxic chemicals in your tap water. Almost all public water supplies have chemicals added, including chlorine and sodium fluoride—both of which are poisons.CostBased on a typical family usage of 1000 gallons of drinking water per year, after 5 years with your own water purifier, you can save from over $100-$2800.
When you purify your own water and use your own glass, copper or steel water bottle, you will also avoid contributing to the huge plastic problem with the disposable plastic bottles.
I find it hard to believe that the EPA or FDA are still not truly looking out to protect the public from unsafe products. That is one reason I put this list together for you to use as a guide.
I know the kitchen is the heart of the home. I hope this helps you make your kitchen safer, healthier, happier and more productive.
By Nancy Addison CHC, AADP
For more information go to: www.organichealthylifestyle.com
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i Gray, Theodore. (2011, April 26). “Video: They Sure Don’t Make Pyrex Like They Used To. A Change to Heat-Resistant Glass Has Had Explosive Effects.” Popular Science. Retrieved from http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2011-03/gray-matter-cant-take-heat
ii McDougall, John. “Alzheimer’s Again Linked to Aluminum.” Rense.com. Retrieved from http://www.rense.com/general37/alum.htm
iii Schaffer, Amanda. “Nervous About Nonstick?” Good Housekeeping. Reprinted text retrieved from WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/nervous-about-nonstick
v https://www.consumersafety.org/, Consumer Safety.org provides consumers with information that can help them lead healthier, happier lives. ConsumerSafety.org strives to make information about recalls and safety-related news about drugs, medical devices, food, and consumer products accessible to everyone in a transparent, easily understandable way.
If you like this information, you may be interested in my award-winning books:
1. Diabetes And Your Diet (Winner, “Best Health Book of the Year, 2017” of the International Book Awards)
- 2. How To Be A Healthy Vegetarian (second edition, Winner for “Best Specialty Cookbook of the Year,” 2017, Book Excellence Awards and Winner for Best Diet and Nutrition Book of the Year, 2017, by the Beverly Hills Book Awards!)
- Raising Healthy Children, It is a cookbook and a health book. It was a double winner this year. It won Best Parenting Book of the Year and Best Family Book of the Year, 2017 in the International Book Awards.
- Lose Weight, Get Healthy & Never Be On A Diet Again! (Finalist in the International Book Awards)
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The information from Nancy Addison and Organic Healthy Lifestyle LLC is not offered for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of any disease or disorder nor have any statements herein been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). We strongly encourage you to discuss topics of concern with your health care provider.
Medical Disclaimer: Information provided in this article, book, podcast, website, email, etc. is for informational purposes only. The information is a result of years of practice and experience by Nancy Addison CHC, AADP. However, this information is NOT intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional, or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging.