Reduce Your Toxic Load Series: How to Detox Your Fridge
As you work to reduce your exposure to dangerous toxins all around you, you may have neglected to think about your refrigerator. Here, two types of toxins may be present—those in your food, and those in your food containers.
Let’s look at how you can rid your fridge of both!
Potentially Toxic Food Containers
Before you start to detox your fridge, I recommend you take everything out and clean out the inside with baking soda and a damp rag. Once it’s clean and sparkling, you’ll be less likely to put the following potentially toxic items back into it!
- Plastic storage containers: These may contain the hormone-disrupting chemical bisphenol-A. Use glass containers instead, or seek out BPA-free plastic containers marked with a #1, 2, 4, or 5. Watch out, too, for plastic baby bottles. Some studies have shown BPA can increase risk of developmental problems. Use baby bottles that are BPA-free.
- Canned foods: These may also contain BPA in the lining. In addition, storing canned foods in the refrigerator, particularly acidic foods, can result in a metallic taste. If you used canned foods, transfer them to glass of safe plastic containers for storage in the refrigerator.
- Plastic produce bags: Since most of these aren’t marked, it’s hard to tell if they are made with BPA or not. Discard these bags when you get the food home and store produce in crisper drawers.
- Take-out containers: They’re made with styrene, a petroleum by-product long listed as a probable carcinogen. Ask for alternative carryout containers, or at least transfer your food to a non-toxic container when you get home.
Potentially Toxic Foods
- Processed meats: The World Cancer Research Fund International recommends you stop eating them for the rest of your life, as they often contain carcinogenic nitrosamines.
- Apple juice: Recent studies found that apple juice sold in the U.S. may contain small levels of arsenic. Carefully research the brands you buy.
- Soda pop: It’s packed with sugar, usually in the form of high fructose corn syrup, and is extremely corrosive to tooth enamel. One study found that as few as two sodas a week could increase your risk of pancreatic cancer, and it’s highly suspected of contributing to our obesity epidemic.
- Conventionally grown fruit: The Environmental Working Group (EWG) tested over 700 samples of produce, and found that apples contained the highest levels of pesticides. Other so-called “dirty” items included strawberries and grapes. Choose organic for these items and others on the EWG’s safe shopping list.
- Farmed salmon: Research has found farmed salmon to be lower in nutrients and higher in contaminants, including flame-retardants and pesticides, than wild-caught.
- Water: If you have one of those refrigerators that delivers ice-cold water, get a fridge-filter. A study in 2010 by the EWG found measurable levels of chromium VI—classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a carcinogen—in 31 out of the 34 American cities sampled. Stay safe and purify your water at both the tap and the fridge. (Try fridge filters like those found here.)
My Favorite Detox and Fresh Foods in My Fridge
- I make a green smoothie every day, so I stock fresh organic veggies for the recipe
- I keep my probiotics (found here) to help maintain good digestion and boost the immune system
- Organic raw almond butter—put this on top of gluten-free crackers and you have a great, healthy snack
- Bag of organic lemons—I have a cup of hot water and half a lemon every morning
- Coconut water—I either drink it or use it in recipes for smoothies; love the ones form Dr. Frank Lipman
- Bottle of my Rescue + Relief Spray—it stays nice and cool in the fridge, so it’s perfect for treating redness, rashes, eczema, and scrapes; try it before you use medications on your skin, like Karen Lee did
Don’t forget about the machine itself. Those built before 1977 may include transformers that have polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), which have been linked to liver and gastrointestinal tumors. If you inherited an old refrigerator when you moved in, have it checked and consider upgrading.