Wash Your Hands Clean & Green
Washing your hands before you prep and cook food is mostly common sense, but you should make sure you’re washing up correctly and as green as you can. For safety, wash before you start food prep and in-between handling different food items, such as meat and veggies. To keep it green, skip the antibacterial soap. According to Beyond Pesticides and even the CDC and World Health Organization, there’s zero evidence that antibacterial soap is necessary in a home setting. Studies have linked triclosan (pdf), a common ingredient in antibacterial soap, to a range of health and environmental problems, from skin irritation, allergy susceptibility, bacterial and compounded antibiotic resistant, and dioxin contamination to destruction of aquatic ecosystems. The key is to scrub with hot water and basic soap for a longer period – sing Happy Birthday as you wash – if it works for kids it can work for you. Turn the water off to conserve resources while you scrub and use cloth, not paper towels to dry your hands.
Go Organic & Fresh
When you’re pregnant, all the food you eat also goes to your baby, so, you don’t want harmful pesticides, chemicals and other icky stuff in your diet. Sadly, most pregnant women are stuffed with chemicals that can cause all sorts of health problems, such as learning disabilities, autism, low birth weight and even breastfeeding problems after your baby arrives, plus much more. The best way to avoid artificial food colors, pesticides, GMOs and other gross food additives is to go organic and eat fresh foods as much as possible. USDA certified organic foods are best during pregnancy because they cannot contain fake food colors, obnoxious chemical preservatives and they have lower pesticide levels. Fresh foods are preferable because they’re not linked to BPA and other preservatives, like canned foods and processed foods are. Learn more in the links below:
Wash & Peel Food Correctly
All produce should be washed correctly before you prepare and eat it, even organic foods. After washing your own hands, rinse all fruits and veggies in clean running water (without soap or other chemical cleaners) to remove any visible dirt and grime. Always remove and discard, or compost, the outer layers of leafy green produce such as spinach, before washing and prepping. Foods with rinds, such as oranges or melons should be washed before you cut them up. All tough skinned produce, like melons or cucumbers should be scrubbed with a clean produce brush. If you’re not buying organic, then you need to peel your fruits and veggies, as pesticide contaminates are more likely to reside in the peel. Also, after washing, cut away any damaged or bruised areas of produce. Make sure that food preparation area and sink where you’re washing is also kept clean. Note, according to FoodSafety, bagged “pre-washed” produce is safe to use right out of the bag, without further washing.
Avoid Danger Foods
Pregnancy is not the time to indulge all your cravings. Many food products pose a major listeria risk to you and your unborn baby. Key food items to avoid include soft cheeses such as feta, Brie, Camembert and goat cheese, raw or under-cooked eggs, uncooked sprouts, raw deli meats, refrigerated pates or meat spreads, refrigerated smoked seafood plus any food product made with unpasteurized milk. Make sure that any dairy product you eat says, “pasteurized” on the label and be aware that listeria can also be found in foods such as hot dogs, luncheon meats, or deli meats unless they are properly reheated to steaming ( or 160 degrees F.)
You also may be wondering about fish. Your shouldn’t eat raw fish (sorry sushi fans) while pregnant, but a Harvard Medical School study reports that it’s perfectly fine to eat fish if you’re pregnant and it may even make your baby smarter. However, you do need to eat fully cooked, low mercury fish. The National Report Defense Council notes that the following are good low mercury fish choices: Flounder, Haddock, Butterfish, Catfish, Crab (Domestic), Salmon (Fresh), Shrimp, Tilapia, Trout (Freshwater) and many more. See the full list.
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