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How to balance your hormones and store your food plastic-free

15 Oct 2018

Kay Ali, hormonal and mental health expert. Co Founder of You Need A Nutritional Therapist. Photography by You Need A Nutritional Therapist Ltd © 2018. 

 

In the world of hormones estrogen gets a bad rep. The truth is, we need it. But only in the right amount. I always say that estrogen is a good slave, but a bad master. That’s to say, when we have too much of it, it can lead to severe health symptoms like cysts, fibroids, infertility, depression, cancer and obesity. Too little is a problem too. But in the right amount it supports healthy ovulation, serotonin production, bone remodeling and even a youthful glow. 

 

Last week I shared with you how estrogen can go into overdrive. A class of compounds called xenoestrogens, typically from man-made materials and substances like plastics, herbicides and pesticides hijack our estrogen receptor sites and stimulate our cells up to 20,000 times stronger than the estrogen we make. It’s quite terrifying. We’re exposed to these nasty chemicals every day. Truthfully, we just can’t avoid them. From accepting BPA dowsed till receipts to wrapping sandwiches in cling film, xenoestrogens are everywhere. But don’t worry, a healthy liver supported with the right nutrients can successfully break these nasties down and remove them from our body. It’s only a problem if our liver can’t keep up. Thankfully, there’s much we can do to improve our environment to make lighter work. I’m going to show you how to make a start in your very own kitchen. 

 

1. Wrap and roll washed lettuce leaves in a tea towel 

 

Storing lettuce plastic-free. Photograph by You Need A Nutritional Therapist Ltd © 2018. 

 

Needless to say, buying organic ensures that your food isn’t contaminated with the herbicides and pesticides that can predispose us to estrogen dominance. But the downside to shopping organic is that the produce tends to be sold in plastic packaging anyway. Apparently, it’s the only way for supermarkets to guarantee a sterile environment that meets the Organic Soil Associations standards from transit to shelf. If only they opted for good old-fashioned paper bags! Wherever possible, go for produce that isn’t sold in plastic. For those items that just can’t be avoided, be sure to remove the packaging as soon as you get home and give it a really good wash before storing it away.  Laying out lettuce leaves on a cotton tea towel and rolling it up, saves them from wilting too quickly once you’ve popped them in the fridge. Give it a go, they keep super fresh and crunchy (not to mention, chemical-free). 

 

2. Treat celery and other herbs like a bouquet of flowers 

 

Storing celery plastic-free. Photograph by You Need A Nutritional Therapist Ltd © 2018. 

 

You might be surprised to learn that celery is not a vegetable. In fact, it’s a herb. I’ve found that storing my herbs in a glass vase of water, like I would with a bouquet of flowers keeps them fresher for longer. Pop them close to a window for sunlight too. They love it! What’s more is, not only does this make my kitchen look prettier, it’s all plastic-free. Double winner! 

 

3. Up-cycle pillow cases to store your loaf of bread 

 

Kay Ali, hormonal and mental health expert. Co Founder of You Need A Nutritional Therapist. Photography by You Need A Nutritional Therapist Ltd © 2018. 

 

I have vivid memories of my grandmother doing this and it works really well. If you happen to be throwing out your cotton pillow cases you might want to think again. They make a brilliant chemical-free storage solution for loaves of bread. Pop your loaf inside, wrap it up and place it in a wooden bread bin and you’ll notice the loaf will keep longer than it would in a plastic bag. If you don’t have a pillow case at hand, a tea towel will work the same. Just be sure it’s made from natural materials like cotton. Polyester, nylon, rayon, taffeta and organza are all made from plastic, so they’re best avoided. 

 

4. Store root vegetables in water 

Storing carrots plastic-free. Photograph by You Need A Nutritional Therapist Ltd © 2018. 

 

This one is easy and actually keeps your fridge looking super tidy. Scrub down root vegetables like carrots, parsnips and beetroot and immerse them in a glass jar full of water. Screw the lid and pop it into the fridge (potatoes and onions are best kept in a wicker basket). The water helps keep the produce crunchy and full of life. You can purchase glass jars from most supermarkets, home stores and even online. However, a great penny saver would be to recycle the jars from the foods you’ve already bought. Jams, condiments, pickles etc. Another great tip is to save the water the vegetables are stored in for your cooking. It’s great for boiling, lentils, pasta, veggies and rice with added nutrition. No waste here and zero plastic in sight. 

 

5. Switch plastic tupperware to glass and cling film for bleach-free parchment paper 

 

This one is obvious and I promise you, you’ll thank me for it. You can purchase glass tupperware from most home stores now. It keeps food incredibly fresh and works brilliantly for meal prepping. I’ll chop most of my vegetables for roasting later in the week on a Sunday evening and store them in glass tupperware. It keeps the food as good as the day they were chopped for at least 4 days. They’re handy for storing leftovers too. Aside from keeping food fresh and plastic-free, I love that the tupperware doesn’t hold a smell even after washing like plastic containers can do. Honestly, it’s a life changer.  I also recommend wrapping sandwiches in bleach-free parchment paper. Sadly they’re not readily available in most supermarkets. However, you can grab my favourite brand ‘If You Care’ at Whole Foods Market or from Lakeland.

 

Kay Ali, hormonal and mental health expert. Co Founder of You Need A Nutritional Therapist. Photography by You Need A Nutritional Therapist Ltd © 2018.

 

If you’re interested in working with Kay Ali please contact her via info@youneedanutritionaltherapist.com. Alternatively, for daily updates on Kay's lifestyle and recommendations you can follow her on instagram @youneedant. 

 

 

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