Hygiene is an important consideration for everything that enters your body, whether you eat it, drink it, breathe it or inject it. This is more so if a major, essential organ of the body like your kidneys are unwell. That’s because, in normal health, kidneys efficiently eliminate ALL excess metabolic wastes and impurities in blood via urine. But Chronic Kidney Disease progressively diminishes this blood-cleansing ability of kidneys as well as blunts our body’s immune defences with time.
💡 So what are the best practices to keep your kidney kitchen hygienic?
💡 Which are the must-have equipment/utility items that you should consider stocking-up your kitchen with, to turn it into a “Kidney-Fortress”?
These are what this article has discussed today.
ℹ The points shared here will be applicable NOT JUST to Kidney Patients (Pre-dialysis/Dialysis) but to all members of the community with weaker immune systems be it because of:
1️⃣ Immunosuppressive medications (steroids or other transplant meds or Cancer Chemotherapy/Radiotherapy)
2️⃣ Immunodeficiency disorders
3️⃣ Extremes of age (Children below 5 years of age or Adults above 60 years)
In fact, I’m sure you all would agree that even in reasonable health, food security & clean kitchens must always figure in your to-do list. So let’s begin, shall we?
Kidney-friendly Kitchens must focus on maintaining the 3 things as below:
Remembering these criteria will always help you “streamline your hygiene measures effectively” in your Kidney Kitchen. However, to implement these criteria you need to stock up your kitchen inventory with certain equipment/utility items. Consider these as your vehicles to “drive towards kitchen hygiene”.
Hence, presenting below, the tool-solutions under the three components to maintain a Hygienic kidney-friendly kitchen.
Kidney patients are asked to take care of their water intake. But are you really sure you consume safe drinking water?
Most households in countries with known groundwater contamination use at least a basic water filtration system. But it is still pretty common to rely on tap water graded as “safe for consumption” right from the faucet. However, the recent 2019 Report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), USA brings forth some concerning facts. It indicates that while your water company may supply water that’s free of infection-causing micro-organisms, the levels of dangerous chemicals are downright unsafe. Such chemicals include Arsenic, Hexavalent Chromium (from “Erin Brockovich”), Lead, Phosphates & Nitrates from fertilizers, Disinfection by-products and Radiological contaminants. Moreover, if you are a kidney patient, stuffing your body with such toxins (either by drinking it or using it to cook food ) means inviting an early onset of kidney failure. Why do that knowingly?
What to do?
The best way forward is to invest in a Water Purifier based on Reverse Osmosis or simply, RO-water purifiers. EWG recommends this as the most effective way to get rid of the common dangerous chemicals & germs found in groundwater. Consider it as a relatively economical health insurance plan.
1. R.O. WATER PURIFIER
What to consider when buying this item?
- Method: Prefer RO (Reverse Osmosis) filter systems or RO combined with UV filtration systems.
- Filtered Output: The greater, the better. Anything more than 70 gallons is a good option.
- Filtration Stages: Usually 5 or more stages
- Filtered water Tank: Tankless Filters are certainly better with space constraints.
- Waste Water: Check for the quantity of water wasted. The less the water wastage, the more environment-friendly you get to be.
- Remineralization: Kidney patients may do well to prefer filters without this facility. However, having a re-mineralization facility in your filters should not be a cause of immediate concern unless there is a disturbance in blood mineral levels. (Ask your physician about this)
- Installation: Whether it is DIY or you are needed to separately call installation staff
- Cost and Warranty: Compare to suit your preferences!
Based on the criteria above, take a look at the following RO / UV water filtration systems.
2. FAUCET FILTERS
However, if you are fairly confident of your tap water quality and would like something more pocket-friendly over RO-Water Purifiers, invest in a good quality Faucet Filter for your Kitchen and Bathroom taps. However, these do NOT completely purify tap water to make it drinkable. For those purposes, RO or RO/UV filtration systems are the better options.
What to consider when buying faucet filters?
- Material: Prefer Stainless Steel or Chrome. These are more resistant to corrosion, wear & tear. Avoid food-grade ABS plastic or any other plastic material even if it is coated with Chrome or Steel.
- Your Kitchen-Tap specifications: Faucet filters available in the market only fit standard sizes.
- Filtration capacity: Which minerals does the filter separate out? | Can the filter soften hard water?
Based on the criteria above, we recommend the following faucet filtration systems. Click on the images to explore further.
Ensuring hand cleanliness before handling food is of the essence. Our fingertips are hubs of dirt, chemicals & infection-causing germs from the environment. Cooking with such unclean hands often ends up being one of the commonest causes for gut infections. And infections are something that kidney patients usually with weaker immunity, MUST steer clear from.
Wash your hands with a Soap/Liquid Handwash every time you handle food (before & after cooking + before eating), use the toilet, after changing diapers or sanitary pads/tampons, before & after dressing a wound, before & after caring for a sick person, after blowing your nose/coughing/sneezing, after touching pets or feral animals or their food & waste and handling garbage.
In 2016, the regulatory agency US FDA banned handwashes containing “antibacterial” agents like Triclosan & Triclocarban (TCC) because of their negative effects on your hormones. So always buy handwashes that are free of Triclosan & Triclocarban (TCC).
Dry your hands properly all along your finger clefts with a separate hand towel (not the ones used to dry dishes or clean kitchen surfaces).
Dry hands eliminate the risk of developing any fungal infections in finger folds or nails. This is especially relevant if you have a weak immune system such as in Diabetes or those on Steroid medicines.
If however, you have a nail or finger infection, a pus-filled boil or an open wound, seek appropriate medical treatment & ask a family member to help with the cooking. If the latter is not an option, use Cooking Gloves. This is both to prevent the infection from contaminating your food and save your sore/wound from potential heat exposure & damage. Choose gloves made of “Nitrile” and not the less durable, less heat-resistant Vinyl ones.
Soap & water are the most effective way to get rid of germs. If these are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends using sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol (printed on the ingredient label).
Sanitizers are not as effective as soap & water for visibly greasy hands or to kill all germs. Hence they DO NOT make for an effective replacement to the traditional hand washing with soap & water.
Since Sanitizers contain alcohol (which is what kills germs), it also makes your skin dry. Overuse can cause the skin on your palms to exfoliate. Should that happen, consider using a moisturizer with Vitamin E.
1. Antiseptic Surface Cleaners
Anyone who cooks would agree that kitchen surfaces tend to get oily/greasy over time. While chimneys more or less work well to skim-out smoke & oil fumes during cooking, a lot of these oil fumes also “react” with dust particles normally floating in the environment, weigh them down and settle over inconvenient & often less visible spaces.
These greasy spaces are hubs of potential allergens or even infection-causing agents in some cases. Therefore, always store your grocery supplies in grease-free spaces & containers. Use “Antiseptic Cleaners (Liquids/wipes) to maintain hygienic surfaces.
2. Faucet Filters for proper washing of uncooked, whole food
When using fresh, whole meat, fish, poultry or vegetables for cooking, always wash them thoroughly under running filtered water. This serves two purposes:
- Removes traces of dirt, infection-causing germs or their spores, chemicals (pesticides) or any unwanted residue on the surface.
- Helps wash out any salt that may have been rubbed on the surface of even freshly cut meats, to increase their longevity.
Using faucet filters are an inexpensive way to achieve the above results without “falling prey” to consuming unwanted chemicals that may be present in your tap water supply.
Recommendations below. Click for details.
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