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When I first started listening to ‘the bulletproof executive’ one of his articles discussed spices.
Using Spices in your cooking can be very beneficial, and lets face it they really add to the flavour of our food. Some spices are also hitting the headlines with their healing properties. Who hasn’t heard of the benefits of Turmeric – Anti Inflammatory, Antibacterial, Antioxident? However what we haven’t heard much about are the dangers of using herbs & spices in our cooking. Now before you all stone me to death for bringing another warning out about a food it’s actually the storage of our herbs & spices we need to be careful with. As we can all be in danger of turning a fantastic beneficial food into one of the most toxic foods we consume.
Due to the very nature of Spices and where they are grown, the actual production process is not always of a consistent standard. Which means that spices are prone to be contaminated with moulds. These moulds thrive in warm climates and often survive the drying/production process. Which means that when we buy our spices they can be already contaminated with these moulds. Which in itself isn’t a major issue. But its what we then do with our spices once we’ve bought them that we need to take care with.
Most people will buy their spices for a recipe. But they won’t use up all the spice so it will get stored in a cupboard. The problem with most kitchens are that the cupboards we store it in can be beside the fridge or the oven. This means it will get fairly warm in that cupboard which then produces the ideal conditions for the mould in the spices to produce mycotoxins. Or even worse the spices are stored in lovely glass jars which are then stacked in spice racks on counter tops within easy reach of our ovens. So not only are they in a warm environment they are also in the sunlight which again are ideal conditions for mycotoxins to form.
Mycotoxins have been linked to a lot of diseases including cancer, fertility, cardiovascular & nervous system diseases. So its important to reduce our exposure to them. When it comes to our spices there are a few simple rules to follow.
– Ideally the fresher the herbs and spices we use the better.
– Always go for quality
– Make sure you are storing them in a cool dark dry space.
– Finally make sure you do not keep your spices for longer than 6 months, and certainly not past their sell by date
Taking the above advice myself as I really love cooking and I have a lot of herbs and spices in my cupboards. In fact I have 5 shelves with spices, herbs, lentils, dried beans in glass jars, desiccated coconut, stock cubes and all manner of great things to make dishes with. As I mentioned above not all the spices are used up at the time of buying, before you know it the spices and herbs I had were all out of date. With the best will in the world I was not using up the spices in my cupboards.
So after listening to one of Dave Asprey’s podcasts, I got home one night and decided to have a clear out. I’m embarrassed to say that some of the jars were very out of date. ( 2008-2012)
Now I have 4 empty shelves and lots of empty glass jars.
There is no point holding on to these things. They don’t get used and even worse someone else in my house (my husband) would just use them without thinking.
So do yourself and your family a favour. Read up on the dangers of mould and mycotoxins. Then take a good look at your spices and all the dried beans, lentils, cooking products and have a clear out. Fresh is best. Don’t bulk buy. And let’s face it having a clear out is Very therapeutic.