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2 Types of Cookware You Need to Ditch Immediately

COOK HEALTHY FOODS USING HEALTHY TOOLS

cookware-you-need-to-ditch-immediatelyIf you know me at all, you know that I love to cook and I hate to clean up after I cook. I even made my boyfriend sign a contract agreeing to do my dishes from now until the end of time.
It was a condition to entering into our relationship.

Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little. But I really hate cleaning up my kitchen mess.

Why do I tell you this?

I’m telling you because I understand that if you’re even a little bit like me, you will have a hard time foregoing kitchen convenience for health.

That being said, the health risks are far greater than the convenience when it comes to using non-stick and aluminum cookware.

WHAT TO THROW AWAY AND NEVER BUY AGAIN

Non-stick

Non-stick cookware is typically made out of metal that is coated with synthetic chemicals.

Up until 2013, cookware manufacturers were using perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) to coat their non-stick products.

PFOA is a chemical with associations as scary as it’s name.

It has been linked to infertility, low birth weight, testicular cancer, as well as other cancers in animal studies. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has also linked PFOA to thyroid disorders, chronic kidney disease, and liver disease.

Scary, right?

Fortunately, the EWG stood up to the manufacturers and forced them to stop using PFOA.

Problem solved?

It’s a little more complicated than that…

Teflon, which is a brand name for the chemical- polytetrefluoroethylene (PTFE)- is the current go-to for non-stick coatings.

Teflon has not necessarily been proven to cause the same issues as PFOA, but it does pose serious health risks.

In fact, when heated to very high temperatures, Teflon (PTFE) has been proven to break down into toxic fumes.

The EWG highlights studies that resulted in the death of rats and birds from this phenomenon. Check out their appropriately named article: “The Canary in the Kitchen.

In these studies, animal deaths resulted from inhalation of toxic fumes. The crazy part is that these fumes were created at temperatures lower than we typically use in our own kitchens.

People have even reported pet birds dying from Teflon fumes…but they’re good for us? I don’t believe that for one second!

The illness you would encounter from inhaling PTFE fumes is called polymer fume fever, or the “Teflon flu.” It can cause chills, fever, headaches and lung damage.
So while some authorities claim that the “new-and-improved” PTFE is safe…common sense begs that you keep this stuff out of your kitchen for good.

Aluminum

Aluminum cookware accounts for 60% of the cookware sold in the U.S. You may not even realize you’re using it because it typically comes coated with non-stick chemicals (booooo).

Most aluminum cookware is designed to avoid leaching of the metal into your food. Anodized versions offer a non-reactive outer coating of aluminum. Non-stick coatings offer “protection,” but come with a barrage of risks discussed above.

Why are they normally coated, you ask?

Because, my friends, aluminum is neurotoxic.

Aluminum accumulation is toxic to your central nervous system, and has been shown in studies to cause accelerated brain aging.

According to an article in Neurotoxicology, it’s linked with increased glial cell activation, inflammatory cytokines, and amyloid precursor proteins (amyloid plaques are responsible for Alzheimer’s disease.)

Acidic pH levels increase the leaching effect, and it is recommended that you avoid cooking very acidic food in aluminum cookware. In the end, you’re better off ditching aluminum altogether.

Speckled metal and enameled cast-iron have also been known to leach aluminum into foods, and are also best avoided completely.

SO WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO USE?

If you’re freaking out right now, I totally understand. You probably don’t want to cook up and serve toxic food, but it’s likely at least part of your kitchen is stocked with these materials.

I was raised using non-stick pans, coated ceramic pots, and aluminum baking sheets. It’s all I knew how to cook with.

Making the switch may be challenging, but it’s not impossible. I recommend buying a few different materials from the following list and experimenting with them.

And remember, be patient. It takes time to adapt and learn how to use a new tool, especially if you’ve been cooking for 10, 20, 30+ years!

WHAT TO USE:

Cast iron–

I love my cast iron cookware. I may be borderline obsessed…

This material is great because it retains heat well, so you can cook at lower temperatures in order to retain the healthy benefits of your fats! (Read more on how to cook healthy fats here)
Cast iron pans can also be transferred from stovetop to oven, which makes for a super delicious steak *drool*

If you have low to normal iron levels, cast-iron is awesome because it will leach into your food as a natural source of the mineral. On the other hand, avoid this cookware material if your iron levels are too high.

Pro-tip: Buy pre-seasoned cast-iron for an easier transition and learn how to keep them seasoned and in great condition. If you take care of your cast-iron, you’ll never have to buy a new pan again!

Glass-

It’s awesome because it’s environmentally friendly and free of scary chemicals.
Pro-tip: always choose glass over plastic to-go containers when you’re packing and storing food.

Stainless Steel-

Stainless steel is a compound of multiple metals that was designed to resist corrosion and the leaching of metals into your food.

Pro-tip: buy high quality food-grade stainless steel, and toss any pots or pans that have a damaged cooking surface.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Non-stick cookware is toxic and associated with kidney disease, liver disease, and cancer.

Aluminum cookware may pose a significant risk to our brain health.

What may be convenient today is most definitely not worth your health tomorrow.

Protect yourself and your family, and go with cast-iron, glass and stainless steel cookware.

Will you make the change? If you’ve made the change, what are your favorite non-toxic cooking tools?

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