I spend a lot of time shopping and selecting the best organic ingredients I can find. Skelly appreciates my efforts to keep her strong and healthy.
So the last thing I’m going to do is ruin those foods by cooking them in the wrong pots and pans. And by wrong, I mean Teflon and other non-stick pans.
Yeah, it’s nice to have an easy clean-up but not at the price of your health.
Teflon and similar non-stick cookware is made with fluoride compounds known collectively as perfluorinated chemicals or PFCs. They produce a toxic gas when heated to over 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you cook bacon in one of these pans, they give off fumes that can cause an illness called the “Teflon flu.” And if the pan is scratched or nicked, you’ll be eating these chemicals.
One PFC known as PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) is linked to tumors, cancer, birth defects, liver damage, hormone imbalance, reproductive issues, and other health issues. And it’s everywhere these days. One study from the CDC found it in the blood of 98% of Americans tested.
PFOA is due to be phased out of products by the end of 2015. But other PFCs will continue to be used. We don’t know how safe or dangerous any of these chemicals are.
That’s why I’ve gotten rid of all my old non-stick pots and pans.
I’ve also gotten rid of aluminum cookware.
When salty or acidic foods like tomatoes are cooked in aluminum the food picks up a metallic taste. Even worse, you may be ingesting some of that aluminum which leaches out when the pan is heated. That can lead to heavy metal poisoning or brain conditions like dementia.
What kind of cookware is best?
Good quality cookware is going to be more expensive. But it’s a very wise investment.
I recommend stainless steel for most of your cooking. All-Clad makes a great line of stove-top pots and pans. But don’t bother with the “anodized” or non-stick versions. They can scratch and leach with age.
And just so you know… You will have to use some elbow grease to get them clean.
My favorite non-stick pan is a good old-fashioned cast iron pan. Just make sure you have the muscles to heft it. I tend to think of it as part of my weight bearing routine that helps keep Skelly strong.
I like Lodge’s non-enameled cast-iron ware. You’ll have to season it before using. It comes with instructions. I use mine for just about everything from frying eggs to browning meats. You can also use it for making pancakes and cornbread.
Cast iron will also add iron to your food which is good for your blood. But over time, as the pan gets older less iron will leach out.
If you have more money to spend, invest in Le Creuset enameled cast iron cookware. Even eggs won’t stick to their frying pans. Their Dutch ovens are great for slow roasting and making soups or stews. And it goes from the stovetop to the oven. Just be sure to use a wooden spoon on these since metal can scratch the surface.
If you’re making up your list for Santa, these make great gift ideas.
CDC PFOA Factsheet: http://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/PFOA_FactSheet.html
Environmental Working Group, Teflon-Killing Canaries and the American Dream, http://www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2015/05/teflon-killing-canaries-and-american-dream
Environmental Working Group, The Toxic Truth About A New Generation of Nonstick and Waterproof Chemicals, http://www.ewg.org/release/toxic-truth-about-new-generation-nonstick-and-waterproof-chemicals