I recognize that the simple switch I am introducing in my monthly feature this time is not exactly so simple. Suggesting to switch out your cookware requires a step that is anything but simple for many - cracking open that wallet. I understand, but I must warn you. Using conventional nonstick cookware causes the leaching of a chemical known to possibly adversely affect your health. So, yes. tough on the wallet, perhaps, but maybe even tougher on your body. But wait! You may already own many of these other safer cookware pieces and it won't be such a big switch after all!
How Non-Stick Cookware Could Affect Your HealthHow could such a great cooking utensil that allows those beutifully crafted dishes to slide right out of the pan hurt you? Sorry to bear the unfortunate news, but the chemical used to manufacture nonstick coatings for many pots and pans as well as bakeware could alter your health. This chemical is called Perfluoroctanoic acid (PFOA). Most of use know this as Teflon. When nonstick cookware is heated, PFOA is leached into the food creating our exposure. It is true that not all studies indicate an issue with exposure but many other studies do. Should we wait until the jury has made a final deciosn? I think not, but it is a personal decision, of course. But, just know that in some studies, PFOA has been found to lead to many health conditions like these:
- tumor development
- thyroid disease
- poor fetal development
- immune and hormonal changes
- elevations in cholesterol and uric acid, possibly leading to cardiovascular disease, gout, kidney disease and kidney stones.
Safer Cookware ChoicesThere are several options in cookware that will not expose you to possibly dangerous chemicals and one of them is my all time favorite and one I reach for almost every single day! Cast iron. I inherited a few pans from my mother and I guard them with my life!! In fact, I use it to make these and this and this. By the way, the price can't be beat, but they do require seasoning to create that non-stick finish. (Thanks, Mom! As she already did that for me with all those wonderful meals she prepared using them!)
Besides cast iron, here are some others to use safely:
- stainless steel
- ceramic (not-ceramic coated, but 100 percent)
- anodized aluminum
- GreenPan, a new cookware that claims to be non-toxic, nonstick
Remember, to take care of your pots and pans. Scratches and scrapes can create cracks that leach the metals that lies beneath the coatings of your pans. Better to replace them when that occurs.
So, are you a cast iron pan fanatic like me? Or do you have another favorite? Do you still use nonstick cookware? Why so? Please let us know in the comments.
pans: photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/victoriapeckham/3356441741/">victoriapeckham</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">cc</a>