From Our Chefs

Clean Cookware: The Secret Impact of Cookware on Your Wellness

If you’re like us, you value a fresh, homemade meal. There’s just something about engaging with the cooking process, from initial ingredients to final creation, that makes us feel good about what we’re putting in our body.

More often than not, cooking at home is the healthiest option! And if you’re doing it right, usually the tastiest option too. If you’re one to be mindful about your wellness and wellbeing, read on to discover how what you cook with can be just as impactful as what you cook!

pan with steam, wellness
Photographer: Gaelle Marcel | Source: Unsplash

There’s an array of options you can choose from for your cookware. We’ve rounded up some of the most common options and share our insights on the best options for you!

Avoid: Non-Stick

Non-stick pans seem like a good idea, right? Spoiler: the price of easy cleaning convenience could be your health.

“Teflon ,the trademarked name for the chemical Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), is a synthetic coating found in 90%+ of nonstick cookware. It’s a toxic material that can easily leach substances directly into your food and release fumes into the air, all in less than three minutes of being on a hot stove [...]

These chemicals have been linked to birth defects and even cancer. And it’s not just ourselves that are affected—when we wash the cookware and rinse food down the drain, these toxic chemicals get released into our water systems and are not easily filtered out. That means it can affect the whole community. Less toxic cookware = less toxic water for everyone.” -Poosh

Photographer: Andrew Valdivia | Source: UnsplashPhotographer: Andrew Valdivia | Source: Unsplash

Be Mindful: Aluminum

There’s still some debate on the safety of aluminum. It exists naturally in our environment and we all have some aluminum exposure daily. But, aluminum is considered a heavy metal and research shows that it is toxic at certain levels. When making an aluminum cookware choice, opt for hard-anodized aluminum and take good care of it!

“Compared to toxic coatings, hard-anodized cookware is safer. It’s way less likely to warp and rust, and the anodized coating prevents aluminum from leaching into your food as well. This material itself is totally safe, but there are some precautions we have to take to make sure it remains safe. The oxidized layer itself is strong, but caring for it is crucial.

Being sure to use wooden or silicone cooking utensils prolongs the life of your cookware, and ultimately the safety of your food. When we use metal utensils to scrape the bottom of the pot or pan, we risk breaking through that anodized layer, damaging our cookware and exposing the non-oxidized aluminum, which does seep into our food.” -Poosh

Be Mindful: Cast Iron

If you’ve spent ample time in the kitchen, you know about the power a good cast iron pan can have on a dish’s flavor. It's a great option for stove-to-oven use, but this softer material can easily corrode and break off bits of iron into your food. And not the wellness dietary type of iron, but heavy-loads that are difficult for our bodies to digets.

Care tips: heat before adding food, avoid soap when cleaning, and season regularly

The best method for cleaning? We like to scrub with some salt and rinse with water. Then dry thoroughly, drizzle with cooking oil, spread it around, and set on low heat for a minute to ensure the pan is completely dry.

Photographer: Conscious Design | Source: Unsplash

Generally Safe: Ceramic coated

Ceramic is a great choice as its completely inert—meaning it won’t leach any harmful toxins. Ceramic pans are generally free of heavy metals, polymers, coatings, and dyes. We recommend choosing an option that’s certified by third-party testing and free of PFAs, PFOA, lead, and cadmium.

The biggest plus? They’re easy to clean! Just use warm soapy water.

Note: Ceramic pans are more fragile than other types, so be mindful of handling!

Superhero Status: Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is basically superman for cookware. While it’s typically the most expensive option, consider it an investment as well cared for stainless steel cookware can last a lifetime. This material emits no toxins and does not react with ingredients. A wellness dream.

Shopping tips: you’ll see numbers associated with the pans such as 200, 304, 316, and 430. The higher the number the stronger, the longer-lasting it is and the less nickel content it will have. When cleaning, use gentle cleaners as harsh cleaners can damage the lining, which allows heavy metals to seep into your food.

The Take Away?

Based on our cookware choices, we can directly impact our own potential exposure to toxins and harmful chemicals. Make educated choices to impact your overall wellness. Safe cookware options are free of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE, known as Teflon), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and other potentially toxic substances.

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