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A little over 3 years ago I started our path into becoming a green family. It has been a slow process but well worth it. One of my first rules was to replace anything that could have questionable ingredients/materials that came in contact with our food or that would go into my baby’s mouth.
I started by getting non-toxic baby products/toys and then my search for non-toxic cookware began. I have to be honest, at first I was feeling very overwhelmed and frustrated. It seemed like everything had some toxic component to it but after several months of research I was able to find the safest, non-toxic cookware: Xtrema Ceramic Cookware. At the time I couldn’t justify spending the money on a replacing most of our kitchen stuff so I started replacing it little by little.
During my research I found that teflon (non-stick) is possibly one of the worst materials you can cook on, but I bet most of you already knew that since it’s been all over the news. However, if you don’t know much about it read this and this to learn why you should avoid teflon. If you want to learn more about why other types of cookware are toxic read this and this.
The first thing I did was get rid of my teflon pans and replaced them for ceramic coated frying pans. You can find ceramic coated alternatives (just make sure they are not made out of aluminum) in Amazon and even discount stores like Marshall’s or TJMaxx. Keep in mind these pans are not all made out of ceramic but just the coating, so although they are not perfect they are a lot better than teflon coated ones.
When it comes to finding non-toxic cookware it’s important to keep in mind that there are several components that may be safe but when heated they will release toxins. Hence why having a cookware set made of non-toxic materials is so important, because you will be using them at very high temperatures.
Non-toxic cookware options:
This the ultimate non-toxic and safest cookware option out there. It’s what I have now and have been using for over 3 years. Not all ceramic cookware is made the same way and some pans just have a ceramic coating (which is not ideal) so I personally stick to Xtrema Ceramic Cookware (you can read more about how they make their pans here and the benefits of using ceramic cookware here). I also love their transparency in the materials they use and how they make it. You can read their testing results here.
I absolutely love it – not only does it NOT leach any chemicals into your food, these pans cook your food so well and evenly that our food even tastes better. The only downside is that they are a bit heavy and they could break if you drop them (we haven’t had this problem but I don’t let my kids handle them).
They are very easy to clean and the food doesn’t stick on them. Our favorite way to cook veggies is in these pans: I fry them in grass-fed butter or ghee and add a little himalayan salt at the end and they taste amazing. If you get these pans, try to cook your veggies this way – you will love it.
They are also oven safe and will keep your food warm since they retain the heat so well. We currently own 3 of these: 1.5 Qt. (for cooking smaller meals), 11″ Wok (for cooking veggies and meats) and 5.5 Qt. (for cooking soups and bigger meals). That’s all we need for our daily cooking for a family of 4.
This is another great option for cooking, even more so if you want to add extra iron to your diet. However this is not something to use in every day cooking. The maintenance and cleaning of it is not easy as other pots and pans so we use this mainly to cook our meats. Keep in mind that cast iron pans need to be seasoned, you can find how to do that here.
These are also oven safe and there is an entire Facebook group dedicated to cast iron cooking. I suggest you join this group if this is something you’re interested in doing.
You can find cast iron pans in thrift stores for very discounted prices or ask your older neighbors, some of them might have some around that they are not using anymore.
Enameled cast iron:
This is a step-up from cast iron because the inside of the pans are coated, so you don’t have to season them and the food doesn’t stick to it. You probably heard about Le Creuset, this is the most famous brand of enameled cast iron pans.
The only downside for me with these pans is that MisLEAD found that some of Le Creuset pots had lead. Most of the lead was on the outside coating, where your food is not supposed to touch anyways but why risk it? If you have already a set like this I would just make sure your food doesn’t touch the outer part and if you don’t have it, I would skip it and just get the ceramic cookware and regular cast iron.
This is what we had before changing our cookware, we had a stainless steel set from Ikea and we never had issues with it.
Stainless steel is made out of a combinations of metals, including carbon, chromium, nickel and/or manganese. This means that if you buy a low quality set some of these metals might leach into your foods and you don’t want that. Hence it is important to buy high quality stainless steel pans like this one or this one.
These are not the only high quality stainless steal brands but they are trusted ones. If you already own a stainless steel set and want to find out if it’s made from high quality stainless steel, do the vinegar test.
I’m not an expert and I didn’t want to risk it by getting a stainless steel set. Most high quality sets are as expensive as the ceramic ones so I decided to stay safe and stick to the ceramic ones.
Glass is great for baking savory dishes and very affordable plus it’s non-toxic. Unfortunately you can’t use glass on your stovetop so this is only useful when you decide to bake your food in the oven.
It is shocking once your start researching non-toxic cookware to realize most of what you use leaches questionable and/or harmful chemicals into your food. You would think that something as important as safe cookware would be the norm but the reality is that it’s not. Bottom line, the safest pots and pans are made all from ceramic.
Replacing all your cookware is not something most people can do overnight so I would suggest the first thing you replace is your teflon pans and then start replacing your pots and pans little by little. If you’re getting married soon I would suggest you add Xtrema Ceramic Cookware on your wedding registry and set up your non-toxic kitchen from the get-go.
Don’t overwhelm yourself with this, think about how many pots and pans you really need, make a list and either buy them all at once and start buying them little by little, depending on your budget. It’s better to take small steps in the right direction than overwhelm yourself and not make a change.
Have you found other non-toxic and safe cookware? I’d love to read about it in the comments.
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