I’ve been putting this post off for almost a year now! It’s been hard for me to sit down and write out, because there are no perfect options available at the moment. This is so frustrating to me, because in other areas, like makeup and cleaning, I am able to confidently provide alternative options for y’all. But cookware…mannnnn, it’s a wholeeeee different ballgame, and it’s one I’m learning new things about everyday! 🤓
However, I am not putting this off any longer! I’m doing this post now because lately I’ve been trying to remind myself not everything needs to be “perfect.” It’s OK to just try and do better, we cannot be too hard on ourselves! It can become exhausting.
Ok so let’s just dive right in:
🚫 Types of Cookware to avoid:
🚫Nonstick: One of the first things you need to know about when it comes to cookware is perfluorooctanoic acid, aka PFOA or C8. What is it? PFOA is a manufactured chemical that is part of a larger group of chemicals called perfluoroalkyls. It is used in stain-resistant carpets and fabrics, nonstick cookware, and other products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease, and water. According to the ACA (American Cancer Society), “PFOA has the potential to be a health concern because it can stay in the environment and in the human body for long periods of time. Studies have found that it is present worldwide at very low levels in just about everyone’s blood.” If you search around, you will also find that in certain animal studies links between PFOA exposure and cancer development have been shown. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) states that “In laboratory animals given large amounts, PFOA can affect growth and development, reproduction, and injure the liver.” Ok so what does that mean? Well, in addition to cancer concerns, there are other serious health repercussions linked to PFOA exposure, including liver damage, infertility, and delays in growth and development. You will find PFOA in most non-stick cookware coatings.
Aluminum: Bioaccumulative, classified as a neurotoxin. May lead to diseases such as Alzheimer’s, and can cause confusion, bone pain/deformities/fractures, muscle weakness, speech problems, slow growth in children, and seizures, lung problem, nervous system problems causing difficulty with voluntary and involuntary actions, bone diseases, brain diseases and disorders, anemia, and impaired iron absorption Speckled metal bakeware: has been shown to leach aluminum
Silicone cookware: This has actually been approved by the FDA as safe, and I hesitated when listing it here, but there has not much research done yet on silicone. I am a little bit concerned about leaching. If you’re going to use silicone cookware I highly recommend sticking to food grade brands such as Silpat.
To just summarize really quick and make it concise, these types of cookware have been shown to lead to:
- Child developmental delays
- High cholesterol
- Thyroid issues, liver inflammation, weakened immune system
- Allergies and flu like symptoms
I am going to be honest and upfront with y’all. I have yet to make this transition yet in our household. To me it is a large investment, one that I do not take lightly and I want to get it right for our family. I still am not 100% decided on the route I am going to go, although there are a couple options I am leaning towards. I cook everyday, usually multiple times a day, so I really do worry about long-term exposure to PFOA in our home. I actually have not had a non-stick pan since waaaaaaay before my toxin free journey began. I believe the last time I used one was back in 2011 or 2012! My current cookware is stainless steel, however it is not food grade stainless steel. It’s by Cuisinart and they do not state the grade of stainless steel that is used anywhere that I can find. But without further ado, here are the items/brands I have been looking into…
Types of Cookware to look for:
Food Grade Stainless Steel: When you’re searching for food-grade stainless steels, you should look for the following grades: 304, 316 and 430 (or 18/8, 18/10 or 18/0 stainless steel). The first number is an indication of the percentage of chromium, the second number is the amount of nickel. The nickel actually makes the stainless still more resistant to rust or corrosions, but some people are concerned about the leaching of nickel from stainless steel so pay attention to those numbers if you are concerned about the nickel content of your stainless steel cookware. This type of cookware is not ideal for any type of acidic dishes, such as tomato sauce, because it can leach nickel, chromium, and iron.
- Saladmaster: Saladmaster is constructed from American and Swiss 316 TI Surgical Steel, which is said to be the highest grade of surgical steel. 316Ti technology combines 316 Stainless Steel with Titanium. This company offers Cooking Shows to teach you how their products can be used to create healthier meals for you and your household. If you know of a Saladmaster cooking coach please feel free to add them to this group and tag them in this post. I do not believe we have any here yet!
- All Clad: The pots and pans are made in the USA. From what I’ve read they result in superior cooking performance and are also super durable.
Cast Iron: This is free of PFOA and PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene, Teflon is a well known brand of this), and should not contain any other chemicals. Cast iron will add iron, so if you have a high iron store be aware of that! You will want to use and oil that has a high smoke point. Avocado oil works great on cast iron!
- Lodge: Made in the USA. love the integrity of this company! Because of that one of their cast iron pan will probably be my first purchase as I transition. You can read more about it here https://bittersoutherner.com/lodge-cast-iron#.XSktpiMrLJw
- Finex: Made in the USA, seasoned with organic flaxseed oil, and in my opinion the design is so pretty!
Enameled Cast Iron: This type of cast iron has a seasoning already on it in the form of a glaze that protects the cookware from rusting, provides a non-stick surface for cooking, and reduces food interaction with iron. Some glazes are not safe due to high levels of lead and cadmium so you have to be very careful when selecting the brand.Brands to check out (these brands have subjected their products to 3rd party testing for heavy metal leaching):
- Le Creuset: Manufactured in France. Regarding their glaze: “Cadmium and lead are two elements under strict control in the cookware industry. Our position today for the entire production process is to be in compliance with California Proposal 65 which is the most rigid standard in the world for these elements (approx. 10 times lower than “acceptable” limits). Lead is NOT used in our recipes and for cadmium a special anti-acid enamel fritt is used which will not release the cadmium pigment during cooking. Cadmium is used for coloration purposes in achieving bright exterior colors such as Flame and Cherry. The interior enamel which makes contact with food is either sand, white, or black.”
- Lodge: regarding their glaze: “Lodge utilizes the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Test Procedure 184.108.40.206a Leachability of Lead and Cadmium for Glazed Ceramic Surfaces. The FDA Division of Compliance Programs uses ASTM-C738 as the Standard Method of Test for glazed ceramic. In addition to information provided by vendors, Lodge Manufacturing Company uses third party testing to ensure that products with the Lodge name comply with standards set forth by the USDA.”
Glass: Look for oven safe/tempered glass. It is completely non-reactive with foods so it’s a great choice for acidic foods and it is a cheaper option than many of the others. The downside is that glass can easily crack and I’ve read some horror stories about it exploding when used incorrectly…so there’s that. And is not non-stick so you do need to be aware of that. Look for options made in the USA or Europe to avoid lead…some cheaper manufacturers sneak this little sucker in their glassware.
Regular Stoneware: This is a great alternative for aluminum baking sheets, roasting pans, etc. They make everything out of this nowadays, including muffin pans, bread pans, pizza stones…you name it! They may not be the most convenient to clean (they absorb flavor very well, so you will wanna abstain from using soap on them), but they distribute heat so evenly and give your food amazing flavor!
- Rada Cutlery Stoneware: Made in the USA, doesn’t contain any lead. This is made up of a proprietary clay blend that does not require any seasoning at all.
I definitely have SO MUCH to learn about non toxic cookware and feel as if I’ve only scratched the surface in this post! More to come on this topic soon. Have you made this transition yet? I am interested in hearing what y’all know on this! I can’t wait to discuss what y’all think in the comments below!