Do you like to cook?
I figure you at least like to cook a little bit if you’re reading my posts, but you never know!
What are your favourite pans to use when cooking? I used to love cooking with non-stick Teflon pans — I mean they’re so easy to clean.
But here’s the thing: they might not be the best option for our health.
In fact, it’s been found over the past years that cooking at temperatures higher than 300 degrees releases gases from the tetrafluoroethylene (TFE) found in Teflon. If your pan has nicks and scrapes, those flecks can end up in your food and then your body.
According to The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), TFE is classified as a probable cause of cancer, and the National Toxicology Program (NTP) classifies TFE as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.”
You work so hard to eat well and be well and then you use Teflon because you think it’s ok to use (why wouldn’t it be? They sell it in the stores right?) and then you find out that it could be slowly making you sick.
Add it to the list.
When I found out about the dark side of Teflon, I stopped using it. When in doubt, keep it out I say.
So what do I use instead? See below for my healthy cooking list!
Pans to use for Healthy Cooking.
I have two cast iron pans: A 12-inch and a 10-inch. They are the only pans I use for healthy cooking. I have stainless steel pans too, but I haven’t really figured out how to use them properly so they sit in my cupboard.
Cast iron has so many great benefits:
- It lasts forever. Like Foreva, eva. People have been known to find cast iron in the garbage and with a bit (ok a lot) of elbow grease, you can get it working again.
- Depending on the food being cooked (high acidic foods transfer more iron), using cast iron can add some iron to your meals.
- It’s pretty! Well, I think it’s pretty. There are so many variations of cast iron now and if you get a pan that has an enamel base, sky is the limit for colours!
- Cast iron is so versatile. I have cooked frittatas, eggs, chicken, flatbreads, brownies, to name a few. The best part about it is that you can start your cooking on top of the stove and finish it in the oven (just make sure you remember to use your oven mitts!).
- You can use it over a campfire!
A couple of cons:
- It’s freaking heavy. I need to use both hands for my 12 inch because it’s just so heavy.
- It can scratch up your glass top, but I use it anyway.
- It can be tough to clean, but if you use it properly it can become non-stick in a way, so depending on what heat you start at food can slip off like a non-stick.
Cast Iron Enamel.
I love my cast iron enamel pot. Again it’s a heavy mother, but it’s perfect for one dish meals, soups and casseroles. I even use it for my stir fries these days because how deep it is.
Again, there are so many pretty colours to choose from you can really dress up your kitchen. These pots can be on the pricey side, but if you shop sales you can find good deals and there is always a fun dutch oven or two at HomeSense/HomeGoods (US).
When I need a pot, I got for stainless steel. I have five pots of varying sizes and they work well for me.
You likely have a glass pan or two in the house and these are great options for baking, roasting chicken or baking casseroles. The one caveat to these is that you want to keep the temperature lower than 425 so the glass doesn’t shatter (and please refrain from taking a glass pan straight from the fridge to a hot oven – it’ll shatter!).
So that’s basically what I use regularly. I also use two really big aluminum sheet pans, but please use parchment paper on those because you don’t want to be cooking right on aluminum either.
I love my stoneware pans from Pampered Chef. My pan fits perfectly into my small convection oven, but it just broke! I was very sad but managed to find another one. When I use stoneware, I don’t have to use parchment and it browns food so nicely–particularly potatoes!
The last thing I want to mention is that you don’t have to make these changes all at once. Slowly change out one pan at a time and you’ll be set for the long run.
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