Why worry about your cookware? Because it doesn’t make any sense to purchase whole, healthy foods and cook them in toxic pots and pans. While you’re innocently stirring a sauce, metal and synthetic ions are sneaking first into your meal and then into your bloodstream, causing a host of health problems like cancer, hormone disruption, and Alzheimer’s disease.
pots and baking dishes
Clever cooks use ENAMEL OR GLASS because they are nonreactive, long-lasting materials. High-quality enamel brands Le Creuset and Chantal are stylishly designed and have strong surfaces that won’t chip or scratch over time. But if you do buy an inexpensive pot and it gets damaged, throw it away to avoid having your food react with the metal underneath or picking enamel pieces out of your piecrust.
- EARTHENWARE, CLAY, AND CERAMIC baking dishes are your taste buds’ best friends. By producing an effective form of infrared heat, they allow flavors to develop over long roasting or baking times. The cookware can be glazed or unglazed, but be sure to check the manufacturer’s care instructions because many of these precious pots need pampering.
- COPPER POTS attract chefs with their super heat conductivity and impress healthy home cooks with their antibacterial properties; just be sure yours are lined with stainless steel to prevent copper from leaching into acidic foods.
- NON-STICK NONSENSE Non-stick cookware in any form is too risky to be in your kitchen; the toxins, carcinogens, and synthetics in these items have no place in healthy cooking. Instead, invest in cookware made of any of these safe materials: glass, earthenware, enameled cast iron ceramic, heavy-gauge stainless steel clay
- CAST IRON is long-lasting and conducts heat very well, but the iron can leach into your meal – not the form of iron your body craves, but a rough-tasting and unusable form. Lodge makes many of these popular black pans, but the brand also offers a healthier ENAMELED CAST IRON line that’s coated with nonreactive porcelain enamel. Beware of “pre-seasoned” Chinese pans, some of which are coated with toxic paint that can chip off into your food, and always follow the manufacturer’s intructions to care for your pans.
- HEAVY-GAUGE STAINLESS STEEL pans are easy to use, but need to be cleaned dutifully to avoid bacteria buildup in the tiny scrapes that steel wool inflicts. Use only soap, hot water, and a soft sponge to clean the pan, or soak it in baking soda to loosen hardened food residue.
- ALUMINUM ALTERNATIVE
Aluminum is another metal that, like iron, the body can use in some forms, but not the kind in that frying pan on the shelf – even hard-anodized aluminum, which leaches less of the Alzheimer’s-inducing metal, can have a cumulative effect on your health. Give all such items to a rhythmically talented child along with a set of wooden spoons for drumsticks! Replace them with a few of the good-quality heavy-gauge stainless steel pieces listed at right.
baking sheets and forms
The best option for baking your sweet treats and breads is GLASS or ENAMEL. Le Creuset makes every shape and size of baking dish, tart pan, or souffle ramekin you could wish for in oven-safe enamel. Clean bakeware with care using soft sponges and hot water, soaking in baking soda for harder spots.
Enamel and glass dishes also make a better substitute for aluminum baking sheets. If you can’t find any of these items or require a completely flat sheet for your baking, simply line your aluminum sheets and forms with natural parchment paper or paper muffin cups.
Before you buy a utensil, ask yourself what you’ll use it for. If hot or acidic foods come to mind, go with natural, nonreactive materials such as wood and bamboo. Stainless steel is a safe choice for cold preparation such as mixing and whisking, where you won’t scratch any surfaces. Stay clear of plastics, rubber, and aluminum in all your utensils, because they could leach toxins into your food.
IF YOU CARE PARCHMENT BAKING PAPER
Skip the scrubbing and line your baking sheets with non-toxic parchment paper. Chlorine, chromium, and formeldahyde-free, this recycled paper is best when used at low to medium-high temperatures – turning on the broiler could give you burnt parchment along with your kale chips. $5; Whole Foods
LE CREUSET HERITAGE STONEWARE DEEP COVERED BAKER
Durable enough for the oven and beautiful enough for the table, this 4½ quart baking dish can hold an entire chicken or roast. The enameled stoneware is a safe choice for long roasting, and the lid seals in moisture to keep food tender. $80; Williams Sonoma
10-INCH SQUARE GRILL PAN & PANINI PRESS
Get your grill on indoors with this oven-safe, enameled cast-iron pan. Pairs perfectly with the Panini Press to make your favorite sandwiches even better. $75 and $38, respectively; lodgemfg.com