Cooking Like a Natural. Safe & Effective Alternatives for Non-Stick Cookware

It’s the holidays so there’s a lot of cooking happening. Could what we use to cook our food have an impact on our health and the health of our babies? A new study from scientists in Denmark addresses the impact that the use of both non-stick cookware and stain-resistant products can have on women’s health and the health of their babies.

The study focused on the chemical, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a chemical used in the manufacturing of non-stick and stain-resistant products. Daughters who had high exposure to PFOA in the womb through prenatal exposure from their mothers reported that their first menstrual cycles occurred 5.3 months later than daughters whose mothers were exposed to lower PFOA levels while pregnant. The average age of first menstrual period for all the daughters was 13.2 years of age.

This is not the first study to link PFOA exposure to adverse health effects. Other studies have connected the chemical to cancer, male infertility and low birth weight in newborns. While the definitive connection between PFOA and health outcomes has yet to be finalized and enforced by policy makers, it’s a safe bet to minimize your exposures to PFOA – particularly during pregnancy.

Thankfully, we’ve got some solutions to this ironically sticky situation. Here are our tips for safe and effective alternatives for non-stick cookware:

  1. Stainless steel cookware. Professional chefs actually prefer this type of cookware because they do a better job browning and caramelizing foods. Some of the brands that our team uses at our own homes are All-Clad and Demeyere.
  2. Cast iron cookware. Relatively inexpensive, cast iron products also very easy to clean, even without using soap. If you learn to season the cookware properly, the pans will work as well as non-stick. Additionally, cast-iron cookware can be used in the oven, even for broiling. A cast-iron brand we use is Lodge. A more expensive, but beautiful-looking alternative is Le Creuset.
  3. Glass baking dishes. These baking dishes are an excellent alternative to there non-stick counterparts. They cook food evenly and cleanly and also can be used as their own storage containers. Pyrex offers many different shapes and sizes of glass baking dishware. We also love their glass food storage containers as a replacement for plastic containers!
  4. Grapeseed oil or butter. Solve the “stick” problem with a little oil or butter. Organic grapeseed oil in particular has a higher heat capacity than other cooking oils like olive oil and has a more neutral flavor. We love using it for frying eggs in a cast iron pan!

In addition to what you put your food into to cook it, don’t forget also about the utensils you use for stirring and serving! Switch out your plastic utensils for cooking utensils made of natural materials like stainless steel, wood or bamboo. As we’ve mentioned in the past, heat breaks down the chemicals in plastics, so cooking with plastic will allow the chemicals to easily seep into the food you eat.

Do you have any tips on easy cooking without non-stick cookware? Share with us on Facebook!