If you are looking to buy a new cookware set to cook food for you and your family, not only do you have to find one that is functional for your family’s needs, but you need to find one that is safe, too. Finding the safest ones for your health can be a more difficult process, given the variety of cookware options and various pots and pans claiming they are perfectly safe for cooking.
Some cookware can seem too good to be true (and sometimes, that is the case!), so what is the safest cookware for your health? This article will help you choose the safest option for your family, as well as offer a means for you to determine how safe a cookware set is on your own.
Three Important Factors to Consider When Buying Safe & Healthy Cookware
1: Is the Cookware’s Raw Material Safe and Non-Toxic on its Own?
One of the first important things to look at when choosing safe and healthy cookware is the material the pot or pan is made of. There are a wide variety of cookware materials, including stainless steel, cast iron, ceramic cookware, copper cookware, and aluminum cookware.
Most of these cookware materials are some type of metal. Metal is notably reactive as one of its natural properties. This translates to leaching, where the metal ions react to combine with the food’s nutrients that are in the form of oxygen, hydrogen, halogens, acids, and bases. Then, we end up consuming the metal ions that are now chemically bound to these nutrients.
Some metals leach more than others, for example, some may turn to cast iron or stainless steel as better alternatives compared to aluminum and other metals. Surgical steel can leach less than other materials, but buying this can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, and it only lessens the leaching, instead of eliminating it altogether. Because of metal’s innate reactivity, all metal pots and pans leach their material in some capacity.
Want to see this leaching for yourself? Try this Alkaline Baking Soda Test at home.
Metal also rapidly heats and cools when exposed to heat. Because this process happens so quickly through conduction, high heat is needed to ensure food can be cooked properly. This rapid temperature change has health drawbacks, too! Metal cookware prepares food using a harsh near-infrared heat, which can destroy important and valuable food nutrients during the cooking process. As a result, your food turns out less nutritious!
What Happens to Your Food When These Metals Have Leached Into It?
After you eat food that is exposed to the metals of your cookware set, these metals accumulate in your body slowly over time. Your body treats these metals as toxins and attempts to process these metals out of the system, which can wear out the organs over time. Additionally, your body may not fully process all of these metals out, leading to a slow and gradual buildup of these toxins in the body.
Over time, this could lead to health complications! Using the previous example, aluminum has been proven to be very dangerous in the body, causing a variety of diseases and health complications including links to Alzheimer’s disease.
2: Are Your Pots and Pans coated with a Glaze or Enamel?
The next thing to look at when choosing the safest, fully non-toxic cookware is to ensure no coatings are included with the cookware. Many cookware sets have a non-stick surface on each pot and pan, which is created by a special non-stick coating (PTFE). This coating, commonly known by its brand Teflon, is a synthetically made coating that is designed with the intention of ensuring no sticky substances cling to the pan for easy cleaning.
Nonstick pans have been created using a substance called PFOA in the past. However, this substance was banned in the creation of Teflon due to health risks and concerns. This chemical, when exposed to high heat, would release toxic fumes into the air and cooked food. Exposure to this chemical presented some alarming health and environmental issues. Since it has been phased out of production, substitutes have taken its place in non-stick cookware. However, these substitutes can be just as dangerous as PFOA, making coated non-stick pans just as health-concerning as before.
Alternatively, you may find ceramic-coated cookware in the market. A ceramic coating may not actually be made of ceramic – it may be a synthetic nonstick coating that resembles the properties of ceramic. This unfortunately presents similar issues, with harmful chemicals leaching from a pan into your food.
Given all the health issues that can come from glazes or enamels, safe and non-toxic cookware should not include a coating. For more information on the dangers of using a nonstick pan and a healthy and safe alternative, check out this article (Coming soon!).
3: Does the Raw Material Contain Chemicals?
The last important thing to look for is to see whether or not the material has gone through chemical treatment in its production. Although a cookware material may be inert with no toxic leaching, the heavy machinery and processing involved in the production of your pots and pans may include chemicals. For example, ceramic cookware is made from a heavily refined clay: this clay is sourced from a secondary or tertiary source with impurities and is treated by chemicals to give it its appearance.
Some of these pots and pans include lead and cadmium in its production, which are toxic for the body. These chemicals can leach into food just like metal can, and some chemicals can be extremely hazardous. A pure raw material and lack of coating alone does not guarantee non-toxic cookware: sometimes even the production process can add toxins to the pot that inevitably ends up in your cooked food.
What is the Safest Cookware, Given These Three Criteria?
These three considerations when looking for safe cookware can unfortunately eliminate a lot of options from the market. Conventional metal cookware all have some level of toxic leaching, non-stick cookware can include dangerous chemicals in its nonstick coatings, and the production process can contaminate your cookware material with heavy metals and more chemicals. These three criteria are simple but heavy, so what is the safest cookware if you want to cook healthy meals for you and your family?
One cookware brand, Miriam’s Earthen Cookware (MEC), passes the test. Miriam’s Earthen Cookware makes their cookware with pure, primary clay that has been lab-tested and certified to have no lead, cadmium, or other metals at all in its clay. This pure clay is then hand-crafted at a wheel to shape pots and pans that are fired for use at home. Additionally, MEC uses no chemicals in its production process – no glazes or enamels are involved in the finishing process whatsoever.
Miriam’s Earthen Cookware not only is fully non-toxic, but it is non-reactive as well. MEC clay is fully inert, meaning no extra chemical reactions are enabled in the cooking process that would allow toxins to leach in. On top of all that, MEC’s clay uses a unique far-infrared heat to cook food, which preserves food nutrients and creates a healthier & more nutritional meal overall!
A nonstick coating is not needed, too – MEC becomes naturally non-stick and easy to clean after it is fully seasoned.
Miriam’s Earthen Cookware is truly and undeniably the most non-toxic cookware available on the market. Why risk the potential health hazards from other cookware? Start cooking healthy food for you and your family in the safest cookware, and buy a pure clay pot from the MEC Store today!