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Healthy Cookware

One taste of hot tea in a Styrofoam cup and you know you’re drinking more than tea. The cup is reactive. And have you noticed how dried foods stored in plastic bags start to taste like plastic? It’s because food ions react with synthetic or metallic ions. Here are guidelines for choosing—and using—healthful, non-reactive cookware. For a list of what NOT to have in your kitchen, see Toxic Cookware and Cutlery.pot

SUPERIOR CHOICE — Inert, Non-Reactive Cookware

1. Both earthenware and ceramic cookware are made of clay, free of heavy metals and synthetic polymers, non-reactive and emit a far-infrared heat, the most effective and beneficial heat for cooking. This enables a full range of subtle flavors to emerge. While earthenware is excellent for lengthy simmering and baking, high-fired ceramics are more durable and versatile.

Xtrema has a full line of moderately priced ceramic pots, pans and bakeware that can go from the freezer to the oven. Clay pots are available on line, in some stores and occasionally from your local potter.   
                                              

100% ceramic knives are nonreactive and hold their edge up to 15 times longer than conventional steel blades.

Ceramic-coated cookware is NOT recommended. Just like other non-stick cookware, the synthetic so-called “ceramic”(not clay) coating degrades with normal use. Corningware and its discontinued line, Visionware, are a type of ceramic (pyroceramic glass) but they poorly conduct heat. Note: antique ceramic or earthenware pots may contain lead. Inexpensive lead-testing kits are available at hardware stores.

2. Enamel is a fused glass surface overlaying a metal pot, be it cast iron or a lighter metal. With proper care, quality enamel cookware lasts a lifetime. There are various brands available; do an on-line search for user reviews to determine the line that best suits you.

Note: inexpensive enamel cookware with its thin layer of enamel quickly chips and must be discarded for once there’s a chip, the underlying reactive metal is exposed and contaminates food with heavy metals and/or enamel fragments. The only company I’m aware of that replaces worn cast enamel cookware is Le Crueset.

3. Glass coffee pots and casserole dishes are inert and affordable. Favor glass containers for storing food. By the way, if you’ve got old glass bake ware, don’t replace it with newer glass!  Pyrex and Anchor Hocking, our two major domestic producers of glass bake ware, are currently using a soda lime glass that can shatter under high heat. European glass wear is made from the more durable, and pricy, borosilicate glass, as was our domestic glassware prior to the 1980s.

4. Bamboo steamers and paddles as well as wooden spoons, chopsticks and crockery are non-reactive and modestly priced.

5. Paper Goods are, in some applications, effective. Line reactive aluminum muffin tins or cookie sheets with 100% un-bleached muffin cups or parchment paper. (Note: natural parchment paper is coated with non-reactive silicon, not the chemical quilon). And for food storage, as is practical, favor waxed or butcher paper over plastic wrap or bags.

A GOOD CHOICE–Moderately Reactive Cookware 

1. Stainless steel is the least reactive metal, and for some people, the most versatile and healthful cookware option. It makes an acceptable set of basic pots, pans and bake ware. Because it unevenly conducts heat, most stainless cookware is clad or encloses an aluminum core. The term “ply” refers to the number of layers; the higher the ply, the heavier the pot and the more resistant it is to warping. Most stainless steel is 18/10 meaning that it contains 18% chromium and 10% nickel. The 18/0 designates a nickel-free product.

Remove food from metal as soon as it is cooked to minimize it developing a metallic taste. Once stainless steel has been scratched by heavy scouring, it will leach chromium and nickel. Therefore don’t scour stainless cookware. When you’ve burned something onto the pot, cover it with baking soda, salt or a strong detergent and let it rest for a day or more if necessary. The soda will “lift” off the scorched food.

A stainless steel knife is less reactive than a carbon steel knife but it doesn’t  hold its edge quite as well.

2. Carbon steel is inexpensive, thin, lightweight and ideal for a wok or crepe pan because it rapidly conveys heat. With use, it will develop a non-stick like patina but prior to that do not use it with liquid or acidic ingredients and dry it thoroughly after every use to prevent rust. Since carbon steel is reactive, do not use a carbon steel knife for cutting acidic foods like citrus or tomatoes.

3. Cast iron pots are good for quick breads, pancakes and for sautéing vegetables. Do not, however, use cast iron for soups, liquids or acid foods as these foods leach harsh-tasting iron from the pot. Although a soup cooked in cast iron becomes iron-enriched, this heavy metal is not bioavailable.

4. Silicone cookware. If you use silicone cookware, purchase only 100% silicone that is FDA approved and safe up to 428 degrees Fahrenheit). This is critical as there are countless silicone formulas and some products, such as the popular bake sheets, are only silicone coated. But does an FDA approval mean that silicone cookware is non-reactive? Not according to a 2005 British study that determined while the overall the chemical migration from the silicon into foodstuffs was low, it does occur.

The advantages of silicone include heat resistance (below 428 degrees Fahrenheit), flexibility, the fact that it can go directly from the oven or microwave into the refrigerator or freezer and that it is generally easy to clean.

Coda: Cookware is only part of the story of cooking and healthy eating, albeit a very important part. Knowing what foods may cause intolerances in our body is the most overlooked yet simple way to influence our health. In my book, Read Your Face, I show how to identify obvious clues about diet and health – things you can easily change for happier and healthier eating. Learn more about Face Reading and Diet.

May you be well nourished,

Rebecca Wood

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product by linking through this review, it generates a modest commission which helps maintain this site.
 
Related

228 comments to Healthy Cookware

  • Ramya

    Hi,
    Iam using cast iron pan for omlet and frying tortillas. i that ok or do you recommend any other for this?

    Thank You

  • […] Healthy Cookware | Rebecca Wood – Healthy Cooking Pans Non Toxic Cookware « Recipes for Health. … I would like to purchase a small healthy frying pan for cooking eggs. Can you please recommend a specific frying pan? Thank you, I have enjoyed reading your comments. admin. […]

  • Holly

    Hi Rebecca,
    Thanks so much for your informative articles. I am considering getting the xtrema cookware but was curious if you find it difficult to water sauté in these pans? Many current healthy/vegetarian cookbooks recommend avoiding oils in cooking. I’m wondering if food would be more likely to stick in these pans if sautéing without the oil.

    Also, I saw your recent comment concerning waffle irons. My kids and I eat healthy vegan waffles almost every morning. I use standard nonstick waffle irons with a little oil and do watch closely for any scratches. Do you think this is safe for my kids?

    Thanks in advance!

    • You’re welcome. Water saute works fine with xtrema. Re. waffles…enjoy them! But as the iron wears and scratches, replace it.

    • Laurie

      Hi Rebecca,
      I was wondering what you thought of the Le Creuset stainless pots and pans? They claim to have a fully encapsulated, solid aluminum core, heats quickly and evenly, and is protected by the rolled, sealed and polished rim.
      Magnetic steel external layer makes cookware compatible with induction cooktops and is infused with titanium to resist discoloration.
      Surgical-grade stainless steel interior provides a food-safe and stable cooking surface. Would they be a safe choice for stainless cookware? I appreciate your answer and thoughts on this as I have been diligently searching for a safer and healthier brand of stainless cookware. Thank you.

      • The relevant question re. stainless steel and reactivity is only the stainless steel itself (the core, lip, color, etc. do not effect reactivity) and surgical-grade is the best. Secondly, it’s important once you have it, to not scour it. I’ve not used this line, but it sounds good.

  • Rosemary Burgess

    Hi Rebecca can you email me the link to Xtrema for the 10% discount. The pots sound like what I am after. Thank you for all the information that you are sharing about cookware.

  • Chris Kennedy

    I have enjoyed reading through all the emails. I have a question. I am getting rid of my Analon Professional pans. I want to know if this brand can cause health problems? Also, I just purchased new pans by Cuisinart and they are non-stick and have a non- porous ceramic cooking interior. Are these pans a good choice for one concerned about health? It says they are PFOA and PTFE free. My husband was diagnosed with lung cancer and has developed other tumors and I am trying to re-think and replace many cooking items I have used through the years. Many thanks, Chris

    • I cannot recommend ANY nonstick surface. Are you able to return the pans? As I explain in the blog, a “ceramic coating” is a synthetic and all synthetics degrade, have a very limited lifetime and are reactive. Regrets about your husband’s diagnosis, if you wish to address dietary changes to support his health, you might consider a consultation with me.

  • […] Healthy Cookware | Rebecca Wood – Here are guidelines for choosing—and using—healthful, non-reactive cookware. […]

  • AM

    I’m having great difficulty in finding a waffle iron with a healthy finish on the griddle. I’ve tried the camper-style cast iron griddles and have had nothing but disastrous results, namely the waffle sticking to the iron no matter what tricks I use. Could you please recommend an electric waffle iron that won’t leach harmful substances into the food? I want to try your wheat-free waffle recipe.

    Thanks!

    • Yes, the camper-style cast iron griddles are a bear to use. I settle for a conventional teflon iron and replace it at the first sign of wear. Or look for a cast aluminum iron in a second-hand store.

  • Very useful website , I got a lot of useful information , but I urgently want to know some information about a brand called “Firsttitanium cookware” made in Germany.
    They mentioned in their website that we have to use silicon utensils to avoid scratches but they added that it will not affect the health if it is scratched as the titanium coating is non reactive

    Please reply to my email urgent

    Best regards

  • […] Healthy Cookware | Rebecca Wood – Hi Rebecca, I just purchased a couple small TAHARI Home Earthenware bowls from HomeGoods to use for my French Onion Soup. The stickers on the bottom of the … […]

  • janel

    Is there a non toxic tea kettle you recommend? I’ve had a heck of a time trying to search for one. The only ones that don’t contain plastic, metal, or other undesireables are glass tea kettles; yet I havn’t yet found a glass kettle that is lead free. I love drinking tea, but worry about boiling water inside a toxic container. Help!

  • Michele

    Hi Rebecca,
    I just purchased a couple small TAHARI Home Earthenware bowls from HomeGoods to use for my French Onion Soup. The stickers on the bottom of the bowls say it’s safe for the oven, but it did not note the safe-up-to temperature specifically. Do you know this brand of bakeware? How high can it go in the oven? I couldn’t find anything online for it, they’re made in Portugal.

    Thanks very much for your help!
    Michele

  • Michelle

    I recently bought a pressure cooker and use it for everything from stocks to stews to braises. Before buying one I didn’t think I needed it but after buying one I just fell in love with mine. If you can’t decide which one to buy, I would recommend going here to read reviews. This website does a good job explaining the pros and cons and which one would suit all budgets.

  • […] field of whole foods cooking, her speciality, with high ranking in search for dandelion greens and non-toxic cookware. Her preeminence in these results has nothing to do with her identity or brand. But we can […]

  • Paulina

    Hello Rebecca
    I have read with much interest the information about cookware on your site.
    I wanted to buy Silit Silargan cookware but I felt I needed a experienced opinion. Might in fact have the same disadvantages as ceramic coated cookware?
    I have a Flame Emile Henry tagine. I understand it might get fine cracks when cooking. Is it still safe to use?
    Many thanks

  • Tina

    Hi. I just came across your site while trying to research about titanium reinforced cutting blades from a juicer. Is that a problem? (The juicer claims to transfer less than 1.8F of heat, if that makes a difference)
    Please advise! Thank you!

  • Lyuda

    I was wondering about ceramic-titanium coated aluminum. I am looking into getting a set from Scanpan but am not sure about the reactions of titanium. I know they use it in as permanent fixtures in bones, etc. in the body for surgical procedures so I’m thinking it must be safe? Let me know what you think. Thank you!

    • “Ceramic”coatings are not true ceramic, as with all other non-stick pans, they degrade (whether or not they contain titanium). Not recommended. See accompanying articles.

    • heather

      I am also wondering about titanium. I saw Pampered Chef’s top of the line non-stick cookware says it is Titanium Reinforced Alloy, Hard Anodized TI Nonstick. How safe or healthy is it to cook with?

  • Christine

    Hi Rebecca Can you recommend specific cast iron pots. Is LODGE safe to use for example. This brand is coated with some oil base but I don’t know what and if okay to use. Thank you!

    • Cast iron pots, in terms of reactivity (i.e. safety), are all comparable.
      Lodge applies vegetable oil to their seasoned line that is then baked “at high temperatures for an easy release cooking surface.” This pre-seasoned pan is similar to the build up that naturally occurs when you season your own cast iron pan at home with oil and/or repeated use.

  • melinda

    I am replacing a teflon coated stirfry pan and need a recommendation. If I understand the article, carbon steel is good. Can you tell me or steer me to a flat bottom carbon steel wok that is safe?

    • Finding the brand that works for you is your department. My piece is to advise about the different materials, how they perform and the care they need.

  • This page definitely has all the information and facts I wanted concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

  • Marie

    I was wondering if you could tell me if the Flavorstone pans are safe and health to use please? Thank you. :)

    • As my article states:
      Ceramic-coated cookware is NOT recommended. Just like other non-stick cookware, the synthetic so-called “ceramic”(not clay) coating degrades with normal use. For more details see the accompanying article: Toxic cookware.

  • Mollie Bayda

    Hi Rebecca,
    I’m glad I found your site. Between Miriam’s and Xtrema, do you know which is superior for not transferring elements to the food?
    I’ll try to support your site by using the links.
    Thank you so much.

  • Yvonne1983

    Dearest Rebecca,
    What about Zepter frying pans and their Innovative URA Technology. Their products are quite pricey and on the web site it says that its completely nonreactive.

    Please, tell me what do You think?

    Yvonne

  • HI, I tried Clay pot on gas top twice. But both time it cracked. Then I tried Ceramic Clay pot. They were good. I can heat them and cool them any ways. Not need to take care of washing them. More details visit:
    http://ancienthealth.wordpress.com/helathy-eating/

    • If you happen to live in India, consider buying this reader’s gorgeous, hand turned ceramic pots. Yes, I agree, clay pots are not as long-lived as ceramic pots.

    • Anna Grace

      Great article Rebecca, thank you for help. I bought Miriam’s Earthen Cookware through your link and am loving it so far. It is the only cookware that is time tested for the longest period of time — our ancestors have been cooking in them for more than 5000 years.

  • Jan

    Hi, is there a panini maker that has a non-toxic surface? Thank you so much!

  • V. Joseph

    Hi Rebecca
    Do you know if the vintage corning vision ware is toxic free? The vintage ware has been around for such a long time that I wonder if the glaze on my grab it bowls is toxic

  • Melissa

    Hello Rebecca,
    Could you tell me please, is a porcelain mixing bowl non-reactive? Would it chip easier than ceramic, and does it need to be thrown out when it does?
    Also, I have been looking up enamel on steel cookware, how can you tell if the enamel is better (or thicker) on some products as opposed to others? Thank you for your help and also for your article. Melissa

    • Porcelain is non-reactive and, when handled with care, it (as well as ceramic) can last a lifetime. The thicker the enamel layer, the better it’s longevity and the more expensive. Perhaps you can read customer reviews and/or visit a pot shop to get a feel for which brand will serve you best.

  • Tesa

    Hello! I am trying to find a safe electric water kettle, and most contain plastic. Do you know of a safe electric kettle? Bella brand has ceramic electric kettles, but I cannot figure out if theirs is safe or not – 100% non-reactive ceramic. I know they are made in China.
    Thanks!

  • bonnie blair

    I went to Mercola’s website to order ceramic cookware, thinking surely he would not be selling a product made in China.But the woman taking the order said that indeed his product is from China, and that his product is basically the same as the Extrema brand.
    Could you say what you know about that?

    • Yes, Xtrema (aka Mercola) cookware is made in China. Check out their site: http://www.ceramcor.com/ and you’ll see that the pots are non-reactive. I use mine daily and have done for 8 years now.

      And, if you wish a discount on it, click from my web page. You’ll get 10% off and that will generate a small affiliate fee to help support my web expenses.

  • Jared

    Rebecca, thanks for taking the time to reply to all these questions, your replies have been very helpful. We have Xtrema cookware, and love the pots, but the skillet works terrible because it has a high-point in the middle causing the oil to run to the edges. Does your Xtrema have this issue, or did we get a bad set? We try to cook low temp, but still struggle.

  • Mechef145

    Thank you for the post! I will always go with pure-clay cookware. I have owned MEC pure clay cookware for about a year now and they do a fantastic job. Cooks the food evenly and the meat is soo juicy and tender. Most importantly it holds all the nutrients in the food and no fear of metals or chemical getting in to my food.

  • TJ

    Hi Rebecca,

    Thank you for your helpful information. You answered about dinnerware somewhere in your post but I can’t find it now. Do we need to worry about dinnerware being reactive or lead/cadmium free? When we say the material is reactive, does it mean it’s because of the heat?

    • Not to worry about dinnerware being reactive (unless you have a rare nickel sensitivity). Stainless steel doesn’t contain lead. With long storage, acidic ingredients and/or heating, the metal ion transfer increases.

  • T Fogerty

    Hello,

    I have owned Mercola Xtrema cookware for about 6 years. Over the years, it has performed well on my glass top stove; however food has always tended to stick to it. I recently moved, and now I am having problems using the large 12 inch frying pan. My new residence has an out-of-the-box brand new glass top stove. Every time I’ve attempted to use the 12 inch fry pan on the new stove top, my food would become burned in the middle of the cookware, and practically raw at the edges. Upon closer examination, it seems the new stove top has smaller burners. My conclusion here is that the larger Mercola cookware may be incompatible with the smaller burners, because of uneven heating. This problem exists at all temperatures, overcooked in the middle/raw at the edges. I know this is not necessarily a problem with the cookware, but nevertheless is a point worth mentioning.

  • Ruth Bianchi

    Hi Rebecca,
    I appreciate your site. Thank you for your time. I have all stainless steel pots and pans but I came across a pan by Ecolution that says it uses water to adhere Hydrolon to the pans instead of PFOA. Is this safe? Thanks. Ruth Bianchi

    • All non-stick surfaces are synthetic and softer than the metal of the pan itself; therefore they pit, wear and/or chip with use. The pot you refer to is acrylic. Just the very thought of cooking with acrylic is gives me the willies.

  • marina

    Hi I just purchased the Chantal enamel on steal set, and I was wondering how can I avoid my food from sticking. It says non stick but I noticed when I heated up the food in it, it kind of got stuck on the bottom. By the way I used med/low heat to cook and reheat. Thanks

    • When you reheat food, first warm the pan then add a little water, stock or oil. Then put in leftovers and stir as needed or cook very low and/or use a heat distributor.

  • Steve

    Hi Rebecca,

    Thanks for all your research and valuable information.

    How do you steam vegetables?

    What is the healthiest cookware and method of steaming vegetables?

    Thanks Much
    Steve

    • To steam, suspend a food over boiling water until the hot vapors cook it. There are various steaming tools. Collapsable stainless steel basket steamers are the most common and convenient and if you remove the steamed food immediately, reactivity is not a problem.

      For optimum health and pleasure, do enjoy a variety of cooking styles for your veggies. That steamed veggies are most healthful is simply not true.

  • Blues

    How would you compare Mercola cookware to Xtrema? I was going to buy an Xtrema skillet based on your recommendation, but thought that Mercola looked good too.

    • That’s easy, Mercola cookware is Xtrema. Look on the bottom of each pot and both have the Ceramcor label. btw if you purchase Xtrema from this web page, you receive a 10% discount.

  • Lena

    Why does Xtrema 100% ceramic cookware say it has a ceramic glaze.Is this okay? Also,do foods stick really bad to this?

    • As an example of an unglazed pot, imagine a clay flower pot. Ceramic cooking pots require a finishing glaze; in this case, the glaze is 100% ceramic and so the product is non-reactive. I’ve been using Xtrema for over 6 years now and sticking is not a problem.

  • Hi Rebecca,

    I saw the 100% ceramic cookware on your site. I would like to know is it non stick or is it like stainless steel where if I fry stuff it will turn black and stick. I understand it’s the best to use cus it’s non metal, non toxic, don’t get into food but i hope it’s no lead ?
    Besides Ceramcor being 100% ceramic do you know of any other brand that is great but cost less? My budget is very tight.
    Thanks. Fiona

  • Ailton

    Hi there and thanks so much for all the info.
    I use cast iron and enameled cast iron. Is this OK?

    • Cast iron is great for crepes, pancakes and sautéing when there’s not going to be a lot of liquid. I wouldn’t, however, use liquids or acid ingredients (like tomatoes, wine or vinegar) in cast iron.

  • Stephen Burrows

    Hi Rebecca,

    Thank you so much for all this valuable information. I am replacing all my teflon pans, grills, aluminum pans.
    On my budget stainless steel seems to be the best option.

    I am looking to improve my diet with more vegetables. What would you recommend for steaming vegetables?

    I found a 5 quart stainless steamer insert(Stabil) at IKEA. Is that a good choice for steaming vegetables?

    I also found several different collection of inexpensive stainless steel cookware at Ikea. The product information says Thick base with one layer of aluminum between two layers of stainless steel. Is this acceptable?

    Thank you,
    Stephen Burrows

    • Yes, stainless steel typically has an aluminum core to enhance heat conductivity.
      There’s so much more to the world of delicious and healthy veggies than steaming. See my books or on line articles for more ideas. When steaming with a stainless steel insert or a steaming unit, remove vegetables as soon as cooked to minimize the transfer of metal ions.

  • Eva

    Hello Rebecca!

    Wow, thank you for all this helpful info. I got rid of all my teflon several years ago and replaced it with stainless. I thought that stainless was completely safe, but I now know that once scratched, it is not. I plan to slowly switch to Xtrema for most of my needs. The most important thing to replace first though, is my stockpot. I make bone broth very often (prefer stock pot to pressure cooker) and had thought I would get a Le Creuset, but I just read on their site that they use cadmium on the exterior of some of their cookware. What are your thoughts on this? I’m concerned because my three year old son has high levels of some heavy metals, cadmium being one of them, that we have been working on getting out of his system. I’m now wondering if stainless might be a better choice. Any advice is greatly appreciated!

    Thanks- E

    • In terms of reactivity, your only concern is the pot’s interior that will be in contact with the food. As the inside of an enamel pot is enamel, it is non-reactive.

      • Eva

        Thank you! I’ve been comparing Le Creuset and Chantal stock pots. There is a huge price difference and I am not very clear as to whether the extra layers(copper, etc.) in Chantal are necessary. In your opinion, do you think it’s worth spending the extra for the Chantal pot if I’ll be using it primarily for making stock?

        Thanks again!

        • You’re most welcome. Chantal is enamel on steel and LeCreuset is enamel on cast iron. So for a stock pot, I’d go for the lighter weight (and less pricy), enamel on steel. Both are non-reactive.

    • Betty

      Hello Rebecca, kindly let me know the brand of rice cooker you use in your kitchen as I am having difficulty in choosing one. Someone recommended Zojirushi rice cooker, have you heard of it?

  • Renee

    I appreciate your research & info so much! I looked & looked for this but just found it now. I had bought paderno proteach, which is earth-frieindly 100% ceramic, non-stick coating. I went to the website & it said everything about it being safe & non toxic but after finding ur site, I decided it would be better to return. I am having probs finding what i need though in my area. Wld you no if maybe Sears wld have something. I do not live in a big area & only have one shopping mall but I only have metal in my kitchen although everything is stainless steel but I have no way of knowing what grade of metal. Any help would be extremely appreciate. I am in Quebec. Txs so very much! Renee

  • Nilda V Latorre

    Hi Rebecca where can I find xtrema cookware in London UK

    Regards
    Nilda

  • Nilda V Latorre

    Hi REbecca
    I am using nowo woll titanium pan.Do you know if it is a good brand. It is made in Germany.
    I would like to know if it is safe,before I buy more.

    Many thanks

  • Lena

    What about the marble coated cookware stuff from Eden Pure that International Home Shopping sales.Is it safe? I am not sure if it is marble or just marble coated

  • Mary Kay

    I am looking to upgrade some worn stock pots, and came across your article in my research. Thanks so much for helping with the comparisons across cookware types!

    One thing I don’t see already mentioned is stoneware for baking. I’ve wanted to also replace some old cookie sheets and muffin tins. Rather than go with stainless steel, I wondered if a preferable choice would be baking stoneware. The brand I am looking at is Haeger. Made in the USA and lead-free. Would this be in the same category of product as the Xtrema or other fully ceramic items or is it something different? Any opinions? Thank you so much!

    • Yes, stoneware makes excellent cookware. I personally can’t imagine using something as heavy and cumbersome as stoneware for muffin tins, but if it suits you, great. Two disadvantages of stoneware (versus Xtrema or stainless steel) are that it cannot be used on the stovetop and it doesn’t tolerate sudden temperature shifts (i.e. don’t put a hot stoneware baking sheet on a cold surface).

  • Lamia

    Hi Rebecca,
    Thank you for all the useful information you have posted, I am glad I fell on your website.

    I have some concerns and one question, I hope you have some information that could be helpful.

    I would like to buy some Corning ware but I am not sure if I should get the vintage ones or the new ones. I am interested in the older ones because i read in some reviews that they are made in the USA and are very reliable (wont brake even when put on the stovetop…!) but my concern with the vintage ones came after reading on Wikipedia that CorningWare was able to abandon the use of arsenic in the manufacture of their vitroceramics…. Meaning that the vintage ones contains ARSENIC!!! What if they get scratched???
    With the respect to the newer ones I read on amazon reviews that they are made in china and and after few uses develops cracks….
    I personally know nothing about Corning ware and I was wondering if you know if these statements are just rumors or if they are true?
    As for my question I like to prepare making creme renversee, and was wondering what would use for preparing the caramel?
    Thank you

    • Corningware is not used for stove top cooking. Their Visionware line may be used on the stove top but I don’t recommend it as it is not a good heat conductor. In this article, you’ll find superior choices.

  • Lenny

    Hi Rebecca!

    Thank you so much for your writing about Healthy Cookware, I enjoyed reading it. I got so much knowledge and information from the article.

    I have a question about silicone rubber inside the top of most rice cookers. Do you think it’s safe? What kind of rice cooker would you suggest which is safest to use? What do you think about VitaClay Rice Cooker and Zojirushi NS-YAC?

    Thank you in advance for your answers.
    Lenny

  • Christine

    Hi Rebecca, I have Ceramcore cookware and love it. Recently, however I wanted to purchase a good cast iron pan. I found one at Williams Sonoma that looks beautiful and is light weight. However, now I’m reading more about it and discover that it may not be 100% cast iron. It has some other natural metals in it…and is coated with non-reactive silicon. But I don’t know if it uses any polymers which concern me. What do you know about Komin cookware from Japan and its safety? Thank you.

    • I’m not familiar with Komin. Cast iron is a blend of various metals, i.e. there’s no such thing as 100% cast iron.

      Your question to the manufacturer is what does the coating include besides silicon? What have they added to the silicon that enables it to adhere to the cast iron? Once you find out….let us know.

  • Nora

    thanks a lot for your helpful articles.
    I have a question for you.
    I use aluminum pans only for baking, not for vegetables or meat cooking. is that OK. is that safe?

    I know that aluminum reacts with the acids in food especially if we store the food in it.

    stainless steel is not perfect for baking.
    so what do you think?
    thanks again.

    • Good question. Stainless steel’s heat conductivity is more of a problem on top of the stove than in the oven. (The countless cookies I’ve made on my stainless steel cookie sheets turn out just fine.) It’s best to avoid aluminum cookware and storage units.

      For loafs, casseroles, pot roasts etc, I prefer ceramic bakeware.

      • Nora

        Hi,
        thanks for answering. but you know all the baking stores uses aluminum pans for cake, bread, loafs, cookies.
        they do not use stainless steel pans.
        but why stainless steel is a problem on the top of the stove than in the oven??

        • Heat in an oven is uniform and so it works for stainless steel. Heat on the stovetop first heats the part of the pot it is in contact with and results in uneven heat. Do a google search for “stainless steel baking pans.”

  • Daniela

    Hi, and a big THANK YOU for your dedicated work in research and knowledge about cookware. I am late in the knowledge of the carcinogen concerns with nonstick. I just discovered it this week after I noticed some “pepper” on my 3-year-old’s unseasoned scrambled eggs. I am in the process of replacing my nonstick cookware with stainless steel. Can you please tell me if I should invest in the 5ply vs the 3ply?

    And my biggest concern, since stainless steel is very sticky for eggs (frequently cooked chez moi) or caramelizing, can you please tell me of one safe nonstick fry pan/skillet you recommend? I have been searching and searching online and there are so many different opinions and comments, that they only confuse me more. I greatly appreciate your feedback.

    • 3-ply stainless steel means the pot is constructed from 3 layers of metal (and 5 or 7 ply, refers respectively to 5 or 7 layers). The more layers, the heavier the pot will be and more resistant to warping.

      As all nonstick cookware becomes reactive with use, I do NOT recommend it. To keep eggs from sticking, use more fat.

  • Dara Chen

    Is the matt black enamel Staub a healthy choice? What about Tivoli? Do you recommend ceramic over enamel? is stoneware or silicon better for baking?

    • Enamel pots are non-reactive.
      The advantage of ceramic and stoneware are that they conduct infrared heat and therefore the food actually tastes better and is better for you. I have both ceramic, enamel and stainless steel and I select the pot that’s best for a given application. For example, when parboiling veggies, it’s more efficient to use stainless steel.

  • Debbie Loeb

    Looking to upgrade our kitchen with a Wolf 30″combo cooktop with 2 burners gas, 2 induction burners. Vent a Hood 300cfm (centrifical magic lung fan). Looking for reliable health info about efms and induction cooking safety. I worked with Julia Child and love hearing that Rebecca Wood is a Julia child Award winning cookbook author! Congrats!!

    • Why induction burners? Discount all the hype and REALLY taste the difference between food cooked over gas (or fire) versus electric coils or induction burners. Recall how you feel when warmed by a wood fire or gas heater versus an electric heater. The former impart more penetrating and satisfying warmth to your body and, with food, greater flavor, satisfaction and more substantive “energy.”

  • Sylvie

    HI Rebecca,
    I found your article very interesting. Healthy cookware is always a difficult game. I came across your site today as I was searching for ceramic coated cookware. I purchased this morning a ceramic coated frypan that is pfoa free. I am tossing up whether to return it or not as there are mixed opinions about it. The brand is Crofton made in Italy and the coating is Ceralon advanced by a swiss company ILAG. It seems good and I know the coating wears off eventually but since the underlayer doesn’t emit PFOA, it seems ‘safe’. I also use Neoflam cookware which has a good ‘pass’ report with details from the FDA (if they can be trusted!!) Anyway, the ceramic cookware you mention sounds good and I am considering it but I was wondering if you had heard of the other 2 brands I mentioned and would be interested in your opinion.
    Regards

  • Seems like you know a great deal pertaining to this topic
    and this exhibits throughout this particular post, termed “Healthy Cookware | Rebecca Wood”.
    Thank you -Grant

  • Kathleen

    Are vintage Corning Vision glass pots safe?
    Thank you,
    Kathleen

  • Hi Rebecca,

    Thanks for all your tireless efforts to educate people on health and healthy cookware. Bless you, You’re wonderful! I have been on your list for a few years and enjoy your posts. I have personally used my set of Saladmaster set of cookware for 8 years. I also distribute the product.
    I thought I’d reply on the titanium in Saladmaster – it actually is not about the titanium – it’s about the surgical stainless steel 316Ti which is the highest grade steel. Saladmaster has a special combination action of metals and the 316Titanium is the innermost layer which is the part that touches your food.
    I agree that no one will make 100% titanium cookware as it will be too pricey. I have personally tested loads of different types of cookware, especially from my personal customers who previously had other types of cookware – both very pricey (more than Saladmaster) and non-pricey – none has matched Saladmaster.

  • Amy

    Thanks for the article! I’m interested in Xtrema cookware. Does 100% ceramic cookware not have issues with lead or is that strictly with ceramic coated items? Also what type of safe dishes do you recommend?

  • Carl

    Hello from Spain.
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.
    For cooking use Xtrema cookware, Visions and Silit. But I need a pressure cooker to cook brown rice, legumes. I removed the kitchen all reactive materials. Do you think it’s worth a pressure cooker stainless steel Ruhn Rikon brand, they say are the best, or is it better Silit pressure cooker, ceramic coated, which is not reactive with food?
    I am very interested to know your opinion.
    A greeting and thank you very much.
    Carl

  • Katia

    I would like to purchase a small healthy frying pan for cooking eggs. Can you please recommend a specific frying pan?
    Thank you, I have enjoyed reading your comments.

  • Stephen

    Hi Rebecca,

    With all the comments here, and my own fastidious nature about cookware, pots are not a problem. However, we recently discovered that (along with a surprisingly large number of other people), my wife has an allergic reaction to Nickel. Given that this is in the stainless steel used for most cooking and eating utensils, I can see this being a big problem, especially the eating utensils as it is impossible to avoid direct contact with them.

    The though occurred to me that since there are ceramic knives available, there should be complete ceramic cutlery sets out there; but I haven’t been able to find any. Do you know of any nickel free cutlery and kitchen utensils that we could get?

    Thanks

  • Sally

    Is Circulon cookware safe? We are thinking of accepting these as a gift and not sure as they might be toxic. Thank you!

  • Corey Devine

    Hello Rebecca!

    Love your website! Your doing a great job!

    I plan on purchasing xtrema ceramcor cookware soon. I had been using high grade stainless steel, but I have scratched the surface and I now can taste metal when I cook vegetables. I want to purchase a 100% ceramic knife as well. I have a “As Seen on TV” Ceramic Yoshi Blade that claims to be 100% safe ceramic. However, I am skeptical because it’s so cheap. Is this knife safe to use, in your opinion? If not, is there a kind you recommend that’s relatively cheap?

    Thanks a lot!!!

    Corey

    • I’ve used the same quality Kyocera ceramic knife for over 15 years. From on-line reviews, the Yoshi Blade appears to be a cheap and poorly made product. Your choice.

      • Corey Devine

        Hello Rebecca!

        Thanks for the response and recommendation! I am getting a set of Kyocera Knives for Christmas!

        I also ordered your “New Encyclopedia of Whole Foods”. I really enjoy Paul Pitchford’s “Healing with Whole Foods” and your book looks fantastic!

        I have a question for you regarding food storage. I have been using Gladware, which is type 5 plastic. However, I’d like something completely inert like glass.

        I am aware there is silicone storage as well.

        http://www.ceramcor.com/benefits-of-fridgex-food-storage/

        But, I have my doubts whether silicone is 100% inert…

        What do you think of this article?

        http://www.theecomum.com/1/post/2011/10/eco-myth-busting-myth-2-silicone-is-totally-inert-totally-safe-not.html

        Is there a glass brand of food storage that you know of that’s inexpensive? The best I have found is…

        http://www.amazon.com/Kinetic-Glasslock-30-Ounce-Container-01331/dp/B00278Y428/ref=pd_sim_hg_3

        Thanks for all of your time! Have a wonderful holiday season!

        • Thanks for alerting me to the silicone link. I spoke with a cookware manufacturer who uses silicon and his response was to make sure that a silicon product meets USA FDA standards. There are different grades of silicone available.

          I’m investigating further and will soon amend my article accordingly. Thanks again.

          Re. glass food storage brands, that’s your call. Select those that work for you.

          • Corey Devine

            Thanks a lot, Rebecca!

            I really appreciate your effort. I hope your Silicone investigation is successful!

            I know Silicone is the element Silicon with a polymer of hydrogen,carbon, and oxygen (sometimes other elements), and as safe and simple as that seems, it is still synthetic. One other thing to take into consideration is if the colored dyes that are used are organic or synthetic. I am also aware there are likely major differences between Silicone gels and Silicone approved for cookware. For example, breast implants have been known exude negative reactions upon the host. I wonder if it is possible if Silicone can be made in nature outside of a lab? I do not know the exact process of how it’s made…but I would tend to believe all Silicone is inorganic.

            For me, right now, I am going to stick with what I 100% know. Glass/naturally coated wax paper for food storage, and 100% lead free ceramic or glass for cooking. Do you know if there are any other brands that offer 100% ceramic cookware like Xtrema? Just curious.

            And for glass storage, I am getting a few of these for liquids and small leftovers. They also make a similar style that is 100% plastic free with a glass lid and silicone rim.

            http://www.amazon.com/Pyrex-Storage-7-Cup-Round-Plastic/dp/B000LOWN3C

            Good luck with your inquiry!

            Thanks for your time and effort!

            God Bless,

            Corey Devine

  • What’s up, I log on to your blog daily. Your story-telling style is awesome, keep doing what you’re doing!

  • michelle jansuy

    I’m so happy to have come across your site! I got rid of all of my non-sticks and now in the process of replacing everything and feeling very overwhelmed! I ordered a couple cast irons for cooking meats and veggies, grilling, etc. I do a lot of hispanic cooking in my home thus a lot of tomatoes and lime is used in sauces and marinades. What style pot and large skillet would you recommend? Kitchenaid makes a “porcelain lined heavy gauge metal” skillets- but it doesn’t say what the base metal is. I’m looking for a 10-12″ deeper skillet and a 4-8qrt pot for soups n rice cooking. Also, boiling noodles,etc in a stainless- is that ok and non-reactive? I have the cuisinart stainless w/copper base. Thanks so much!!

  • Jas

    Hello Rebecca,

    I found this website: http://www.titanium-cookware.com/
    Talks about ceramic+titanium. Going by what I’ve read above, these might not be as good as they claim.

    And one with a lot of aggressive marketing is:
    http://www.saladmaster.com/
    Says “Saladmaster uses 316Ti technology that combines 316 Stainless Steel with Titanium.”
    - Would this be any good (especially considering the high price tag)?

    You mentioned 100% titanium being good, could you recommend any safe brands?

    • The titanium cookware you reference can only be heated to 500 degrees meaning it’s a synthetic ceramic coated polymer (not a true ceramic) and therefore is not recommended.

      I’ve made 4 calls to Saladmaster and they refuse to tell me the % of titanium in their cookware; and so I’m leery of their overpriced product. If their steel contains 1% titanium it would, essentially, be the same as another stainless steel pot.

      Again, there are no 100% titanium pots/pans because the metal is too pricy for cookware.

      • Jas

        Thanks so much for replying and making calls too…
        How would we identify pure/good ceramic, in terms of temperature range?
        - 316 Stainless steel is good, so the ones from Salad Master are good steel. Your concern is how much titanium goes into it, right?
        Thanks a lot,
        Jas

        • 100% ceramic is non reactive and withstands temperatures exceeding 1800 degrees Fahrenheit.

          There are many quality stainless steel products using surgical or 316 gage. I’ll let you do the shopping.

          Myself, I would not purchase an overpriced line (like Saladmaster) that claims to have a superior product but doesn’t reveal the % of titanium.

  • George

    In my home, I only use stainless steel cookwares and bakewares; cast iron cookwares and bakewares. I, also, have one seasoned carbon steel wok. I do not trust those so-called green chemical free non-stick pans, which are nothing, but nonsense and false. I am so glad that I do not use any non-stick pans, because they contain teflon that are very bad for people.

  • Kelly

    Hi Rebecca, thanks for this great article!! So many choices out there!
    Do you know much about anodized cake tins etc, I have seen a few orange/copper coloured vintage tins on eBay, but can’t seem to find much info on them.
    Thanks
    Kelly

    • I favor non reactive cookware over anodized aluminum surfaces. Here’s what Wikipedia says about anodized aluminum:
      Anodization changes the microscopic texture of the surface and changes the crystal structure of the metal near the surface. Thick coatings are normally porous, so a sealing process is often needed to achieve corrosion resistance. Anodized aluminium surfaces, for example, are harder than aluminium but have low to moderate wear resistance that can be improved with increasing thickness or by applying suitable sealing substances.

  • Hi there! This post could not be written any better!
    Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this.
    I will forward this write-up to him. Pretty sure he will
    have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

  • Jess

    I so confuse whether to buy a ceramic or stainless steel rice cooker which I concern more on health. Can you give me some idea which one to buy and what brand you recommend? Thanks.

  • Steph

    Thank you for the invaluable information on this site.

    I just purchased a wok (exdura organic) that is made of carbon steel with an organic silicone non-stick coating. Since silicone is non-reactive does this mean that this kind of non-stick coating is safe? Also if I was to accidentally heat it above its safe range and it melted into the food how harmful would this be? I would much prefer to purchase a carbon steel wok with no non-stick coating but unfortunately they seem impossible to find in my country.

    Thanks so much, Steph

    • What a gimmick, “organic” silicone! Silicones are polymers of silicon and other elements such as carbon and hydrogen. Silicone is a great caulk for windows, but I wouldn’t cook on it. Next we’ll be reading about “organic” gold or “organic” oxygen.
      While your wok will withstand about 200 degrees F higher temperatures than PTFE (Teflon) it will scratch within a year of normal use–then you’ll be ingesting silicone and the underlying metal.
      Sorry you got taken in. I’d demand a refund.

  • Deb

    Looking for a new wok – should I be looking at carbon steel?
    What is a good surface for doing pancakes? Want to get rid of my Tefal pan & wok.
    I already have a steel RACO pan, great, heavy base.
    Thanks, Deb

    • For a wok, I enjoy carbon steel as it’s light weight (but I wouldn’t use if for cooking liquids or acid ingredients). Cast iron, Xtrema or enamel cast iron work well for pancakes and quick breads because they absorb and retains more heat than does a thinner pot.

  • Mary

    Hello there,
    I am wanting to and ready to replace my lovely red Paula Deen teflon cookware set with the healthiest pots and pans I can afford. I’m looking at the Xtrema ones. I’m able to afford the set that is advertised. I just would like to make sure I’m buying a wonderful healthy product before I invest. I cook ALL the time, using the best ingredients I can. So my cookware gets lots of use. I don’t want to trust what the govt says is safe. I value your knowledge and opinion on this. Thank you so much!

    • I would never promote a product that I don’t use in my own kitchen. Yes, I delight in my Xtrema pots for many cooking applications, especially for dishes that require medium-length or long-cooking; I also use a carbon steel wok, occasionally a cask iron skillet and some stainless steel cookware.

  • stephen cohen

    Rebecca, I’m upgrading all cookware and wonder about old scratched corning ware. I store left overs and have cooked a lot in mine.
    Thank you, Steve

  • Karoline

    Hi, Thanks for this great website. I had two questions:
    1) What do you think of marble cookware? We have been using Eden Pure Marble Cookware for years, is there any health hazzards with this?

    2) I cook for 7-8 people each day. I am looking for a large electric skillet to cook pancakes, eggs,etc. Is there any out there that you would recommend?

    Thankyou so much,
    Karoline

  • Dee

    Hi

    I was wondering if the Sapphire coating in the flavorstone pans is toxic.

    Many Thanks,

    Dee

  • kieran whelan from Cheltenham England

    Hi, great information, thanks. I want to buy safe and lightweight cooking pots for cycle touring so weight is a factor. Are we saying pure titanium (if available) is OK even if scratched? My budget may mean thin stainless steel cooking pots – would these be best? Many thanks, Kieran.

    • “Titanium” non-stick cookware is a meld of titanium and a synthetic polymer and is not recommended. Stainless steel is your best bet for light weight and non-reactive.

  • Todd Campbell

    Hi Rebecca,

    Thank you for all the excellent information on your site. I inherited a couple of enamel pots, and was wondering if they are healthy to use. I don’t know what the underlying metal is. The brand of the pots is Austria Email. Are they healthy to use in your opinion?

    Thank you in advance,

    Todd Campbell

  • Fabulous information Rebecca! Nowhere else can we find the honest truth on such concerns. Thank you for providing info to help keep my cooking and my family safe!

  • Elena R

    Hi Rebecca,
    Your website is extremely helpful! Thank you so much for the wonderful advice. I’ve recently started looking for healthy cookware. I will probably try out Xtrema, but I also want to buy enamel pots. What do you think of pots manufactured by Tivoli? They also manufacture enamel food storage containers–do you consider those pretty safe? Also, I am curious about what you think of copper pots. They are so expensive (I’ve seen a stock pot for $1,200!) so I’m wondering what is so special about them, besides conducting heat well? Does copper react with or leach into food? And one more thing, what do you think of Pyrex storage containers?
    Thanks so much for your help!
    Elena

  • Hi Rebecca, I met you once in Boulder Dan Cooper is a friend and got me onto you site.I made your ruby kraut . delicious
    Is micaceous cookwear safe and good for regular bean cooking? I bot a beautiful pot in Santa Fe. Made by Brian Grossnickle
    Thank You, Steve

    • Isn’t that kraut delicious! I just had some with lunch. And thanks for your excellent point about the high fired pottery that you mention. Yes, by all means support your local potters who offer non-reactive cookware.

  • Jan

    Hi Rebecca! What a helpful website! I just purchased Eco Friendly, PFOA free, PTFE free, cadmium free, Nonstick cookware (brand is Bialetti Aeternum from China). The surface is ceramic nonstick made of titanium and suspended silicate particles. Is this safe so long as there are no scratches? I am considering just replacing whenever a scratch appears, as it was relatively inexpensive. What are your thoughts of this approach? Thank you! Jan

    • Non-stick surfaces erode long before we can visibly see a scratch. While the metal titanium is non reactive, the silicate (a compound) is not and these polymer based substances don’t last. Why support a scam when you can make a life time purchase of a quality pan? Doesn’t add up to me.

  • selah

    I used to use visions cookware which their website states is non-porous glass-ceramic that won’t absorb food odors or flavors or react with acid-based foods. I stopped because too many foods were sticking and burning. Do you have any knowledge of this product and any suggestions? Thank you.

    • Yes, Visions cookware produced by Corningware is non-reactive. But it doesn’t conduct heat well and foods stick. There’s also a small chance of it shattering so don’t place a hot Visions pan on a cold surface.

      I find one practical way of upping your cooking pleasure is to favor quality and utilitarian cookware.

  • Hello Rebecca,
    My 63 year old husband was diagnosed with MCI (mild cognitive impairment) a few years ago. It has progressed to moderate Alzheimer’s. He always cooked in our cheap Teflon pans. I recently retired and I have to learn to cook. I blame myself for not paying attention to our cookware. I have asked opinions from health food stores and finally settled on a d5 stainless steel all clad 18/10 set. I am afraid to use it and am thinking about returning the set. I was worried about the xtrema set because it was online and from China. The Le Creuset set is a little heavy but I will buy it if you say I should. I am beside myself and overwhelmed. Can you also recommend a cookbook for a 60 year old beginner. I must stop the alzheimer progression. Please help me by telling me which set I should purchase. With appreciation, Kathleen

    • Katherine,
      Please don’t blame yourself about your husband’s health which has so many different causes and conditions and non-stick is NOT one of the causes (aluminum cookware is associated with memory issues).

      Rather rejoice in your willingness to start today. You can do it. Rather than having a whole set of one line, I use a combination stainless steel, cast enamel and Xtrema to better fit a variety of purposes.
      Do what’s expedient and comfortable for you

  • Whole foods pioneer and author Rebecca Wood has a great review on her website that is worth checking out for more info.

  • Nilda Viciconti

    Hello Rebeca

    I follow your valuable advice about cookware

    a few months ago you mention about the titanium cookware as one of the safest to use,Now I noticed that you have changed your opinion about this.Is there any cause to worry and how do I know that they are 100% titanium

    Thank You.

    • Good catch! Yes a 100% titanium pan would be non-reactive; however titanium is so pricy that no one would make a pot of it. When titanium is blended with a synthetic polymer to create a “ceramic” or “green” non-stick surface then with use it wears and scratches and becomes reactive.

  • Victoria Olson

    I am very happy to have found a website with information about cookware safety.

    I have some stainless steel cookware that I accidentally left it on the stove and over heated.Does that mean the stainless steel or the aluminum interior might be leaching into the food once that has happened or are they still safe to use? Is there any way to tell?

    Is there any potential problem with buying stainless steel or other cookware made in China?

    Regarding your February 2, 2012 response to Richard, the cookware he described sounds like the cookware Dr Mercola is selling on his website. Did I reach the correct conclusion? I was thinking about purchasing some and that is what led me to your website.

    Thank you!

    • Both Dr. Mercola and I endorse the 100% ceramic cookware, Xtrema. You can follow the logo link on my page for a discount.

      Stainless steel is non-reactive until scratched (not from boiling a pot dry). Stainless steel from any country has a similar look and feel; I wouldn’t worry about country of origin.

  • Tamra

    Thank you for your information here! I wanted to ask what do you use for a baking cookie sheet? I was looking at a stainless steel one but there are few out there, and not sure how they would work for roasting veggies etc. Any thoughts on this? And do you have any suggestions when Purchasing a New oven what to look for for health safety.
    I am looking for a new range oven, but I know many, if not all of the Toaster type ovens have non stick interior. THANKS!!!

    • I use stainless steel for baking cookies and for some roasted veggies (however, I do prefer baking veggies and chicken in ceramic). I’ve nothing to offer regarding a range, however I prefer gas over electric. Hmmm…how curious that a toaster oven has a non-stick interior as you’re not cooking on the interior. I have seen toaster ovens with a ceramic baking dish.

  • jacob

    hi Rebecca,

    good to read all healthy cookware. how does one know what all toxins(lead, aluminium) are already in their body? is there any test for it. will a naturopath deal with it?

    thank you.

    • Yes, you’ve a legitimate concern. How do we safely discharge stored toxins as well as build our defenses to protect ourselves from them? Foods that help with this include:
      seaweed
      cilantro
      mushrooms
      bone stock
      fermented foods (unpasteurized)

      Betonite clay baths are also useful for detoxing.

      Yes various alternative health practitioners have various products. Select your support wisely as there are many unproven and overpriced products. For example, I was recently recommended a pricy detoxing product. I looked at the ingredient list and inexpensively made a comparable product with extracts from my natural food store.

  • hannah

    hi,

    I have been using non stick n some aluminium pressure cookers. after knowing about the hazards I threw all of them n only yesterday bought stainless steel pans. I cook a lot of curries with tomato n lime.is it ok to use it in stainless steel? does enamelled cast iron (Le creuset) leach iron to food. I read somewhere the hazards of using it esp for men if it leaches to food. which would be the ideal cookware for curries and the best pressure cooker,rice cooker or a electric pressure cooker according to your opinion? thank you so much in advance. this blog is really educative.

    • An enamel pot is non-reactive meaning that you can safely cook acid foods in it. (However, if the enamel is chipped and the underlying cast iron is exposed, then it’s no longer non-reactive.)

      Ideally your rice cooker has a stainless steel (versus non-stick or aluminum) insert. Of the numerous pressure cookers I’ve used overt a lifetime, I find that Khun-Rikohn is the top of the line.

  • Lisa

    Hi Rebecca
    I am so excited to have come across your definitive explanations about cookware. This is something I have been aware of and have not understood for a good 15 years! Thankfully, have been cooking with Le Creuset for many years and have banned Teflon for about the past 10-15 years! I bought some anodised titanium pans 7-8 years ago but wasn’t sure if I’d done the right thing. It seems they are ok (although they do eventually scratch) to replace. I also bought the Green Pan which was non stick for about 3 weeks! I do boil/steam in stainless steel and bought some xtrema cookware (having to import from the US to the UK!) a couple of years ago. I couldn’t get on with the skillet at all and was quite disappointed. I see they now do a non-stick skillet. Do you recommend it?

    • Lisa,
      The secret to success with your Ceramic skillet (and all ceramic cookware) is low heat. So I advise giving it another try.

      You’re right, all non-stick surfaces eventually scratch and are potentially toxic. I do not recommend them.

  • Iruyas

    Hello Rebecca! I found your website when I was googling the information about safe cookwares. I am planning to get rid of my Teflons and get a safer healthier alternative but Le Creuset is way over my budget. Well, I would like to know your opinion about Ozeri Green Earth Pans which advertise ‘PTFE and PFOA Free’ and very affordable. Thank you!!

  • Romertopf clay pots are now made in Mexico. Mexican pottery, dishes, glazes etc have a terrible reputation for using lead. Have the Romertopf people sold out? How worried should I be in buying a new Romertopf?
    Thanks,
    STeve

    • Yes, it’s important to be on your toes regarding lead and imported cookware. Regrets, but I haven’t an answer. If the retailer is unable to answer your question, your best bet is to contact Romertopf on line.

  • Hi Rebecca,
    I was at Costco today and they were advertising titanium-ceramic cookware from Woll – they are made in Germany. They claim it is PFOA free, but says nothing about being PFTE free. I am shopping for “non stick” fry pan but wanted to make sure that titanium-ceramic pans do not pose any health risks. Can you please comment?

    Thanks for your help!

  • Yasemin Inal

    Hi Rebecca,

    Thank you so much for your very informative article. I have been using Le Creuset cast iron for the past 15 years but for pancakes and omelettes, I use a skillet which has heavy gauge aluminum body and ceramic coating and it stated on the tag that it is PFOA, PTFE and cadmium-free. Do you think this is safe to use? Thanks so much. Oh and do you know of any panini press and waffle maker that is healthy?

    Thank you so much for your time!

  • Choymae Huie

    Hi Rebecca,

    Thank you for all your useful information. I’ve been experimenting with remineralizing my teeth with bone broth. Along with a lot of bones and meat, the recipe called for 1/4 cup of vinegar to help release the minerals from the bones. In the past, I’ve always used my stainless steel pressure cooker for making soup, but since I will be adding vinegar, I was thinking of getting a ceramic stock pot to avoid leaching metal into something that I would be boiling for so many hours and drinking daily. But remembering that I already have a SCANPAN titanium, I think fused in aluminum stockpot, I decided to check the Internet to see if it would react to vinegar and came across your site. Several advertisements state that titanium was nonreactive, but is it also nonreactive in the presence of vinegar?

    Would appreciate any advice you can offer. Thank you.

    • Titanium itself is non-reactive but if a ceramic glaze covers it, then I don’t recommend it. I typically make my bone broth in my stainless steel pressure cooker. 1/4 cup of vinegar! I presume that’s for a large quantity. You might check out my recipe.

  • Jody

    Hi Rebecca
    I am in the market for new pots and pans and have been looking at getting BEssemer cookware.I believe it has three layers of titanium ,that they call tri tanium ,but the base I think is aluminum, do you know about Bessemer and would you recommend it?Many thanks

  • Danielle

    Hi Rebecca!

    Thank you so much for such an amazing and helpful website. Unfortunately, I bought 3 Tefal pans (2frying+1 deep frying with led) from the Specifics line, made in France, lifetime guarantee before I read your recommendations. I wonder if I should return them as they have stamps saying they are safe hard non-stick coating, have No PFOA, No LEAD/PLOMB, No Cadmium and are Health & Enviroment. They’re a bit heavy, one of them has a little scratch outside which I saw after I bough only. Do scratches outside the pans matter too? I am in England and I am new in this. Can you suggest other brands that are safe cooking and not over expensive? Thank you so much. Best,

    • Speak to the company and demand to know the temperature at which their product degrades. If it’s under 500 degrees, or if the interior scratches, I’d return them.

      • Danielle

        Hi Rebecca!

        Tefal replied first by saying they didn’t have the right temperature at which the coat may begin to degrade. And that the majority of gas and hobs on the market will deliver a top temperature of 260degrees at full heat output and the non stick interior of any pans cooked on a hob at this temperature will be perfectly fine once the contents of the pan have been brought to boil as the heat source temperature can be reduce but the cooking maintained. The email finishes by saying that tefal non-stick coating in sauce pans and frying pans is perfectly safe. They attached a certificate from Group SEB UK Ltd, dated May/14/2004 regarding my inquiry on PFOA that says there’s no evidence of adverse of human health effects at current PFOA exposure levels and that above all PFOA is not present in their non-stick cookware products. The second and final paragraph of this first reply made me feel a little stupid when they try teach me to use enough oil and cook in the correct hob or electric ring size to not contribute to the decline of the non stick coating.
        In my second email to Tefal again demanding to know the temperature their pans claim heat resistance. They replied with a copy and paste from their website saying that in a domestic kitchen the maximum temperature possible with a pan is 300 degrees C, and that the non-stick coating is not attacked by acid or alkali bases and is very stable when heated to temperatures of up to 400deg.C. They said that Health authorities in France, Europe and US approved non stick PTFE coatings for use on cookware as it is safe. In the second paragraph of this second reply they said fumes from overheated non-stick cookware do not adversely affect humans or household pets with exceptions of birds.
        It is such a shame. The little tefal frying pan for eggs looks lovely and the deep frying with lid too but then the temperature is stable only until 400deg.C so down below the 500degrees you advised.
        Sorry if this is a bit too long but thought to share what the company said and ask for your advice once more as I am not really buying what they say. I might return all 3 tefal pans and get instead aluminium with titanium coating ones or Cook’s cast iron (inside enamel/from China:() or maybe stainless steel with cooper base for now until I can get hold of the Le Creuset collection. As a colleague said above, which is the lesser evil of them all?
        Thank you so much. Best,

        • Yea! for you for persisting and for not being duped by the double-talk. Yes, pass on Tefal. Regarding your next pan purchase, each type excels at different functions. Perhaps the stainless as an all purpose and the cast-enamel for longer-cooked dishes.

      • sarah

        Hi Rebecca,
        I’m just wondering is that 428 degrees celcius? thank you

  • Christine

    Thank you very much for the information on pots and pans. I purchased a Paderno Terra Pan just last week. It is rather heavy, and features “Exdura non-stick ceramic coating, completely PFOA free, and allows high-heating cooking up to 450F (230C). I followed all the care instructions and used it to cook a vegetables dish right away. When it was washing time, I noticed a mark on the ceramic cooking surface. Although there is a 25 years warranty on the product, burning, boiling dry, scratches, sticking, stains and discoloration are not covered. I am not sure what the condition on my pan is and whether warranty covers this. I could return the product to P.E.I. but it would be a hassle to send the heavy pan in the mail. I asked the customer service to tell me what the metal underneath the ceramic coating is, so as to check if it is still save to use it. I have not yet heard from them.
    I just wondered if you have any knowledge about this? Shall I throw out a pan as soon as its coating is chipped or damaged?
    Thank you very much.

  • Lyn

    Could you please tell me if Staub Cookware leaches iron. It is a cast iron cookware. Also, they say that there is quartz fired into the finish. Is that safe? Thanks much.

  • Chellé

    I love all of your concise and lightly put knowledge of cookware. I myself have a few(love them) cast enamel pots/pans. I have trouble with cooking eggs in my small pan without them sticking intensely and requiring heavy cleaning(which I do not want to do as I am interested in preserving my cookware). Are eggs a reactive food? Do you have any advice? You seem as though you would know due to working with your own cookware.

    Also, I have a very old Le Creuset that has a “hole” in the enamel. It doesn’t seem to break off more than what it’s worn. I still use it as it is only cast iron beneath the enamel. Do you feel this is unwise? I saw that you made a mention of chipped, etc cookware, but this is like a “worn hole”. I can’t bare to get rid of the pot as it is unique and no longer made. Suggestions?
    Thanks…

  • klc

    Great post however I am still not clear where the PFOA ban starting in 2015 fits in. I know its still in teflon but is it found in circulon and other products. You got to love a ban for known carcinogens that applies years from now. Really insulting. All to help companies implement change.

  • Victoria

    Thank you for the helpful cookware information. Do you have a recommendation about ovens by chance? I’m going to buy a new freestanding range oven and am unsure if there is something I should be looking at from a health standpoint. For instance, chrome racks on the inside- steal or something else? I can’t find anything online about it.

  • Giulia

    Thank you so much for such an informative site!!!
    I was just wondering what you thought of tupperware? they claim no leaching and now I’m a little nervous… also do you recommend to place milk into a glass/ceramic jug instead of keeping in the milk bag? I’m planning to buy new pots and pans! I”ve been clueless about non-stick. I wish you could recommend MORE name brands since i get confused when i read …”stainless steel with lining of aluminum ,heavy gauge, 18/10″ blah blah blah. I just want what is best for my children.
    sorry to rant… but am excited about your site and improving how i nourish my kiddies
    Sincerely
    Giulia

    • You’re welcome.
      As possible favor glass storage items, especially for acidic ingredients as they hasten leaching. The safest plastics for repeated use are made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE, or plastic #2), low-density polyethylene (LDPE, or plastic #4) and polypropylene (PP, or plastic #5).

      Avoid plastic #7 which does leach Bisphenol A. Tupperware’s line made from plastic #7 includes: Rock ‘N Serve microwave line, the Meals-in-Minutes Microsteamer, the “Elegant” Serving Line, the TupperCare baby bottle, the Pizza Keep’ N Heat container, and the Table Collection

  • Marla

    Hi. Thank you for your blog post. I discovered it while I was reasearching a particular product. I am taking a month-long road trip with my 2 children, and all 3 of us have food allergies and must really avoid restaurants. I’m trying to figure out exactly how to do this, and I think an electric skillet would be great! I found one and it says “features a titanium nonstick ceramic coating for easy cleaning.” Do you recommend it?

  • Tony SL

    What do you think of Saladmaster cookware ? Over priced ? What are lower cost equivalents ? Any Differences in titanium cookware from different manufacturers ?

    Thank you in advance
    SL

  • Pam

    Great post. Thanks for the information. I am using primarily avocado and macadamia oils in my cooking since they are healthy oils with high smoke points. I need to order more macadamia oil as I am almost out. The oil in glass is not available at this time. I have my choice between buying the macadamia oil in plastic (#1) and cans–I think they’re aluminum. Which is the lesser evil?

    • Forget the marketing term “high smoke point”. Please don’t heat any oil containing omega 6s above 240 degrees; and if it contains omega 9s not above 325 F.
      Re. avocado oil, if unrefined then its high content of chlorophyl makes it unsuitable for any cooking purposes. If refined it is simply not healthful.
      Pls. check the oil information in my Encyclopedia for the facts.

  • Steve Parry

    Hi Rebecca!

    I appreciated your informative article.

    My wife and I are shopping for new cookware (as we’re trying to get rid of all the sources of toxin in our lives to optimize health).

    You referenced cast enamel pots and enamel on steel pots that you’ve used for years in an earlier reply. Do you have a brand you can recommend? What’s the difference between cast enamel and enamel on steel cookware?

    Thanks for your help!

    • Imagine a heavy cast iron pot and a lighter steel pot; now imagine coating each in a layer of enamel (glass) and you’ll have one cast enamel and one enamel on steel. I favor my enamel on steel pots for quicker heating and/or warm weather cooking whereas I favor my heavier cast enamel pots in colder weather and for long-simmered dishes where I want the finished dish to energetically be more warming.

      My now ancient sets of Le Creuset (cast enamel) and Chantal (cast steel) are simply the brands that were available at the time. Today there’s now an excellent line of domestic cast enamel. Shop around.

  • Mary Jo

    What about baking on/in aluminum pans? Same thing?

    • Yes, same thing. Foods react with aluminum to “enrich” your food with aluminum–and you don’t want this. Acid foods or wet ingredients react more quickly than do non-acid foods or dry foods like a baked squash. I like the ceramic bakeware available from Ceramcor. Or use glass or stainless steel pans. For some purposes, use your aluminum pan but line it with parchment paper.

  • Hi Richard,
    Don’t trust manufacturers of inexpensive cookware who claim their product is natural but refuse to reveal their ingredients.

    The synthetic nonstick coating doesn’t last and is toxic. My cast enamel pots, 100% ceramic and enamel on steel pots are still serving me well after decades of use and they withstand temperatures up to 500 degrees.

    Good for you and all the retailers who care about the products you offer. Keep it up!
    Rebecca

  • Hi Rebecca
    I have a cookshop in cheltenham and am often asked about the health consequences of the various choices available, Most people are aware of the issues around aluminium pans and concerns are now being raised regarding teflon non stick pans. I found your article very interesting and wanted to know what you thought of the new ceramic coated non stick pans that have come onto the market recently, we have started selling a brand called Greenpan and they claim a heat resistance of 425 degrees and use a coating which is said to be natural minerals and is often called thermalon or rocks coating but there is very little information available about these coatings as they are protecting their copyrights

  • Hi Rebecca,
    Just to say how I enjoyed reading your 2 articles:
    Healthy Cookware and Best to Soak Grains
    English is not my mother tongue, so I regard my vocabulary as too poor to exactly describe what I felt, but I’ll try;
    most of the materials I knew, since for years I’m into health eating, but you wrote these known things so clearly, lightly and interesting, that i find that even people who are scared of bothering too much about their habits of eating, can enjoy the knowledge through your articles, and come closer to the theme of health living.
    So, many thanks! Yigal Fisher

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