As we have made changes in our home in reducing our toxin load, I have made sure to do it from a place of knowledge and not fear. Because when we know better we can do better. And reducing our toxin load and making our homes safer for our families is about baby steps. Learning about the dangers of Teflon was ultimately what led us to make a change in this area (and don’t worry, I am sharing my top 8 reasons why we switched to cast iron pans). This was yet another baby step we have made over the past few years. And it came after a story shared by a friend and the learning we did after hearing it.
This friend’s father was diagnosed with cancer. Upon testing, his doctors determine that more than likely his cancer was caused by the Teflon from non-stick pans. Enter all the feels here as I looked at my stack of non-stick pans sitting in my kitchen cupboard.
Now, while I am an advocate for wellness and making changes to better our health, I also know we can’t escape everything. We live in a world full of chemicals. However, this specific area was something I could change. It was an area that I wanted better control over. So I jumped into researching a bit and here is what I found…
There are three things you are going to want to research and do some digging in. And they are Dupont, Teflon, and PFOA. Also, this blog post is a really great breakdown into the entire sordid history of the company that makes Teflon, the chemical used to make it, and the millions upon millions of dollars that have been paid out in lawsuits. It’s truly horrifyingly fascinating what corporations have been able to get away with throughout the years. And yes, in case you were wondering after diving into all of the above – that same company is still making Teflon used in non-stick cookware.
As you dig you will come across information in the changes in chemicals used (PFOA to PTFE). However, even with the change to using PTFE, it is known that at high temperatures the coating “may begin to decompose and give off fumes”. Not to mention, if your cookware is starting to flake off its non-stick finish, you definitely need to replace it. Those particles will wind up in your food and then be ingested and you don’t want that type of substance building up in your body.
Ever since the beginning of this wellness journey several years ago, I immediately realized one thing. Convenience will forever be our society’s downfall. Think about it for a moment. Fast food and the processed food on our store shelves. Pre-made, ready to go, so we don’t have to spend our time cooking. The chemicals sprayed on crops and the growth hormones given to animals to speed up production. And yes, even non-stick cookware to make life easier at the kitchen sink. Comfort and convenience. It will always be the reason our society and our health continue to deteriorate.
And it’s why we have adopted the idea of doing things in our home “the way grandma did it”. Harsh and toxic chemicals don’t mean “cleaner” and “easier” doesn’t mean better. The more and more time passes, the more I find myself gripping on to the way things were done back in the “good ol’ days”.
So after going down the rabbit hole of this particular subject, we decided it was an area we could control. And if the change required means for the betterment of our overall well-being, then why would we not?
I can’t tell you how many times I had to replace a non-stick pan because the finish was coming off. Or that the handle became too loose because nothing is made with quality in mind these days. Cast iron pans have been such a refreshing switch in my kitchen. I love the durability of them and knowing that I will have them for years to come!
If you are high in iron already this may not be on your list of reasons to switch to cast iron. However, for those that do have an iron deficiency, cooking with cast iron has shown to be beneficial along with eating iron-rich foods such as meat, eggs, broccoli, spinach, etc.
You will see differing advice on how to properly clean your cast iron pans (soap vs. no soap). In our experience though we have been pleasantly surprised at how easy they are to get clean. Simply using a hard bristle brush and hot water does the job. If it does happen to be a tougher job, you can simply use a cast iron skillet scraper that works wonderfully. The only thing you want to make sure is that you don’t allow your cast iron to air dry. This can cause rusting. Simply towel dry after washing to keep them in top condition.
While they do take a longer time to get hot, once a cast iron pan is hot it stays hot. Extremely hot. This is especially convenient when sitting at the dinner table and someone wants a second helping. It will be just as hot as when it was first served.
Through cooking and the use of oils and fats, our cast iron pans have become naturally non-stick. This is because when cooked at high heat, the oils and fats in the food you cook bond to the metal creating a coating. This is also why your food will taste better and better the older your cast iron pans get.
While you can find expensive cast iron pans out there just like everything else, there are budget-friendly options that have been wonderful in our kitchen! From the start, I loved the selection of the Lodge brand, but the real selling point is that they are made in the U.S. You can shop a few of my favorite cast iron pans over on my Amazon affiliate page here.
At first, I never imagined I could cook things like scrambled eggs in a cast-iron skillet. Oh, how wrong I was! I can bake, braise, broil, roast, sauté – you name it. We have loved adding more and more one-skillet-style meals to our family cookbook. And not to mention, the more seasoned my cast iron pans become, the better and better our food is tasting.
With how much cooking we do in our home, I love knowing that what I am preparing food in is safer than what we were using before. Any opportunity I have to reduce the toxins in our lifestyle and in our home I’m going to jump at. Not only is it making our home safer, but it also deposits into our health bank. And that kind of peace of mind as a mother is a wonderful thing.
To browse more when it comes to wellness and the changes our family has made over the years to cultivate a healthier home, click here.