The kitchen is where a lot of our health starts, and it is imperative to make sure that before we start cooking, the materials we are using to cook are safe. Starting with your utensils is a great way to get into some better materials without committing to a costly purchase. Keep in mind the type of lifestyle you have, and soon you will know which materials will best fit your lifestyle and help keep your kitchen toxin free!
A personal favorite here at The Hart Center is wood or bamboo. Both have different properties depending on what you are looking for. Wood tends to be more expensive, and it is important to make sure it is sustainably harvested. Bamboo is nicer to your wallet, but tends to only have one color. If your pans have a delicate surface or coating, using wood or bamboo can help to preserve this coating. Using metals on coated surfaces tend to scratch at your pans, if this happens with a teflon pan you risk getting dangerous PFOA in your food. If this happens with an enamel or ceramic coated pan, you will damage your pan and get bits of the materials in your food. Wood and Bamboo are softer and less likely to chip or cut at these surfaces. It is important to keep in mind that wood and bamboo are best hand washed over washing in the dishwasher. This helps to preserve their lifespan. Wood and Bamboo also needs to be maintained. Commonly food-grade mineral oil is used to preserve their luster and help keep from water penetrating and degrading the materials. There are other recipes to help you avoid mineral oil, such as ones using refractionated coconut oil.
Stainless steel is a great go-to for the majority of items. It is very easy to clean, retains its quality for an extended amount of time, and looks sleek. Be cautious when using stainless steel items with delicate cookware or coated items. The stainless steel is very strong and can easily scratch at surfaces. Stainless steel is dishwasher safe, and typically does not require any maintenance.
There are a few utensils in which glass may be the ideal choice. Glass that is made for kitchen use is usually made from borosilicate glass which is resistant to thermal shock, helps prevent breakage. The perfect example of this is a straw. Reusable straws are a great way to save money in the long run. Glass is easy to clean, and never takes on smells or stains. Most borosilicate glass is dishwasher safe, but always check to make sure!
Last but not least, sometimes we need a flexible tool in the kitchen. Plastics have been shown to stain easily, retain smells, leach different chemicals, and overall are not our first choice. Finding a high quality BPA-free plastic without unnatural colors can be effective for those few tools that you just need something plastic for. Otherwise, it is good to keep in mine that 100% food-grade silicone products are relatively safe. Silicone is a newer man-made material, and so far clinical testing has shown it to be safe within normal ranges of use. We suggest using silicone products for those things that you just can’t seem to replace with the above materials. For example, a spatula just works better when it has a little give to help scrape down the edges of a bowl. For this type of use, silicone should be safe. Always remember to check with the manufacturer to confirm that the product is a 100% food-grade silicone without fillers or harmful colorings!
We hope this helps to steer you in the right direction to avoid any harmful materials in the kitchen! We plan on expanding on this subject further by discussing some healthy cookware options and other various kitchen items that we find useful. Be well!Share