Saturday, June 15, 2019

Maintaining our health in today’s world is becoming demanding every single day. Some factors are changing drastically, some myths are often breaking down. Eventually, what is the best option to maintain our precious health is like participating in a world war. There are way too many tactics, techniques, and technologies. And it can be quite confusing to decide. Don’t worry.
Today, we are gonna cover an influential episode which is an integral part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle- Cookware.
In India, the majority of the household use two basic cookware.

a) Aluminum
b) Non-stick

In India, Aluminum Cookware is very cheap, widely available, and it maintains the heat really well. That’s why it comes really handy. Apart from this, everybody uses Nonstick Cookware in their kitchen frequently. Nowadays, most people are becoming health conscious and prefer less oily and less spicy food. Hence, Non-stick Cookware comes as a savior because it does take really less amount of oil to cook any delicious food properly.
Now, let’s discuss the fun part. Do you know, both Aluminum and Non-stick Cookware can be health-hazardous?
Let’s talk about Nonstick cookware.
Many of you must have known the fact that Non-stick Cookware is made with a coating called Teflon. PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) or PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) are the chemicals used in the process of making Teflon. I think so many are still unknown to the fact that it can be harmful to you. Let’s see how and why?
Most of the Indian dishes are made using very high heat. All those curries, tempering require extreme heat to taste their best. When Teflon gets high temperature, it releases a toxic fume that can be really harmful to health. Even, some people develop the symptoms of Teflon Flue. For more info on that, click here.
It is not a one-day matter. Day after day, year after year, we use Teflon coated pans. And the waste materials get deposited in our bodies along with the food. The irony is, we often invest a good amount of money to buy the nonstick cookware and want to use it until we can. In this process, most of us ignore that the coating is long gone. And we are eating up all the worn-out coating of the remaining Teflon. We end up using the very same cookware for a long time. This is highly dangerous and can be life-threatening.
If we use moderate heat, Teflon is still okay. But with extreme heat, the coating starts to separate. And that’s high time to get rid of that completely. I would advise not to use any Teflon-coated or traditional Non-stick Cookware.
Let’s come to Aluminum Cookware.
Though many studies have shown that Anodized coating of Aluminum Cookware is safe for cooking, here to applies the same formula of Non-Stick Cookware. After a specific time, the surface gets wasted. And, it is time to throw that. Aluminum dissolves faster into acidic foods than into basic foods. It is always risky to cook acidic foods like tomatoes, tea & coffee in Aluminum vessels.
Recently, many studies have found Aluminum as Neurotoxic. It can also hamper with the hormonal balance in our bodies. In fact, human bodies don't absorb aluminum as we don't need it. So, too much exposure to non-treated aluminum coming along with the cooked food can be dangerous.
It is time to switch your regular deodorant if it contains Aluminum as it directly absorbs into your skin. Also, throw away the aluminum foil for wrapping food as it reacts badly with acidic ingredients.
So, what are the safe options? Let’s talk about that.

Safe Cookware:

1. Cast Iron

Cast Iron Skillet From Lodge (Pic Credit: Amazon India)

Cast Iron is one of the safest and most reliable alternatives as it is famous for its amazing durability and even heat distribution. If you buy a quality product and maintain it properly, it can be used for generations. Also, if seasoned properly, it acts as a nonstick vessel, and you can cook food with less amount of oil.
Cast Iron also reacts with acidic food and taste can differ highly. So, it is advised not to use anything like tomatoes, lime, lemons, etc. until it is well seasoned for a decent time.

2. Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel Kadai From Bergner (Pic Credit: Amazon India)

Stainless Steel cookware is made of Chromium, nickel and various other heavy metals. Though some people question their safety issues, studies have shown them to be non-reactive to foods. They are safe for cooking, holds heat evenly, and there is no artificial coating. Hence there is no chance of any flakes to come out and mix with food.

3. Clay

Craftsman India Earthen Clay Pot (Pic Credit: Amazon India)

Though clay pots are less durable and hard to maintain, they have been widely used in rural India since ancient times. They keep all the food nutrients balanced, spreads the heat evenly, and maintains the moisture needed in cooking. In fact, clay pot made foods are delicious in taste as they add an earthy flavor to some dishes.

4. Glass

Borosil Casserole (Pic Credit: Amazon India)

Glass cookware is already well known for their durability in high heat and widely used for baking and even for stove top cooking. They are great at non-transferring any chemicals to the food.
I don't think, in Indian cuisine, to cook basic food items, we can use glass cookware for stove top cooking. But we can use it in a varied way for oven cooking. As far as Indian cuisine goes, we can even make special curry recipes in the oven if we adjust the steps and temperature accordingly.

5. Ceramic and Porcelain Cookware

Lodge Enamel Cast Iron Casserole (Pic Credit: Amazon India)

Ceramic cookware and porcelain enamel coated cookware also produce even heat distribution. They don’t generally transfer any compound to the food. But recently, studies have found some adverse reaction related to ceramic coated stove top cookware. So, if you chose to buy any of those to use on stove top, check out all the manufacturing details properly.

Hitkari Potteries Porcelain Bowl (Pic Credit: Amazon India)

However, Ceramic and Porcelain are safe to use in the traditional oven or Microwave convection oven.

I, personally have thrown out all the Non-stick and Aluminum cookware from my kitchen. Moreover, I don't store any cooked or wet foods/ingredients in plastic containers. Though for storing dry ingredients, I still use a few of them, but I plan to get rid of plastics and switch to glass storage containers gradually in the near future. Nowadays, for cooking, I am mainly using Stainless Steel and Cast Iron.
I think, for everyday cooking, the safest and easiest alternatives are Cast Iron and Stainless-Steel cookware for stove top use. Glass and Ceramic pots are good to go for Microwave/ Oven cooking. In any way, always do your research diligently and invest in good and well-known brands. In the longer run, that helps a lot.
In the next posts, I will come up with my favorite brands of Stainless-Steel cookware, Cast Irons pots, and pans in India.

Happy Living…

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  1. Very informative and nicely written.

    1. Thank you so much. Really glad that this post has helped you in some way.
      Happy Living...


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