Updated: Jun 27
Look at you, maybe you've just returned from farmer's marker with all of your local, organic, rainbow-colored produce. Or maybe you are looking over our Hormone Balancing Food Guide and prepping your meals accordingly. Maybe you're trying to cut endocrine disruptors in various places to help support your body. Maybe you're simply curious about WHY anyone would actually care about the topic of non-toxic cookware.
Either way...I'm the bearer of this important news: IT MATTERS. While not trying to pile on (because OMG, how many mountains do we need to climb?!), I want to call attention to something that doesn't get as much attention when it comes to you and your hormonal and overall health, lady!
While non-stick pots and pans may seem to make life easier in some ways, did you know that the processing method used during production also has been linked to kidney cancer, infertility, liver damage, thyroid issues?! Ugh.
Other types of cookware materials can expose us to heavy metals, which can also wreak havoc on our bodies and in particular our endocrine system (which, as you wise ladies know, helps hormones communicate). What's a lady to do?! While not trying to overwhelm you, we wanted to provide you some good starting places to start (re)thinking your cookware and opting for non-toxic cookware options.
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Removing Endocrine Disruptors from Food Prep
Removing endocrine disruptors is an important part of hormone health for women. Endocrine disruptors are chemical in our environment (food, water, air, beauty products) that are absorbed by our bodies and interrupt normal hormone production, metabolism and detoxification. Xenoestrogens are a specific type of endocrine disruptor that mimic estrogen, can bind to estrogen receptors on cells and wreak havoc on your thyroid, metabolism, organ function, hormone balance and so much more.
Bisphenol A (BPA) – BPA is a common plastic found in food packaging, plastic food storage and, plastic serving utencils and tablewares, and coatings on cookware. BPA is clinically linked with fertility issues in men and women, early puberty in preteens, cancers (especially breast) and PCOS.
Phthalates – Another chemical found in plastics and cookware coatings, have been tied to fertility problems, obesity, diabetes and neurodevelopmental issues.
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) – This chemical makes the teflon/non-stick pan so nice and slippery, but when heated it essentially cooks plastics into your food. PFOA is known to disrupt hormone balance for women, cause cancer and cause other toxic build up on the body- detected for up to 5 years after exposure. Yikes!
Metalloestrogens – These chemicals have a special affinity for estrogen receptors and basically cook heavy metals into your food before you ingest it- found in aluminum, copper, nickel, tin and many other metals.
Non-toxic Cookware for Hormone Health and Balance:
Non-stick Teflon and *most* non-stick materials.
A friend once told me that "Teflon got a bad wrap," but really... that "bad wrap" is for good reason. The toxin exposure in this type of material is associated with toxic gas emissions and a very high chemical exposure.
If you must use these for some reason, keep the heat as low as possible, and use a wooden spoon to stir to decrease chemical exposure. But really, our recommendation is to toss it.
Aluminum + Copper (if not lined well with Stainless Steel)
Copper especially can be really beautiful, but as we try to decrease the amount of heavy metal load in our bodies, research shows that these metals can leach into foods, especially when heated. Aluminum in higher doses can settle in your internal organs and cause disease. Copper, at least too much of it, has been associated with neurodegenerative diseases.
Copper can be incredibly conductive because it's a soft metal, so if you just love it so much, opt for Stainless Steel with copper bottoms. Even copper pans lightly lined with Stainless Steel can wear off easily after scrubbing.
These guys last forevvvver, and while they are picky (No! Don't wash me like that!), they overall are a good choice for cookware. Yes, they can leach iron into your food- which for many women especially can actually be a good thing. I just gave them a point off because of said pickiness, and sure, it's heavy. An even better choice? Enamel Coated Cast Iron, which is less picky and is basically non-stick (sans Teflon) by nature.
A fave brand: Lodge
Holllllaaaaa for non-reactive cookware! Pretty inexpensive, slightly picky (nope, keep that hot glass off my cold surface!), it ticks off most of the needs you'll have- especially for baking!
A fave brand: Pyrex
Stainless steel is a healthy cookware choice and will last you pretty much for-e-ver. It has some issues with stickiness, but depending on the types of foods being made it's nothing that some butter or water can't help. Yes, it can be pricey- but like I mentioned, for-e-ver.
I learned something here! I hadn't heard of this as cookware before, buuuut titanium may sound familiar: it's often used to make surgical equipment. Why? Because it's bio-compatible! It won't react adversely in our bodies. My mind is kind of blown that it's in cookware form. But I added it to the list for that piece of info, as well as the fact that titanium is known to be lightweight, affordable, and rust and scratch resistant.
A fave brand: Keith
With 100% ceramic cookware, you don’t have to worry about anyyyything! No leaching of chemicals at all. Whew! Plus, it's scratch resistance. Sign me up. An important aspect is to make sure that the company you are sure is creating their ceramic cookware free of lead, cadmium, PFAs, and PFOAs.
A fave brand: Bloomhouse
There you go, ladies! Your quick intro guide to the whys, hows, and whats of picking cookware that is right for you AND your body!
Although we are licensed midwives by profession, we are not YOUR midwives. All content and information on this website is for informational and educational purposes only, and does not constitute medical advice. Although we strive to provide accurate general information, the information presented here is not a substitute for any kind of professional advice. For more information, click here.