Goodbye Teflon. Hello Cast Iron!

Once you start feeling like you’re getting a handle on the GFCFSF diet, it’s time to take a closer look at your pots and pans. If you are like me, you might find a plethora of non-stick Teflon pans.  I mean, they are the wonder pan, right?  Maybe not.

Have you ever wondered, “What the heck is Teflon?” It wasn’t until I really started to think about what I was putting in my son’s body that this ever popped into my mind. Well, Teflon is a trademarked name owned by the chemical giant DuPont (they actually have a plant in my hometown – more on that later…). It is Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). I’ll include some links to why Teflon is not a safe choice at the end of this article. But know that potential dangers from Teflon include flu-like symptoms (when you breathe air that has been polluted from using the pans at high heat) and the chemicals in the PTFE family have been associated with elevated cholesterol, abnormal thyroid levels, weakened immune systems and liver inflammation, to name a few. And the last thing we need is anything to further compromise our kids’ immune systems.

So ditch your Teflon and aluminum (which happened to be a toxin) pans and switch to cast iron or stainless steel. I have to tell you that I am obsessed with my cast iron pans. I bought two frying pans from Lodge. I love lodge because they are the only cast iron pans on the market that are made in America. You can buy enameled pans (I have their glazed dutch oven) or pre-seasoned (although be warned that it is seasoned with vegetable oil, which is really soy oil). But you can give it a good cleaning and then oil it or re-season it. Here are the big no-no’s for cast iron:

  • don’t wash with soap or the seasoning will come off,
  • don’t cook acidic foods like tomato sauce in cast iron (unless it is enamel coated), as it messes with the seasoning, and
  • don’t leave it soaking in water or it will rust

You can clean them with hot water and a good scrap brush.  If anything is burt on, you can add water and boil until it releases or give it a good scrub with kosher salt.  Make sure to give it a good coating of oil after it’s clean and dry.

Cast iron browns food beautifully, it goes safely from stove top to oven, you actually get an extra dose of iron in your food from cooking on cast iron, and you may get toned arms from lifting your pans!

Click her for the Lodge Cast Iron Website.

(You can buy Lodge at Target, Cost Plus World Market, and TJ Maxx, and Marshalls usually have a few pans at great prices.  You can even find them at local sporting goods stores in the camping section.

Click here for Environmental Working Group’s articles on Teflon dangers.

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