Over the past several weeks my mom and I have been visiting with my new baby nephew. Between it being breast cancer awareness month and seeing my mom’s hair grow back after chemotherapy, and little nephew’s sweet eyes, I’ve somehow started to become one of those “crazy health geeks,” or maybe always have been.
All through my sister’s pregnancy we’d go over things like “what’s the healthiest bottle?” and “what’s the safest pacifier?” So many health questions begin when we are just little babies that it got me thinking about all the unhealthy stuff I was exposed to as a kid, such as plastic that was not bpa-free, nasty Teflon from pots and pans, possible lead in dinnerware, and even second-hand smoke.
We all have to eat in order to live. Health, in my opinion, starts in the kitchen. So I’ve done some research to answer many of my questions about cookware, dinnerware, and food. I’m still researching today. It can be exhausting, but the point is to never give up on learning something new, especially when it deals with your health.
Having a nice set of cookware is essential in a kitchen. It can also be extremely expensive. Luckily, Henry and I were in need of a new set after only two years of using a nicer set of hard-anodized pots and pans. Plus, my birthday was just around the corner, and well, that’s all I had my eyes on. Here’s what I learned…pretty much everything out there is bad for you. The good news is that there are some BETTER options to choose from.
Le Creuset cookware is fabulous. It’s cast iron with a beautiful glaze that allows no harmful chemicals to leach through into your food. WAY better than any aluminum pots and pans. All pieces are made in France. I purchased mine here…
HOWEVER, don’t get carried away with the bakeware sets that are stoneware because they are NOT made in France like the enameled cast iron, which means you don’t know how much lead is in the glaze, technically. This is why I suggest Fiesta dinnerware and bakeware. They are made in the United States, Lead-free, microwave-safe, dishwasher-safer, even oven-safe! They also come with a five year warranty against chips or cracking. They are beautiful in color, and the bottoms are smooth so you can stack them and not worry about scratching. We bought ours through Kohls during a 30% discount! Lead-free is loosely stated, however. I must mention this. I trust these dishes, yes, but there’s still an extremely tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny amount of lead naturally, or may be. See the confusion here? That’s why I say, it’s all about making “the healthiest choice.”
Now, I’m not going to go on and on about all the reasons I didn’t choose any other cookware because I literally could go on and on. But, I will tell you all the main points which are exhaustively stated everywhere nowadays, which is a good thing! Aluminum pots and pans are bad for cooking, especially when they are scratched and peeling or when you cook with tomato-based sauces. The tomato-based sauces in spaghetti, tacos, chili, etc. react with aluminum and leach into the food, hence into our bodies. Stainless steel may be better than aluminum but it can leach Nickel into foods. Cast iron can leach iron that’s not really the real form of iron our bodies need, however for someone who is anemic there might be benefits. Ceramic coated pots and pans are just a joke. Then, you have all ceramic, I mean the REAL all ceramic like Xtrema, which I was going to buy, however, I noticed they are not made in the United States and they are extremely fragile and expensive, so I crossed it off my list. Maybe for others this is a good choice.
This is how I came to Le Creuset cast iron. We bought the 3-piece set from amazon and packaging was excellent! It’s made in France, lifetime warranty, been around for years, are heirlooms, and they pass the hardest test for lead in California. Apparently there are higher amounts of lead (though extremely lower than low) are in the red and orange colored glazes (the blue and purple don’t have that higher amount). Now when I say “higher amount of lead” I don’t mean it’s bad, I just mean there’s more than the other colors, but still so low in amount that it “probably” will never leach into foods. This again, is why I say, “choose the best option.” Now, I’m no expert, just a regular consumer looking for the best option out there. If you disagree with me, I’d love to hear your reasoning! There’s always something new to learn. I am truly in love with my Le Creuset set and Fiesta dishes.
My favorite piece by far is the Dutch Oven. I’ve cooked Chicken Rice Soup (Grandma’s recipe) so far, Yum! Always use wooden utensils, too. I ditched all the plastic and went with wood and silicone, though, I’m still curious on silicone. Le Creuset cookware does get hot, which is why we bought a silicone handle for the skillet and saucepan. For the dutch oven, you’ll need hot pads! This type of cookware has to be slowly heated (never higher than medium heat), which does take time when you are hungry, but it’s a price you have to pay for assurance that nothing bad is going into your food. The skillet I’ve used for cooking chicken breasts, and the saucepan for slowly steaming veggies. So much more to cook!