5 Safe Cookware and Pans Recommended by Dietitians

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If you’re wondering what the safest cookware and pans are so you don’t expose yourself to harmful chemicals, we’ve got you covered! Here we share 5 safe cookware and pans we recommend as registered dietitians who’ve spent over 15 years digging into the research and witnessing the negative effects that toxins play in the body. Yes, we wanted to find safe cookware for ourselves, our loved ones, and clients (and for you!), to avoid toxins and endocrine disrupters that promote inflammation and harm the body.
We compiled this list of 5 safe cookware and pans because toxins are one of the larger burdens on the body and the inflammation they cause affects thyroid, metabolism and all aspects of health and disease. Toxins even effect weight loss—inflammation makes it harder to lose weight and easier to gain weight! Many of the toxins that make their way into our bodies come from food, food utensils, storage containers and cookware.

We’ve helped our clients (and ourselves!) to lower toxin burden, liver enzymes, as well as many other important lab values that indicate overall health by making changes in their kitchens and in their unique diets and lifestyles.  Here are our picks for the safest non-toxic cookware and pans.
Cast iron cookware
is safe and effective. If you’re deficient in iron, it’s got a bonus as some of the iron from the pan will be absorbed in the food that’s cooked in it. Although these pans are very heavy and cooking takes a little bit of time since the pan takes longer to heat than some other cookware, it holds the heat well and you can even put the pan in the oven without worrying that you are damaging the handle, etc. And if you’re looking for a nonstick pan, a well-seasoned cast iron pan is nonstick!
To be honest, we were a little intimidated by the thought of having to “season” a pan to get it to be nonstick, so we chose one of our other top non-toxic pan options below for ourselves. However, most people with a cast iron skillet say it’s not a big deal to season it and if you grew up in the South (we spent a lot of time with ya’ll and loved it! :)) your grandma undoubtedly only had perfectly seasoned pans. Our Southern friends treated us to many home-cooked meals using seasoned cast iron skillets, and they were divine!

Curious how you “season” a pan?
Seasoning does seem relatively simple—it’s getting the porous cast iron skillet pan lightly coated with oil, and cooked past its’ smoke point to prevent the pan from rusting, and in the chemical process as the oil is transformed, it helps to make the pan nonstick. To season the pan, just rub it with olive oil and heat it on a low temperature in the oven for an hour.

Cleaning tips: Don’t use soap for cleaning as this will remove the seasoning on the pan.  Simply clean the pan with water. You can also scrub the pan with lemon and salt, let it dry, then coat with oil.

 

A word of caution: If you have a history of iron-overload (hemochromatosis), you should avoid cast iron cookware, especially for acidic foods. Post-menopausal women should also use caution, as monthly menstrual periods often mask hemochromatosis; when a woman enters menopause and is no longer iron through monthly blood loss, she may find her iron is high.

 

Nutrition tip: If you’d like additional iron in your diet, cooking with acidic foods will help you to get a bit more of it. Although the amount of iron is generally small and doesn’t add much to a person’s typical daily intake, it can still be helpful for those who need a little more.

Our picks:

1. Utopia Cast Iron Pan
The Utopia Cast Iron Pan Lodge Ceramic (get the silicon handle because this gets very hot!)
2. Enamel-covered Cast Iron
This is a non-toxic great option too. It tends to be very expensive. It holds heat well and lasts a really long time. It’s a great nonstick option without the harmful gases that come with Teflon. Caring for this requires less care than bare cast iron cookware. You just won’t get the added iron if you’d like that benefit.
3. Le Creuset Classic Cast Iron Skillet
Le Creuset Classic Cast Iron Skillet
3. Stainless Steel cookware is non-toxic and effective. It heats quickly and is sturdy. Bonus: it typically browns food better than other non-stick alternatives.
Cooking tips: We both spritz our pan with oil and often add a bit of water as we’re cooking to prevent sticking. If weight gain is not an issue for you, you can use a good deal of a healthy oil like organic extra virgin olive oil to prevent sticking. Just remember that one thing that has been very helpful for our weight loss clients to be aware of is  that one level tablespoon of oil is 100 calories, so if you’re trying to lose weight, be cautious.
These two below are our favorites.
All-Clad Stainless Steel Set  We love this brand but it is more pricey because it’s the best.
Calphalon Stainless Steel Set This is another great quality one, a bit less pricey.
Keep in mind: If you have a nickel sensitivity like we do, you may want to avoid stainless steel because it does contain some nickel. We personally don’t have a problem with our pans, but if we accidentally scratch the pan, we pay close attention and take note to see if our body reacts and may replace that particular pan to play it safe.
Tip: Lyssie has a gas stove without good ventilation in her kitchen so she recently switched to electric pans so she wasn’t breathing the toxic gas fumes that were recirculating in her kitchen. She uses an electric stainless steel pan.
 4. Glass cookware
is completely non-toxic (that’s why we love glass Tupperware!). While glass cookware is mostly for baking, there are some stovetop pans available. They just aren’t as durable as other options—and they don’t hold the heat as well as something like cast iron does. The good news is that glass is typically less expensive.

 
5. Ceramic cookware
The key to a safe non-toxic ceramic pan is that it has to be properly glazed—the glaze is what gives the cookware a glass-like surface. Ceramic is a good heat conductor and can go from the stove-top to oven to the freezer. It’s also fairly heavy. It’s not non-stick, however. —This brand was recommended to us and it looks good and it is a bit less pricey than Le Creuset that also has some good options.
With changes like these that we’ve helped our clients to make (as well as making these changes ourselves!), we’ve helped to transform their kitchens while working with their unique diet and lifestyle to lower their toxic burden, improve their hormonal health, liver enzymes, metabolism, as well as many other important lab values that indicate overall health.  Our clients tell us they now feel like they are aging in reverse!
If you’d like to learn more or to be a 1:1 Nutrition Coaching client, apply for coaching here.
What do you think about our selection of 5 safe cookware and pans we recommend? Please, leave your thoughts and comments below!
 

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