So, you’ve got your Paleo diet tuned in, you exercise Primally and sleep soundly; but what do you cook with?
Non stick Teflon frying pans are everywhere. If you don’t cook with them, you’re definitely in the enlightened minority. It’s easy to see why this cookware is so popular. It’s so cheap to buy, depending on where you buy your cookware, it may even be the only option. Non stick cookware is also very easy to cook on – with no thought about temperatures; you’re likely to get it right. It’s also very easy to clean.
So, what’s wrong with non-stick cookware?
The coating of many brands of non-stick cookware contains Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) which has been shown to have carcinogenic properties. Over time & usage the coating from these non-stick pans is often damaged, at which stage it should not be used, to avoid consumption of toxins. Once in the blood stream there is no biological mechanism for removal of PFOA’s.
What should I cook with instead?!
There are several good alternatives to non-stick. Cast iron, copper, stainless steel or enamelled cookware are the most popular Paleo options. They are more expensive, but a good cast iron pan will last a lifetime. You can also look for second hand pots and pans, which are likely to be very cost effective; even a rusty old iron pan can be cleaned, seasoned and given a new lease of life!
Cooking on iron
When you first get your iron pan you’ll need to season it. This can be done by coating the pan in a fat, such as lard before putting it in a low temperature oven for a few minutes, allowing the iron to take up the oil. It should then be cooled and excess oil rinsed out. Soap should never be used on cast iron cookware.
Cooking on cast-iron is different to non-stick cooking, but once you’ve got the hang of it, you should be able to cook without food sticking to the pan. It’s important to heat the pan before adding food (even the fat you’re cooking with) to avoid it sticking. Food should generally be room temperature, not cold when adding to the pan, by leaving it out of the refrigerator for a few minutes before cooking. The temperature shouldn’t be too high, or to low. The final tip is to make sure you don’t shy away from using lots of fat, making this method of cooking very Paleo!
What do you cook with? I’d love to hear your cookware tips and hints in the comments below.