Maybe you’ve heard you should be wary of certain pots and pans, or maybe this is the first time you’re hearing this news. Either way, there’s a lot of conflicting information available and some brands even market themselves as “safe” or “clean” that actually aren’t the best for you – especially if you are on a mission to rebalance your hormones.
The main reason pots and pans are a concern is due to the xenoestrogens they can potentially contain. Xenoestrogens are chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body, which can mess with your hormone levels. Xenoestrogens can bind to estrogen receptors and interfere with cell growth, repair, energy production, estrogen dominance, thyroid function, reproduction, and fetal development.
Xenoestrogens in Your Cookware
Xenoestrogens that can be found in cookware include:
- Bisphenol A (BPA) – BPA is used in cookware coatings and food packaging. BPA has been associated with female and male infertility, early puberty, breast cancer, prostate cancer, polycystic ovary syndrome, and other endocrine disorders.
- Phthalates – Also found in cookware coatings, phthalates have been linked to asthma, ADHD, autism, fertility issues, breast cancer, obesity, low IQ, type 2 diabetes, behavioral issues, and neurodevelopmental issues.
- Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) – Commonly used to make non-stick cookware, including Teflon. PFOA is a known carcinogen and considered a toxicant. It has also been detected in 98 percent of the US population.
- Metalloestrogens – These are found in aluminum, copper, nickel, tin and many other metals.
It’s important to be aware that all of the above xenoestrogens are permitted to be in your cookware. Surprising, right? As unfortunate as this is, a little knowledge goes a long way in protecting you and your family from unknowingly consuming these chemicals.
Keywords When Shopping for Cookware
Teflon is the commercial name for the chemical polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), which is a common non-stick coating in pots and pans. PTFE has shown to be carcinogenic, disrupt hormone balances and affect fetal development.
- Easy to use and cook with
- Easy to clean
- Little maintenance needed
- Linked to cancers, endocrine disruption, and fetal development
- When scratched, they can pose a hazard to your health
It is a far better option than Teflon and many people love their family past-down cast iron skillets for the sentimental value. I personally stopped using them because I felt like I had to babysit a pet in the kitchen!
- Generally, cast iron is considered safe and affordable.
- They last for a very long time, if well maintained.
- The downside is the care one needs to take; cast iron can’t be left wet or it will rust. New pans need to be seasoned regularly so they don’t get rusty and food won’t stick to them.
- You can run into problems if you let food sit in cast iron too long. Iron can leach into the food, which actually happened to me. I had such high iron levels at one point, my doctor thought I might have hemochromatosis; iron overload. It turned out to be caused by me leaving food in my cast iron pan too long.
- It is just plain heavy! This can make them a pain to maneuver and clean.
- They are not dishwasher safe.
If you are set on owning a cast iron pan, my recommendation would be this Lodge 12-inch skillet I used to own in the past. Because of the cons, I moved on to the cast iron enamel and ceramic options – see below.
Cast iron enamel coating
These are some of my favorite types of cookware. They are safe, excellent for cooking evenly and can be used on the stovetop or in the oven. The enamel coating takes care of the cast iron kinks – they won’t rust and are dishwasher safe.
- They are non-stick (it’s best to heat up the pan before frying any food)
- They are safe (enamel is made from sand)
- They cook the food evenly and don’t burn the bottom of the food
- Easy to clean and maintain
- They can be used on the stovetop and the oven
- The major downside here is they are heavy.
- They do not last as long as cast iron or ceramic pans (see below). The enamel can wear off after 2 to 3 years of heavy use.
- The assortment can be limited if you have a brand preference. Le Creuset has a great collection but they are very expensive.
These are the pots I’ve used or am using now in my kitchen:
Lodge’s 6-quart Dutch oven – I use it regularly to make soups and stews.
Pioneer Woman’s 12-inch Skillet – it’s heavy and large but when I make a huge stir fry or have to fry a large batch of food, this skillet is my go-to tool.
Enamel 3-8-quart Casserole Pan – I use it to make casseroles and stews, or quick stir-fries. I love the turquoise color!
I’m fairly new to using ceramic pans but the few months that I’ve used them, I’m loving the experience.
I heard an interview with the founder of Xtrema on a podcast and was impressed by his depth of knowledge and transparency. It led me to purchase some of their pots and pans and eventually reach out to them. So far I’ve been loving to cook with the two pans I bought.
- Super easy to clean and maintain
- Non-toxic; since they are made from pure glass, they contain no lead, cadmium, heavy metals or PFOA and PTFE
- Can be used on the stovetop and the oven
- Can be used in a microwave
- Can be put on a BBQ!
- Cooks food well and evenly
- Half the weight of cast iron and cast iron with enamel pans
- Can be non-stick but you need to heat up the pan well before, for example, frying an egg.
- Can chip and break if dropped.
- Take slightly longer to warm up compared to enamel pans.
We reached out to Xtrema asking for a Hormones Balance community discount and they offered us 10% off Xtrema products using coupon code “Balance10” also found here. (valid on non-sale items only)
They offer a 40-day money back guarantee!
Stainless steel is a good option if you go with a reputable brand. There are low-quality stainless steel options, in which case you run the risk of metals like nickel and chromium leaching into your food.
When shopping for stainless steel, look for anything with a 304 or 18/8 grade (these are the same rating, just different systems). This is also the equivalent of surgical stainless steel. If you are set on stainless steel, be sure to pick a heavy-bottomed pan so the food does not get burned.
Green Pan is one of those companies that advertises itself as clean and safe. Essentially, Green Pan is Teflon with silicon coating.
My concern with Green Pan is they are not transparent with reports or processing. I’ve also heard complaints that their enamel coating wears out quickly. This isn’t to say they’re bad, I’m just wary.
There are hundreds of reasons everyone should avoid dangerous pots and pans but for anyone with hormone related issues – it’s an absolute must.
I’ve developed a new cookbook called, Cooking for Hormone Balance that will be available April 10th. My cookbook dives into how your kitchen can be your number one ally in balancing your hormones for a better, healthier life.