New technology, seems, more often than not, a recipe for detrimental health risks. Teflon, being a good example, in the category of cookware. Nano-ceramic or green ceramics make me uneasy and the thought of nano technology leaching into food and the air while cooking also makes me uneasy. There may not be enough scientific evidence indicating the harmful effects of this new fad, but it seems inevitable that in a few years the reports will be in. I’ll trust my gut on this one.
Cast Iron – has been a really good choice, especially for those with anemia. Iron is what is needed for the body to make red blood cells and will leach in small amounts from the cast iron cookware into food. Women in general could benefit from the use of iron cookware due to the monthly blood loss. However, those with excess iron issues will have negative effect. Men in general should be more cautious. For its actual cooking properties, it is known for its durability and even heat distribution. A well seasoned pan will be a much safer choice than any non-stick alternative. Caveat – Lodge is the leading manufacture of cast iron cookware. They have discontinued making unseasoned pans. All of their pans are pre-seasoned with soy-based vegetable oil which likely is from biotech crop (Genetically Modified Organism). Please write or call them to request that they revive making unseasoned cookware. Personally seasoning a pan is part of what makes having cast iron cookware such a treasure.
Porcelain enamel on Cast Iron or Steel - generally enamelware is safe. The glaze could contain cadmium or lead used for pigment. However, in Canada, enamel cookware is regulated under Hazardous Products Regulations. Cookware cannot be sold or distributed unless it releases only a trace amount of cadmium or lead and mentions this on the label. The porcelain glaze is a non-stick and non-reactive coating on top of metal that keeps the metal from leaching into food when cooking. Although, once chipped or scratched, it should be replaced. Le Creuset is a very reputable company and has both enamel on steel and cast iron.
Ceramic (clay based) – In Japan referred to as Donabe, in China called a Sand Pot. Made from clay at very high temperatures. The clay is somewhat porous which allows for heat and moisture to circulate through the pot during cooking. Food is cooked slowly and evenly giving an indescribable warmth when eaten. Another unique property of clay cookware is its alkaline nature. The clay will interact with acidity in the food, neutralizing the pH balance. Something that is naturally very acidic, like a tomato sauce, will take on some natural sweetness when cooked in a clay pot. Do be aware some manufactures will use lead in the glaze. A lead test would be advisable before use unless you are getting the cookware from a reputable source. Dr. Mercola would probably be the best source for safe ceramic cookware.