I realized recently that I’ve been neglecting to clean up a very important part of my life: My kitchen. I eat clean organic, non-GMO food, but what do I cook with? The same old pans that have been in my cupboard for years. So I started doing some research and very quickly understood that I needed to make some changes. I got rid of a lot of the old (made with questionable material) and replaced it with the best non-toxic alternatives:
The first thing I wanted to swap out was cookware. Non-stick, copper, and aluminum pans are the worst because they actually leach toxic metals/substances into your cooked food (no thanks). Cast iron and stainless steel are better alternatives, but not always the best options. We’re really looking for ceramic, carbon steel, porcelain, or tempered glass for our pots and pans. More info on the specifics of each material and why it’s good vs bad can be found here.
Xtrema makes beautiful 100% toxin free ceramic cookware that functions amazingly. They’re California Prop 65 approved so you know they’re GOOD. It’s a little pricey but one pan will last you forever. Plus it’s dishwasher and oven safe!
GreenPan is a ceramic Belgium brand that’s also a winner and more affordable. It’s non-stick, but it’s derived from natural sand and can be heated to up to 450 degrees (be wary of things labeled ‘non-stick’ without knowing the source).
Most people you talk to will tell you that Seventh Generation isn’t actually all that clean (bummer!). Instead, I like to use Common Good. I use all of their products and love them. Plus, if you do a little research you can refill them at local refill stations so you don’t have to waste more plastic. There are a ton around Manhattan and Brooklyn. Find your refill station here.
Since I don’t want to be putting more strain on the earth and I’ve already purchased new cookware, I’m waiting to get more dishtowels until the ones I have are worn out. Here are some of the clean kitchen towels I’ve set my eyes on:
Sur La Table makes simple white towels from organic cotton.
MEEMA has nice blue ones made from upcycled denim (the Earth will thank you!).
Instead of using plastic Tupperware that leeches into our food, I’ve replaced ours with glass and metal. It’s made all the difference and it’s easier to clean. I recommend these from Mecete.
I bought this hard bristle washing brush to lower our footprint with sponges and plastic brushes. It works really well.
I’ve long been avoiding saran wrap but it’s hard! Especially with a kid or over the summer when we’re doing lots of cooking. I’ve found two really great solutions. First, beeswax sheets. They are great at wrapping just about anything up. There are also tutorials online if you want to make your own. The second lifesaver has been Reusable Cotton Bowl Covers. These help when you want things to be a little more air-tight.
Is crazy that we have to think about these things, isn’t it? Cutting boards can be treated with toxins like triclosan. The big tip is, go for wood, not plastic. Bamboo cutting boards are the best option because they are natural, renewable, and an inexpensive material- but make sure you are purchasing from a vendor that cares about the environmental implications, and does, in fact, practice organic and sustainable bamboo farming. Also, make sure it’s not treated with mineral oil. Urthware uses walnut oil + beeswax to treat their boards. Plus they can specially make one for those with nut allergies using coconuts (very cool!).