Mar 16, 2012

Posted by in Green Resources | 2 Comments

Stainless Steal Cookware – Small Steps to Living Green Saturday

Small Steps To Living Green Saturday

Step #4: Stainless Steal Cookware

Why is this an important “green” step?

Whether you cook  your meals from scratch or from a box you end up in the kitchen cooking at least once a day and many times more than that!  Our culture is very centered around food.  Think about it!  Any event you attend there is always food.  Holidays are all about that special meal you have together as a family once a year, and to celebrate a special day you make your loved one their favorite dish.  So whereever you food is coming from you want to be sure it is being cooked in the most non-toxic and green way possible!

Many families these days have moved to non-stick pans coated in “Teflon”.  By using stainless steal cookware and other green cookware products you are reducing the toxic chemicals that bio-accumulate from Teflon pans’ manufacturing and use that is put into the environment as well as the drastic health effects it has on humans and animals (especially birds).

Step away from…

Teflon pans.  Stainless steal is a cheaper alternative to other non-toxic cookware (though there are many other wonderful alternatives I will discuss with you later!), so it is a great way to replace your teflon set if you currently cook with non-stick cookware.

So what is so bad about Teflon?  A great article by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) explains it short and sweet so it’s easy to understand, but basically Teflon breaks down at high heat.  Most consumers know Teflon breaks down and flakes off over time…that is not the main worry however.  At even low temperatures that your pans rise to from just preheating before cooking the Teflon has reached and and surpassed its’ limits and is off-gassing toxic chemicals that can cause illness in humans and even kill birds (such as those in the PFC chemical group).

Click to zoom-in and see common temperatures your pans get while being used in cooking food, and at what temperature these toxic chemicals from Teflon are released! (Source: EWG)

Since PFC’s bio-accumulate and stick around in the body for many years reducing one of your number one exposures is a big step to living a healthier more green lifestyle that will also help the environment (it also sticks around in the environment and impacts other animal species). “Chemicals from this family are associated with smaller birth weight and size in newborn babies, elevated cholesterol, abnormal thyroid hormone levels, liver inflammation and weakened immune defense against disease.” (EWG)

The out-gassing from using Teflon pans “is sufficiently toxic to kill pet birds and is responsible for “polymer fume flu” in humans, sometimes called “Teflon® flu.” Among the symptoms of Teflon® flu are headache, nausea, fever, backache and malaise.” (WiseGEEK).  If these fumes can kill birds, think about what is is doing in your body!  Indoor air quality especially in colder climates where households are sealed tight can be full of quite a many toxic chemicals already without this toxic gas in the mix.

What does SAPsMaMa use?

Here in our household we replaced our Teflon pans we had used during our college years with a Kitchen Aid stainless steal set when we moved… a perfect time!  Though our Teflon pans were in good condition we knew even years ago it was not good for us and made the switch, never regretting it since!  The Kitchen Aid pans were purchased at a reasonable price on sale at Sam’s Club, so if you are looking for a large set look are bulk or discount stores, you might get lucky and find a great brand!  We love the quality of these as well as the warranty, but on a daily basis our cooking loves it as the handles have silicone covering (a  non-toxic safe material able to withstand high heat!) so half the time we do not have a need for hot pads, and they cook evenly and retain heat very well.

Our stainless steal cookware!  I love how shiny and clean I can always get it!

We do have other pots and pans besides stainless steel but these are the cooking pans we use for a major majority of our cooking in our household.  Though our Teflon pans were replaced years ago we still find it difficult to find a replacement for everything we need.  We are currently testing the waters and finding an alternative for our non-stick pot we melt caramel in for making candy turtles in the holiday season!  Cookware is expense, if need be take it slow and replace one pan at a time with what you use most often.  We have found our cooking has greatly improved with the use of stainless steal and many chefs favor stainless steal cookware in their kitchens!

One downside to stainless steal cookware is of course that it is not non-stick.  Therefore some oil or butter will often be needed for your cooking to make sure it does not stick to the pan.  With each new meal we work on in our kitchen until we figure out the best way to cook it we often get pots and pans with burnt bottoms sitting on our stove soaking in vinegar and baking soda until we get to scrubbing them.  We have had an easier time with this cleaning aspect of using stainless steal pans after finding this great article on How to Clean Stainless Steal Pots and Pans on Groovy Green Living Blog that I pinned on my Green Living Pinterest Board!  Hope it helps you!

One of our stainless steal pans after cooking Bison Burgers.  This is our second time using our pans for our burgers and we had to use a little butter but they tasted so much better than on our Teflon coated George Foreman Grill!

Green Pros of Stainless Steal Cookware:
  • Toxin free, no chemicals being released into the air that can harm you or your pets.
  • Keeps indoor air quality better than if Teflon pans were used
  • The manufacturing of stainless steal has less impact on the environment
  • A quality stainless steal set will last you a lifetime, where as Teflon will always wear off and break down, consistently degrading.
  • Cooking with stainless steal keeps you focused on your food and your cooking practices more so, bringing into play overall healthier cooking habits
Cons to Stainless Steal Cookware:
  • Is not non-stick so until you learn to cook with stainless steal cookware well you will get pans and pots possibly with burnt bottoms (Check out the article above to learn easy toxin-free ways to clean this!)
  • You may need to use a little butter or oil to cook your food with, which if you are on a special diet may not be appealable to you

Learn more about Small Steps To Living Green Saturday at my information post!


This is one small step of many you may take to try to help your family live more “green” and eco-friendly in this modern world!  I am using my family as an example in small simple steps through Small Steps to Living Green Saturday every week…come check out the rest of my tips and steps in my Green Resources tab!
If you would like to link up your blog post or contribute a post to Small Steps To Living Green Saturday please email me at “sapsmama at yahoo dot com”, I’d love to feature other households as well as mine!

Let me know what you think!  Small Steps to Living Green Saturday is a  new SAPsMaMa blog feature, I would love your input!  Please share what you think of this layout and what you are hoping to see in the future with this feature!
What areas would you like to see featured?  What do you want to know the most about how SAPsMaMa’s family lives green?
  1. Great post! Pans are so important! I have pinned your post! Happy St. Patty’s Day!

  2. I’m a sucker for cooking pans and utensils which is funny cause I do hardly any of the cooking LOL We have a KitchenAid set too but it’s some brushed something. I am wondering though if it’s coated in teflon 🙁