How many of you out there cook and eat at home? If my fellow Celiac’s are reading this, then probably more than not, considering this is the place we feel safest eating. Have you ever thought about the pots and pans you’re cooking with and the toxic quality that might come hand in hand with them? Or how you’re cooking your food and if you are getting enough of the nutritional benefits? For example, when cooking vegetables, are you boiling them straight in water, using a steamer, frying or do you zap them in the microwave?
I recently started thinking about this as I was cooking up an egg and noticed scratches in my non-stick fry pan. I could swear that I had read an article at some point discussing the dangers this might cause. So I jumped on the net and started to do some research.
For those of you that might not know, Teflon is the non-stick surface the pan is coated with polytetrafluoroetheylene or PTFE. When overheated or heated at high temperatures anywhere from 2-5 minutes, it can release toxic fumes causing flu-like symptoms in humans and is known to kill pet birds. This is one of the reasons that manufacturers label the product and warn people to avoid high heat when cooking on Teflon.
I know that when I am frying something up my stove fan is always on, but I am not paying much attention to the high heat. Good thing I don’t have a pet bird living in my kitchen. Isn’t a bird what they release in a mine first to see how toxic it is? A bit scary I think.
How you cook your vegetables and the length of time is directly related to how many nutrients will be retained. Water-soluble vitamins like C or B start to break down when heated and can lose a large percentage of their value. While fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, K and carotenoids need to be broken down to get at the nutrients inside for the body to absorb better. A good example is tomatoes, the longer you cook them, the higher the lycopene levels are.
According to the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry when cooking broccoli;
“Steaming was the only cooking method that completely preserved glucosinolates and even significantly increased by 30% of their initial concentration ( p ≤ 0.05). On the contrary, boiling and frying caused a substantial degradation of these molecules.”
Figuring out which method is best will help you retain the most amount of nourishment. When boiling veggies in water, some of the nutritional value is leeched into the water; so necessary vitamins might be dumped down the drain. Frying seems to be the worst of the lot as far as retaining any sort of nutrition levels. Steaming comes in as one of the highest rated, as well as believe it or not, microwaving vegetables; both done quickly and with little to no water.
Before you all start yelling about the dangers of microwave use, I agree and do not own one, but through all the research I have done over the last few days this information is consistent, so I need to include it.
As I was scanning the internet looking for non-toxic pots and pans, I came across a company called Zepter Masterpiece Cookware. They are a bit on the pricey side but from everything I have read, definitely worth every penny. The special design and technology allows cooking without any water or oils and you can cook three meals at once by stacking the pots on top of each other, how cool is that?!
There is a special thermometer on the lid that gages levels and allows the food to cook itself using its own precipitation; preserving most of the nutritional content and almost negating any possibility of the food drying out. There are no carcinogenic effects and definitely none of the nasty toxic possibilities cooking with teflon can cause. It is easy to clean and has multi uses. I know I probably sound like a commercial but I was impressed enough with the ad to want to try to the product so I thought I would share this information with you as well.
I think people take food for granted without giving much regard of what is in it or where it is coming from. Therein, also taking the human body for granted that it will keep on going no matter what we put it through; even though somewhere inside we all know that is not true at all.
We all wish to eat anything we want, no matter how laced it is with harmful ingredients. Why, because it tastes good, because we are told to stay away from it, because it is convenient; these seem the top reasons I hear mostly. Some choose harm over healing just because they can and sometimes you just can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
Whichever way you decide to cook your food there are benefits to most ways of cooking, depending on what it is. Know the benefits, be aware of the dangers and be sure to get the most nourishment possible from whatever you put in your body.