Right tools for Healthy Cooking.

Like I mentioned few posts earlier, I am getting better at procrastination. I am reading books, and most importantly getting into habit of acting on those ideas immediately.This is one idea that is coming in my head regularly. It is about which type of material used for cooking so that nutrients are preserved. I love to find out what was the idea for using a particular utensil for a particular type of food. When I was in India for my sister in laws wedding, I educated the cook at home ( Yes, almost every middle class home has a cook, cleaner and a driver now a days.) about dangers of cooking typical Indian curries in aluminium. Most of the Indian curries have tomatoes, tamarind pulp, lemon or yogurt in them. When curries containing any of these acidic substances cooked  in aluminium vessels, aluminium enters in the food. Reheating food again and again in the same pot also increase the chances of eating aluminium. People might say, we do not use aluminium pans and pots. We use non stick cookware. That way we reduce fat intake and eat healthy. Well have you seen what are these made of ? There is non stick coating on the aluminium!! What can I say about those so cute rice cooker or ice cream makers? The inner pot in which the food is cooked,  is made of aluminium!! Even if you are not using these materials, do you use canned foods? That is a source of aluminium! What about using bake-wares, foils for baking? Do you like to make breads, cakes or try different cuisines? A very famous TV show demonstrating how to beautifully “oven bake” all deep-fried food stuff and make it “healthy”.

Currently what I have observed is  that we are running so much that we have forgotten about using food as a healer. Ayurveda has always taught us to use food as a healer. I am not someone who has an authority on Ayurveda. But I know why certain traditional practices methods are right in everyday practices. I know what are the ill effects of eating aluminium or using plastic for everything. Plastic is another thing that annoys me. Frankly I do not get the taste of food in plastic plates and plastic spoons/forks. I hate them. Cooking food in aluminium utensils and then eating in plastics is the worst thing you can do to yourself and to the earth. Of course this is my opinion. What are the side effects of aluminium Early symptoms of aluminum toxicity include flatulence, headaches,colic, dryness of the skin and mucous membranes, tendencies for colds, burning pain in the head relieved by food, heartburn and an aversion to meat. Later symptoms include paralytic muscular conditions, loss of memory and mental confusion. Reference:  ARL : Aluminum Toxicity www.arltma.com/Articles/AlumToxDoc.htm . I am sure now many people will think about using these aluminium utensils for cooking.

Now the question is which materials to use for cooking. I love iron. stainless steel, glass and bone china. The traditional iron griddle used for cooking roti or using small iron pan for making fodni/baghar help in absorbing elemental iron and making food rich in iron. Just making flavored oil/ roasting peanuts in small iron kadhai  will up the iron content many times. One can sauté green leafy vegetables in iron pan without acid and increase iron content.IMG_0010(My Iron griddle and small kadhai with homemade flavored oil.)

I use stainless steel pressure cooker and pots for rest of the cooking on the stove top. Cooking on the low to medium flame also helps in preserving nutrients. For that I love icook pots for cooking gravy. Amazing steel and vitalock technology ensures preserving nutrients.IMG_0244 (My pressure cooker on the left and icook pots on the right.)
In the past I had a lot of  plastic containers and microwave safe plastics. I still have them at my home but I do not use it that often. After  replacing plastics with glass, I know I made the right choice about my health. There are people like me also love to make many things at home like yogurt or pickles. There was a reason that it was kept in the bone china or glass and not in plastic boxes. On this auspicious Earth Day, let us make other people aware of health benefits of eating nutritious food in proper plates made of steel, glass or bone china and reducing load of plastics in day-to-day life. I hope it makes sense to you too. Have a healthy life ahead. 🙂

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