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Its one thing to invest money in high quality, locally grown, clean food, but what about what you are cooking on?

Non-stick pans have become all the rage in our do it fast and easy culture but there is a price to pay. Especially at high temperatures chemicals from non-stick can leach into your food and air.

These days there are more and more options for 'green/eco' cookware, but what is the difference, pros and cons of them all?

1. Cast Iron:
-Pros: time tested, non-toxic, conducts heat well, non-stick if oiled, easy to clean, inexpensive. There is also enameled or porcelain versions, more colorful, and food doesn't touch iron, instead glass.
-Cons: heavy, will rust if not dried properly, needs to be oiled post cooking, if overused particularly men can experience excess iron.

2. Stainless Steel
-Pros: time tested, non-toxic, great for cooking with liquid, affordable.
-Cons: poor heat conducting (can get outer coating of copper to solve this), food sticks easily, some claims of iron, chromium, and nickel leaching.

3. Aluminium
-Pros:
excellent heat conduction, light weight.
-Cons: can react to acidic foods like tomatoes (can solve this with anodized version), high price tag.

4. Ceramic (ceramcor.com)
-Pros: non-toxic (make sure its guaranteed lead free)
-Cons:
more fragile, many options on the market are coated ceramic but not actually fully ceramic, heats slowly, food can stick.

5. Green Non-Stick
-Pros:
non-toxic, non-stick, easy to clean.
-Cons: not enough data on whether or not they cause harm.

So what is the healthiest choice. I personally think moderation and rotation is the best option. I mostly use cast iron (for pan cooking) and stainless steel (for soups and liquid), but after reading up on the research I am going to add the pure ceramic into the mix as well. I like the fact it doesn't have any metal in it, its made from the earth, but again be mindful that many ceramic cookwares are coated and not the real thing.

Watch a video form Dr. Mercola for more info on cooking pans and more resources from TreeHugger.

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