For every issue this planet has, there is a solution. Will you choose to be a responsible part of it?
I grew up in the era of nonstick cookware reigning supreme. My first set of pans in college were all coated in, what we know now to be, toxic chemicals that are found in the bloodstream of almost every American. This includes newborns.
Yet, I continued to buy several more sets because that was one did when the coating inevitable became flaky, pieces coming off into our food, and became sticky. Why I thought pans needed to be replaced so often I am not really sure.
Now I have realized the wonders of cast iron and will never go back. What are the benefits of cast iron, why should you use it too? So glad you asked!
1. Safe from potentially harmful chemical nonstick ingredients. This includes PFCs (perfluorocarbons), like Teflon (PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid), chemicals linked to endocrine disruption, liver damage, cancer, and developmental problems among others.
2. Inexpensive and lasts a lifetime (sometimes longer!), plus you can often find great used cast iron. A typical skillet will cost you only $20 or so and last long enough you may be able to hand them down to another generation. Treat your cast iron well and it will do the same for you.
3. Easy to clean and maintain. All it takes is a little hand scrubbing after use and dry immediately. Seasoning, and repairing seasoning, is simply baking vegetable oil on your pans. Simple. Even rust is not enough to bring down a cast iron pan, just scrub it off and re-season!
4. Made in the USA. This is a big one. How great to support a company that still manufactures here and produces heirloom quality products?
5. Well seasoned, it is nearly as nonstick as any manufactured nonstick surface. It is better in this regard than stainless, aluminum or even copper pans, plus you won’t need as much oil to cook with making it a healthier alternative.
6. Additional iron intake. Globally anemia is a larger issue, but even in North America there are many who need more iron. Cooking with cast iron, especially in combination with certain foods (acidic and higher moisture), can increase iron content by as much as 20 times.
7. Emergency and camping-ready. You can use cast iron over any heating source, so even in a natural disaster, you’ve got a way to cook your food even over a fire. Perfect for car camping for the same reason as well (you definitely wouldn’t want to lug one of these guys too far).
Are you ready to switch to cast iron yet or are you already on the bandwagon?
School is back in and so am I! Whether the first day of school snuck up on those of you with school-aged children or not, I fully recognize how quickly the time goes as I get older. Summer did not last nearly long enough this year, although even in the “rainy” Willamette Valley we desperately need to see some of that wetness fall will surely bring.
Speaking of rain, or lack thereof, let’s move on to this edition of The Good, the Bad, and the Environment. The Good
Oregon ranks third among states for electricity generation from renewable energy. Can you guess the top two? The West Coast is certainly proving to be the best coast in this case. Check out your state’s energy statistics too.
Do you have any good, bad, or environmental news or stories to share?
A few years ago I thought a new show coming to IFC – loosely based on my city – would be funny, probably unpopular with non-locals, and really all those things that come along with a tv show shooting in your area. Instead, people forget what the point of satire is and I’ve seen misconceptions, derision, and local frustration.
On occasion it hits upon something that is a part of the larger Northwest culture. Portland is a weird place and we have placed value on things that many other places have not yet. It can make us great and the reason why so many of us love it here while in the same breath not let it show too much for fear of our place becoming something based more on stereotype than the complex reality it is.
But why am I going on and on about this when the topic of the day is the importance of the 5 “R”s? I was reminded today just how wonderful it is to live where I live, even if these ideas can be taken to the comedic extreme, they truly are all a part of the culture of the metro area here.
Refuse. It really is as easy as it sounds. Refuse what isn’t needed and what isn’t wanted paying particular attention to the environmental impact of a product before it reaches your hands and what it will be after you get it.
For my family, these are things we work on refusing with greater degrees of success depending on who is making the decision:
Reduce. Everything has a cost: environmental, financial, time. This “R” is here to help reduce all of those.
The top green changes you can make for both cost and environmental benefits are:
Reuse. Ditch those disposables and jump on the reusable bandwagon! Not only has it gotten easier to find great reusable products, but with Pinterest you can find so many creative ways to reuse just about anything these days.
This is an ongoing process for most, so start small, start big, just start somewhere:
Repurpose. This is where the creative minds get to really have some fun, but those that need a little help have so many resources to choose from to repurpose just about anything that comes through your home.
Recycle. There is a reason why recycling is last. While it is always preferable to recycle than contribute to the nearest landfill, there are numerous problems and the resources needed to accomplish this “R” well can be immense. Our first line of defense for a healthy home and planet is the first 4 “R”s, but when you have run through them all, choose recycling.
Join the Discussion!
Check out these great Green Sisters’ posts on the 5 Rs…
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