The Weekly Thread: the ancestral kitchen, “pressing” movements for life, and life keeps moving while you postpone.

Re-thinking Your Cookware

The average woman is exposed to 220 chemicals per day, and men, you’re not too far behind. 

Women, on average, are typically exposed to more artificial and synthetic chemicals than men as a result of heavier use of personal care products, makeup, et cetera. 

The unfortunate fact of the matter is, we live in an incredibly toxic environment, and to some extent, it’s somewhat inescapable. 

Knowing this, you can run yourself ragged and mad checking every label, reading every article, and doing absolutely everything you can to rid your life of toxic products. 

At that point, it’s probably not worth the mental strain and stress. 

For me personally, I try to accept this reality for what it is, and from there, I try to educate myself to make general decisions to control what I can control. 

I can’t control the synthetic chemicals, the non-native radiation, and other toxic substances that seem to be used in everything, and found everywhere, but I can control my own personal detoxification efforts like taking cold showers, using a sauna, exercising intensely, supplementing, and fasting, both intermittent and periodic extended fasting. 

I can also educate myself in a way where I make better purchasing decisions, knowing generally, which kinds of household products contain toxic, harmful synthetic chemicals, and which do not. 

Your cookware is one of these decisions that you can control. 

Your cookware shouldn’t be “non-stick”

Cookware is not naturally “non-stick”, so anything that is considered “non-stick”, has been treated with chemicals containing PFAS that have been shown to be toxic, and have a low propensity to leave the body, meaning, they tend to accumulate. 

What are PFAS?

PFAS stands for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. They are a large group of human-made chemicals that have been widely used in various industries since the 1940s. PFAS are characterized by their unique carbon-fluorine bonds, which make them highly resistant to heat, water, oil, and stains. This property has led to their extensive use in a wide range of products and applications.

PFAS have been used in the manufacturing of non-stick cookware, stain-resistant fabrics, waterproofing treatments, firefighting foams, food packaging, cleaning products, and many other consumer and industrial products. They have also been employed in industrial processes and have found their way into the environment through manufacturing, waste disposal, and other means.

So it goes behind non-stick cookware. Any clothing that is “stain resistant” or “wrinkle free”, yup, that’s not natural, and means, you’re literally wearing PFAS. 

Easy solution here is to choose clothes that do not contain these “conveniences”, and thus, no PFAS. Remember, your skin is the biggest excreting organ, and considered your “second mouth”. 

But we’re here to discuss cookware solutions. 

The concern surrounding PFAS stems from their persistence in the environment, potential health effects, and their ability to bioaccumulate in living organisms. Certain PFAS compounds, such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), have received significant attention due to their widespread use and potential adverse health impacts.

PFAS: The Downside and Potential for Long Term Health Concerns 

PFAS have been associated with several health drawbacks, which have raised concerns among researchers and conscious consumers. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most notable concerns over PFAS: 

1. Persistence in the environment. PFAS are highly persistent compounds that do not break down easily in the environment, leading to their accumulation over time. This can result in long-term exposure and potential health risks, especially when continuously consumed over time via your food being cooked on non-stick cookware that leaches PFAS onto your food. 

2. Bioaccumulation. PFAS have the ability to bioaccumulate in the bodies of animals, including humans. This means that even low-level exposure over time can lead to significant concentrations in the body, potentially causing adverse health effects.

3. Potential toxicity. Some PFAS compounds have been linked to adverse health effects, including liver damage, kidney disease, developmental issues in children, immune system suppression, and certain types of cancers.

4. Endocrine disruption. Certain PFAS compounds have been shown to interfere with the normal functioning of hormones in the body, potentially affecting reproductive health, hormone regulation, and other endocrine-related processes.

It's important to note that the scientific understanding of PFAS and their health effects is still evolving, and more research is being conducted to better understand their potential risks. However, many regulatory agencies and governments have taken steps to limit the use and exposure of PFAS in order to mitigate potential health concerns. That said, they still seem to be prevalent, and it’s probably best, again, to control what you can control. 

Here’s a rundown of cookware that does not contain PFAS:

1. Cast iron cookware. Cast iron pans and skillets are a PFAS-free option. They are known for their excellent heat retention and durability. Seasoning the cast iron properly helps create a natural non-stick surface. Most cast iron skillets come pre-seasoned, and even then, you’ll still want to use a high quality oil to cook with such as olive oil, avocado oil, grass fed butter, and animal fats like tallow. I exclusively use a cast iron skillet for all cooking stovetop. 

2. Glass and ceramic cookware. Glass and ceramic dishes are generally free from PFAS. They are great for baking and oven use. For oven use, and storing leftover food in the fridge, I prefer glass, as some ceramics may still be coated with something containing toxic compounds, 

3. Carbon steel cookware. Similar to cast iron, carbon steel pans can be a PFAS-free alternative. They are lighter and more responsive to temperature changes than cast iron. It’s worth noting that carbon steel is different from stainless steel. Stainless steel is also PFAS free, however, it’s treated to be “stainless” through a process known as “anodization”, whereas carbon steel is not treated. 

Movement #3: Press

This week’s “Movement for Life” is an upper body pressing movement. 

Everything I outline in this segment (with video tutorial links) are movements that require no more than a single kettlebell, and can be done anywhere, and don’t need to be part of an actual exercise regimen. 

If not part of an exercise regimen, just work these movements into your life and day throughout the week, as when put together over time, will build functional strength, increase mobility, and boost your metabolism. All things that will benefit us tremendously as we age. 

These movements are ideal for kids and young teens to work on specific mobility and reduce risk of injury in sports, all the way up to the eldest of adults. 

An upper body pressing movement refers to any exercise or movement that involves pushing a weight or resistance away from your body using your upper body muscles. These movements primarily target the muscles of the chest, shoulders, and triceps, and they help to develop upper body strength and muscular endurance.

Here are some upper body pressing movements that can be done with a single kettlebell:

1. Kettlebell Shoulder Press. Hold the kettlebell at shoulder height with your palm facing forward, and press it overhead, fully extending your arm. Lower the kettlebell back down to shoulder level and repeat. CLICK HERE to watch a quick example. 

2. Kettlebell Push Press. Start with the kettlebell at shoulder level, perform a slight dip in your knees, and then explosively press the kettlebell overhead by using the momentum generated from your lower body. Control the descent and repeat. I really like the added “power” you develop with the movement, which is great for functional strength. Not only being able to move weight, but moving it with explosiveness and power is extremely beneficial. CLICK HERE to watch an example.

3. Kettlebell Floor Press. Lie on your back on the floor or a bench, holding the kettlebells in each hand. With your elbows on the floor and bent at 90 degrees, press the kettlebells straight up until your arms are fully extended. Lower them 
back down and repeat. CLICK HERE to watch an example. 

“As we postpone, life speeds us by.”

The universe is objective. 

It does not discern. 

It doesn’t play favorites. 

It does not judge, nor discriminate. 

It just keeps moving. 

There will always be reasons (aka “excuses”) to put off a big decision, to not put fear aside and take that proverbial plunge with something you know you should do. 

The timing will never be just right. 

The fear of loss, of being vulnerable, of getting outside your comfort zone is strong. 

But so is regret. 

The regret of not taking that plunge, of giving in to fear, or waiting for the right time, that never seems to come. 

While you postpone, the rest of the world keeps moving. 

I’ve personally found that life turns out best, and the universe most conspires with you, when you simply keep it moving forward.