Conscious Kitchen

Purist’s must-have culinary essentials to support low-tox living.
Photo: Getty Images

By Jenna Lebovits

Cooking, one of our most basic forms of medicine, nourishes the mind, body and soul. Americans spend more than 400 hours in the kitchen each year, and many of the items used in this space are laden with forever chemicals (PTFEs, PFOAs, PFAS) and potentially toxic materials like lead and cadmium. No matter what healthy, organic ingredients you are cooking, these chemicals lurking in common cookware are linked to long-term health risks. Low toxin, or low tox for short, is an emerging lifestyle movement which focuses on reducing the number of toxins an individual is directly exposed to, inside the home and beyond. In the kitchen, experts recommend opting for nontoxic cookware—ceramic, cast iron, stainless steel and wooden cutting boards—and bonus points if you use an eco- and hormone-friendly dish soap.

Get curious about the testing that goes (or doesn’t go) into the production of kitchenware, and the material used for any coatings. To optimize whole-body health, avoid Teflon nonstick (especially in pans  manufactured prior to 2013), aluminum and unlined copper cookware altogether, and eliminate plastic cutting boards and utensils. Consider making these seven simple swaps for a cleaner kitchen:

An entire culinary system in just two pieces, this duo is designed to replace a 12-item set.

All of Our Place’s straightforward, aesthetically pleasing cookware—from the Insta-famous Always Pan to its latest Ovenware collection—is committed to the highest level of safety, with each of its products being free from Teflon, PFAS and other potentially harmful chemicals, including GenX chemicals.. Our Place conducts its own independent third-party testing.. Ceramic is a top choice material for clean cooking, as it’s a nonreactive material and contains no additives, so you don’t have to worry about any nasty chemicals leaching into your food, ever. Home cook duo, $235, 

Stainless steel emits zero toxins when heated and does not react with ingredients.

Crafted with both home and professional cooks in mind, this premium 18/10 stainless steel set has all the essentials you need. Featuring even heat distribution from all ends of the pan and safety on all heat sources, this set offers unparalleled durability and performance and a nontoxic cooking experience, as it has no engineered nonstick coating. Tri-Ply clad 10 piece stainless steel cookware set with glass lids, $230, 

The cast-iron skillet is a full pound lighter than most modern pans on the market.

Meet your new everyday pan—a specially crafted, smoother, lightweight cast-iron skillet—and your next heritage kitchen piece. This dynamic multitasker, 100 percent made in the USA, is naturally nonstick without harmful chemicals or engineered coatings. All skillets arrive preseasoned with three layers of organic grapeseed oil, ready for immediate use. No. 6 cast-iron skillet, $135, 

The Dutch oven—available in more than 20 colors—is ideal for everything from slow-cooking to baking, frying and more.

A staple in the kitchens of home cooks and professional chefs alike, the Le Creuset Dutch oven, expertly crafted by French artisans from enameled cast iron, is easy to clean and highly versatile. More than just a stunning piece of cookware, it’s functional and clean, too. Enjoy a lifetime limited warranty and safe, nontoxic cooking on any heat source. Round Dutch oven, from $390, 

Maple, due to its durability and antibacterial properties, is the most popular wood choice for cutting boards.

This simple, straightforward board by John Boos & Co. brings you as close to nature as you can get, with one solid piece of renewable Northern hard rock maple, which has natural antibacterial properties. Maple, due to its dense grain pattern, is proven to inhibit bacterial growth, whereas plastic boards can easily harbor bacteria inside cut grooves. Opt for a wooden cutting board for a nontoxic, knife-friendly, more sustainable option. Maple rustic-edge design cutting board 1-3/4″ thick, from $90,

A 100 percent nontoxic stainless steel kettle by Caraway keeps boiled water pure.

A modern take on a kitchen classic, Caraway’s ceramic-coated stainless steel tea kettle is created with 100% nontoxic materials to keep your boiled water pure and chemical-free. This is the one kitchen essential you won’t mind leaving out on your stovetop. Choose from nine bright, modern colors, from marigold to mist green—and elevate your at-home tea experience. Whistling tea kettle, $245,

Banana leaf extract and essential oils hydrate and protect the skin while effectively cutting through grease and grime.

Not your average dish soap, this power-packed, probiotic-infused duo by Cymbiotika utilizes five bio-enzymes to target stubborn dirt and grime, while gently cleansing the skin. The nontoxic, plant-based soap is microbiome-safe, and leaves hands soft and supple. Dish soap kit, $36,