Our Guide for Plastic-free Cooking Appliances

The food we eat is of utmost importance to anybody who wants to live healthily.

No doubt that choosing the right food is adamant but so is its quality. And the tools we use to prepare it can greatly influence if our high quality food is as healthy after we process it as when we first bought it.

In particular, the kitchen appliances we use to stir, boil, blend, chop or mix our food together should be made from non-toxic materials. That is so important because the food does not simply sit in these appliances but is heated and vigorously thrown up and down as we process it.

We simply need to be sure that it does not rub any unhealthy substances from the walls of our appliances.

In most cases, this means to choose those appliances that are made from natural, non-toxic materials and avoid plastic/synthetic materials as much as possible.

Things to consider about plastic kitchen appliances:

How much is heat involved?

Heat ages the plastic and makes it more prone to leach toxins into your food.

If you boil or bake something with the appliance, then it should be from natural materials.

Is there friction?

When your appliance forces the food into the plastic parts, friction is created.

Such friction makes it more likely for microscopic parts of the plastic to go into your food. Also, heat is generated, which further weakens the plastic and makes it more prone to leach toxins.

Electric kettle

The electric kettle is probably the easiest appliance to get suspicious of.

That distinct smell your water obtains when you boil it is not normal. Its the smell of plastic.

Heating plastic is one of the prime ways to quickly release the toxins into liquids and that smell is a so obvious signal.

Probably because many people find the smell so alarming, on the market today there is a myriad of choices for glass/metal kettles and their price has fallen to as little as $20.

When buying, though, look for any plastic parts inside, such as structural supports or parts of the handle.

That is why we do not recommend buying the cheapest kettle. Even when if on the photos you cannot see any plastic parts, in many cases, to insulate the space between the heater and the glass, synthetic silicon is used. It is placed directly next to the heater and is likely to leach toxins.

Our personal recommendation: Royal Electric Kettle. We have been using it for four years at least a couple of times a day and it is a great kettle.

Also, many high-end kettles are not made out of glass because plastic insulates better, which makes these models faster and more efficient.

We believe, however, that health is far more important than efficiency or commodity. That is why we are not using anymore our Siemens high-power kettle, which is faster, yet its made out of the plastic inside.

The all-glass kettle we have produces no smell at all!

Jug blender

In general, jug blenders should be non-plastic. The friction between your fast-moving smoothie and the plastic parts generates heat and toxins can leach into the food.

If you are only going to use your blender with cold products to make smoothies, then you could opt for a cheaper plastic jug blender. We say cheaper because high-powered blenders actually heat the food so mu that they can make you a soup!

We would simply advise you to go for an adequately powered glass jug blender.

Glass jug blenders are quite popular and apparently plastic free. If you look closely, however, usually the bottom of the jug, where the blade is held, is made out of plastic.

The bottom is the first place which a hot liquid touches when poured into the jug!

As hot liquids are very good at transferring toxins from plastic into our food, having an all glass/metal blender is a must for us.

Our choice was an 800W Braun with an all metal bottom and a glass jug.

Hand blender

Hand blenders should not be plastic.

They create a lot of friction and heat when blending your food, so they should have stainless steel blender foot.

Even if you can choose a simpler one, you are OK. Even if you get a more expensive one, throw away the plastic beaker and get a tempered glass one.

Also, we would not get tempted to buy those higher-end ones that come with a plastic chopper and whatever not. Read on and get a proper chopper.

Mixer

We use a hand mixer, as it takes less space to store and is easier to take it and use it.

A countertop alternative takes more time and effort for us to prepare for use.

Go for a mixer that has all-metal beaters (compared to others which have plastic elements in them).

If we went for a countertop model at some point, we would choose one with an all-metal bowl as well as beaters.

Chopper

Our food chopper was part of a multipurpose kitchen robot we had, combined with a mixer, blender etc. And it was all plastic as is mostly everything today.

You could go for a plastic bowl chopper if you are going to use it with cold foods. Similarly like the case with jug blenders, though, we do not advise it. When you chop food, you force the food into the walls, create friction, heat. These ways it becomes easier for toxins to leach from the plastic into your food.

When buying a chopper, you cannot escape plastic parts but you can minimize them. Also, choose safer types of plastic for the parts where its use is inevitable.

There are a lot of models where the bowl of the chopper itself is glass. Since the bowl has the most contact with the food, a glass bowl chopper is very important for us. 

Unfortunately, all the choppers we could find on the market had a plastic lid, which houses the motor.

To minimise the contact between the plastic lid and the food, we went for a bigger, taller model. In this case, the food very rarely touches the plastic.

Another thing to be careful about is the materials that the lid is made out of. On many models, it is made from cheaper, toxic plastics such as PS (polystyrene), which we advise to avoid. The more upmarket models have SAN (BPA/phthalates free) lids, which is one of the safest plastics we know of.

Food processor

We had a food processor which was all plastic and we simply threw it away.

Unfortunately, we could not find a glass/metal food processor, at least one that had its chopper and blender bowl plastic-free.

Because of this, we decided to go for a separate hand mixer, blender and chopper, which are all of metal or glass.

Steam cooker

We believe that there should not be any plastic parts in a steam cooker.

Steam is an ideal medium to transfer toxins from the plastic walls and trays of the cooker into the food.

Being hot and moist, it touches the plastic, easily absorbs the toxins. Then it circulates to touch and enter the food that is supposed to be cooked healthily.

That is, even with the models where the food sits on metal, the steam is bound to touch the plastic and carry the toxicity into the food.

The solution is actually quite simple and inexpensive: get a Steamer Pot. You can cook food on multiple levels and enjoy steamed food with the least chance of toxicity.

Alternatively, a rice/multi-cooker with ceramic pan and metal lid is also a great option.

Juicer

Choosing a non-plastic juicer is quite a challenge.

There are only quite a few options available such as the Breville Die-Cast Juice Fountain Elite Juicer and the Angel Juicer.

However, do you actually need a non-plastic juicer?

Centrifugal (fast) juicers

When choosing a centrifugal juicer, we believe that it is important that the fast spinning parts (the ‘knife’) and the mesh are not plastic.

It is here, where the heat is generated and where your food is in greatest contact with the juicer.

The rest of the parts of the juicer only briefly touch the food and they could be plastic. Of course, you should check that these are safer types of plastic, such as SAN/AS.

A good example is this lower cost Breville Juice Fountain.

Slow Juicers

Slow juicers come in many sub-types and are generally plastic.

These juicers provide higher quality juice precisely because they do not create friction or heat your fruit and veg while juicing.

Hence, there is very little danger for toxins to leach into your juice. Simply go for a juicer that is BPA-free.

Our personal recommendation: the Omega VSJ843.

Coffee machine

We have phased out tea and coffee from our diet for a while now. We drink lemon water/fresh juice in the morning and an occasional afternoon green tea, which we prepare with our glass electric kettle.

As far as plastic is concerned, the water tank and all the tubing inside many of the coffee machines we know of, is made out of plastic.

It is alarming for us that hot water travels trough plastic tubes.

Inspect the inner tubing of the coffee machine before you buy it.

Also, check the materials the tubes are made out of. If you must buy a unit with plastic tubes, go for safer plastics such as PP (polypropylene).

Breadmaker

Our concern with bread makers is the non-stick coating – it should be PFOA free. The perfluorooctanoic acid is a known carcinogen which should be avoided.

Our current bread maker is PFOA free, however, we try to use it only to knead as there is little heat involved. There are also some bread makers, which have ceramic pans.

For the baking then we use the steam cooker. That way we have a better-looking bread and we can bake it in safe ovenware.

Deep fryer, grill and sandwich maker:

These have been collecting dust in the cupboard for a while now. We have stopped using these as we went for healthier cooking methods such as steaming or simply oven-baking.

If we were to use a grill, we would go for ceramic coated instead of Teflon coated, as grills tend to reach high temperatures and the ceramic coating does not emit toxins at high temperatures as Teflon does.

There are all-metal, stainless steel grills also. However, they are notoriously hard to clean and the burnt food residue that is left on the grill is carcinogenic.

What are your considerations when using kitchen appliances?

Tell us in the comments below.

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