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About 3 years back when I got married and started setting up my kitchen in a health-conscious manner, I was in a dilemma. I wondered if this is just a passing fad in me or is there something more to it. I also asked myself, if I was on my way to making life more complicated. But, 3 years have passed, and now I wonder how I had been living for so long with my old habits as a bachelor. Here are some of the things that started as a conscious decision and have become second nature to my kitchen. Take a look and see if there’s something you would like to adopt too.

1. REPLACE YOUR NON-STICK TEFLON COATED TAWAS WITH BASIC IRON ONES

The chief reason being that iron tawas are healthier i.e. if leeched into food, it will only raise iron and thereby hemoglobin levels; whereas Teflon is known to have cancer-causing properties. Apart from being a healthier option, there are also a few other bonuses with using iron tawas. They are sturdier and really low maintenance, which means you can handle them roughly, scrape them squeaky clean when washing without any worry of damaging the surface, and they last for years, so you needn’t bother about replacing them every now and then. What’s more, they are cheaper and very easily found. They come with strong wooden handles which do not get heated up so you can freely hold them. Yes, they are naturally a bit heavier than other materials, but only after a few weeks, my arms got used to the new weight. So, needless to say, a total win-win from all aspects.

2. REPLACE YOUR ALUMINIUM KADAIS WITH IRON KADAIS

You may not know or realize it. But I have seen aluminum leeching into my food when cooking in aluminum-based utensils such as pressure cooker and kadais. Don’t believe me? Just run a steel spoon across the surface as if to scrape off the surface and you will be surprised by how easily aluminum gives in to heat and scratching. Aluminum is definitely not a metal you want going in your body. It gets deposited in difficult places and caused damage to the affected – which could be kidneys or even brain. Iron kadai, on the other hand, gets heated up faster, cools down faster, is again very easy to handle and adds healthier supplements to our diet. Compared to the health problems that it presents, I find this age-old tradition a genius, to say the least. In return, it asks for the cultivation of a simple habit, that of emptying the vessel of its contents after cooking so as to prevent rusting. Also, before every use, it needs to be cleaned to remove any rust formed after prolonged exposure to atmospheric moisture.

3. GO FOR A STAINLESS STEEL PRESSURE COOKER

It is somewhat costlier than aluminum pressure cookers, but way safer. Again, I have seen the aluminum seeties melting away into food owing to excess heat of the water vapor. Trust me, it is not something you should overlook or ignore. The day I noticed it (thanks to my scrupulous eye when it comes to anything on my plate) was the last day I ever used an aluminum pressure cooker. Stainless steel ones are way sturdier, easier to maintain and clean, they do not leech anything into the food, and they don’t get thinner by years of washing which is the case with aluminum ones, by the way.

4. REPLACE YOUR PLASTIC DABBAS WITH STEEL OR GLASS ONES

I always preferred the idea of having transparent dabbas for storing daals and masalas then having opaque steel ones. It is much easier to check the stock levels and to search for items when you can see through the dabbas. However, that’s no excuse for keeping an array of plastic containers for the food we ingest. Cooked food storage (say, tiffins) or uncooked food storage (grocery dabbas) should never be plastic ones, no matter what. If using the microwave is a must-have, go for glassware. They are not as scared as they are made out to be. It is just a matter of habit. I have been using glass jars (80%) and steel jars (20%) for storing all my food items – pulses, spices, cereals, breakfast items and so on, and never has any glass jar broken or been misused in the last three years. what’s more, when exposed to detergent, scrubber, and heat, I do not have to worry about the surface coming off.

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