/Food

For everything from cupcakes, to pie, to cornbread we've got you covered

Non-Toxic Baking Essentials

Roundups

Updated for 2021!

Whether you are a full on baker or just someone who struggles with the directions on the back of a box of cake mix, having the right pans is always a necessity. While nonstick may seem like an amazing invention to help with this, you should shy away from it (read this to learn why) and check out these great alternatives. Same goes for cooking, so check out our non-toxic alternatives to non-stick pans roundup.

Cuisinart Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls with Lids
Farberware Professional Stainless Steel Whisk
OXO Good Grips Silicone Spatula
Wilton Aluminum Springform Pan
GreenLife Ceramic Nonstick Muffin Pan
Nordic Ware Aluminum Square Cake Pan
GreenLife Ceramic Nonstick Loaf Pan
Pyrex 3 Quart Glass Baking Dish 9" x 13"
TeamFar Stainless Steel Baking Sheet with Rack Set
If You Care Parchment Baking Paper
Emile Henry Modern Classics Pie Dish
Silicone Bundt Cake Pan 9 inch
Amazon Basics Reusable Silicone Baking Cups, Muffin Liners


*Because Health is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program so that when you click through our Amazon links, a percentage of the proceeds from your purchases will go to Because Health. We encourage you to shop locally, but if you do buy online buying through our links will help us continue the critical environmental health education work we do. Our participation does not influence our product recommendations. To read more about how we recommend products, go to our methodology page.

Roundups

Non-Toxic Alternatives to Non-Stick Pans

No need for Teflon to get a clean releasing pan

Updated for 2021!

By now, you've probably heard that Teflon and other chemicals used to make pans nonstick aren't great for your health. But, maybe that left you asking how you were supposed to get the perfectly cooked fried egg without it sticking to the pan. Look no further, we have a found a collection of pans that aren't covered in toxic chemicals that still get the perfect sear without the best parts being left stuck on the bottom of the pan. These pans are durable and will last a lifetime. If you're looking to make some delicious baked goods, check out our alternatives for non-stick baking.

non stick pan alternative with no teflon

a) Debuyer Elemental Iron and Carbon Steel

b) Craft Wok Traditional Hand Hammered Carbon Steel Wok


c) Made In Blue Carbon Steel Frying Pan

d) Lodge Cast Iron

e) Staub Perfect Pan
f) Victoria Cast Iron

g) Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Skillet


h) All-Clad D3 Stainless Cookware Fry Pan
i) The Ringer (perfect for cleaning both cast iron and carbon steel)


*Because Health is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program so that when you click through our Amazon links, a percentage of the proceeds from your purchases will go to Because Health. We encourage you to shop locally, but if you do buy online buying through our links will help us continue the critical environmental health education work we do. Our participation does not influence our product recommendations. To read more about how we recommend products, go to our methodology page.

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Spooky snacks are so fun, whether you're having a Halloween party or just want to make snack time special. But so many Halloween treats use artificial dyes and food colorings, are filled with refined sugars, and/or are highly processed with lots of unnecessary plastic packaging.

Today we're sharing our two favorite super easy Halloween spooky snacks. These healthier Halloween treats are really fun to make with kids or just because it's fun to get in the spooky spirit. Both of them use homemade edible googly eyes made from mini-marshmallows and mini chocolate chips. Try them out for your next snack time or for a fun holiday gathering!

Mummy Graham Crackers with Easy Googly Eyes

Ingredients

  • Graham Crackers
  • Hazelnut chocolate butter (like Nutella or Justin's) or sub almond butter, peanut butter, sunflower butter
  • Coconut strips
  • Mini-marshmallows
  • Mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Spread hazelnut chocolate butter on a graham cracker.
  2. Add two marshmallows near the top edge of the graham cracker.
  3. Squish an upside down mini chocolate chip in the middle of the marshmallow.
  4. Arrange coconut strips to make the rest of the cracker look like a mummy.



Apple Monster Mouths with Easy Googly Eyes

Ingredients

  • Apple
  • Nut butter (almond butter, peanut butter, sunflower butter)
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Mini-marshmallows
  • Mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Cut the apple into thick wedges. Then cut out a sliver on the outside of the slice for the mouth.
  2. Add nut butter into the cut out mouth.
  3. Arrange sunflower seeds to look like teeth.
  4. Add a dab of nut butter onto the sides of 2 marshmallow and slice on top of the slice for eyes
  5. Squish an upside down mini chocolate chip in the middle of the marshmallow.



Artificial food colorings are everywhere in our daily lives. They show up in lots of foods that we eat daily, like cereals, and in lots of treats like candy and baked goods. You can even find them in places you wouldn't think to look, like tomato sauce, farmed salmon, and even pickles! They are found in so many of our foods, yet we do not think much about them. So what makes up these colors that stay bright even when heated and stored for long periods of time? Keep reading if you want to know more about what artificial food colorings (also known as artificial dyes) are made of and how they affect your health!

What are artificial food colorings and what are they made of?

First off, if we're not making a rainbow cake, why do we even need food coloring in the first place? Well, consumers prefer that the color of their food match its flavor. Sadly, a lot (up to 70%!!) of the foods Americans consume are highly processed and end up a different color than we'd expect them to be. A gray hotdog or khaki colored candy would throw us off and probably wouldn't be as appetizing, right?

While there are many natural food coloring options, many companies choose to go with artificial food colorings because they're cheaper. The FDA has approved seven artificial food colorings for consumption in the United States, but these colors can be mixed and matched to create many different shades. Here's the bad news: the majority of them are made out of petroleum and crude oil (1). Even though the final product is highly refined and is tested to not have any traces of petroleum, we really don't like the idea of consuming something made from crude oil!

Are artificial food colorings bad for my health?

The jury is still out. In 2008, the Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the FDA to ban artificial food colorings because of recent studies that found a small, but significant, negative effect of these substances on children's behavior (2). These substances were also found to be carcinogenic, cause hypersensitivity reactions, and instigate behavioral problems (3). These findings were largely controversial, and the FDA ruled that artificial food colorings could still be used in food products without the use of a warning label. But earlier this year, OEHHA published a study on the potential health effects of synthetic dyes in children and found that there is evidence that "indicates that synthetic food dyes are associated with adverse neurobehavioral outcomes in children" (4). This information is not new to the European Union though. Six years ago, studies conducted by British government also found a link between adverse neurobehavioral outcomes in children and artificial dyes. This prompted the British government to urge food companies to stop using artificial food dyes in their products, and for the European Union to pass a new law "requiring that any food that contained [artificial] dyes ... would have to put a warning notice on, warning consumers that the dyes might trigger hyperactivity" (5). This law effectively made artificial food coloring impossible to find in foods made and sold in the EU.

Should you avoid artificial food colorings?

Even though more research needs to be done to reach conclusive findings, the current evidence is not looking good for artificial food coloring. While we wait for the results of these studies, we can take proactive steps in protecting our health. It's been established that the food we consume plays a large role in our health and unhealthy, highly processed foods are some of the biggest sources of artificial food colorings. By removing these products from your diet, you can improve your overall health and reduce the amount of artificial food colorings you consume.

What to use intsead

However, if you find yourself baking two dozen cupcakes the night before a big bake sale or you toddler has requested a rainbow cake for their birthday and you have to use food coloring, make sure to use natural food coloring. Common natural food coloring can come from beets, carrots, saffron, turmeric, spinach, blueberries, and blackberries and do not have any negative health consequences. Plus, natural food coloring is becoming increasingly popular and they're really easy to find in stores! Here are some of our favorites:


Plant-Based Food Color Variety Pack by Supernatural

India Tree Nature's Colors Decorating Set

Suncore Foods – Premium Pink Pitaya Supercolor Powder

Suncore Foods – Premium Blue Butterfly Pea Supercolor Powder

References

  1. https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/resources/highschool/chemmatters/past-issues/2015-2016/october-2015/food-colorings.html
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3441937/
  3. https://cspinet.org/resource/food-dyes-rainbow-risks
  4. https://oehha.ca.gov/risk-assessment/report/health...
  5. https://www.nhpr.org/2014-03-28/why-m-ms-are-made-...
Food

Better for You Halloween Candy

Tasty treats without the harmful ingredients!

Sure, Halloween costumes and decorations are fun, but we're really just after that tasty candy. Those perfectly portioned Halloween candy packages make a perfect mid-afternoon pick-me-up! But a lot of candy, especially in America, contain harmful ingredients like artificial colors, artificial flavors, and just odd chemicals like titanium dioxide (yes, the same titanium dioxide you see in sunscreen). That's why we found our favorite, better-for-you, Halloween candy! Yes, no candy is truly good for you (so much sugar...) but our picks only contain natural ingredients and colors, and taste amazing! Try some today!


Black Forest Organic Gummy Bears Candy

Unreal, Candy Coated Chocolate Crispy Quinoa Gems Bag

SMASHMALLOW Individually Wrapped Assorted Flavors

Little Secrets Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt Crispy Wafers

REESE'S Organic Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups


Annie's Bunnies and Bats Fruit Snacks


Yum Earth Halloween Organic Candy Corn

Justin's Nut Butter Organic Mini Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Food

Homemade Coffee Creamer in 3 Delicious Flavors

Start your morning with sweet creamy coffee that doesn't contain junk ingredients

As much as we want to be that cool person in the coffee shop whose order is just "coffee, black", we always have to have a little creamer in our drink. The touch of creaminess and flavor elevates our black coffee into a real treat (in our humble opinion). It's also so fun to pick out new coffee creamer flavors, especially when we see a seasonal one.

The only problem: coffee creamer from a grocery store usually contains artificial flavors, chemical stabilizers, preservatives, and other bad ingredients. Even though it does make sense that the sugary sweet cereal-flavored, shelf-stable creamer isn't good for us, what should you get instead?!

Luckily, it's super easy to make your own coffee creamer and we've come up with a fool-proof recipe. When you see how fast and simple it is to make your own creamer, you'll never want to use store-bought ever again!

Most coffee creamer recipes call for sweetened condensed milk, but since we always want to avoid BPA-lined cans whenever possible, we use milk (or a milk alternative) instead. When you heat your own milk on the stove, you cook off some of the water, leaving behind an ultra-creamy and sweet concoction. We think this creamer is even better with some fun flavoring, which is why we included the ingredients for cinnamon vanilla, mocha, and fall maple flavors. But feel free to experiment with your own! Why not try honey or peppermint or almond? The flavor combinations are endless!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups milk (either full fat dairy, almond, or coconut milk)
  • ¾ cup sugar (adjust this amount based on how sweet you like your creamer)

Optional Flavorings

  • Cinnamon French Vanilla- ½ tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Mocha- 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • Fall Maple- Substitute 1/3 cup maple syrup for ½ cup of sugar

Instructions

  1. Combine the milk and sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Boil at a high simmer for approximately 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced to about 2 cups.
  2. Turn the heat off and add optional flavoring ingredients and whisk until combined.
  3. Store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Roundups

Our Favorite Reusable Coffee and Tea Mugs

Stainless steel, ceramic, and glass options for your hot drinks

Whether you like to make it at home or pick it up at your favorite coffee shop, everyone has their favorite hot beverage to get their mornings started. Help make a dent in the amount of trash created by to go cups, and improve your health a little bit in the process. Not to mention that these stainless steel, ceramic, and glass options are better at keeping your drinks hot throughout the morning. These options are highly reviewed and have a variety of shapes and sizes so you can pick your favorite. Also check out our picks for reusable water bottles. Many of the same brands also have insulated and tumbler versions that are perfect for coffee and tea.

a) Pure Zen Tea Tumbler with Infuse

b) Vibrant All in ONE Travel Mug - Tea Infuser Bottle

c) THERMOS Stainless King Vacuum-Insulated Beverage Bottle

d) KeepCup 12oz Reusable Coffee Cup

e) Lenox Butterfly Meadow Thermal Travel Mug

f) Ello Jane Ceramic Travel Mug with Slider Lid

g) JOCO 16oz Glass Reusable Coffee Cup

*Because Health is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program so that when you click through our Amazon links, a percentage of the proceeds from your purchases will go to Because Health. We encourage you to shop locally, but if you do buy online buying through our links will help us continue the critical environmental health education work we do. Our participation does not influence our product recommendations. To read more about how we recommend products, go to our methodology page.

popular

Is Your Tea Bag Made with Plastic?

Silky pyramids, plastic sealed bags, and what brands are actually fully compostable

Whether you like to pretend you are British all the time, or just have a cold, chances are you are making that cup of tea with a conveniently packaged tea bag. While tea bags are great (and basically everywhere) there's something you should know about that innocent tea bag. Many of them use plastic to keep them sealed shut. Nope, not just on the wrapper the tea bag actually comes in, but the bag itself. The idea of a plastic soaking in boiling hot water just does not sound cozy to us. But thankfully, there are some easy changes you can make if you feel the same way we do.

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