On the journey of wellness, vitality and conscious living, it seems we can easily overlook the everyday tools that we engage with while we focus on the bigger, bolder, more novel aspects of our physical and emotional landscapes. It’s human nature. The newest holistic concept or or superfood to join our kitchen, the deeply transformative retreat we recently emerged from, the profound session with a gifted healer, nutritionist, bodyworker.. there are so many powerful keys to a more balanced and vital here and now, and yet if we don’t upgrade our basics too, we are missing a piece of the jigsaw puzzle. It has taken me some years to comprehend on a physical and emotional level that it’s the tiny little stitches of life’s enormous tapestry that make it as vibrant and beautiful as it is – not just the big, bright and the obvious; each, a part of the beautiful whole, just as each of our choices has a specific impact on the formation of our cells, bodies, energy, days and months in an interconnected expanse of endless potential.
Over the years, the way I look at and engage with these tools has slowly shifted. For our own inner landscapes and for our planet, living as non-toxically as possible is the only way forward. I was shown a big blind spot when I moved house and realised (or, rather, was shown by my good friend and packing angel Jayne) how ancient, sad and most importantly toxic some of my old cookware was. I knew it, but I was conflicted about replacing it. We spend so much time and energy on discovering beautiful new ingredients and recipes with which to nourish ourselves, and yet most of them meet their fate in a tired non-stick saucepan that no one can even remember acquiring, and which is silently leaking chemicals into the very medicine we seek to create. For me, at least, it has been a ghost in the kitchen cupboard and one I am grateful to have had the time, luck and opportunity to finally overhaul.
The main offender that gets the most airtime is PFCs, long-chain per fluorinated chemicals, used in non-stick manufacturing. The Guardian recently reported on links with them and various types of tumour in animals as well as reduced fertility. Research in humans is less extensive but PFCs are known to accumulate in our bodies as well as those of animals; there is a good piece written about the dangers by the Telegraph and I don’t need to paraphrase it. From a holistic point of view, non-stick pans are far from natural and yet remain a huge block for many of us. Like fashion, cosmetics, and all the other things we consume, it’s one in a long list of things that needs greater attention, intelligence and engagement if we are to truly engage in a conscious lifestyle. Stainless steel (which is coated in chromium but leaches minimally) is also an option, and nobody or kitchen or diet is perfect, but a chance to bring some beauty into the cooking process is always welcome and that is exactly what these alternative pans do.
Jayne told me about Visions ceramic cookware and since using it I will never look back. The pieces are crafted from a non-porous ceramic glass, Pyroceram, which was created to protect space shuttles from external temperature and pressure extremes. It is made (in France and the US) to last for generations, equally at home under high heat or in the freezer, and the transparent nature of the ceramic glass is a wonder to cook with, whatever you are boiling, frying, simmering or roasting: food is medicine and watching it transform through heat is a whole meditation within itself. They are also energy saving, cooking at lower temperatures, non-porous and retain zero food on the surface so they really are a blank culinary canvas.
If life is the ceremony, and everyday tasks become our own little rituals that provide windows to a more aware, considerate and high vibration way of living, upgrading our most basic of tools is all part of the journey.And, usually, it doesn’t happen overnight but is a long and ongoing process which reflects our deepening commitment to a better way of living. This has a particularly powerful resonance with food because it is the basis of our every cell and DNA. Someone left such a lovely comment on my instagram, imagining the rich potential in honouring every little step of how we prepare our meals: “each part of the process could be beauty, from how you grow, to what you put in when gathering, to beautiful natural cooking tools, and finally beautiful serving dishes and plates and tables, in a beautiful environment.” (@bhaksarakalyana). With each consumer choice, we can do our best to make every moment beauty-ful.