The news has a way of scaring the life out of us when telling us what NOT to do, but they often fail in the area of telling us what TO do.  Confusing advice comes from a variety of sources, most of which have financial gain in taking the position that they do (usually to sell some kind of product).  You don’t have to look hard to find advice in the news about the importance of avoiding non stick pans (great article Here).  Unfortunately, that is where most advice stops.

I have found great success in my practice, as well as in our home, from using cast iron pans.  I deal with many women who are anemic (especially those who have undergone gastric bypass surgery) and have had great success in increasing iron levels naturally, without the constipation side effect often brought about by iron supplements.

Cooking in a cast iron pan is a little different than cooking in a traditional pan, but once you get used to the difference, it is just as easy.

  1. Never use soap…..ever!  Soap in a cast iron pan will remove the “seasoning” which will make your foods stick.  I have not washed mine with soap in years, and have only re seasoned it once (when the kids were trying to be helpful and put soap in it).  If for some reason that happens with yours, Here  is a link to an easy way to re season your pan.
  2. Use plenty of oil when you cook.  I have written several articles about the importance of including healthy fat into your diet, so if you haven’t already, begin to embrace healthy fats like coconut oil and grass fed butter (Kerrygold is great) when cooking.  It doesn’t take much, but when you use a little bit of oil, a cast iron pan is just as non stick as a non-stick pan.
  3. Pour a cup of water in it while you eat your dinner.  Instead of leaving your pan to dry and cool on the stove, pour a cup of water in it to loosen any food particles.  Don’t worry.  Pouring water in a cast iron pan will not warp it.
  4. Rub it with oil before putting it away.  Before you put your pan in the cabinet, rub the cooking surface with some oil.  This preserves its “seasoning” and keeps it non-stick.

Whether or not you struggle with anemia, cooking in a cast iron pan is a simple way to decrease your family’s chemical exposure.  Below is a great chart that outlines how much iron your food absorbs from the pan. These are just a few examples, but it is great to see how different foods change in nutritional value just based on their cooking surface. Studies show that it only takes 2-5 minutes of cooking for non-stick pans to begin to release toxins from the surface, so switching to a cast iron pan and having your body absorb some beneficial iron is a safe and healthy alternative.

Foods tested
(100 g./3 oz.)
Iron content
when raw
Iron content
after cooking in iron skillet
Spaghetti sauce 0.61 5.77
Chili with meat and beans 0.96 6.27
Scrambled egg 1.49 4.76
Spaghetti sauce with meat 0.71 3.58
Beef vegetable stew 0.66 3.4
Fried egg 1.92 3.48
Pan broiled bacon 0.77 1.92
Pan seared green beans 0.64 1.18
Pan broiled hamburger 1.49 2.29

Heart with Leaf


  • Being a member of Heart In Motion, you already have a mindset of wellness and are making great changes toward the health of your body and your life.  Consider making this switch to both decrease your toxic load and to naturally increase your iron without supplements.