Tag: PFAS

Cooking With An Air Fryer: Is It Healthier Or Just Blowing Hot Air?

Cooking With An Air Fryer: Is It Healthier Or Just Blowing Hot Air?

The pros of an air fryer: less calories and fat, less greasy smell and less time cooking. What’s not to like? I’ll tell you what to watch out for…

If there’s one thing I’m honest about it’s my one addiction: french fries. While I, as a certified nutritional therapist, preach about health concerns around fried food and GMOs  and “forever chemicals” (PFAs) in fast food, like kryptonite to Superman, I am powerless against frozen Russet potato slices submerged in a deep fryer, saturated with highly-inflammatory vegetable oil. 

Hey, I’m not perfect but I also preach the 90% rule: live a healthy lifestyle 90% of the time and live a little, within reason. 

But out of all the vices I rarely indulge in—ice cream, coffee, alcohol—eating french fries is the unhealthiest. That’s why I wanted to take a closer look at air fryers. 

Because if I start using my air fryer a lot, will I eat french fries more often, duped into thinking that they are healthy so I can indulge in my favorite vice more frequently? 

If you see an ad for an air fryer, the evidence seems pretty conclusive: they are way healthier than traditional frying. Here’s why:

  • Air fryers use much less oil and fat
  • Because of less oil, foods cooked with air fryers have less calories
  • No greasy, fried-food smell
  • Easy and tasty way to prepare vegetables for kids who don’t like steamed veggies
  • Using an air fryer may save time
  • Saves energy (lower electric bills)

Less fat. Less calories. No stank. Makes veggies more appealing. Saves time and maybe even a few pennies … What’s not to like? 

Well, before I tell you about the downsides to cooking with an air fryer, how in the heck do they work in the first place? 

Air Fryer

How Air Fryers Work

If you’re a serious foodie, then you know what a convection oven is. Unlike a conventional oven, a convection oven contains a fan and exhaust system that disperses hot, dry air evenly. This process makes veggies, meat and, yes, my fave, french fries, have a crispy mouthfeel without drying out the inside like a regular oven. 

Air fryers work in a similar way. They also have a hole-filled basket that you place the food in. The holes in the basket allow the air to circulate and cook every nook and cranny of the food. And it’s this circulating hot, dry air that gives my yummy french fries a very similar crispiness to a regular fryer, but without all that hydrogenated vegetable oil that leads to inflammation in the arteries.  

air fryer and avocado oil

Benefits Of Cooking With An Air Fryer

I highlighted the big benefits above. But let’s focus on the fact that air fryers use less oil than conventional frying. I’ve read estimates that say air frying can reduce the calorie count by up to 80%. 

That seems a bit excessive. But cooking oil is a dietary fat, which contains 9 calories per gram. Each tablespoon of oil contains 13 grams, which is approximately 120 calories in just one tablespoon. If you’re eating a lot of fries, you’re probably consuming several hundred calories from the cooking oil. For cooking a big batch of fries in an air fryer, you only need one or two teaspoons of oil. 

So you can see why this is a huge advantage of using an air fryer. 

Another benefit of using an air fryer instead of conventional frying, according to WebMD, is that it produces less of the cancer-causing chemical acrylamide. In fact, air frying may reduce the amount of acrylamide by 90%. 

The Downsides of Using An Air Fryer

But before I indulge in my favorite vice, I’m proceeding with caution because there are a few things I’ve read while researching air fryers that have made me think twice. 

For starters, some air fryers are made with Teflon. Teflon is the trademarked chemical name of polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE. PTFE is the non-sticking chemical compound that makes it easy to clean pots and pans. Some air fryer models use PTFE in the baskets to make it easier to clean the grease and oil. 

But according to a study, even at normal cooking temperatures, PTFE-coated cookware releases various gases and chemicals that present mild to severe toxicity. 

The researchers of the study seem to suggest that PTFE is bad for human health, but exactly how bad is tough to say. They write, “the toxicity and fate of ingested PTFE coatings are also not understood.” 

So if you’re going to buy an air fryer, purchase one with either a ceramic or stainless steel basket. 

Another risk of using an air fryer frequently, especially for animal protein is that any type of frying creates free-radical damage through oxidation. Oxidation is what causes premature aging. Yes, air frying might be healthier than conventional frying, but that doesn’t necessarily give your arteries a free pass to eat animal flesh more often. 

Supposedly, adding fresh parsley or chives to meat can prevent some of the oxidation, but I wouldn’t rely on that. 

In addition, if you’re cooking wild salmon or grass-fed beef, both of which are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, air frying can reduce the amount of omega-3s in the cooking process. 

Air fryer french fries

Best Cooking Oil To Use With An Air Fryer

Remember, a major benefit of cooking with an air fryer is that it reduces the amount of harmful vegetable oil that conventional french fries are cooked in. But the paradox of using an air fryer is that because it requires much less cooking oil, you might be depriving your body of healthy fats. 

So if you are cooking with an air fryer, use avocado oil or walnut oil and drizzle olive oil on your salad. 

Conclusion

Using an air fryer is better than regular frying. But for optimal health, lightly cooking your food by sautéing or baking or light grilling may produce less oxidation

But every now and then, I may just pull out my ceramic air fryer and give in to my french fry addiction. 

Chef V

PFAS: Why Fast Food is Worse for you than Ever

TESTING FOR PFAS

Sample Code

above, testing water for presence of PFAS

Fast Food: It’s Worse Than You Think!

Now why would I start off stating the obvious that you should avoid fast food? Because I just read an article in National Geographic that made me sick to my stomach. The article actually remade me think about my position on fast food that as long as you’re following my Healthy Eating Guidelines 90% of the time, it’s ok once in a blue moon to get your In ‘N Out on. Now, after reading this article, once in a blue moon is one blue moon too many. 

Here’s why….

what are PFAS

There’s a group of toxic substances called “PFAS.” PFAS is found in fire-resistant household items. What’s the connection to fast food? The toxic compounds are prevalent in fast food packaging. The PFAS substances leach into the burgers and nuggets. 

A new study analyzing PFAS in the body doesn’t conclude the threshold of how much of this class of chemicals is too much in the body. But it would seem obvious that even a trace amount of PFAS is too much. So not only are the preservatives, hormones, excess sodium, and lack of nutrients from fast food doing us harm, so is the packaging. 

The study compared levels of PFAS in people who ate fast food versus those who ate homecooked meals. After a 24-hour period, those who had eaten fast food consistently showed an increase in the amount of PFAS in their blood. 

detox tips for success

I realize we live in a world in which we can’t shield ourselves all the time from toxins; we don’t live in a bubble. However, the bad news with eating fast food is that unlike other common contaminants, which the liver can process relatively quickly, PFAS can remain for years in the body.

Chew on that next time you’re tempted to pull into the drive-thru.

Throw Out These Cancer Causing Products

pthalates in childrens toys

above, toys seized by US Customs for excessive levels of phthalates

No shocker here: diet plays a big part in avoiding symptoms that indicate that it’s time to detox

(I talked about these symptoms in my post about leaky gut.)

But there’s more to cleansing and detoxing the body than Organic Green Drinks, Detox Soups, and ultra clean vegan Protein Shakes

To give your liver a reset and help it more efficiently remove toxins and excess stored body fat, you need to make sure that the everyday household products you use don’t stress out your liver. 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from a new customer that reaches out to tell me they previously did a cleanse but their symptoms came back shortly after. 

In response, I ask them what brand of cosmetics they use, and hair care products, lotions, laundry detergent, household cleaners, toothpaste and perfume. I also ask them if they use plug-in air fresheners and spray deodorizers. 

For the many people I hear from who are new to the concept of natural health, most of the brands these people use are not all-natural. And these common everyday household cleaners, beauty- and personal care products are making people sick. 

sanitary pads and tampons

The Dangerous Chemical In Tampons, Panty Liners & Pads

Phlatates (the “ph” is silent) are synthetic chemicals. These class of chemicals contain volatile compounds that make feminine-hygiene products and dozens of plastic products flexible and resilient against wear and tear. But phthalates have been linked to breast cancer and metabolic diseases. 

In case polyester ever comes back in style (fingers crossed it doesn’t), don’t jump back on the bandwagon. That’s because polyester is one type of phthalate. Another common phthalate is polypropylene. 

Of course, you would never eat a panty liner but the problem with phthalates is that by simply handling them or breathing them in can disrupt your hormone balance. 

The average woman applies sanitary pads during her menstrual cycle 1800 days over her lifetime. If you’re not using an organic brand of sanitary pad, that’s a lot of exposure to these dangerous chemicals. The genitals, unfortunately, are an area of the body that absorbs phthalates to a higher degree. 

To minimize your exposure to phthalates, avoid plastic products with the #3 recycling icon. 

dangerous recycling symbol

The Cancer-Causing Mineral In Cosmetics

In May of last year, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) dropped a bombshell. The consumer and pharmaceutical giant announced it would no longer sell talc baby powder in North America. 

J&J said it was because of declining sales. But that’s only telling half the story. Sales were declining because of health concerns over talcum (also called talc). Talc is a mineral. Talc is completely safe. But because of its next door natural neighbor in the Earth, when it gets crushed into a powder, it becomes contaminated with a cancer-causing ingredient: asbestos. 

Talc and asbestos are located right next to each other in rock quarries. But asbestos particles can cross over into talc mining operations. And there’s no safe limit for asbestos. Once it is inhaled or enters the body, it can become highly carcinogenic. 

And that’s why there have been over 25,000 lawsuits, the overwhelming majority of them filed by minority women who developed ovarian cancer after years of applying talc to their bodies. 

But asbestos isn’t limited to baby powder. A recent study revealed that 15% of cosmetics that were tested contained asbestos, exposure to which kills some 90,000 people worldwide every year. 

talc powder

Beauty Is Skin Deep

I could go on and on about the dangers of everyday household and beauty products. And even if they don’t cause chronic diseases in one person, they can still cause the liver to get clogged. Hot flashes, night sweats and other symptoms of hormone imbalance can also be caused by synthetic chemicals. 

If there’s one and one thing only that you learn from me it’s this…

If you’re unsure of whether or not a product is safe to use, check out the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database. It’s amazing. You simply enter the name of the brand or product and if it’s in the database, it will give you a score from 1-10; the lower the overall score, the safer the product it is. 

I’ve come to love the brands, Beauty Counter and Arbonne for safe, personal care and beauty products. There are many others. While they may cost more than their conventional counterparts, they may save you thousands in medical bills in the future. 

Conclusion

When it comes to cleansing your body, there’s more to it than eating clean. A holistic approach is necessary to unclog a sluggish liver. 

© 2021 Chef V, LLC.