Boosting Your Immunity For Dummies
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You already know the healthiest foods, but some kitchen equipment and gadgets makes eating well even easier. The following lists include things a cook who wants to boost immunity will find himself using often as well as a healthy cook's wish list (some nice gadgets to have, but not requirements for healthy cooking).

Essential kitchenware for healthy cooking

Having some basic equipment will make your life so much easier as you transition to cooking immune-boosting foods.

  • Baking sheets: You should have two large baking sheets with rims, which are ideal for roasting, baking, and catching drips when placed under other pans in the oven.

  • Chef’s knife and sharpening stone: The chef’s knife is the most essential tool of all. Just find one that fits comfortably in your hand (a 6- to 10-inch chef’s knife is usually the best fit for most). If your budget allows, look for a high-quality stainless steel knife because you’ll be using it so much.

    Keeping your knives sharp is essential, so get a chef’s sharpening stone. To sharpen, slide the blade forward and across the stone with moderate pressure, keeping the blade against the stone at an angle. Repeat about ten times.

  • Cutting board or mat: Most chefs love their large wooden cutting boards. Wooden cutting boards keep your knives sharp. You may also want a small plastic board or a cutting mat that’s easy to pick up so you can transport the food easily from board to pan. Plastic boards are great for trimming meats and are easy to clean up.

  • Colander: A colander is a must for draining fatty meats or steamed vegetables and for washing produce.

  • Food processor or blender: Although having both is nice, you can definitely get away with one or the other. These tools are great for creating fantastic sauces and soups. The food processor also makes slicing vegetables fast and easy.

  • Food storage containers: Use containers that are fee of the toxin BPA, which is found in plastics. Instead, opt for stackable glass containers with tight-sealing lids. These containers work well for transporting food, too.

  • Food thermometer: When you’re cooking meat, knowing the internal temperature is crucial.

  • Measuring cups and spoons: Measuring cups that range in size from 1/4 to 1 cup and measuring spoons from 1/4 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon satisfy the needs for any cook.

  • Mixing bowls: Durable mixing bowls in a range of sizes are always handy for prep work and tossing.

  • Paring knife: For smaller tasks, like slicing an apple or peeling anything, the paring knife is your guy. Again, use one that feels good in your hand.

  • Pots and pans: Get pots and pans in a range of sizes and styles, such as the following:

    • Large deep baking pan: Great for roasting vegetables and making casseroles.

    • Large sauté pan: Perfect for sautés and stir-fries. A 12-inch pan ought to do it.

    • Large soup pot: You’ll wonder how you survived without this pot. Get one larger than you think you need.

    • Large wok: This is handy for when you want a quick, throw-together meal.

    • Small and large saucepans: You’ll use these pans for a number of dishes.

    Beware of using nonstick pans if you're boosting your immune system. Although their quick cleanup may be enticing, the carcinogenic chemical used, called perfluorooctanic acid (PFOA), emits toxic fumes, which you inhale every time you cook with them! Stainless steel, ceramic, glass, or cast iron are safer, healthier alternatives.

The healthy cook's wish list

The following tools aren’t essential in a healthy cook's kitchen, but they’re certainly nice to have.

  • Food dehydrator: When you start using a food dehydrator, you’ll fall in love with its versatility, its ability to lock in the superior nutrition, and its ease of use. You can make everything from fruit roll ups to dried herbs, from dried veggies and fruit to beef jerky. You can take a seaweed wrap, like nori, and turn it into a nutritious crunchy snack.

  • Pressure cooker: What usually takes hours to cook can cook in minutes in a pressure cooker. If you’re busy and feel like you never have time to cook healthy meals, put this cooking tool on your wish list.

  • Slow cooker: Ah, the slow cooker. You’re gonna love having a slow cooker. You can cook big batches of food, including meats, or small meals that just need to roast for a while. The biggest value, though, is you can cook while working, exercising, or running after the kids. Foods come out warm, hearty, and moist.

  • Vacuum sealer: Vacuum sealing is far superior than freezer bags at maintaining the flavor of food during freezing. The food even remains tender. You may also be encouraged to cook bigger batches of food and have healthier foods handy if you know you can seal it up and freeze extras.

  • Small appliances and gadgets: These items don’t take up a lot of room but are great additions to the kitchen:

    • A citrus zester is valuable because adding zest to your meals is an easy way to add flavor and nutrition without extra calories or other additives.

    • Immersion blenders (hand-held blenders) are handy anytime you want to blend something up quickly and without a mess. The biggest bonus is the ability to blend food right in the pot.

    • A julienne peeler isn’t turns vegetables, like zucchini and summer squash, into dishes like lasagna and pasta.

    • Tongs are about the best thing you can have around the kitchen to flip just about anything!

    • A whisk is nice to have when you want to whip something up quickly.

    • Wooden spatulas are ideal for sensitive surfaces on your cookware.

Having extra freezer space is priceless if you’re cooking big batches of food. You can also buy items on sale in bulk, which saves you money. Extra freezer space is particularly handy if you’re going to do a meat share. Any way you slice it; chances are the few hundred dollars you’ll spend on an extra freezer will pay for itself in no time.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Dr. Kellyann Petrucci is the coauthor of the health and lifestyle books Living Paleo For Dummies and Boosting Your Immunity For Dummies. She also created the successful kids' health and wellness program Superkids Wellness and the Paleo door-to-door home delivery food service Living Paleo Foods.

Melissa Joulwan is the author of the paleo recipe and lifestyle blog

Dr. Wendy Warner, a board certified holistic physician, is a nationally known lecturer and teacher of integrative holistic medicine.

Dr. Kellyann Petrucci, who is a go-to expert in the nutritional field, helps patients build the strongest, healthiest bodies through her family-based workshops and consulting practice ( Twitter @drkellyann).

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