Why to Avoid Cooking Sprays

Do you use cooking sprays when you bake? I think most people do. It’s a quick and easy way to oil a pan before baking numerous types of food. I used to buy Pam’s vegetable oil cooking spray and then eventually I bought the Kroger generic brand. I used that for YEARS…up until early last year, when I actually looked at the ingredient list.

No Cooking Spray

The Kroger Vegetable Oil Cooking Spray contains soybean oil (GMOs!), soy lecithin (GMOs), water(?), and propellant. Yep, propellant. Yuck. Maybe it’s safe. Maybe there is such a small amount that it could never do any real harm. But, you know what? I really don’t want to eat propellant. It just doesn’t seem all that appealing to me.

Cooking sprays that you find at the grocery store contain propellant to help push the oil out of the can. Propellants are on the FDA’s “Generally Recognized as Safe” list, however, so are many of the other chemicals and ingredients that we try to avoid these days. (As a note, several ingredients that the FDA lists as safe are not considered ‘safe’ in other countries.) I’m going to err on the side of caution when it comes to the foods we eat and avoid these ingredients as much as we can. I don’t want to eat propellant, just as much as I don’t want to eat Yellow #5 or azodicarbonamide. I prefer to eat foods that are in their original form or made from REAL ingredients.

Pam sells “100% All Natural Olive Oil Cooking Spray” now, which is a much better option than using Kroger’s vegetable oil spray. The ingredients in the All Natural version are organic extra virgin olive oil (okay, wonderful), organic grain alcohol (not really sure what this is, but it seems ok), lecithin from soybeans (eh…probably contains GMOs), and propellant. That darn propellant again.

Of course, there is all sorts of debate on whether the amount of propellant used in these cooking sprays could ever do any cumulative damage, but why risk it? If I can use an olive oil sprayer that contains ONLY pure olive oil and none of the other junk, why wouldn’t I? I don’t see any harm that could come from NOT ingesting propellant on a regular basis. So, that’s what I do now! Since early 2013, I’ve been using my own olive oil sprayer and I’m so happy with it.

The Misto Olive Oil Sprayer is simple to use and it’s refillable, too! (Eliminating waste is always a good thing, right?) I fill the canister up about HALF WAY with pure olive oil, screw the lid back on, and then pump it several times until I feel the pressure building. Then I just spray like normal. That’s it! Simple, right?!? Every time I use it, I give it a few pumps first, and it’s ready to go. When the oil runs out, I just wash it, let it dry and then re-fill to the halfway point again. I’ve never had any problems with mine and I’ve been using it for about 10 months now.

The first time I used it, I noticed that it didn’t spray as fine of a mist as the store-bought version, but I didn’t mind because I knew I was eliminating propellant from our daily diet. It has served it’s purpose well (nothing sticks to my pans) and I’m completely sold on the product. They even sell these in multiple colors if you want to buy one for olive oil and another for extra virgin olive oil (as an example). You could even spray extra virgin olive oil right on to your salads! This is another one of those “real food” changes that is so simple and easy to make. I highly recommend it, because, let’s be honest, no one really wants to eat propellant…

P.S. – Want to know what my five absolute favorite (and most used) ‘real food’ kitchen tools are??

  1. My breadmaker (for making homemade whole wheat bread)
  2. My smoothie straws (so I don’t have to throw plastic straws away after each use)
  3. My butter crock (so my organic butter is always soft and spreadable)
  4. My cheese grater (because I’ve yet to find a package of shredded cheese that does NOT contain wood pulp)
  5. My Ninja blender with individual blending cups (because I use it almost every day for smoothies, fruit purees…even salad dressings!)

What is your favorite kitchen tool or gadget?? Would love to hear in the comments below!

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same, but Real Fit, Real Food Mom will earn a small commission (which helps to offset web hosting fees, maintenance, etc.). Your support is greatly appreciated!

LeAnn Nome

Hi there! Here's a little info about me: I've been married to my husband for over 10 years and I'm a stay-at-home mom to our three young kids (a six year old daughter and four year old twin boys). As you might imagine, they keep me quite busy! In early 2013, we decided that we wanted to be a healthier family. To do this, we cut out all processed foods from our home and we now eat only REAL, whole foods. (When we're on vacation or at someone's house, we're not quite as strict.) We also try to exercise every day. Our goal is to raise healthy, happy kids...while maintaining our own health and happiness along the way! I hope you will follow along with us in our journey.

17 thoughts on “Why to Avoid Cooking Sprays

  1. I was just looking at one of these on Amazon over the weekend, but didn’t know anyone who was using it. I will definitely give it a go now. I still have a lot to learn about cooking and I have a question about your post where you said that you could use olive oil or extra virgin in it. I only have extra virgin. When do you use one or the other?

    BTW… about the yoga. It can actually end up feeling just as empowering as a long run if you stick with it. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true. If you’re at the point where bending to touch your toes is still a problem, pay attention to all the times you bend over to do something every day and use every opportunity to do a straight leg bend. You will be surprised how much quicker you start to loosen up!

    1. Hi Melissa! I hope you like the sprayer! I’ve been very happy with mine! I’m no expert on olive oils, but my understanding is that extra virgin olive oil is 100% completely natural, but more expensive to produce because it has to meet very high standards of testing. I use extra virgin for things like salad dressings, but for my regular cooking/baking or if I need a significant amount (like 1/2 cup), then I just use regular pure olive oil. Maybe I shouldn’t be, though? I’m still learning too! I’m sure extra virgin is a much better option. I may not buy more regular olive oil once my container runs out. I’ll have to do more research. Not sure if that helps much–but that’s the reason I have both in my house. And thanks for the input (let alone hold them for any period of time). I usually give up and move on to something else. However, I’ve really committed myself to doing yoga as a part of P90X3, so I plan to keep it up this time. I’m hoping it will help me gain flexibility. I know that I really need it–and it will only help my running too!

  2. I bought that same thing and had nothing but trouble. I followed the directions exactly and it leaked and was a horrible mess. not to mention that when it did trickle out the spray holes (just barely) it took forever just to spray what I wanted to spray. maybe I got a dud, but I am not willing to risk it and buy another dud! I don’t like using the commercial spray, but I figure, it’s just a little so it can’t do too much harm. and I use butter or oil for most things anyway.

    1. Hi Valerie! Bummer about your sprayer! I’ve had no problems with mine and I’ve been using it for almost a year now. I do remember it sputtering one time, though. I took the sprayer out so all the pressure was eliminated. I rinsed the sprayer out as best I could. (Make sure the canister is no more than HALF full of olive oil.) Once the sprayer was dry, then I put the lid back on, tightened it up, and pumped it back up. That seemed to fix the problem for me. Only happened once. Maybe that will help? Or maybe you just got a bad one, like you said. Sorry to hear that!

  3. Hey LeAnn! I don’t want to be eating propellant either…yuck!! I actually already have this olive oil sprayer and I like it. I use it all the time instead of Pam, and also when I just want a little bit of oil (like on salads). Sometimes the oil will squirt out instead of spraying, but if I just clean it, it works again.

    1. Hi Christine! Glad to hear you like yours too! Yep, I had that issue one time (where the oil was spritzing out), but I just released the pressure, cleaned the sprayer, put it back in, pumped it up and I was good to go again. Only happened once! And it might have been because it was more than half filled. (It would be easy for people to not see that part of the instructions and fill it up all the way!)

      1. How did you think the product came out of the can? The propellant propels it out, its not voodoo. Most often it is nitrous oxide which doesn’t permeate food, it just vents to atmosphere.

        1. I’m sure I could be worrying for no reason…but if I can spray my bakeware with nothing but pure olive oil, I admit I do feel a little better about it. 🙂

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