In the early 1980′s, my family and those of my aunts and uncles were all gifted with a fabulous new device by our loving Grandparents… the Microwave Oven. I remember all the excitement as the women enjoyed visions of faster meal preparation. We took that ugly, brown box with an orange push button, and a turn dial home and plugged it right in. Our family has been slowing dieing from enjoying microwaved foods since.
Until now. A few months ago we decided to ditch the microwave. It was a decision that I thought would be difficult although we only used it to boil water, pop corn and rarely to reheat leftovers. My husband was all “we don’t need a microwave, we never use it anyway.” Since then, I’ve become more anti-microwave and he’s wondering if we do need one. But, we’ve discovered that its not all that difficult to live without. (Stay with us after the jump for tips on unchaining your home from the microwave.)
There are mixed responses as to whether or not a microwave is DANGEROUS to our health. Does it change the molecular structure of food and beverages heated within? Does it release cancer causing rays? Does microwave heating cause containers (like plastic) to leach toxins into food? What about microwave popcorn causing health issues?
These are questions that we may not see answered in our lifetime. We know the government says microwave heating is safe but that could be another example of corporations having politicians in their very deep pockets. Snopes states that microwaves are safe and that any claims otherwise are bogus. I’m not sure I buy that either.
I remember the days of believing a microwave was safe but still not allowing my pregnant body anywhere near it while it was on (though I had no such qualms about consuming what was prepared inside it). I see the warning signs everywhere about possible interference with pacemakers (go ahead and have a heart attack so we can continue to cook food quickly). Even the term “nuking” food turns me off (nuking sounds an awful like a nuclear bomb, eh?).
Regardless of claims to the safety of microwave use, we don’t feel they are necessary in our homes (but then I don’t use chlorine bleach either which appears to be a very unpopular and even extremist stance). We also know that a Raw food diet has many health advantages and that if we must cook, we like to do it the old fashioned way. Here’s how we manage without:
Reheating food- stove top or in the oven, sure it takes longer, but the food tastes better and doesn’t get mushy.
Boiling water- tea kettle or pot on the stove or through the coffee maker.
Popping corn- air popper. We never made the microwave popcorn bags anyway, I used to place popping corn inside a small paper bag with the top folded down to pop in the nuker. Now, we just pull out the air popper and have a bowl full of healthier popcorn. There are no worries that our popcorn bags might leach chemicals into our tasty treat. You can also pop corn on the stove top.
Reheating coffee/tea/hot cocoa- I pour it into the empty carafe of the coffee pot and turn the unit on. It reheats within a couple minutes and tastes more like it originally did. This can also be done in a pot on the stove.
Defrosting- I remove the foods a day or two in advance and leave in the fridge to defrost. It took me a bit to remember to plan ahead, but it also makes life easier.
And for everything else, there’s the fabulous toaster oven. We currently use our oven on broil to reheat/toast items like leftover waffles, pancakes, pizza and bagels… hopefully soon we will have a toaster oven to call our very own and make this process simpler.
For us it just makes sense to ditch the microwave. After all, we eat naturally and organically… we don’t bring toxic chemicals into our homes… we pay close attention to our environmental impact, so why would we continue to use an item that MIGHT be dangerous, is unnecessary and in opposition to our healthy eating lifestyle?
Photo Credit- The Abandoned Microwave by Robyn Gallagher on Flickr under Creative Commons.
Disclaimer: Please don’t throw your microwave out- Freecycle it, Craigslist it, Donate it, Recycle it (use Earth911). Our built in was included when we sold our home.