Guest Post – The Not So Tasty Truth About the Not So Miracle Microwave

Reading about the Food Revolution on the internet, learning about it on the news, and hearing about it from my friends, has inspired me to revamp my family’s diet. The Food Revolution refers to the movement of switching from processed food to a more natural diet – buying organic, sustainable, local food. It’s about reclaiming personal vitality and health by educating yourself and making decisions based upon that education.

In my research for new (old) ways to keep my food fresh and full of the nutrients that nature intended, I came across a lot of information about the destructive effects of microwaving food. There is a reason it’s called “nuking.” Here are some things I found in my research:

What’s The Big Deal?

BPA. The chemical bisphenol A (BPA) leeches into food when heated in microwave-safe containers, according to Watchdog Reports by the Journal Sentinel in Milwaukee. This chemical has been found in food in an amount large enough to cause neurological and developmental effects in animals. BPA has been found in 93% of Americans tested. It has also been found in baby food packaging(!), when originally thought to only have been found in hard, clear plastic and
metal food can lining. The head researcher for the study says, “There is no microwave-safe packaging.” Representatives in the food packaging industry reiterate that these levels are extremely low, but with the amount of food we consume from the microwave, how much BPA is in our bodies?

Here’s My Alternative

If you want to use the microwave, heat the food in glass containers and use heavy duty oven mitts to remove the dish from the microwave. Glass containers tend to heat up, but have not been found to release any kind of chemical into food. The better alternative? Don’t use the microwave at all, especially when dealing with baby food. We know that convenience is king, but for our babies, there should be a higher level of discretion when it comes to food handling.

What’s The Big Deal?

In an article by the Sunday Mirror in the UK, pregnant women were found to be at a higher miscarriage risk when exposed to microwaves. In the UK, safe electromagnetic field (EMF) levels are at 1600 MT (micro teslas), while the US prefers it to be 16 MT (two decimal points to the left). 969 women (who were pregnant) were tested, and 159 miscarried. Out of these 159 women, 132 were found to be exposed to high levels of EMF radiation on a daily basis. It has been found that EMF can interfere with developing cells in the embryo, disrupting the electronic impulses sent between them. This makes embryo development difficult, if not dangerous. What levels were these women exposed to? 1.6 MT.

Here’s My Alternative

When pregnant, avoid being in the kitchen when the microwaves are being used. EMFs are in other appliances and gadgets as well, but the microwave is most easily avoided. A better alternative is to not use the microwave at all in those nine months. Use the maternity and paternity leave to get used to preparing food in the most natural way possible. It’s good practice for when the baby arrives, and it might even keep you closer as a couple.

What’s The Big Deal?

A study by Dr. Hans Ulrich Hertel quoted in found that people who ingested food heated by microwaves had lower hemoglobin and cholesterol levels. This may seem good for people who have high cholesterol, but in fact, HDL (high density lipoprotein) is the good kind of cholesterol. Blood samples of study subjects who ate microwaved food were found to have significantly lower levels of HDL. The molecules in food were so degraded that they directly affected the blood of study subjects, passing from microwave – to food – to person.

Here’s My Alternative

For maximum nutrition value, don’t heat up food in the microwave, especially milk. Milk has been found to be completely devoid of nutrients after being heated in the microwave. Instead, cook food on the stovetop or in the microwave (if necessary) just before serving. To heat up leftovers, put a flame on low heat, throw in a little water or olive oil, and let leftovers heat for 5 minutes. Spending those extra few minutes at the stove will help you to save a lot in the future, not only in nutrition, but in energy. Your body will thank you for it.

Eating healthy and being healthy is not just in the eating of food, but also in how it is prepared. So go organic. Buy local. Use the grill more. Try eating fruits and vegetables in their purest form. Sample vegetarian goodies. We owe it to ourselves to be healthier, and the long-lasting ripple effect of the food revolution will benefit us, our families, our communities, and the planet.

Isabella York is a mother dedicated to living organically and sustainably without giving up her life in the process. Along with raising her son, she works for Balsam Hill, a purveyor of Artificial Christmas Trees and Christmas Trees.

4 Responses to Guest Post – The Not So Tasty Truth About the Not So Miracle Microwave

  1. Thanks for this information. I have learned to not use plastic in the microwave and have convinced my husband not to as well. Can you point me to any source material regarding food (like milk) losing nutrients when microwaved? I have heard that before, but would like to see the studies. Thanks again.

  2. Very interesting information. I knew plastic was bad and I use glass in the microwave, but I did not know that milk heated in a microwave can lose nutrients and the info about lower HDL and hemo. Faster is not always better. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.


  3. I ripped out our microwave when I redid the kitchen, and have not missed it once. I reheat leftovers in the steamer, and it works fine. We’ve just about switched over to glass containers, at least for anything that isn’t destined for the freezer.

    Harold McGee has some interesting information in his latest book about the relative damage done to nutrients in food by different methods of cooking.

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