Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Living Without a Microwave

This post originally appeared on Have Your Health, a past blog of mine active from 2013-14.

Many months ago, maybe it was in January, I unplugged my apartment's microwave and put it down in a cupboard. It's stayed there ever since. John's family hasn't owned a microwave in years, since his mother is very health conscious. But most Americans do own and regularly use a microwave.

Questioning well-established points of view

If you would have questioned my microwave usage a few years ago, I would have told you that you're crazy; microwaving is absolutely safe. Younger me probably would have also said something along the lines of: You have no science to back that up! Show me the proof!

Ever since I was born, there's been a microwave in the house I lived in. When you grow up with something that's so commonplace among homes in society, it's hard to imagine a time without it - let alone that it could be harmful. I really had to break some deep assumptions and change the way I looked at the world in order to question my microwave usage.

(Side note: My entire perspective changed when I slowly went from a believing Catholic to an atheist many years ago, and again when I lived abroad for the first time in Spain. It was altered yet again when I moved here to South Korea, and also many times while learning about health. The more I'm in situations where my view is forced to change due to new knowledge/experiences, it becomes a bit easier to question everything in future situations that I thought I knew. But if this is your first time, I know that it's very difficult to hear a belief challenged, something you had been 100% certain of. End side note.)

Why to not use a microwave

The main reason that I stopped using a microwave comes from my wishy-washy "Is it natural?" question that I seem to keep turning to. Since that won't be enough "proof" for most people (nor my past self!), before I get into my thought process I'll first share the best blog post I've read that includes some of my microwave concerns while siting numerous studies: "Why We Don't Use a Microwave" - Wellness Mama  You might also want to take a look at this article from Dr. Mercola's site: "Why Did The Russians Ban an Appliance Found in 90% of American Homes?" - Mercola.com

Microwaves are not natural

Okay, and now back to me. So take every other living creature on this earth. Do they eat food that has been heated by forcefully sending electromagnetic waves through it in order to heat it up? Negative. In fact, we're unique in the fact that we cook any of our food at all. Nearly all other organisms eat raw, and look at how healthy they are (excluding, of course, creatures that have been harmed by human pollution/existence and human destruction of their habitats/food sources. Arg.).

In America, food has become troublingly disassociated from what it actually is. The other week I was on a group trip, and overheard an American girl at the neighboring lunch table saying that she had been served a full fish the other week at her school - head and all. "I don't want to see that! I mean, come on, get that off my plate!" she squealed, as her lunch mates nodded in agreement. Woah, everything you eat was alive at one point! Well, unless it was created in a factory, in which case that's not food, so please don't put that in your body.

Convenience and busyness have dangerously damaged what meals mean to people these days. Now food is often something you cram in your mouth while driving, perhaps after leaving a drive-thru, or something eaten while spending time online, focusing on other tasks. Eating has become thoughtless, just like microwaving. Food, composed of nutrients from the sun and earth, fuels our bodies through a complex, interconnected system. I am what I eat, and you are what you eat. There's a reason why microwaved food doesn't taste as good, and why blood warmed in a microwave killed the patient into whom it was transfused.

I cannot pinpoint exactly what molecular reactions/alterations are taking place, but I don't need to. I don't need that information; I've made the decision based on my thought process above. The choice seems obvious to me now. And this isn't the type of choice or issue that requires specific scientific evidence, either. I'm not pushing it on anyone else, and the effects of not using a microwave to warm food are only beneficial to my health, if anything.

Living without a microwave

Most things that come with microwave instructions probably aren't real food in the first place, so without a microwave you'll easily avoid them. I have a kettle for hot water, which is perfect for making tea or instant oatmeal. I also have a toaster oven in this apartment, which I use to bake vegetables (hello sweet potato!) or to make oatmeal/banana cookies (read: blobs). To reheat leftovers, I simply do so in a pan on the stovetop.

I'm curious - Do you use a microwave? Have you ever thought twice about its effect on your health?
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