Microwave ovens: A hot issue


By Mary Schoepe

For Capital Region Independent Media

For over 40 years, microwave ovens have been one of the most popular kitchen appliances because they’re fast, convenient and affordable. But cooking with a microwave may not be the healthiest option.

Today’s post explores the pros and cons of using this popular cooking appliance.

Before moving on, I would like to clarify what a microwave is. A microwave is a form of non-ionizing radiation that changes the electromagnetic nature of atoms. In other words, your food is being zapped by high frequency waves of heat.

Interestingly enough, some experts like Dr. Hans Hertel argue that this radiation can increase cholesterol levels, decrease red and white blood cell counts, and decrease hemoglobin.

A 1991 study conducted by Dr. Hertel explored how microwaves change the molecular structure of food and the effects it has on your body. His study concluded that when consumed, microwaved milk and vegetables decrease HDL (good) cholesterol and reduce red and white blood cells.

Here’s another concerning issue — carcinogenic toxins.

The packaging of common microwavable food products such as pizza, chips and corn contain carcinogenic toxins including terpthalate and dioxins. According to nutritionist Rick Hay, “The carcinogenic toxins leak out of the containers and end up in your food and then into your digestive and immune system, which can affect fertility, hormone balance, blood pressure, mood, libido and cardiovascular health.”

However, the Slow Food Movement founded in 1986 by Carlo Petrini has left a growing number of microwaves dormant. This global initiative is focused on encouraging people to stop eating fast food and instead to take time to prepare and eat whole, locally sourced foods.

For many, this movement has sparked an interest in where and how our food is grown or raised. And that awareness is one of the reasons farmers markets are so popular. By giving consumers access to locally grown farm-fresh produce and enabling farmers to develop a personal relationship with their customers, farmers markets create an important link between farms and cities.

In addition to the growth of the Slow Food Movement, the organic foods movement is also growing at a rapid pace, making it a $52.5 billion a year industry.

Foods with the USDA Organic seal guarantees that fruits and vegetables are completely GMO free. These strict standards also apply to livestock and prohibit antibiotics or growth hormones in livestock.

Living in upstate New York we are fortunate to have many local farms including Scribner Hollow Farms, East Durham Farms, Heather Ridge Farms, Hudson Farmers Market, Story’s Farm, Sugar Maples Farm, the Fromer Farm and many more.

Many of these farms offer locally produced fruits and vegetables (and in some cases pesticide-free produce), along with pasture-raised meats and eggs. I know that once you introduce real whole foods to your family, you’ll kick your microwave to the curb!

If you’re interested in how you can be a part of the Slow Food Movement, visit their website at www.slowfoodusa.org.

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