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I haven’t had a microwave for most of the past 15 years. (For a few years, I did have an old hand-me-down. It sat on top of my refrigerator and rarely got used.) And I honestly haven’t missed it.
Most people are shocked and confused when they find out I don’t own a microwave. “How do you live without a microwave?” or “Why not?” I get asked.
It started out of my desire to be frugal. When I moved into my first apartment, a microwave was a “luxury” I wasn’t willing to spend my hard earned money on. Plus it took up way too much space in my tiny kitchen.
You Don’t Need a Microwave Taking Up Precious Counter Space
It seems like no matter how much counter space you have, it’s never enough. Especially if you have a small kitchen. You know how valuable extra counter space is.
A microwave just takes up too much space. For something I rarely used even when I had one, it definitely wasn’t getting a permanent spot in my tiny kitchen.
Food Doesn’t Taste as Good in a Microwave
Does anyone really like the taste of microwaved food? Some foods get soggy and gross. Other things turn hard as a rock. It’s scorching hot, yet somehow still cold…
This is one of the biggest reasons I rarely used a microwave even when I had one. Microwaved food tastes terrible, so why even use it?
Health Risks of Microwaves
Aside from not wanting to spend the money on a microwave and not having the space for one, I’ve always wondered, are microwaves really safe?
Microwaves Emit Radiation
A microwave uses electromagnetic radiation (EMF) to heat food. The water molecules in your food vibrate so rapidly and violently it heats the food around them, destroying the water molecules in the process.
While the FDA regulates the amount of microwave emissions allowed, is any amount really safe? The FDA has been wrong before, and I’m not willing to risk my family’s health betting on them this time.
And how old is yours? If it isn’t brand new or given regular maintenance (and who does that?) there’s a pretty good chance you’re way beyond those “safe” levels.
Electromagnetic radiation has many adverse health effects including:
- birth defects
- can raise blood sugar
- adversely effects the heart
- immune system deficiencies
- memory loss
- emotional instability
Just to name a few.
Although you would need to be exposed to high doses for many of these effects, take into account how many other places we come in contact with electromagnetic radiation: cell phones, TVs, computers, and more. All of these small exposures can really add up. Getting rid of your microwave is just one way to start limiting your exposure to electromagnetic radiation.
Microwaves Degrade the Nutrients in Food
There is study after study showing that many vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients are lost during microwaving. Vitamin C and B12 are quickly destroyed in the microwave. For me, the convenience is not worth the trade off.
Eating this degenerated food also causes changes in your blood. Things such as elevated cholesterol and lower white blood cell counts can occur.
If you’re feeding your family healthy, whole foods, why would you put them in the microwave and destroy their nutritional value?
Microwaving Food Can Create a Breading Ground for Bacteria
Defrosting meat in the microwave is very unsafe. You end up with a piece of meat that is hot and partially cooked around the edges, but still frozen in the middle. It’s the perfect environment for bacterial growth.
Microwaving breast milk can create the perfect environment for bacterial growth as well. It kills the beneficial bacteria (along with many other valuable nutrients) in breast milk, allowing the bad stuff to grow.
You shouldn’t be microwaving breast milk or formula anyway. It can create dangerous hot spots that can scald your baby.
Microwaves Form Carcinogenic Compounds in Food
From fruits and veggies, to meat and dairy, and even grains, nearly all foods will form carcinogenic substances in the microwave. It takes just a few moments in the microwave for vegetables (fresh, frozen, or cooked) to develop carcinogens.
But those bags of frozen veggies you can steam in the microwave are so convenient, you say. Which brings me to my next point:
Never Microwave Plastic
We should all know by now that plastics contain harmful chemicals. There’s BPA, phthalates (DEHP, DINP, and more), polyvinylchloride (#3PVC), and more in plastics. The health effects of these chemicals are pretty scary:
- birth defects
- hormone changes
- endocrine disruption
- liver dysfunction
- impaired immune function
- skin diseases
Heating them in the microwave releases even more of these chemicals into your food.
If you take anything from this article, never, ever microwave plastic.
Seriously, You Don’t Need a Microwave!
They take up too much room, but more importantly, they aren’t safe! If you aren’t convinced yet, do a little more research on their safety, and you will be convinced!
If you’re new into your microwave-less journey, check out How to Live Without a Microwave for some great tips and ideas on how to survive without it!