Did you know that microwaveable meals represent around $30 billion dollars in sales every year?
Inexpensive, you could probably purchase a microwave for around $60 bucks at your local Target, and all of the microwaveable meals and containers to boot.
But at what cost?
Although microwaving is not to be confused with the irradiation of fruits and veggies (a highly controversial (read: bad) procedure that is very disruptive to the plants cellular structure, etc.) it is by no means a healthful answer to heating foods.
Microwaves work by very “rapidly” vibrating the water molecules found in food, therefore creating heat.
While there has been no study that has been able to pinpoint microwaving as the root cause for cancer and disease, (or that it is “bad” for food, or us), such an unnatural process is a surefire way to deplete living foods of their nutrients.
What good is food without nutrients?
As with the heating of any living food, the risk of deactivating valuable enzymes and depleting essential nutrients increases at temperatures rise. All other factors aside, living plant foods contain more nutrients than cooked plant foods (this does not always mean the body can absorb them however). It is for this reason that there has been any sort of Raw Food movement.
When we heat something naturally, it usually takes a “few” more minutes of our time. The heating process is more gradual— the outcome is often better (as far as taste and certainly nutrients).
Can you imagine your Grandma trying to cut corners in the kitchen and instead of lovingly preparing her famous chicken potpie, popping all the ingredients in the microwave?
I cannot tell you the last time I would have tried any sort of potpie, but I would imagine that Grandma’s microwaveable concoction would not be the highlight of the dinner table.
Knowing that even naturally heating living foods can cause enzyme deactivation, as well as change the texture, taste, and color of a food, common sense would tell us that a mechanism that works by vibrating water molecules at a high frequency in order to cook a food in under 3 minutes cannot be beneficial on any level, aside from “saving time.”
On top of that, the majority of microwavable foods come in plastic containers.
“Plastic chemicals leech into microwaveable foods from plastic packaging, and these chemicals (like DEHA, DEHP, MEHP, or PET) increase the risk of cancer. They also disrupt energy production processes in our cells and the chemical messaging from cell to cell. (1)”
That is certainly something I would be worried about.
As you lean towards a more plant-based diet (specifically one high in “living foods”) and become more aware of how your body reacts to certain foods and food combinations, you will most likely notice a difference between the way your body digests a vegetable that has been lightly steamed in an actual steamer, versus a vegetable that has been steamed in the microwave. Regardless of what studies have depicted, if food is not being properly digested and assimilated, (thus sitting in the colon), disease will undoubtedly manifest.
That being said, if you are debating whether or not to use a microwaveable vegetable steamer bag to quickly cook some (fish and) veggies, or to pick up some sort of fast food, make instant Mac and Cheese, grill a burger, grab a muffin, or any other processed food (and by this I mean processed protein bars too), or white flour product (bagel, pasta, crackers), hands down I would suggest the microwaveable steamer bag and veggies.
What are your thoughts on microwaves?
Do you use them? When?
Do you notice a difference?
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(1) “Staying Healthy with Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine.” Elson M. Haas, MD with Buck Levin, PhD, RD