“I’m cutting out microwaves for 2020,” I said to a friend of mine, as if microwaves were like carbohydrates. “Yeah, they’re so bad for you,” she said mindlessly—hollowly echoing my sentiments.
But for the next five minutes, neither of us could come up with an actual answer to why the use of microwaves is indeed bad for our health. Like so many other conflicting health news headlines, the statement “microwaves are bad for health” made its way into our minds, influencing our thoughts and decisions without either of us doing a scratch of research to reaffirm that statement.
So it turns out microwaves aren’t really bad for your health. This article on VICE sums it up nicely, but in brief: low-frequency radiation, such as is given off from microwaves, cannot change molecular structure or damage cells. Now that’s not to say that we can use microwaves however we want without consequence. For example, a plastic bowl that is microwaved (or heated in any way for that matter) seeps toxic chemicals into the food it holds. So if you do choose to microwave for the sake of pure convenience—because we ALL know toasted is better than mush—just keep your microwave plastic-free.
However, I will tell you that eliminating your microwave from your daily routine enables you to reap a ton of other, unexpected benefits. It’s a body-health thing but also a mind-health thing. I’ve made the decision to cut out my use of microwaves for this year and look forward to welcoming and keeping these 3 habits!
Making healthier food choices
No, not everything that comes out of an oven or that is cooked on top of the stove is healthy. But there’s is a much better chance of you making a healthy food choice if you have to cook it yourself. Most microwave meals have been primarily created for convenience, taste comes second and health comes third. When thinking of microwave meals, Hot Pockets, Bagel Bites and Hungry Man come to mind. Although I have to say Amy’s meals are revolutionary. Go Amy’s! With that said, buying fresh, local produce should always be the goal.
Establishing a better relationship with food
Cooking our food the “long way,” requires much more thought, preparation and execution than just zapping it for five minutes. Meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking requires us to think in depth about what we are putting into our bodies. You may think you don’t have time for it, but prepping a week’s worth of lunches on Sunday actually gives you more time and brain space throughout the week! By taking pressure off your on the spot decision making (which tbh 9/10 times I make the wrong food choice and regret it), you will not only enjoy your food more but come to appreciate how it makes your body feel.
Creating bonding moments with your loved ones
Cooking with my family has always been a very special time for me. Like other families, we bond over meals and have a deep, deep love for food. At one point we were all vegan, so creating meals we could all actually eat and enjoy was considered as good as gold. Now, although we all eat a little differently, we still come together for a weekly dinner where there are truly too many cooks in the kitchen, but we all have different roles; the food-preparer, the cook and the “flavor-master.”
Get your kids involved in cooking. Sure, it may make the process a little longer but consider it extra quality time you get to spend with them. Also, cooking with a spouse can be just magical (don’t get me wrong it can definitely go the opposite direction, too), but there a fewer things more romantic than a kitchen counter smooch.
If you don’t cook well, or need a little help, there are a ton of wonderful cookbooks out there, pick one a start today.
Photo: Castejon, Karimi, LeCreuset, Warman, Scheurmeier; Unsplash.