Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Microwave-Free Challenge

"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle"
Psalm 103:2-5
Months ago Avery mentioned the possibility of giving up the microwave. To be honest, I totally and completely wrote him off at the time (major apologies for that disrespect had to come later that night!), but lately I have really been thinking about his comments.

Microwaving makes life easy! I have been realizing just how often I pop things in the microwave-it helps make cooking and reheating quick and easy. But what are we sacrificing health-wise in order to achieve convenience.

The Nitty Gritty...
Bear with me for a minute as I get slightly technical for just a minute. I am not a scientist, nor an expert in the subject, but I have been doing some research as I try to weigh out all this stuff. I will summarize the technical stuff for you so your eyes don't gloss over too much!
-Microwaves work from the use of an electromagnetic field
-There is a magnetron in the microwave that "excites" the electrons in the food creating kinetic energy that warms the food
-This ionization process changes the molecular structure of food
-The "micro-waves" produced are so dangerous that modern microwaves need 3 safety features that ensures the microwave stops if the door opens
-Research is still being done, but there have been links to leukemia and other cancers, cataracts, irregular heartbeat, diabetes, nutrient loss in foods, anemia, and high cholesterol
(Sources: Healthy Living and Health Science)

Why the change of mind?
I have an incredibly interesting and unique job. I love what I do, but it can really get me thinking in ways most people never do. While my job description is to serve students with disabilities, I often feel as if I am teaching an autism unit. Most of the kids I interact with daily are on the spectrum, and AU surrounds me everywhere I go. There is no doubt that Autism is on the rise, but there is still no answers as to why.

Something has changes. Cancer is rampant. Autism is becoming more and more prevalent. I couldn't help but wonder what our generation is doing differently. I began reading and asking questions.

Don't worry, I am not trying to make any kind of scientific hypothesis. I don't know if microwaving food causes cancer. There is no proof that links this "quick cooker" to Autism. While a microwave may be totally and completely harmless, is the convenience really worth the risk?

But...how in the world will this work?
I get it, microwaves work. They are everywhere, and often found in recipes. When I first started this journey I couldn't imagine life without it! I love oatmeal...do I have to stop eating that? Avery and I live on leftovers...I don't want to eat them cold!

No, I am not saying I can't ever eat anything that was cooked in a microwave. Seriously, I wouldn't be able to ever go out to eat! But, any change helps. Yes, I think it is totally possible to stop using it within the household on a daily basis!

Toaster Oven:
Invest in a toaster oven. When heating up something small or a single-serve of leftovers, you can pop it into the toaster oven. It works the same as an oven, just smaller and quicker.

Love the oven. Many leftovers can be thrown into the oven on a low heat. Pyrex is a great investment-it can go straight from the refrigerator to the oven and back to the refrigerator!

Throw on the stove top. You can reheat rice with a few teaspoons of water. Instead of 1 minute, soup takes only about 10 minutes to reheat.

Plan in advance so you know what foods to pull out of the freezer. Time can defrost food-no microwave needed! Short on time? Throw the container or meat in some water to help the thawing process along!

Friends, this is not an official or scientific article, but I wanted to share my heart and recent thoughts. Would love to know your thoughts! Do you use a microwave? Why or why not?

They say it takes 21 days to create a habit...will you accept a 21 day microwave free challenge?

Recipe of the Day:
Kale and Potato Soup with Turkey Sausage (from Skinny Taste)
Kale is one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat, and help make this a hearty soup for a cold day. This soup will be as good as the sausage you buy so be sure not to skimp on the quality of meat!

-14 oz reduced fat Italian chicken or turkey sausage
-8 cups (1/2 batch) kale, stems removed, leaves shredded
-1 tsp olive oil
-1 onion, chopped
-1 medium carrot, sliced
-4 cloves garlic, chopped
-8 cups fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
-2 cups water
-3 medium red potatoes, peeled diced into 1/4 inch pieces
-1 pinch dried red pepper flakes
-salt to taste
-1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1. In a large Dutch oven or pot, cook sausage over medium-low heat. Turn and cook until brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from pot, let cool and cut into thin slices.
2. Add oil to pot, add onions and carrots; cook on medium until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.
3. Add broth, water and black pepper, bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes. Add cooked sausage, potatoes, red pepper flakes and bring back to a simmer. Cook covered for about 4 minutes. Add kale and bring back to a simmer. Cook partially covered until the potatoes and kale are cooked, about 5-6 minutes. Adjust salt if needed.


  1. This is really interesting to think about. Thanks for sharing these "technical" points!
    :) Rebecca

  2. Thanks for posting! We've gone microwave-free for the most part (because of the possible nutrient loss mostly). I think the food tastes better.

  3. I have a few friends who are microwave-free, mainly because our housing on post didn't have one built-in, and they didn't want to buy one for the counter. I admit the convenience of it is awesome when you have a toddler screaming for lunch - I'd rather take 2 minutes to heat something up than wait 15+ for the oven to warm up and cook his chicken. But what a great lesson in patience I could be teaching, or not relying on convenience foods like frozen chicken nuggets (although they are so tasty!). I think the microwave is worth looking, but also is the increase in frequency of ultrasounds and doppler done during pregnancy. :/