I am sure that this title has shocked many as to just what the heck I am getting at. 90% of Americans have a microwave in their kitchen and most find it to be an invaluable resource that is used every day for both cooking, reheating, and just warming things up to a temperature that's anything but cold. Microwaves provide a simple and quick solution to many people who are in a rush or just prefer things to be heated much faster. I've got some bad news for you though: Microwaves are very dangerous and aweful for your health! Microwaves heat food through radiating molecules in the food. Unbeknownst to most people, Microwaves actually destroy foods on a chemical level and thus destroy the vitamin content as well. Instances of microwaved bags of blood and infant formula have helped to show the gross effects of using a microwave to heat or reheat something.

In their article entitled “The Hidden Hazards Of Microwave Cooking”, Anthony Wayne and Lawrence Newell explain how microwaves really work:

Every microwave oven contains a magnetron, a tube in which electrons are affected by magnetic and electric fields in such a way as to produce micro wavelength radiation at about 2450 Mega Hertz (MHz) or 2.45 Giga Hertz (GHz). This microwave radiation interacts with the molecules in food.

All wave energy changes polarity from positive to negative with each cycle of the wave. In microwaves, these polarity changes happen millions of times every second. Food molecules – especially the molecules of water – have a positive and negative end in the same way a magnet has a north and a south polarity.

In commercial models, the oven has a power input of about 1000 watts of alternating current. As these microwaves generated from the magnetron bombard the food, they cause the polar molecules to rotate at the same frequency millions of times a second.

All this agitation creates molecular "friction", which heats up the food. This unusual type of heating also causes substantial damage to the surrounding molecules, often tearing them apart or forcefully deforming them.

In the end, the broccoli that was reheated really isn't broccoli anymore, because the molecular structure has actually been forcefully changed. The Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture published a study in 2003 that found that broccoli cooked in the microwave with some water lost up to 97% of the antioxidant chemicals it contains. We can see now that Microwaves heat food through a process of irradiation! Later in the article, this is expanded on some:

We've all been told that microwaving food is not the same as irradiating it (radiation "treatment"). The two processes are supposed to use completely different waves of energy and at different intensities. No FDA or officially released government studies have proven current microwaving usage to be harmful, but we all know that the validity of studies can be – and are sometimes deliberately – limiting.

Many of these studies are later proven to be inaccurate. As consumers, we're supposed to have a certain degree of common sense to use in judgment. Take the example of eggs and how they were "proven" to be so harmful to our health in the late 1960's. This brought about imitation egg products and big profits for the manufacturers, while egg farms went broke.
 
((Josh's note: This study was actually done using dried egg yolk powder (sponsored by the Cereal Institute), and not actual eggs. Eggs will not increase your cholesterol. High cholesterol levels in foods does not turn into high cholesterol in the blood stream. Source: Your Body Knows Best, pgs. 72 & 73)).

NEXUS Magazine mentioned a lawsuit that occurred in 1991 when a woman was killed after having a blood transfusion (and the nurse mircowaved the blood). This is very troubling, and I think that it further shows just how serious this irradiation is that food (and apparently other things) experience when microwaved. In 1992, a Swiss scientist named Hans Hertel published a study on the effects of microwaved nutrients on the blood and physiology of human beings:

The conclusion was clear: microwave cooking changed the nutrients so that changes took place in the participants' blood; these were not healthy changes but were changes that could cause deterioration in the human systems. Working with Bernard H. Blanc of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the University Institute for Biochemistry, Hertel not only conceived of the study and carried it out, he was one of eight participants. "To control as many variables as possible, we selected eight individuals who were strict macrobiotic diet participants from the Macrobiotic Institute at Kientel, Switzerland," Hertel explained. "We were all housed in the same hotel environment for eight weeks. There was no smoking, no alcohol and no sex." One can readily see that this protocol makes sense.

After all, how could you tell about subtle changes in a human's blood from eating microwaved food if smoking, booze, junk food, pollution, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and everything else in the common environment were also present? "We had one American, one Canadian and six Europeans in the group. I was the oldest at 64 years, the others were in their 20s and 30s," Hertel added.

Both articles go into great detail about the science of this, and I encourage everyone to read them. One problem people are faced with when they want to stop using microwaves is the question of now what? I have not used a microwave oven in probably 2½ to 3 years and so I do have some experience with this. While I'm sure that there are numerous methods out there on what to do in this fast paced day and age without a microwave, there is little information that I've seen published. Instead, I've relied on what I've found has worked for me. The first thing you can try is use a different piece of technology. Mercola.com sells a product known as the Turbo Oven which cooks through convection (hot air). While I have not been able to try out this product, I have a lot of trust and respect for Dr. Mercola and the products he promotes.

Another option of reheating that I use will require 1 of two things: either a ziplock sort of bag that can withstand boiling water or (preferably) a resealable bag from a vacuum sealer (I use a Food Saver, and aside from my GPS, it's one of the best things I've ever purchased!). With a ziploc type of bag, you would want to bring a pot of water to boiling and then place the bag in the water and (if it's a gas stove top) turn the heat OFF or the bag will start to melt to the pot and that is not fun to try to get off. If you are using a sturdier vacuum sealed bag, you can actually keep the heat on (although be sure to keep an eye on it so the water doesn't boil over). Reheating times will vary depending on the food, so it will take some getting used to as well as trial and error.

Lastly, just try to throw the item(s) onto the stove and recook them! Sometimes they might need more oil or butter, but if you're used to cooking then it should be an almost no-brainer as to what to use. This last method I use the most now that I cook all of my meals. Yes, it isn't exactly as ideal as popping the food in the microwave for 3 minutes and having it come out steaming hot, but unfortunately lifestyles in the past 50 to 60 years have evolved around the idea of everything having to be fast paced. We are now assaulted with 60hrs work weeks, 100pg home work reading assignments, and too many tasks to fit into one day. The key is to find what works best for you. It is possible to stay healthy even on a busy schedule, but it's just a matter of knowing what works with your own schedule. I anticipate the day that Americans follow in the foot step of the Europeans and we can actually sit down for lunch and enjoy a large, healthy meal just like our ancestors did long ago. Until that day comes, we will need to try to learn more about what our alternatives are and the pieces of technology that claim to make like easier but are really just nightmares in disguise.

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