On July 15th after making a post on the Dangers of Microwave Cooking, I decided to try going without a microwave oven for a while to see what it was like. For the past 145 days, I haven’t eaten any microwaved food at all — not even water.
Since reading those first few articles on the subject, I’ve browsed through a bit more info on the dangers of microwave cooking, but I can’t say I found anything that solidly convinced me one way or the other. From what I’ve read though, I can’t say that eating microwaved food is likely to contribute to optimal health. I find it interesting that microwave ovens are banned in Russia due to suspected negative health effects.
Like many of the personal experiments I run, this one gave me some interesting insights…
Easy to Transition
First, I was surprised at just how easy it was to let go of the microwave. It only took me a few days to get used to heating food on the stove instead of nuking it. At first I found it a bit more trouble to make a cup of tea, but now it seems normal to heat the water with fire instead of microwave radiation. I’ve found the time difference to be negligible, at least for the way I eat.
Secondly, I noticed almost immediately that I started eating different foods without the microwave. Obviously I dropped all frozen foods designed for the microwave, and I replaced them with more fresh foods, like stir-fried veggies. I also ate more raw foods. So this was a positive change because I was replacing dead, overcooked, nutritionally weak microwave meals with more whole, fresh foods. My overall diet became slightly healthier.
Thirdly, I noticed that non-microwaved foods simply tasted better. I eat a lot of brown rice, which I tend to make in big batches, and I would often re-heat rice with the microwave throughout the week. Instead I began reheating it on the stove, and I found that stove-heated leftovers tasted much better. Also, certain foods that I would make in the microwave to begin with, such as oatmeal, tasted significantly better when make on the stove. I also preferred the texture of stove-prepared foods.
Finally, I noticed that non-microwaved foods simply felt better to consume. I seemed to enjoy them more. I even noticed this with a cup of tea. I had been microwaving the water for my tea for years, and when I finally switched to the stove, I noticed the tea tasted about the same, but it somehow felt different. It was more satisfying, as if the tea was more energetic. I have no idea why. I never nuked the teabag itself, just the water. If you’ve been nuking hot beverages for a long time, I encourage you to try making a single cup on the stove for a change to see if you notice any difference.
Used Microwave for Sale
None of these are major differences by themselves, but taken as a whole, I found them to be more than enough to counter-balance the minor time savings from microwave usage. In fact, the taste/feel differences are strong enough that today I find the thought of eating microwaved food unappealing — even slightly repulsive. When I see something coming out of the microwave, I have an inner feeling of aversion to it, as if the dish has been sprinkled with rat poison. I sense that it just isn’t something I want to put in my body.
Running personal experiments like this helps me make decisions in the face of ambiguity. Now that I have a sense of what it’s like to live without a microwave for almost five months, it no longer matters to me if microwave radiation of food is harmful. I no longer need that piece of information to make the decision. The experiential data is enough that I’m happy to permanently dump the microwave. In order to go back to the old ways, I’d have to see new evidence that eating microwaved food was actually beneficial, and that doesn’t seem too likely.