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Thoughts about Microwave Ovens!

I recently wrote about the death of my 15 year old work horse of a Microwave Oven.  This short one- liner has churned up a great many personal and on line comments about MW cooking and ovens.  The comments have ranged from  “they are awful for one” and “I would never own one” to “I don’t think I could live without mine – and they are very inexpensive now.”

Microwave

Microwave

Microwave Ovens and Cooking are subjects that I know quite a bit about – I have done a lot of research in this area.

For three years of my life my whole kitchen consisted of a claw foot bathtub, a refrigerator with a MW oven sitting on top.  The tub was in the old bathroom and the MW and refrigerator were in the living room with all of our beds.

As the chief chef and food czar of my household of 5, I needed to know how my allergy prone family was going to fair under this kind of cooking regime.

My brother-in-law is a patented expert on MW energy and antennaes.   He worked for the Ball Corporation which made among many things, canning jars and food preservations products.  They were constantly in search of ways to keep food and help folks stay healthy.  This was before WWII studies and the “food” revolution of the 1970s -90s.  This is the information I received from my brother – in – law, The Cleveland Illuminating Company, and all my research – filtered through 20 years of cooking and having my kitchen approved for selling my apple products.

All cooking changes the nature of food. For some foods, like carrots, they are more nutritious if they are cooked moderately than in a raw form.   Humans like much of their food cooked and cooked food stops the enzyme action and allows foods to be preserved for longer periods of time.  This includes drying foods also.

Many vegetables and fruits are perfect foods for the human body when they are eaten raw.

When making soup usually one wants to slow cook the foods, because one wants the nutrients to leach out of the foods and make a new form which blends together.

Most vegetables are overcooked in the United States and have most of the nutrient value leached out and rarely do the folks use the cooking water for soup base or afternoon tea – there are exceptions.

Time and time again it has been discovered that MW cooking keeps the nutrient value higher in the foods that are cooked, particularly when the MW has a temperature probe and low water amounts when steaming.

Where we get into trouble is that The American Food Industry puts together addicting rations of fat, salt, and sugar into their foods – pre cooks them and then sends them out to restaurants and frozen food sections in store, to be cooked again.  The Microwave Oven really does a great job of keeping foods high fat, high salt and high sugar.

So the slow cooking movement is often mixed up in the confusion about MW cooking. Slow cooking does not mean you use your MW oven less or just for re-warming your coffee.  It means that we process the foods we cook in our own kitchen from fresh food.  We do not add specialized additives fat, salt, and sugar.

I put the beans from the garden into the water to clean them, do not dry them, put them into the MW for about 2 minutes a quart and then pop them into freezer containers – cold water, dry the containers and into the freezer.

I actually preserve the beans in a wee bit of apple juice, because I have made that juice from my own trees and have abundance.  I add a tiny drop of real Maple Syrup and they are gorgeous.  (I also preserve them with onion and garlic for savory tastes and stir fries.)

I boil water on the stove in a kettle and I use filtered water for my tea, because without a shim in the water MW oven water can explode in your face or hand….

MW energy just does not move around 90’ angles.  Ask your cell phone guru and antenna expert about the satellite transmissions – if you don’t believe what I believe.

MW cooking reduces the heat in our house during the summer and uses far less energy to cook foods that need cooking.    I have accidentally made BRICKS out of foods I have cooked improperly in the MW…it takes some practice; some new thinking.
I think we all need to learn about the Internet and computers we all need to learn about MW cooking and food preparation, because the energy hogging appliances – most American’s use – are really making a deep indent in our carbon foot print and future energy resources.

Instead of picking on the MW as the “badie” I think folks should understand what they are talking about.

I am not an expert, but I would like to know what you believe about MW cooking and if you think it is “bad” or “good” for a body?  And Why?

Remember too, I am on my eighth week of eating raw and fresh myself, and I process all our food myself.   My family has Celiac Disease and they need other foods like “organic, free range, chicken” to get enough nutrients – they do not thrive on raw.

Also I took my children through food allergy testing when they were young….15 days of no allergen foods and then we tested each food on the list over the next month…..I have yet to meet a Doctor who believes I was able to pull that feat off and get great and true results….I only had a MW during the whole process.

Looking forward to your comments which always add so much information and appreciation to each article and idea.  Thank you.

Other related articles you might enjoy:
10 Things I Have Learned About Celiac Disease
Factoid Friday: Carrots
Someones In The Kitchen With Patricia

16 Responses to “Thoughts about Microwave Ovens!”

  1. Andrew Says:

    Patricia,

    As a bachelor, I must confess that I don’t know anything about the relative merits of cooking in a microwave against slower forms of cooking, and I thank you for highlighting some of the issues with regard to the impact of a microwave from a nutritional point of view.

    Previously, I had simply thought that microwaves were the best thing on earth because of their convenience value.
    .-= Andrew´s last blog ..BAE’s corruption allegations – make them face up to it this time =-.

  2. Talon Says:

    I’m not one for microwaves and tend to grill (when the weather is fine) or steam veggies. Our microwave of 25 years died last year and it took months to be bothered to replace it. It’s mostly used for heating cold coffee and that’s about it. I have heard it’s not good to heat plastic in the microwave, but that’s the extent of my knowledge on whether or not it’s healthy to use it or not. I’m a big fan of raw veggies and nothing comes quite as close to the flavor when you eat it in its natural state.

    That’s amazing that you did the food allergy testing on your family all at once!
    .-= Talon´s last blog ..I won’t =-.

  3. Patricia Says:

    Andrew,
    Thank you for your comments. 20 years ago I was of the feeling that MW were bad for you – but with no kitchen for years and 3 small children to feed – cooking outside on a grill was not doing it for me so I began researching, thinking first I would get a used range for the garage…The more I learned and then how energy efficient they are….I changed my mind. I truly believe that my family is healthier because of MW cooking – and no junk food! I certainly ate some wonderful fresh cooked foods in Scotland – I was impressed!

  4. Patricia Says:

    Talon,
    I do not use plastic in the microwave yes it does break down, but then Tupperware plastic at room temperature is just awful for out gasing and causing children’s digestive problems. If I use plastic for storage it is plastic put out by Industrial use companies….We do not use plastic water bottles either.

    I just heard on BBC world that 2.5 billion plastic bottles are thrown away world wide every hour……for hundred’s of years of outgasing and slow break down in land fills. SCARY

    I love raw veggies…but my children and husband’s GI tracks can not use the vitamins and nutrients or fiber from raw foods….so I steam in the MW with much smaller liquid additives to make the food usable.

    I rather equate not using a MW as the same reasoning as my “old fogey” friends say they are not going to learn to use a computer or facebook or shop on line…..My 94 year old mum used the computer and paid her own bills and visited with grandchildren up to a week before she died. It kept her in the world and growing and learning.
    Then again I really embrace CHANGE in my life…

  5. vered | blogger for hire Says:

    I’m always impressed by how healthy your eating habits are.
    .-= vered | blogger for hire´s last blog ..Inappropriate Halloween Costumes for Kids =-.

  6. Patricia Says:

    Vered-
    Thank you! I ate a whole bag of healthy potato chips yesterday after my interview with the church leadership….
    For all this healthy eating – I am still not getting rid of the fat…I sure hope the blood sugar levels are normalized…BP is mostly there….Just got a great bread recipe from a raw site that uses a dehydrator…looks like just what I am hungry for…
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..Thoughts about Microwave Ovens! =-.

  7. Jannie Funster Says:

    Yes, I agree with you about no plastic in the MW for reheating, due to leaching.

    I am a huge MW user, frozen dinners, thawing hamburger, reheating, heating tea water in mugs. (Think I’ll go get some nice tea after I post this!)

    Sometimes I eat a whole bag of potato chips too! Yep, once in a while I love that for a treat.

    That plastic bottle out-gassing in landfills — I did not realize that.

    Mom blanched a lot of our beans, peas and stuff before freezing for the winter. Do you ever blanch?
    .-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..And So On. And So On. And So On. =-.

  8. Patricia Says:

    Jannie,
    I blanch at the thought! Yep I do that in the MW…
    And plastic bottles are very hard on the earth…as are all those plastic trays and stuff from fast food places…they just don’t break down.

    Still feeding myself for stress relief!

  9. Davina Says:

    Hi Patricia.
    Definitely no plastic in the microwave for me. When I studied nutrition I was taught the MW was not ideal. For a while I “followed the crowd”. Then I relaxed my rule and bought a MW. It died months ago & I’ve never replaced it (not a priority). I don’t know enough about their effects one way or the other to make an educated comment — they just don’t “feel” right for me to use. But I do know enough about food to say that the way you preserve your beans sounds fantastic.

    It’s funny with controversial topics… they can easily become more about which side is right rather than what the actual truth is :-) You made some valid points here Patricia.
    .-= Davina´s last blog ..9. Thyme Out On A Mountain =-.

  10. Patricia Says:

    Davina,
    I think what we believe is most important and then by being aware we can figure out what is correct for us. The comments I was receiving all week were from folks who use cell phones and computers but had labeled the MW horrible.

    One fellow even said if you could not use seasoned cast iron pans in one, then it must be no good. I had to give up cast iron pans and synthetic iron vitamins when they discovered my kidney stones were from iron….what a relief to get rid of those.

    I think knowledge is key here

  11. Carla Says:

    Its been years since I’ve owned a microwave, but when I did, I hardly used it. I loved to cook and don’t like the texture of microwaved food. I usually either eat veggies raw or sauteed or lightly steamed. Meats are cooked on the stove, grill or oven.

    When heating up leftovers, I usually just use the stove.

    So because I don’t eat prepackaged, frozen or processed foods (black olives are my only canned food), I never had a need for a microwave.

    They can be handy when a motel has microwaves in the rooms though! 😀

  12. Patricia Says:

    Hello Carla,
    Nice to see you here, welcome back! I had to use a MW for 3 years and so I wanted to learn to use it well – like I learned to use my computer. Since my husband is an architect working on sustainable, energy efficient, and green design he really like how efficient the MW was and what an energy savings we discovered from using it. We do not use very much pre-processed foods…with Celiac Disease and allergies….so I had to learn to use the MW to prepare tasty and not just efficiently.
    I think MW ovens get a “Bad” connotation most of the time..without folks knowing enough about them….We have a new computer program that measures the carbon footprint savings on our house….yesterday with all the laundry cooking and heating we had to do we saved the earth 70 pounds of carbon emissions and ourselves about $7.00 off our bill…

    I just wanted to share some of the good news too! I appreciate your comments – it adds to the knowledge base here…

  13. Carla Says:

    @Patricia – Thank you for your response! I was thinking of getting a toaster oven so that I wont have to turn on the large oven if I’m baking/cooking something small or heating something up. I wonder how they rank in terms of energy usage…
    .-= Carla´s last blog ..Green and Chic Store Makeover & SoLi Design Studios Review =-.

  14. Patricia Says:

    Carla,
    We do not have a toaster over or clothes dryer (gas or electric) because they are part of the worst for outgasing and putting bad things into the environment…as is the toaster….I have been researching convection, MW with temperature probes for a smaller unit and to replace the MW with a probe that gave up a couple of weeks ago.
    Several of the German made ones are truly amazing on their energy efficiency….once again I will need to learn some new cooking strategies.
    The unit that died is a combo MW oven above a wall mount electric oven. So I have to remove that huge unit and rebuild the cabinets. It gives me time to continue my research…
    I do have a professional cook stove which has a gas cook top and convection oven. Love it for all the GF bread I make and meat cooking – convection makes the time shorter for running it – distributes the heat more effectively. I have a found a bread machine is more economical for these heavy duty breads than the big oven.
    Let me know what your research turns up! Let’s compare notes?

  15. Dot Says:

    For all the people who have warned me about the harmfulness of microwaves, not one of them had any research to back it up. Thanks for yours!

  16. Patricia Says:

    You welcome Dot – glad I could be of some help….cooking for folks who can not retrieve nutrients from the GUT has really added a great deal to my knowledge base – thru trial and error…but when they told me my children as infants were failing to survive I had great motivation.