By Wrightmt (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Wrightmt (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Since November I’ve been doing the modern day unthinkable: I’ve been living life without a microwave. See, there wasn’t one built into our kitchen when I moved in, and after a couple weeks of figuring out which one to buy, my two roommates and I jointly decided to forget it altogether, and live sans that trusty kitchen convenience staple. And I LOVE IT. I’ve never cooked more than I do now, and I feel healthier than ever for it.

DARE YOU: Tape up your microwave and don’t use it for an entire month. See if you prefer life without it, and if so, donate it to charity! Who wants to give it a try?

Here are five reasons I plead my case:

1. Food simply tastes better.

Let’s start with the basics. Microwaves make things rubbery, dry, they heat unevenly and they suck flavor out of your food. One of the primary functions of microwaves past has been to reheat leftovers. Now, I’ve learned that a little olive oil and a pan go a long way when it comes to creating a more flavorful dish the second time around. It’s great when pasta gets a little crispy on the outside and soup feels more pure. I’ve found the extra time you end up spending in the kitchen is really marginal.

2. Microwaving zaps nutrients out of your food.

You go out of your way to choose nutritious foods (right?), but microwaves have been shown over and over again to reduce the nutritional value of your food. The waves used to heat food so quickly and conveniently actually change the chemical structure in the process. Don’t surrender vitamins and proteins to your microwave oven. Here are just 3 of the MANY interesting scientific food-zapping findings I found:

  • Broccoli “zapped” in the microwave with a little water lost up to 97 percent of its beneficial antioxidants. By comparison, steamed broccoli lost 11 percent or fewer of its antioxidants.
  • In a study of garlic, as little as 60 seconds of microwave heating was enough to inactivate its allinase, garlic’s principle active ingredient against cancer.
  • Microwaving asparagus spears is shown to reduce its vitamin C content.

3. Spend quality time with your food.

I’ve taken great pleasure in getting to know my food better over the past few months. When you microwave something, you set it and forget it. When you’re forced to do it the old-fashioned way, you think about the ingredients, the preparation, and ultimately, the quality of what you’re eating. You develop a relationship with what goes into your body before ingesting it, which helps regulate portion control and makes a big difference in how you perceive food in general.

4. Goodbye frozen dinners.

Microwave dinners are cop out meals. Sure, they’re convenient, but they usually fall into one of two categories: 1, they are packed with sodium and high in fat, or 2, they are lean and low-cal and don’t come close to filling you up. I used to be a once-a-week frozen dinner kinda gal, but now I’ll make ground turkey tacos or a simple whole wheat pasta dish instead. This goes back to spending quality time with your food. Plus, cooking is a moderate form of exercise! Chop chop.

5. Heating plastics in a microwave can be dangerous.

We’ve all heard about radiation and the possible dangers of microwaves. While the American Cancer Society confirms that the radiation doesn’t actually leak out, that’s not the only problem. When you heat something in plastic, there may be stuff leaking into your food that was not invited. Even plastics labeled microwave-safe have been found to release “toxic doses” of Bisphenol A, and there has been concerns about exposing this to infants, young children and fetuses especially.

So…

Do you think you could do it? I’m not going to tell you it isn’t extra dishes to wash, and I’ll be honest in saying that it DOES require more time in the kitchen. However, I find it extremely liberating and eye-opening about foods and about myself. Comment below and let me know if you’ll give microwave-less life a whirl!