ByMadeleine Somerville

Jan 28, 2015
Abandoned microwave
Abandoned microwave. Image courtesy of James Butler.

I moved into a very sweet little-old-lady house about six months ago. We’re talking frilly curtains, hardwood under the carpets, black-and-yellow tiled bathroom, wood paneling – the whole nine.

Like many other homes of its era, the kitchen in this house is sweet, small and functional – there are no islands or granite-topped butler pantries here, folks. Also missing? A dishwasher, and the spare counter space necessary to comfortably house a microwave. So as soon as I moved in, it was back to the 50’s! Washing dishes by hand and heating things the old fashioned way, like a boss.
I was surprised to realize that I don’t miss either one – the microwave especially. I didn’t really use it that much, and had long toyed with the idea of getting rid of it altogether, but I worried about whether I would get stuck trying to do without it. But, as is often the case, what I thought would feel like a loss or an inconvenience turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

First of all – why ditch the microwave? How about a few gross facts for you:

  • A study published in 2003 by the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture reports that broccoli lost 97% of its antioxidants after being nuked
  • Just 60 seconds of microwaving garlic is enough to deactivate allinase, its cancer-fighting ingredient
  • People exposed to high levels of microwave radiation have experienced such delights as insomnia, headaches and dizziness, swollen lymph nodes and a weakened immune system, impaired cognition, and problems with their vision
So, are you ready to join me in the 50’s? Ready to break free? Here’s how.
  1. Skip convenience foods.  Even a cooking novice like me can boil some pasta, steam vegetables, or create a lush salad in the same amount of time it would take to zap a microwave meal. Doing so allows you to eat a nutritious meal, avoid all the wasteful plastic packaging, and consciously participate in the process of preparing your meal. It’s better for your health, and better for the environment, too.
  2. Look for alternatives. No nuker doesn’t have to mean no popcorn, it just means you get to enjoy your favorite fluffy snack without all the carcinogenic properties associated with the microwave kind. An air-popper works fabulously, as does kicking it old-school by making the stove top version. Everything you currently use your microwave for can  – and has – been done by some other method.
  3. A toaster oven is a fabulous stand-in when it comes time to warm up leftovers, and your food will come out golden and crispy instead of mushy and overcooked. A toaster oven is also far smaller and occupies less kitchen real estate.
  4. Try to think beyond cooking in the first place – eating raw foods can be a wonderful way to boost health, increase energy, and even help lose weight.
And there you have it. No microwave, no problem.
Feature image courtesy of Kreg Steppe

By Madeleine Somerville

Madeleine Somerville is the author of All You Need Is Less: An Eco-Friendly Guide to Guilt-Free Green Living and Stress-Free Simplicity. She is a writer, wannabe hippie and lover of soft cheeses. She lives in Edmonton, Canada, with her daughter. You can also find Madeleine at her blog, Sweet Madeleine.