Filed under: Chronic Disease, Healthy Lifestyle | Tags: food safety, microwave ovens
Microwave ovens have been in widespread use since the 1980s, and today almost every American home has one. Many of us happily use it daily, whether to warm up leftovers or boil a cup of water, without a second thought. But there are some health-conscious people out there who believe that microwave ovens are a health hazard, and/or that they destroy the nutrients in our food. Should we be concerned?
The short answer is no—with one caveat. According to Harvard Medical School, microwaves cook or heat food using waves of energy that are similar to radio waves. These waves primarily affect water molecules in the food, by causing them to vibrate and quickly build up heat as a result. There is no evidence that these types of waves harm our bodies in any way.
And microwaving our food is actually one of the best ways to preserve nutrients. When it comes to nutrient preservation, the faster the cooking method the better, and as we all know, the microwave tends to win the speed contest.
One thing we do need to be vigilant about is microwaving food in plastic. When many types of plastic are heated, either bisphenol-A (BPA) or phthalates can leach out of the plastic into the food—not a good situation. Both substances can mimic human hormones and are considered endocrine disruptors, which may produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in humans.
So as long as you’re careful about what containers you use to heat up your foods, you’re good to go!
Filed under: Books, food politics, Food/Health Blogs | Tags: family farm, food safety, Joel Salatin, Michael Pollan, organic, raw milk, The Omnivore's Dilemma, Treehugger
Treehugger has published a great, in-depth interview with Joel Salatin today. If you’ve read Michael Pollan’s book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” you’ll remember Salatin as the plucky farmer who refused to ship Pollan a steak in the mail and who extolled the virtues of the self-sufficient, multi-crop and multi-animal farm.
“The food industry views everything through the skewed paradigm of faith in human cleverness rather than dependence on nature’s design. … But this hubris seems to relish the fact that we can irradiate food to sterilize poop, rather than slowing the processing down enough that we can wash the poop off before it gets in the food.
Which opens up the next big problem: safe food. And this runs the gamut from nutrition to outright danger. The food industry actually believes that feeding your children Twinkies, Cocoa Puffs and Mountain Dew is safe, but drinking raw milk and eating compost-grown tomatoes is dangerous. The industrial food system depends on dredging up horror stories from the early 1900s as food was just industrializing and rural electrification, stainless steel, and sanitation understanding were not available to continue demonizing, marginalizing, and criminalizing back-to-heritage foods in the modern day. Using its political clout, industrial food is waging war on local, nutrient dense foods as surely as the U.S. Cavalry hunted down native Americans earlier in our culture’s history.”