For a significant period in time, microwave ovens were the hallmark of auspicious social mobility and sophistication.
Initially, my exposure to the kitchen appliance came in the form of cultural appropriation via television ads while sitting on the couch of my mother’s city home in Kingston, Jamaica. As a child, I associated microwave ovens with prestige and social ascendence, on the rare occasion I spotted the appliance in a friends home, my perspective on the individual would permanently change. The closest kitchen appliance our family in the country had to a microwave oven was a countertop electronic oven, very similar to a microwave oven, however, not as sleek.
Unfortunately, when the family decided to move to New York City in the early 2000s, microwave oven prepared meals became a familiar and necessary part of my daily routine. I can clearly recall the moments as a teenager when I cooked frankfurters, warmed milk, and heated hot pockets in the microwave oven to obtain a quick bite. I never once paused to question what microwave ovens were, or even ponder the potential health risks of frequently using microwave ovens to warm and/or to cook my food.
It was around my undergraduate years when I explicitly made the connection between microwaves, an electromagnetic wave of extremely high frequency, and microwave ovens the kitchen appliance used to rapidly warm and/or to cook food items. Upon conducting background research, I learned that the modern microwave was invented by the American engineer, Percy Spencer after World War II. Radarange or what we now call microwave ovens, was sold and patented by Tappan, an appliance company. However during the mid 1950s, microwave ovens were still viewed as too large and expensive for general home usage. A decade later, Sharp Cooperation revolutionized the antiquated microwave oven by introducing a turntable in the mid 1960s and then economizing and redesigning the appliance. Shortly after remodeling, the use of microwave ovens began to spread rapidly across the world.
Microwave ovens are electronic ovens that warm and cook food by means of electromagnetic radiation in the microwave frequency range. Microwaves are a form of electromagnetic (radio waves) radiation with wavelengths ranging from one meter to one millimeter, and frequencies between 300 MHz and 300 GHz. In physics, electromagnetic radiation refers to the waves that propagate or radiate through space-time, carrying electromagnetic radiant energy. So in laymen terms, microwaves describe a unique range of frequency on the electromagnetic spectrum that radiates an extremely high amount of energy.
Microwave ovens often release tiny, high-powered waves, otherwise known as microwaves that rapidly and efficiently warm and/or cook our food. Inside the metal box of the microwave oven, microwaves are designed to directly target tiny particles inside the food. The generator that is responsible for converting electrical energy to radio waves is called a magnetron. When turned on, the magnetron releases microwaves into the cooking cavity through a channel described as a wave guide. As the food spins on the turntable, the microwaves bounce back and forth vibrating the molecules in the food. The high albedo or reflexibility of the metal lining found in the cooking cavity, causes the microwaves to bounce back and forth. As the energy from the microwave particles increase, so does the vibration of the molecules found in the food, this consistent release or buildup of energy causes the food to rapidly warm and/or cook.
Having that understanding on how microwaves work, scientists were interested in exploring how frequent use of microwave ovens might impact an organisms growth and development over time. In a classical scientific experiment, 2,000 cats were fed only food and water that were previously placed in the microwave oven for the duration of one minute. The foods selected were the most nutritious and natural options available. Within six weeks on this diet, all cats mysteriously died. While investigating the surprising result of the test, it was discovered that, although the cats looked well fed, the cells in their bodies virtually contained no trace of nutrient components. The cats literally starved to death, despite all the nutritious foods provided. (-Timeless Secrets of Health and Rejuvenation, Andreas Mortiz.)
Now, you might have been wondering, just how does the cat’s consumption of microwaved food relates to me as a human, or, how frequently were the cats fed this diet? Before we proceed, lets get a few things ironed out. As previously stated, a magnetron releases microwaves that essentially targets and excites the molecular bonds that are found in our food. The frantic friction of microwaves often fracture food molecules, rearranging their chemical composition into weird new configurations, unrecognizable as food by the human body. By destroying the molecular structures of food, the body cannot help but retire the food into waste.
So even though the food item physically appears intact, the molecular component, such as the B complex, C and E vitamins, as well as other essential trace minerals found in our food is rendered useless or unrecognizable by the human body. A study published in the November 2003 issue of The Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture found that broccoli “zapped” in the microwave with a little water, lost up to 97% of its beneficial antioxidants. By comparison, steamed broccoli lost 11% or fewer of its antioxidants.
Additionally, consuming microwaved prepared food has been linked to an overall decrease in the availability of vital proteins, as discovered by a recent Australian study showing that microwaves cause a higher degree of “protein unfolding” than conventional heating. Similarly, the 2,000 cats consumed a daily diet that physically appeared to be healthy, however the molecular component of the food was permanently altered, rendering the food toxic for consumption.
Now that we are aware of some of the harmful effects of microwave ovens, it is time we explored some less harmful alternatives. As a young professional, I am very well aware that having lunch prepared in advance is a necessity. And as we have recently explored, the harmful radiation from microwave ovens can lead to malnutrition. However, it is important to understand and internalize that alternatives do exists. They may not always be the most convenient, but they do exist.
For example, using the conventional oven to cook or to reheat food is still a viable option, it takes a while longer, however the food will be more nutritious and flavorful. However, if like most 21st century young professionals, a conventional oven is not readily available and/or you do not have the time to reheat your food, simply plan ahead. Food storage such as food Thermos are an excellent alternative. Some food Thermos allow food to retain heat for 5-6 hours. My advice to you would be to try and normalize your eating routine. In the mornings as you consume your fruits or tea, you could place your food in a Thermos and warm it inside a conventional oven; this will insure that you will have the option of a conventionally warmed meal 5-6 hours later.
In conclusion, using electromagnetic radiation to heat and/or to cook food may not be as ideal for the body as some might think. When we consume food, we should do so to heal, metabolize and to regenerate our cells. Food can either energize or harm the physical body. Microwave frequency agitate the (water) molecules found in our food, causing them to vibrate, creating heat, thus yielding the food appropriate for consumption. However, cooking food in a microwave oven disassociates the food particles by destroying the molecular bonds or by unfolding vital proteins; rendering the food partially useless to our physical bodies. Please consider the information presented, do your body a favor and dodge and/or toss-out your microwave oven before its too late.
Microwave ovens were once the hallmark of civility, now they are more or less incinerators for our food.