Monday, January 29, 2007

Microwave ovens...and why I don't use them!

One of my readers, Theresa, writes to ask about why I gave away my microwave oven:


Could you comment further about your concerns re using a microwave? I have heard that they give off “something” that’s not good to be around when in use, but what about the effect on the food? I’ve also heard dishwashers give off something that’s not good for you too. Would like to clarify my thinking so I can better decide where to draw the line on these things. Thanks!

Although I haven't heard anything about dishwashers (so please inform me!), I'd like to share what I know about microwave ovens.  First of all, I encourage you to do your own might try googling "dangers of microwave ovens" and see what you come up with.  I, personally, have read several studies that gave me great concern.  Although I used my microwave mainly for the convenience of melting, re-heating leftovers and heating water, I felt the dangers were great enough to give it up completely.  Some of the following information you can find at and some of it is from various studies and papers I have read over the years.

First of all - do you know how they work?  Microwaves are a form of electromagnetic energy.  Microwaves are used in many more things than cooking (tv.,long distance phone use, computers). A microwave oven has a magnetron - this is a tube in which electrons are affected by magnetic and electric fields so that it produces microwave length radiation.  This radiation interacts with the molecules in food.  Food molecules (and water!) have a positive and negative end just like a magnet has north and south polarity.  Microwaves cause the polar molecules to rotate which creates friction which heats up the food.  It also causes damage to the surrounding molecules.  Microwaving changes the taste and texture of food. 

It also damages some key components in food and can actually change certain beneficial properties into toxic properties according to Dr. Lee (12/9/89) who said:

Microwaving baby formulas converted certain trans-amino acids into the synthetic cis-isomers.  Synthetic isomers, whether cis-amino acids or trans-fatty acids are not biologically active.  Further one of the amino acids, L-proline was converted to its d-isomer, which is known to be neurotoxic (poisonous to the nervous system) and nephrotoxic (poisonous to the kidneys).  It is bad enough that many babies are not nursed, but now they are given fake milk (baby formula) made even more toxic via microwaving."


Now, I am not a scientist and don't understand all of the trans-amino acids/cis-isomers etc.  But I DO understand neurotoxic and nephrotoxic just fine.  I also know that I don't want to be eating them or feeding them to my children.  And I am sure you all remember the newspaper accounts of blood that was warmed in a microwave before being given to a patient having hip surgery...Norma Levitt died from that transfusion.  The microwaving of the blood altered it enough to be deadly.

In Comparative Study of Food Prepared Conventionally and in the Microwave Oven, published by Raum & Zelt in 1992, at 3(2): 43, it states

"A basic hypothesis of natural medicine states that the introduction into the human body of molecules and energies, to which it is not accustomed, is much more likely to cause harm than good.

Microwaved food contains both molecules and energies not present in food cooked in the way humans have been cooking food since the discovery of fire. Microwave energy from the sun and other stars is direct current based.

Artificially produced microwaves, including those in ovens, are produced from alternating current and force a billion or more polarity reversals per second in every food molecule they hit.

Production of unnatural molecules is inevitable. Naturally occurring amino acids have been observed to undergo isomeric changes (changes in shape morphing) as well as transformation into toxic forms, under the impact of microwaves produced in ovens.

One short-term study found significant and disturbing changes in the blood of individuals consuming microwaved milk and vegetables. Eight volunteers ate various combinations of the same foods cooked different ways.

All foods that were processed through the microwave ovens caused changes in the blood of the volunteers. Hemoglobin levels decreased and over all white cell levels and cholesterol levels increased. Lymphocytes decreased.

Luminescent (light-emitting) bacteria were employed to detect energetic changes in the blood. Significant increases were found in the luminescence of these bacteria when exposed to blood serum obtained after the consumption of microwaved food."

If that isn't enough to make you loose your is what research has shown happens to food processed in a microwave....from thawing to cooking!

The following is a summary of the Russian investigations published by the Atlantis Raising Educational Center in Portland, Oregon. Carcinogens were formed in virtually all foods tested.

Microwaving prepared meats sufficiently to insure sanitary ingestion caused formation of d-Nitrosodienthanolamines, a well-known carcinogen.

Microwaving milk and cereal grains converted some of their amino acids into carcinogens.

Thawing frozen fruits converted their glucoside and galactoside containing fractions into carcinogenic substances.

Extremely short exposure of raw, cooked or frozen vegetables converted their plant alkaloids into carcinogens.

Carcinogenic free radicals were formed in microwaved plants, especially root vegetables.

Decrease in nutritional value

Russian researchers also reported a marked acceleration of structural degradation leading to a decreased food value of 60 to 90% in all foods tested. Among the changes observed were:

Deceased bio-availability of vitamin B complex, vitamin C, vitamin E, essential minerals and lipotropics factors in all food tested.

Various kinds of damage to many plant substances, such as alkaloids, glucosides, galactosides and nitrilosides.

The degradation of nucleo-proteins in meats.

I also read a long and detailed study of what microwaved food does to your blood.  Dr. Hans Ulrich Hertel, now retired, worked as a food scientist with one of the major Swiss food companies.  He carried out a clinical study, with Dr. Bernard H. Blanc of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the University Institute for Biochemistry, on the effects microwaved nutrients had on the blood and physiology of the human body.  It was enough to chill my blood!  They tested the volunteers blood before eating (empty stomach), after consuming raw milk, milk cooked conventionally, pasteurized milk, and raw milk cooked in a microwave, raw vegetables from an organic farm, same veggies cooked conventionally, same veggies frozen and defrosted in a microwave oven and the same veggies cooked in the microwave oven.  Blood samples were taken before eating and at defined intervals after eating.

Significant changes were found in the blood samples from the intervals following the microwaved foods.  Including: a decrease in all hemoglobin and cholesterol values, especially the ration of HDL and LDL values.  Lymphocytes showed more distinct short-term decrease after eating the microwaved food.  This along with some of the previously mentioned changes which showed pathogenic effects on the living system....such as poisoning and cell damage.

The study was interesting, although long and sometimes difficult to wade was interesting to me that Dr. Hertell lost his job and was issued a gag order....which he fought and finally suceeded in winning so that his findings could be made publicly known. 

I hope this is enough information for you to begin your own study on microwaves and whether you want to expose yourself and your children to what it does to your food.  And we haven't even begun to talk about what it can do to  your body just being in proximity of a working microwave....more for another day.

I found that I missed my microwave terribly for about a month, and now I don't miss it at all.  I might have a few more pots to wash when heating up leftovers but what a small price to pay for health.  So here's to your good health and all the money you can make at the yard sale when you get rid of the radiation machine!


  1. Thanks for sharing all of this. Our machine broke right before baby #1 arrived 13+ years ago and it was never replaced. I think we made $5 from it at our g-sale. :-)

  2. You are welcome Denise - what a blessing that it broke - although you might not have thought so at the time!

  3. Cheri,

    What an informative post! Thank you for taking the time to share all this info. It sure is a bummer that so many things that are convenient aren't healthy!


  4. Hi Theresa,
    Thanks for asking the question - glad you found it helpful. I think we Americans sacrifice a great deal of our health for the sake of convenience!

  5. Thanks for this informative and very well-written post. I blogged about it over at the HomesteadBlogger Front Porch today.

  6. Thanks for posting that! I just learned about the dangers of microwaves in the past couple of weeks. I haven't convinced my family yet, so I am the only one who heats his sloppy joes on the stove while they use the microwave.

    What I thought was interesting is what the microwaves do to our computer (they're next to each other). The computer screen gets all wavy when it's going. Makes me wonder what it's doing to my body, so I try to stay away whether it really does anything bad or not.

  7. Nancy,
    Thanks so much! Glad you found it informative!

  8. Jonathan,
    I encourage you, and everyone else, to do some research on what microwaves do to the human body - I try not to be in a room with one when it is operating! What I have read about how it affects us isn't pretty! Hope your family will do some research of their own - however, I have found that many people are not willing to give up the convenience in exchange for better health - just amazes me!

  9. A little over a year ago our microwave broke. We went a couple of months without one and did fine. Then my FIL decided we HAD to have one and bought us one. We rarely used it. Then we sold everything and moved to Alaska. We currently have no microwave again and things are running quite smoothly. My kids miss it, but I'm slowly teaching them how to function without. I was in no big hurry to get one, and now it has dropped to the very bottom of my priority list! Thanks for the info, I'll have to share it when my crew starts begging to get one!

  10. Hi, I found this post very interesting and this isn't the first time that I have come across warnings regading owning a microwave. I don't use mine very much and I mostly use it to defrost food and heat meals up from my freezer, but again this isn't very often.

    This is definitely a cause for concern though and I will look into this further.

    Thank you so much for sharing this info with everyone.

  11. Thanks for sharing the scientific details. I also stopped using my microwave due to Mercola. I think he tends to be a whistle-blower, and he made me "paranoid" for a while, but all-in-all he had tons of great info.

    Good for you...the microwave seems like such an integral part of life, doesn't it? But really, it's not that much trouble living a simpler, less technological life. At least I don't have to build a fire in a wood stove to cook!

    Do you also stay away from teflon/non-stick pans? Just curious. =-) That's another thing I'm learning to live without. Time to pull out the cast iron!

  12. Page,
    You are very welcome - I think as you research you will find that the convenience is not worth the trade off in nutrition and health :)

  13. Hi Kristina,
    Glad I could be of help :)

  14. Hi Beth,
    You are SO right - it really isn't any trouble at all - and think of all that counter space you save :)

    I never cook with teflon/non-stick pans - guess I'll blog about that too!


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