Living Naturally: “I love my food and my counter space” or, “The day the microwave went to live in the shed”

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Patience is NOT something that I excel in.  I HATE surprises because I can’t WAIT to find out what they are.  I am the worst offender when it comes to needing to see the ‘immediate results’ and wanting things quickly…so choosing to live ‘simply’ and to cook whole foods, use natural remedies, and be content with little is a stretch for me…

That being said, I don’t know if that means I’m the best person to write this post or not! But I can tell you from experience that choosing to go back to the “vintage” way of doing things is not easy…it’s slow.  it’s strategic and slow and purposeful.  And did I mention that you have to slow down…? but I want to encourage you that it’s TOTALLY. worth it.

Here’s what I mean…

When my hotty hubby and I got married over 8 years ago, we were given a lovely, new, expensive and shiny microwave.  I adored my microwave and it was big.  The kind you could put a whole turkey in and the settings….*sigh* …there were popcorn settings, potato settings, pasta settings and {be still my heart} a *coffee* setting.  I was sold and it was used daily in our home.  That all transpired when we lived in a rather large apartment with a great sized kitchen and there were only 2 of us.  Fast forward to now and there are 5 of us, and we have since bought an old house(and by “old” I don’t mean “vintage”, I mean “old”). 1904 to be exact.  And, yes, I will state the obvious that they didn’t have microwaves back then, therefore, they didn’t need counter space to accommodate such luxuries.  In fact, the foundation to the first kitchen on this property is in my backyard.  Sometime later, the kitchen was actually attached to the proper part of the house, but it was not originally intended to hold such grand items as a fridge and large stove either.  So now, I have an adorably cozy (read: small) bungalow-style kitchen with vaulted ceilings and skylights, which I adore.  What I don’t adore is the shortage of space – and ladies – we all know that you can’t have too MUCH counter space.

So I hate to admit it, but my first reason for even considering parting ways with my microwave is because I wanted more ROOM.  We had already started on our Whole/Traditional Foods journey, but every time I read posts about ditching the microwave, I quickly moved on and pretended I didn’t see them. I simply LOVED the ease that the microwave gave me, ESPECIALLY because I have little ones, and when they’re hungry, they want food NOW.  Even waiting 30 seconds for something to warm up was too long. (good grief…so much for teaching my children that patience is a virtue…)

Finally, one day, I decided to go cold turkey and kick the habit.  Just like that.  Patience is NOT my strong point, but I am sooooo good at impulse decisions.

Here’s what finally pushed me over the edge and sent our microwave to live in the shed:

  1. It took up too much counter space and it was the “eye catching piece” when you walked into my kitchen.  I have space galore now and can’t imagine having to put it back.
  2. We had made the decision to change our eating habits and start cooking and consuming things with high amounts of enzymes, vitamins and minerals; all of which are damaged or completely destroyed when microwaved.  I realized I was spending time and money planning my family’s new way of life, only to destroy it once it got to my kitchen. This site even mentions that in some studies, up to 97% of the nutritional value of food was destroyed in the microwave! Check it out!
  3. I love a challenge, and I knew it was “possible” therefore I could do it and prove to myself that we could be “those-weird-people-that-don’t-even-have-a-microwave”.  (don’t worry, I’m working on this character quality as well….)

And to be honest….I don’t miss it.  I don’t even think about it now!

Interested in trying it…

here’s what worked for me and how you can get rid of the microwave and actually make it work without pulling your hair out (and without being mobbed by hungry natives your children):

1. Go all the way.  I had to get the microwave out of the house or I knew that I would keep using it.  “Just unplug it” you say?  I would plug it back in.  I know myself and I knew that if it was there, I would use it.  So my big strong husband took the big shiny microwave to the shed (confession: not to the dumpster… just in case this was an epic fail and I needed it brought back inside!)

2. Have several small pots and pans available just for reheating items or warming up small portions.  I have a teeny tiny little pan – it’s 3 inches deep and 4 inches in circumference.  It’s perfect for warming up baby food, reheating a drink, melting butter, or reheating small portions for the little ones.  I use it daily and wipe it and rinse it between uses.  Seriously don’t stress yourself about washing each and every time.  A rinse and wipe will do it every time, and at the end of the day, it goes in the dishwasher.  I also have 2 small sauce pans and 2 small pots with lids (they look like mini stock pots and I’m sure there’s a name for them).

3. Use a toaster oven! They can be quite compact, (but they can also be large, so don’t defeat the purpose of gaining counter space!)  and yes, it sounded kind of old-fashioned to me too, but these things are great! you can toast, cook, bake and reheat with ease if you have a good quality toaster oven! It cooks the old fashioned way (with heat, not micro-waves) so your food isn’t stripped of nutrition.

4. Plan ahead on thawing meat.  This is the trickiest part but don’t quit now! I TRY to plan ahead tomorrow night’s meal and stick frozen meat in the fridge ahead of time.  Let’s be honest, that doesn’t always happen.  The USDA warns against thawing meat in warm water or on the counter, because it can stay in the “danger zone” (40’F-140’F) for too long, risking a rapid multiplication of bacteria.  You can plan ahead by placing it in the fridge, use cold water to thaw the meat, or, depending on the dish, you can just cook it without thawing. yep. you really can. Check out this page from the USDA on food safety, with info on safely thawing meat. (note: the USDA does state on this site  that if you want to thaw an entire frozen turkey, it will take a little longer.  Thanks for the tip, Uncle Sam…)

And that’s it.  It really is that simple and you’ll be SHOCKED at how much you don’t miss it.  Is it nice to have? of course!! But is it worth the trade off for the amount of nutrition that I’m retaining in my food PLUS the amount of space that it frees up in my kitchen? YES!!!!

Need a little more convincing?  Check out these great articles!

ADDED: (I just came across this first article on 3.6.12 and decided to add it to this list, because it seems to be the most thoroughly researched, and sites 3-4 studies that were done in regards to food safety, quality etc. when using a microwave.)

Microwave Ovens – The Proven Dangers

Microwave ovens Destroy the Nutritional Value of Your Food

How One Busy School Teacher Eats the Weston Price Way All the Time 

Do You Microwave Your Food? You’re Zapping Away Nutrients and Risking Your Health (this is a great article, and I highly recommend subscribing to Dr. Mercola’s site.  However, you can still read the article even if you are asked to subscribe first. Simply close the pop-up box)

Do you use your microwave each day?  What is stopping you from taking it to the shed, garage or dumpster?

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This post is part of Traditional Tuesdays!

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10 Responses to “Living Naturally: “I love my food and my counter space” or, “The day the microwave went to live in the shed””
show comments ⇓

  1. Cynthia

    We went without a microwave for a few years because we had lived in a “vintage house” and had a countertop one. Then last summer we moved into a newer house and the microwave was built in. hmmm…I could unplug it and use it for storage. I know my girls won’t like it but then again there’s a homeschooling lesson in there. Thanks for the info. including the links to the articles!

  2. It does take some getting used to at first – especially from the kiddos. But just like you said, it makes for a good learning tool, so that they know WHY it’s not healthy. Some things aren’t worth sacrificing for convenience and, for my family, this was one of them. we don’t even miss it!

  3. Amanda

    2 microwaves = really sad. One came with the new place (over the stove) and my husband has had the other one for YEARS (he can’t bear to part with it.) I’m going to make him read this article and maybe (soon) we’ll bite the bullet and get rid of BOTH!

  4. I totally understand! I had a love affair with my microwave but I finally just DID it. It feels like such a HUGE decision and I don’t know why we feel so “safe” with a microwave – like we’re giving up our security blanket! You really can do it. Go for a trial period even – move them out but don’t trash them and see if you can do it. Give a few weeks and you won’t even think about it after awhile! you can do it! 🙂 -kelsi

  5. Jen

    I just has to read this because I saw your cute little pug! Ha! We have two of them. 🙂 Aren’t they great! I don’t use our microwave except to heat water (the verdict is still out on whether that’s even good too), but it is built into the wall so without it there would be a big gaping hole! Guess we’ll just have to invest in a double oven someday. 🙂

  6. So funny; I always pretended I didn’t see the warning articles about microwaves, too! And then one day it just clicked for me and that was it. Now I use it as a timer.

  7. shinies

    Actually, none of the sites you listed showed the actual study that supports these results. The ‘straight to the source’ link on the site you posted has a disclaimer at the bottom saying that it’s not professional advice and is opinion and commentary. Where’s the hard proof that the microwave destroys nutrients? I won’t believe it til it’s proven, especially when I can mount a microwave under a cabinet and my counter space is suddenly back again. As far as I can tell, this is all he-said-she-said. In fact, Wikipedia (citing medical school and LA Times articles) says that only SOME foods lose more nutrients when microwaved, and other foods lose more nutrients when boiling on the stove. All foods lose some nutrients when cooked regardless of the method.

    Be sure to check more than one side of the story. Glad you got some counter space back in your small kitchen though, but I won’t be giving up my microwave. I’d rather mount it under the sink.

  8. shinies, thanks for your comment and here is a bit more info that I’ve found. I chose the article that I did for it’s brevity, and after reading through, I didn’t notice anywhere that it mentioned that it was an opinion piece, although it’s journalistic style would definitely lean to that. There is a disclaimer on the bottom of the website, so perhaps that is what you meant. Regardless, it’s true that that particular piece did not directly link to any sources. Here is an additional article that I came across and I will be swapping out my links, as this one is much more thorough and well researched (they site 3-4 scientific studies). http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/health-hazards-to-know-about/microwave-ovens-the-proven-dangers. It’s also true that there are definite nutritional benefits to eating your veggies raw (assuming your meat is cooked!) but not always: http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/think-raw-veggies-are-best-think-again/

    You’re right in that there is a lot of hype in both directions and I grew up using a microwave, as did my parents. After researching this issue about a year ago, I have chosen what I think is the healthiest option for my family (the bonus was the extra counter space :)). We definitely don’t expect everyone to agree with us here at Cheeky Bums, but to encourage parents to examine ALL of the information about a topic so they can make the best decision for their families.

  9. Shinies

    I’m glad you are so open! I believe you are doing the right thing, providing information and encouraging people to seek information. I will check out these new articles (too sick to think right now). Thanks for such a constructive response! Many people would have ripped me to shreds for a comment like that. I just like to be skeptical, especially when I’ve done some reading already.
    I’m pretty sure I’ll be keeping mine around for a while anyways because it’s just so convenient when I want tea in two minutes, and I’m pretty sure it’s more efficient than our electric stove that’s older than me. But I don’t even really enjoy food that’s prepared in it, regardless of its nutritional content. It’s usually weirdly textured.
    Anyways, thanks again!!

  10. I have been using mine less and less – using the kettle on the stove for water for drinks has been a big one, plus cutting back on prepared/processed things like microwave meals in general (not having a day job helps with that one… I used to eat a lot of those at work or after a long day). But I still find myself using it for reheating leftovers and for heating milk for hot cocoa. But a lot of days I go the whole day without using it at all, which is an improvement!
    I’m a slow-change kinda gal if I want a new habit to stick, so this is a good thing. 😉