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Green Living Guest Posts Healthy Living Toxin Alert!

On Microwaves and Cooking Convenience


Do you use a microwave in your kitchen? People have used these devices since the 1970s, and they have become a  hallmark of convenience in modern life. But the truth is, as with many modern advents to make our lives easier, we are paying a high price with our health for using these types of devices.

Research has shown microwave ovens to incur serious damage to food during the heating process – from tearing molecules in food apart, causing some nutrients to become inert, to altering the composition to make a healthy substance carcinogenic. There are also issues with plastic containers leeching into the food and exposure to radiation coming from the microwave during the cooking process.

According to Powerwatch, a non-profit independent organization with a central role in the microwave radiation debate:

“Even when the microwave oven is working correctly, the microwave levels within the kitchen are likely to be significantly higher than those from any nearby cellular phone base-stations. Remember also that microwaves will travel through walls if the microwave oven is against an inside wall.”

The actual safety of current regulations about radiation leakage from microwave use is unknown because microwave emissions can change over time, even during “normal” use.

From a recent study conducted at Trent University by Dr. Magda Havas, the effects 2.4 GHz radiation (which is the frequency of radiation emitted by Wifi routers and microwave ovens) on the heart was examined. The results showed “unequivocal evidence” that microwave frequency radiation affects the heart at non-thermal levels that are well below federal safety guidelines.

From Dr. Havas:

“This is the first study that documents immediate and dramatic changes in both heart rate and heart rate variability caused by an approved device that generates microwaves at levels well below (0.3 percent) federal guidelines in both Canada and the United States.”

In this guest post from Isabella York, she discusses 5 immediate dangers to cooking your food in a microwave oven and discusses the tried-and-true traditional ways to prepare and cook food which people have used for thousands of years, and the health benefits of each method. Thank you, Isabella, for this great information on how microwaving affects the nutrient content of our food!


Microwave truths

Admittedly, convenience is something we value. In a high speed world of instant communication and 2-minute meals, we sometimes forget that convenience has its price. When it comes to convenient food, that price is our health. What affects our health is not always the food we eat, but more often how it’s prepared. We boil, bake, fry, and microwave our food, and nutrients are always altered in some way -some for better and some for worse. Microwaving is a top choice of those who are hungry and feel they don’t have the time to use traditional cooking methods.

While boiling and frying can somehow deplete the nutrients originally found in food, I’ve found out through research that microwaving does the worst damage to cuisine. The whole concept of microwaving degrades food from the inside and this ruins any attempt at nutrition, no matter if your vegetables were organic or from a can.

Below are five ways that microwaving causes harm. Read on to revisit traditional cooking and preparation methods and understanding how they affect our food.

  1. Milk is greatly affected, breast milk in particular. After a few minutes in the microwave, the immunity characteristics provided by breast milk are completely destroyed. Some studies found that heating up milk and cereal in the microwave creates carcinogens in the protein hydroselate compounds in milk. Some of the amino acids in milk are also converted into cancer-causing agents.
  2. Certain microwaveable foods have packaging that is designed to ‘crisp’ the top of the food to simulate an oven-cooked dish. In the high temperatures of a microwave, PVC leeches from the packaging and into the food, especially food with a high surface-fat content. Plastic wrap is often used to cover food heated in the microwave, but it transfers 10,000 units of carcinogens into food that we ingest. To prevent doing this, cook food only when ready to eat and use the stove when heating leftovers.
  3. Microwave technology causes food molecules to break down; this is the same technology used to alter genetic makeup. Meaning, the food we microwave is irrevocably changed. Electrons are disabled by the cooking process causing them to produce not carbon dioxide and water, but hydrogen peroxide and carbon monoxide – chemicals used to clean wounds and found in car exhaust, respectively.
  4. Defrosting food in the microwave produces a chemical known to have toxic effects on the human body. Even a brief exposure to microwaves of vegetables caused this change, found to have nitrogen after a few seconds of heating in the oven. Defrost the natural way, by removing frozen food early from the freezer, or steaming it in boiling water.
  5. Root vegetables after heated in the microwave are chemically altered and found to release free radicals, substances that are known to cause cancer in humans. Root vegetables like yams and sweet potatoes are generally known to be healthier than most, but are depleted of nutrients after a stint in the microwave.

Hail, hail, tradition!

Here are six traditional methods of preparing and cooking food. Some people relate to one or two methods more than others; the idea here is to provide information and inspire.

  • Raw
  • The Weston A. Price foundation advocates raw food, even parts of raw eggs, as they promote production of glutathione, a substance that detoxifies the cells and is called a “master antioxidant”.  People who ingest raw (uncooked, unpasteurized) milk, fruits, and vegetables get a boost of glutathione in their cells. This ingestion of raw food is better done with protein and amino acids, as these help in the absorption of the glutathione into the system. Heating these items, especially milk, can deplete the nutrients (in the case of milk, whey protein) to 87% less than in its raw state.

  • Blanching
  • Boiling has long been advocated as the low-fat alternative to frying food. But this process makes food lose flavor and nutrients when cooked at too high a temperature, or for too long.  An alternative to boiling is called blanching. It keeps the nutrients and taste of vegetables while making them more palatable. To blanch bring water to a boiling point and drop the vegetables in for several seconds, then remove them. You can also soften the boiling process by: 1. Use less water than it takes to cover the food; 2. Heat the water first before dropping the food in; 3. Introduce spices and herbs into the boiling water to make it a broth; 4. Boil food in less time than usual, enough to kill bacteria.

  • Baking and Roasting
  • This is the method of cookery using heat by convection to cook the food from the outside in. This is an alternative to frying, and can retain food flavor and nutrients better than boiling and frying. Vegetables and meat products benefit from baking, as they retain nutrients while eliminating bad bacteria in the food. Roasting enhances the flavor of vegetables, making them a bit crisp, and retains their nutrients much in the same way that baking does. Roasted root vegetables are known to have cancer-fighting nutrients, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research.

  • Frying
  • Many folks view frying as a kiss of death for the arteries, but there are health benefits if you fry with healthy oils and fats such as butter, tallow, lard, coconut, and palm oil. Butter and coconut oils are useful for heat up to 350 degrees F., and tallow, lard, and palm oil are better for higher heat cooking (up to 450 degrees F.). The sweetness of coconut oil gives an authentic taste to healthy Asian dishes, and adds great flavor to oatmeal.

  • Slow Cookers
  • In my opinion, a slow cooker is truly the most convenient method of cooking. Slow cookers cook the food at a low temperature all day. I chop the vegetables and the meat, put in the broth, and then begin my day. The kids come home from sports practice at 5 p.m., screaming in hunger. By then, dinner is ready and I feel that I didn’t do a thing. The ceramic or porcelain pot doesn’t leach toxins into food, but the downside is that some vegetable nutrients are lost because of hours of cooking. If you’re looking for convenience without putting toxins into your food or destroying valuable nutrients (such as with microwaves), then a slow cooker is a great choice.

  • Lacto-fermentation
  • An article at The Nourishing Gourmet advocates lacto-fermentation to process food. Article author Kimi Harris puts it succinctly: “Lacto-fermentation happens when the starches and sugars in vegetables and fruit convert to lactic acid by a friendly lactic-acid producing bacteria.” This process increases vitamin content, and many people find its tangy flavor appealing, such as sauerkraut.

What about leftovers? Reheating food.

Leftovers are generally reheated. According to the nutrition data table at by Self Magazine, while the mineral content of vegetables remains unchanged, the vitamin content loss during reheating varies. It ranges from 5% (riboflavin and niacin) to 50% (vitamin C). Even more loss occurs in the microwave. But reheating on the stove is easy – simply add a bit of water or oil to your food to produce steam and retain moisture within the food. This process will take a few minutes longer than it would in a microwave, but what’s a few minutes when the benefits are so evident?

Microwaving is convenient, but that seems to be the only good thing about it.

Creating a nutritious meal using traditional methods is simple: Doing a chicken roast is quick and requires minimal supervision. While the chicken, vegetables, and potatoes are cooking in the oven, you can wash the dishes, do your tax returns, or spend some time with family. Traditional methods are convenient in unique ways.


Isabella York is a mother dedicated to living organically and sustainably without giving up her life in the process. Along with raising her son, she works for Balsam Hill, a purveyor of Artificial Christmas Trees and Christmas Trees.

For more information on the dangers of microwave ovens, read:

Why Did The Russians Ban An Appliance Found in 90% of American Homes? from Dr. Mercola.

Alternative Medicine Healthy Living

CT Scans Found to Cause Cancer


A recent news report has revealed the danger surrounding the risk of developing cancer from CT scans is real. For some years, the medical community has fallen under scrutiny from various people in surrounding communities – including patients and folks in the complimentary and alternative health communities – about the dangers of excess radiation sourced from procedures and “routine” tests.

Medical professionals are now admitting that even more radiation is present in these procedures than previously believed. They report that as many as 29,000 Americans will develop cancer from CT scans done in 2007, and 15,000 of those will die.

Whether these numbers are actual or not reaffirms what some people have suspected all along – that the threat of exposure to radiation from CT scans and other related medical procedures is a direct cause of cancer.

Although CT scans provide doctors with what some believe is an unobstructed view inside the body and enables keen diagnostic technology, these machines performing the procedure emit radiation in order to supply doctors with results they seek. In some instances, the results yield no additional information and/or are deemed unnecessary.

The National Library of Medicine released an article on November 30 of this year showing the number of people who receive unnecessary scans on an annual basis – according to the study:

“978 CT abdominal and pelvic series were performed on 500 patients aged 9 months to 91 years. Most of the patients were 30 to 50 years of age. The researchers concluded that 35.3 percent of the CT series in 52.2 percent of the patients were unnecessary, according to American College of Radiology Appropriateness Criteria.”

In addition, the study found the  following:

“Among the 500 patients in the study, the mean excess radiation dose per patient from unnecessary scans was 11.3 millisieverts. That’s equivalent to radiation exposure from 113 chest X-rays or three years of naturally occurring background radiation”.

Ever since I started becomig more aware of natural and organic foods and avoiding chemicals (about 10 years), I’ve also been wary of procedures like this. After my son was born and he became a toddler, everyone started asking why we weren’t taking him to the dentist to have his teeth cleaned, treated with fluoride, and x-rayed.  I’d tell them he got his teeth late and was very squeamish about even brushing his teeth, but also that I just didn’t believe children needed to start going to the dentist that early and proper habits and dental hygiene at home were just fine. My parents who are very conventional about a lot of things, were actually about the only people who agreed with me.

Even before I understood the importance of traditional diets in the formation and maintenance of bone and teeth, I knew x-rays at the dentist’s office were not only unnecessary but that repeated exposure to radiation was harmful to health. Every time I declined the x-ray, my dentist would ask, “are you sure?” Radiation is cumulative, and something that doctors don’t readily admit to – they usually emphasize the “small” amount of radiation to which you are being exposed versus how invaluable the information they can gather from the x-ray is.

But just consider how much radiation and other harmful waves we really are exposed to on a daily basis: cosmic rays from outer space, from all types of household appliances, from clock radios to microwaves, to eletro-magnetic waves from telephone wires, radio waves, television and satellite waves, computer and monitor equipment, wireless devices, and the ever-present cell-phone risk. You don’t even have to own a cell phone or use one to be exposed to the radiation from these devices.

The amounts of radiation from an x-ray at the dentist may seem insignificant alone – but when you add in all the other sources of radiation and electromagnetic frequencies we are exposed to, it’s a monumental amount. And even if you don’t have a precise tally of how much radiation is deadly to receive – which might be impossible – it’s pretty difficult to refute that we are exposed to more than our fair share of it in our natural environments – without having any medical procedures done.

About a year and half ago after we had gone out to dinner and were driving home, my husband started complaining of a pain in his lower right side. Having had acute appendicitis during pregnancy, I was sensitive to this issue and asked how long he’d had the pain. He said it had been coming and going for a few days but now was really bothering him.

After we arrived home the pain worsened, so we decided to go into the E.R. I knew that eating real food and living healthy as we had been doing for at least a few years should help to prevent something like this from happening – but our bad habits had gone on for much longer than our recent change in lifestyle – and maybe it had finally caught up with him.

We spent the entire rest of the night at the hospital. My husband underwent various tests – including a CT scan. After everything was concluded, the doctors could find no cause for his pain. They wanted to prescribe pain medication and recommended he watch himself and call them if things got worse again or changed. I was worried about the CT scan even before they did it – my concern about radiation, which I expressed to the doctor on call – was met with a statement that it simply wasn’t an issue. But I knew better and let them know it. My husband thought it was okay since he was in such pain and “wanted to get to the bottom of what was causing it”.

Healthy lifestyles can prevent illness

After no further information was gathered from this test, I knew in my heart that this was a digestive issue we would have to sort out with detoxification, sticking to a healthy diet, and exercise.  Also, my next door neighbor is a nutritional therapist and my husband had been putting off making an appointment with her to get his digestion straightened out anyway.

He finally admitted that he did need to go and see her to try and get his health back on track. It’s been over a year now since that incident. My husband followed our neighbor’s (and my) advice, and treated it with food and whole food supplementation, as well as detoxification activities. Although he’s still on the road to “full recovery” as I call it (sometimes he’s stubborn and eats things he shouldn’t), he’s doing fine and hasn’t had any recurrence in the pain.

Something else which was reaffirmed to me after our visit to the hospital is that the increase in medical procedures, prescription drugs, and disease in America is directly attributed to the way people in our culture eat – processed, industrially-produced, chemically-laden, and toxic foods. The way we eat and live only adds to our trips to the hospital and the amount of procedures performed like x-rays, CT scans, prescription drug use, and the amount of overall chronic illness we experience, which is exacerbated by more of the same.

Now, I’m not stating that CT scans are absolutely unnecessary in all cases, and that their use should be discontinued. The main concern is that these and other procedures are overused – much like antibiotics. When it becomes so routine to employ a procedure or drug to determine the cause of a problem, it behooves patients to be more cautious and do their own research – and to not just blindly accept a recommendation by a medical professional simply because it’s the most commonly done thing. I think it’s also important the acknowledge that a healthy lifestyle including minimizing exposure to toxins, radiation, and eating real food can go a long way toward keeping people out of the hospital and undergoing costly, unnecessary, and deadly procedures.

Dr. John Gofman, Professor Emeritus of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley has conducted exhaustive research on the subject. His conclusion? There is NO SAFE DOSE-LEVEL of ionizing radiation. This finding indicates that x-ray procedures – although much lower in emitted amounts of radiation than CT scan – also impart damage to the body. In his studies, he found that radiation from medical diagnostics and treatment is a causal co-factor in 50 percent of America’s cancers and 60 percent of our ischemic (blood flow blockage) heart disease. The frequency with which Americans undergo x-ray procedures for diagnostic purposes “makes for a significant radiological impact”, he said.  Most doctors continue to remain unaware of this fact, as is evident by the continued use of x-rays to provide diagnoses in health consultations.

Another recent development in the mainstream medical community is that mammograms, another procedure using radiation, are now being cautioned for use until women are over the age of 50 due to the same risk – overexposure to radiation. To read more about this recent finding and the risks of mammography, read To Mammogram or Not.