Thursday, September 20, 2012

Microwave-Free "Lifestyle"

I don’t own a microwave.
Okay, that isn’t entirely true. We own one, but it is cracked and has been sitting in the back of my partner’s truck since we moved here a month and a half ago and we just haven’t bothered to buy another one (or throw that one out, probably should get on that…)

Along with the swift growth of the earth-friendly movement there are a lot of people talking recently about “microwave-free lifestyles”. I find this concept comical, that the microwave is so engrained in our everyday use that we consider it a “lifestyle."

Frankly, I haven’t found the lack of a microwave to be that big of a deal. We don’t eat a lot of processed foods, we never have. I love to cook and I make a lot of food from scratch (in fact, I think I may bake bread today) but regardless, the things I used to use the microwave for I have almost entirely unconsciously switched to the stove or oven. This hasn't been some big transformation of my life, it has simply added a few minutes to prep time, and taken a few minutes from my Facebook time which is probably a good thing.

The more I think about it the more the microwave is a bit scary to me. I mean, we know it breaks down nutrients in our foods, we know it is essentially heating them with radiation. We know how our foods affect our bodies. None of this is a mystery so why aren’t we more concerned about the microwave? Especially in a world full of cell phones and radio waves. I can’t get an x-ray without a 300 pound lap mat to guard my reproductive organs from the radiation, right? But it’s okay if I pump my dinner full of it and then ingest it?

And, before we go there, I am well aware that this is a decades old debate. I am also aware that plenty of "studies" show the microwave is perfectly safe. And I am aware that the back of my microwave had a warning list longer than the manual for my camera...

Then I got to thinking… what else can I live without? What other “convenience” item is potentially filling me full of toxins while I merely go about my day? I’ve been thinking about learning to make my own deodorant, that’s probably my next project. I switched long ago to natural soaps. I’m well on my way to becoming one of those hairy, smelly hippies I keep hearing about. And I'm okay with that.

So why are we so caught up in this world of consumerism? Why is our answer to just pop into CVS and grab another package of convenience and shove those toxins into our systems? It isn’t like this is unknown information. The organic-green-local-free-anti-consumerism movement is certainly loud enough. Are we simply that complacent as a society that we just don’t care to take the effort? Are our lifestyles that busy that we can’t find the time to let go of the small, toxic conveniences? Or have we all been lied to so much that its hard to know who to believe? With the anti-corn syrup commercials running beside the pro-corn syrup commercial, and each one paid for by someone who has a wallet directly affected by it how can we possibly know who to trust?

This is what is on my mind today. So how are you?

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