Ditch the Microwave? - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-21-2007, 04:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We're moving in a bit over a week, and one of the things we are trying to do since we're moving anyway and starting a pretty new life by defalut is to use the opportunity to start fresh with a few things and either start or more firmly establish new habits and ways of doing things that we've come to believe are better either for health or environment, etc. For example, we're ditching the tupperware and going to glass for food storage, got rid of almost every single piece of aluminum and almost all of the nonstick cookware, etc. (keeping one crepe pan and a couple of baking items that I may use only once or twice a year anyway.)

One of the things I would like to do is go microwave free. I've never quite felt sure that they are a healthy thing to have around and prepare food in, and now of course Dr. Mercola keeps telling me that I am right! I am old enough that I remember a time before microwaves were ubiquitous, and I remember being in middle school or so when we got our first microwave. And I lived without a microwave for many years after college. So I know that it is possible to live without one! But a part of me is resisting! How will I heat leftovers?? How will I make frozen dinners or defrost things quickly?? I recently read about some toxic chemical in microwave popcorn that gives the workers who work with it a terminal respiratory condition known as "popcorn workers lung" so I have already eliminated the microwave popcorn. But I still need a little push.

So--has anyone gone microwave free? Did you replace the microwave with something else (toaster over, tabletop convection oven, etc.) or just go back to the "old fashioned" method of oven/stovetop? Please share and maybe give me some encouragement here!
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Old 05-21-2007, 04:39 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kavita View Post
We're moving in a bit over a week, and one of the things we are trying to do since we're moving anyway and starting a pretty new life by defalut is to use the opportunity to start fresh with a few things and either start or more firmly establish new habits and ways of doing things that we've come to believe are better either for health or environment, etc. For example, we're ditching the tupperware and going to glass for food storage, got rid of almost every single piece of aluminum and almost all of the nonstick cookware, etc. (keeping one crepe pan and a couple of baking items that I may use only once or twice a year anyway.)

One of the things I would like to do is go microwave free. I've never quite felt sure that they are a healthy thing to have around and prepare food in, and now of course Dr. Mercola keeps telling me that I am right! I am old enough that I remember a time before microwaves were ubiquitous, and I remember being in middle school or so when we got our first microwave. And I lived without a microwave for many years after college. So I know that it is possible to live without one! But a part of me is resisting! How will I heat leftovers?? How will I make frozen dinners or defrost things quickly?? I recently read about some toxic chemical in microwave popcorn that gives the workers who work with it a terminal respiratory condition known as "popcorn workers lung" so I have already eliminated the microwave popcorn. But I still need a little push.

So--has anyone gone microwave free? Did you replace the microwave with something else (toaster over, tabletop convection oven, etc.) or just go back to the "old fashioned" method of oven/stovetop? Please share and maybe give me some encouragement here!
I don't use a microwave and I feel great about it. I heat leftovers the old fashioned way - in the oven or on the stove top. Yes, it does take a little more time, but that doesn't bother me. Also, I've found that without a microwave I eat much healthier, b/c "convience" foods (i.e. frozen dinners) take longer in the oven than just cooking a fresh meal. It really helped me to go for healthier food choices.
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Old 05-21-2007, 05:01 AM
 
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Ours doesn't get used but maybe once a month or so.

AA had some popcorn the other day and I got scared and was like WTF was that noise.

That shows you how often i know what it is!

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Old 05-21-2007, 06:04 AM
 
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Ours doesn't get used much either. Just for a few occasional leftovers.

I'm afriad that without it DH would snack snack snack on any junk food he can find rather than fire up the stove and actually COOK something. I mean, we eat mostly nuts, cheese and fruit for non-cooked snacks but he still needs to eat those good-quality leftovers that I leave for him.
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Old 05-21-2007, 10:05 AM
 
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i went a few months w/o mine yrs back and hated it!
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Old 05-21-2007, 10:26 AM
 
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I would get rid of mine in a second if DH would agree. But he likes it to defrost... : meat. I don't eat meat so I don't need a defroster. I think I use it maybe once a month at most.
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Old 05-21-2007, 01:39 PM
 
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We've been microwave free our entire marriage. We do have a large, nice toaster oven that does about 80% of what a microwave does.

Thrift stores ABOUND with air popcorn poppers. Real popcorn tastes better and is cheaper and healthier than microwave popcorn, and our air popper is actually really fast- I imagine it's at least as fast as microwave popcorn.

Once you get used to the taste of leftovers reated in a toaster oven or saucepan, you won't want to go back to the microwave.

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Old 05-21-2007, 01:44 PM
 
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Old 05-21-2007, 01:51 PM
 
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I last used a microwave in 1994. When DH moved in with me he brought his microwave with him, he used it for a while, but eventually quit using it altogether. Our life isn't any harder because we don't have a microwave, and our food heats evenly and tastes great. I do plan meals ahead of time so that I can be sure something is thawed. On the rare occasion that I forget to thaw something I either run to the store for fresh or have DH stop on the way home.
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Old 05-21-2007, 05:28 PM
 
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WE ahve been microwave free for 6 months now. We just heat stuff the old fashioned way. IMO it tastes better reheated that way then in the microwave. We are thinking of getting a toaster oven, but that's in the future. I need to save for the one I want anyways. I eat healthier and snack less since I don't have all the convenience food around to just toss in the microwave. I really have to think if I want a snack that badly to heat it up for 15 minutes in the oven or stove.

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" --Leonardo Da Vinci
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Old 05-21-2007, 06:50 PM
 
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As far as thawing goes, if you put something on an aluminum pan, it will thaw pretty fast. Not as fast as a microwave, but much faster than just leaving it on the counter.

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Old 05-21-2007, 11:11 PM
 
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Ditch it... we never had a microwave until we moved in together with my mom. She had her microwave for many years before this and trying to get her to get rid of it is like telling her to run naked through the streets! When we first moved in dh went crazy with microwave popcorn (I know I know) I let him go nuts and now if the microwave gets used once a month its amazing! Microwave popcorn always gets burned and nothing ever tastes good reheated in it! Erin
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Old 05-21-2007, 11:16 PM
 
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We moved ours to the basement a couple years ago (weren't ready to take the full plunge ) It only gets used now for popcorn when we are hanging out down there (it's in the laundry room, which is adjacent to the playroom). Maybe once every 6 months we use it to reheat a leftover. Mostly we reheat them in on the stove. I did recently replace our pop-up toaster with a toaster oven that uses much less energy than our full-size oven.
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Old 05-22-2007, 12:48 AM
 
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Microwave free for years and don't regret a second of it!
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Old 05-22-2007, 01:01 AM
 
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When I had one I used it for popcorn, heating frozen peas, reheating leftovers, and tv dinners. Then we moved and had no microwave and I never missed it. Popcorn is better on the stove. Frozen peas are easily cooked on the stovetop. TV dinners are pretty nasty so why not make them hard to cook As for reheating food I kind of missed it but found my stove works perfectly fine. I have never thawed or cooked meat in one other then in a tv dinner or reheating. The idea kind of freaks me out for some reason. Recently we got a new one for free. It takes up too much counter space. Now we eat more tv dinners which really bothers me. But I still do everything else on the stove. When we move next time I think the microwave is going to stay here.
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Old 05-22-2007, 06:38 PM
 
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We got rid of our microwave a few months ago and don't regret it one bit. We bought a toaster oven to replace it. There have been a few times when I get *really* tired of washing pans that we've used to reheat stuff, but other than that it's not really any extra trouble to not have one.
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Old 05-22-2007, 06:46 PM
 
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I'll give up my microwave when it's pried from my cold, dead hands.
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Old 05-22-2007, 07:00 PM
 
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Ours died a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, it's a built-in in our kitchen...but fortunately it makes an excellent ant-proof storage cabinet for the sweeteners we use, primarily maple syrup and honey.

DH brought home a small freestanding one that he got for free, put it in the laundry room, used it a couple of times, and now it just sits there.

Proving my point that we really don't need one.


Amanda, mom to Everest (12), Alden (10-1/2), Ellery (7-1/2), & Avery (6)
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Old 05-22-2007, 08:06 PM
 
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We got rid of ours a couple of months ago (well, moved it to the office and kept it unplugged to make sure we didn't want it). We don't miss it, and I will sell it on Craig's list this weekend, hopefully.
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Old 05-24-2007, 01:04 AM
 
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We used to use a microwave for heating up leftovers, thawing ground meat, sterilizing dishcloths/sponges, and baking the occasional plate of refrigerator cookies. (They didn't brown, but they tasted fine, and it saved heating up the kitchen on hot days. Besides, it only made a small batch, thus preventing me from overindulging. )

We decided to put it in storage and go "microwave-free" a couple of years ago, but I've recently decided to start using it again. I'm not convinced that it's 100% safe and healthy, but I have similar doubts about a lot of things our family does, like living near power lines, or my using a laptop while pregnant. : We all have to weigh the pros and cons of these kinds of decisions. IMO, for our family, right now, the convenience of occasional microwave use is substantial enough to outweigh the possible health risks, which seem to be pretty scantily documented.

BTW, not wanting to start any flame wars, but I don't trust Mercola as a source. I do agree with a lot of the ideas on his web site, but he often seems to jump to extreme conclusions that aren't supported by the studies he cites. Not to mention, I feel there's something a bit fishy about his urging that you replace your microwave with a "Turbo Oven," sold by Mercola.com for $84.95.
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Old 05-24-2007, 02:25 AM
 
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People always look at me in awe that I have no microwave, and I always reply with "what would I need it for?" Other than the speedy melting of chocolate for baking, I haven't missed it in 15 years. We have one at work, and in a pinch I'll heat something in it, but I can always tell the difference in the texture and flavor of the food. I say go without it. Incidentally, someone gave me the nonstick foil to try, and (I say this with no information about what kinds of badness might be in the foil) it has been quite nice as a pan liner to reheat stuff that tends to stick on pans in the oven.
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Old 05-24-2007, 02:46 AM
 
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We have a microwave and use it almost daily to reheat leftovers. I would like to go microwave free, but I am also lazy and used to the convenience of it. However, I know that if I didn't have one, I'd be fine. We did get rid of our microwave when we started renting this house that has a built in one. We are moving this summer and I'm hoping that dh doesn't decide on his own to buy a new microwave.

We'll be staying with my parents for a while. They use their microwave all the time. And they no longer use real plates--just styrofoam ones. And yes, they microwave food on styrofoam plates. I am so not looking forward to this part of living there.
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Old 05-24-2007, 03:14 AM
 
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Well I got a toaster oven for Christmas from my mom that I have only used a couple times as it is set up at her house. I think I am going to move the microwave to the garage and bring it home and try to go microwave free. I hate the fact that it could be unhealthy and I also think it will help to cut down on the amount of convience foods we eat, tho just having a newborn that can't handle dairy in my diet at all has helped that a lot. WE have been doing much better about eating better!
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Old 05-24-2007, 03:31 AM
 
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I only use our microwave for sterilizing sponges. 65 seconds and one sponge is done! When (if) we remodel, we're going to take it out (it's a built-in) and replace it with a convection oven.
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Old 05-24-2007, 04:05 AM
 
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We are microwave free. We had one given to us and used it for a few years but I never liked to cook with it. It was mainly used for heating tea (a nasty habit) and heat bags. We just bought a few more hot water bottles and don't miss it at all. When our dd moved in she said we would HAVE to get one but adapted to life without one and never suggests we need one now.

If you eat a lot of prepared foods I suppose a microwave might make sense.
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Old 05-28-2007, 12:22 PM
 
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I too am moving in 2 weeks. Currently my microwave is a built-in so I've been looking for another one but not anymore, I’m interested in giving it a try without one. I admit I’m a little nervous as to how my 15 yo is going to cope without one LOL!
So really the only thing I can think of that will get some getting the hang of is the traditional methods of defrosting meats.
So what are all the options for quick defrosting? Placing meat in cold water & placing meat on aluminum are two options but are there more?
You know not having a nuker will *really* help me with my impulse eating between meals so that’s a HUGE pro to giving this a go!
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Old 05-28-2007, 08:52 PM
 
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I have a microwave (well...technically, my landlord has one, so I suppose I should say that there is a microwave in my house), and the only thing I use it for is melting butter for a recipe. I'm moving out next month, and I will not be replacing the microwave.

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Old 05-30-2007, 01:22 AM
 
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I'm moving to a new house now and I decided not to bring a microwave. So far, so good. I was worried about what to do for melting butter and chocolate as well as heating milk for a cup of hot chocolate. Yesterday at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, I found The Melting Pot by Farberware -- it was $9.99 and it was just a small small small little pot with a pour spot - perfect for just this use (melting). It was hanging on the wall in the back corner of that pots/pan area if that helps --
Anyhow, this works super quick in a flash! It is non non-stick so better for you too!
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Old 05-30-2007, 01:35 AM
 
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we were microwave-free for about a year, didn't miss it once, and then came across some info that said that, for leftovers and small things, toaster ovens are a good alternative to energy-wasting conventional ovens and nutrient-anihilating microwave ovens. So we got one and got rid of our toaster too.

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Old 05-30-2007, 01:44 AM
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i have used a microwave maybe 30 times in my lifetime
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