I pretty much hate microwave ovens. Everyone who's been to my
home knows that I haven't even had a handle on the door of my
microwave in the past 5 years. I distrust this appliance. I find
them abhorrent. I think they are one of the actual and figurative
problems with American society today. Why do people regularly cook
food in a box that changes it at the molecular level, rendering the
food nearly nutritionally void? Convenience, my friends.
I'm committed to using the oven and the stovetop as
my cooking methods of choice. Sure, any heating destroys some of
the nutritional content of many foods, but these methods are
gentler and less damaging on the goods. Why is a microwave worse?
Mike Adams, editor of NaturalNews.com,
explains, "Microwave ovens heat food through a process of
creating molecular friction, but this same molecular friction
quickly destroys the delicate molecules of vitamins and
phytonutrients (plant medicines) naturally found in foods."
This isn't groundbreaking news, people. Years ago I was scarred
for life after reading that the microwave destroys around 97% of
the vitamins and other nutrients in vegetables. Apparently, many
people are OK with this, judging by the new microwavable veggies in
"steam bags" available at your local grocer. Yuck, and no thanks.
If I'm choking down peas, they better have full nutritional value,
thank you very much.
If you haven't faced the hidden toxins in your
microwave popcorn by this time, let me offer you a hand up to 2014.
One of the most special ingredients in the little bag is diacetyl,
which, although derived from butter, acts as an artificial butter
flavor in the microwave popcorn. Sounds nice enough, until you find
out that when heated it releases a gas that frequently gives
popcorn factory workers a condition called "popcorn lung." Actual
name--bronchiolitis obliterans. Break that Latin down. "Obliterate
my bronchioles?" Yep. Turns out, it can also happen to the consumer who heats
and eats this stuff at home, and it can certainly happen to the
mice in laboratory settings that are exposed to this heated
And that brings me to the reason that I keep my old
broken microwave around at all. Well, first of all the gaping hole
above my stove would look weird. Mostly, though, the reason that I
keep my microwave is because I actually melt butter in it when I
air pop popcorn, which, if you know me, you'll know is all the
time. I try to lessen the evil of my popcorn addiction as much
as possible, believe me. I melt the organic, grass-fed cow butter
on low power in a glass dish. I pour it over organic popcorn (to
reduce my pesticide exposure). I lovingly tap on a good amount of
sea salt, and then I eat it with voracity that only another popcorn
addict can understand.
So, I'm guilty. I hope I never said I was perfect, because that
would be way off. However, I do what I can to reduce my exposure to
some of the health-hampering substances on the market today,
including microwave popcorn. For now, the microwave, which I
vehemently hate, stays... if only for one small but critical
purpose in my life.
Make time to take time...for yourself, that is. As we students
return to the NUHS classes this week, after a well-needed winter
break, many of us find that we aren't quite as well rested as we
thought we'd be. Personally, I envisioned a two and a half week
stint of total relaxation...or, at least, as relaxing as life can
be with two young children! Instead, what I got was the usual
hectic schedule of drop-offs and pick-ups, with my own work crammed
in between appointments and holiday travels.
The welcoming sight of a snow-covered Lombard campus as we
returned for the "spring" trimester.
Yes, that's right. I came back to campus in January just as
stressed out as when I walked off after my last final exam back in
December. How did this happen? After talking with some classmates
this week, I quickly realized that I was not alone. Sure, a few
people took it easy and maintained the "AOM" lifestyle of healthy
eating and weekly acupuncture treatments. Lucky them. The rest of
us overindulged with the holiday treats and put the exercise
routines on hold while we visited relatives and friends.
What's wrong with us? Don't we, students of acupuncture and
oriental medicine, know better? Don't we know that a relaxing and
rejuvenating acupuncture session is even more important when we are
stressed out by final exams and holiday travels? It turns out,
we're just like everyone else. We don't always practice what we
preach. And, the prognosis isn't great for our future actions,
either. An article in Newsweek revealed that 44% of
male doctors are overweight or obese (Kalb, 2008). Sure, this is
better than the average American statistic, which puts around 65%
of Americans as either overweight or obese, but it's not role-model
material! (Kalb, C. (2008). Drop That Corn Dog, Doctor.
Newsweek, 152(15), 17.)
If we don't take the time to make time for ourselves--for our
health and well-being--now, as students, then how can we become a
strong force for good in our future patients' lives? I want to
model the behavior and lifestyle that I am explaining to my
patients. If I can't prioritize and sacrifice to make time for my
own acupuncture sessions and yoga classes, then why should a
patient take my advice to do so? If they see me wolfing down my
fast food in between appointments, then why should they look to
more healthy options for their own lunch?
My personal path this year will be to slow down, to be more
aware of my choices and my priorities, and to model the lifestyle
and mindset that I want to introduce to others. Welcome, 2014.
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