Why You Should Never Eat Microwave Or Theatre Popcorn
Written by: Joanne Beccarelli
Everyone loves popcorn!
I grew up in the days of big bowls and steaming popcorn freshly made on the stove that could be shared amply and eaten guilt-free.
Then suddenly, Jiffy Pop™ commercials appeared and prepackaged, flavored, convenient popcorn was born. My parents never bought into the gimmick and the unknown of what was in that twirled up piece of aluminum. Thank goodness for THAT!
“It’s Corn And That’s A Vegetable!”
Popcorn is one of those snacks that invokes thoughts of fun and crunchy satisfaction. Since my childhood, it was always known as a healthy snack if eaten ‘without butter.’ Dieters even see it’s healthy potential and moms now offer it instead of sweets, chips and gooey desserts.
The thinking behind this is, “Since popcorn is simply corn and that is a vegetable, then it has to be healthy!” Well, maybe not – because most popcorn you eat these days isn’t just corn. That is where the biggest problems arise.
Here’s What’s Wrong With Popcorn
Today, most popcorn is eaten at a movie theatre or is popped in the microwave. Neither is the pure, simple snack you think it is.
1. GMO, Pesticides And Herbicides
What both types of popcorn share is the likelihood that the corn and the oils used are laden with pesticides and herbicides. Plus, in the U.S., 88% of corn is from GMO corn crops, which leaves open a lot of debate about long term health effects.
2. Excessive Amounts Of Added Fats And Sodium
Movie theatre popcorn is almost universally understood to be unhealthy, because it is laden with massive amounts of sodium and vegetable oil fats, which are not as good of alternatives as you thought.
Unfortunately, the high fat, high salt tendencies spilled over to the microwaveable variety as well through marketing strategies devoted to evoking the feel-good, taste-good theatre experience. This pushed at-home popcorn eating into the realm of over-indulgence.
3. Butter Flavorings Are Toxic
Many butter flavorings used for popcorn are made with a chemical called diacetyl, which becomes toxic when heated. While some companies started to change formulas a few years ago, not all have changed and little is published about the new flavorings at this time. Diacetyl flavored popcorn means that the deep inhalation of the delicious butter smell you take in when eating popcorn is a chemical infusion. Best to suggest that flavored popcorn varieties be avoided.
4. Hidden Chemicals Line Microwave Bags
The convenience of microwavable bags is hindered by a big health hazard that cannot be ignored. A chemical used to line the bags called PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) is part of the family of PFCs talked about in Avoid These 12 Cancer Causing Chemicals.
PFOA causes high cholesterol, thyroid issues, reduced fertility and testicular, kidney and bladder cancers. Plus, accumulated PFOA from microwave popcorn among other uses can stay in the body and the environment for long periods of time. It is estimated that about 20% of the PFOA in our bodies comes from microwave popcorn alone.
Make These Changes To Still Enjoy Popcorn
The good news is that you don’t have to give up popcorn completely! You can get back to making popcorn the old fashioned way on the stove, using a hot air popcorn maker or the microwave (my preference).
Regardless of which method you use, always use the healthiest ingredients you can get. That means organic corn kernels to avoid issues associated with GMO crops, herbicides and pesticides and the healthiest fats (if you opt to use these) and simple spices.
Microwave Popcorn That’s Healthy
Author: Joanne Beccarelli
- ½ cup organic corn kernels
- 1 teaspoon coconut or olive oil (optional)
- A simple brown paper lunch bag
- Mix corn kernels and oil.
- Place corn in bag.
- Fold bag and secure closed as shown in the pictures (fold over, bend corners, cut 2 slits into corners, fold notches made from slits away to lock bag closed).
- Place in microwave on its side.
- Cook on high for 2 minutes.
- Empty into bowl and season as desired using the flavor options below.
Alternative cooking option: Place corn and oil in a heat-resistant glass bowl and cover with heat resistant ceramic or glass plate.
Great Flavor options:
Himalayan pink salt
Black pepper and garlic powder
Nutritional yeast (cheesy flavor)
Lime juice and chili powder
Popcorn Agri-Chemical Handbook
Joanne Beccarelli is a holistic health coach, juicing junkie, writer, soon to be cookbook author and recovered emotional eater. Inspired by many great voices in the health-thru-food revolution, Joanne found her way out of hiding in shame (losing almost 100 lbs in the process) and stepped away from the corporate world. She now dedicates every day to helping others who are overwhelmed, overworked, and overstressed, find awareness, fulfilment and better health.
Joanne has a Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from eCornell/T. Colin Campbell Foundation, and became a Certified Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She is also a member of American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP), and the International Association of Health Coaches (IAHC).
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