The Hidden Dangers of Microwave Popcorn
I recently rediscovered a lost art… popping popcorn in a pan. It was actually fun but I didn’t make the effort just for fun. I recently learned there are hidden dangers associated with microwave popcorn. Microwave popcorn is an essential staple in many households. It’s the “healthy” low-calorie snack for moms and kids alike. It’s supposed to be good for us…but it’s actually not and here’s why.
The popcorn in the bag is probably fine – well minus the excess sodium, trans fats, and artificial flavors. The problem also lies in the bag itself. You know that coating that turns yellow on the inside of the bag and keeps the grease from leaking through? That coating is made up of fluorotelomers (long word for bad chemical stuff). The fluorotelomers break down into PFOAs which is the same chemical found in the non-stick coatings on pans. As the popcorn pops, the coating gets all over the food.
PFOAs have been linked to toxicity of the immune system, thyroid disease, low birth weight, infertility, tumors, endocrine system disruption, and even cancer.
Not only that, but it tends to be a persistent chemical – making it really tough for our bodies to get rid of. It’s not one of those pass right through kind of chemicals.
Ready for the good news? You don’t have to give up popcorn. You can pull out your old air popper or opt to make it in a pan. Try this recipe to see how fun and easy it is to avoid nasty toxins.
Make Perfect Popcorn in a Pan…
- 3 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1/3 cup of high quality popcorn kernels
- 1 3-quart covered saucepan
- 2 Tbsp or more (to taste) of butter
- Salt to taste
- Heat the oil in a 3-quart saucepan on medium high heat.
- Put 3 or 4 popcorn kernels into the oil and cover the pan.
- When the kernels pop, add the rest of the 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in an even layer. Cover, remove from heat and count 30 seconds. (Count out loud; it’s fun to do with kids.) This method first heats the oil to the right temperature, then waiting 30 seconds brings all of the other kernels to a near-popping temperature so that when they are put back on the heat, they all pop at about the same time.
- Return the pan to the heat. The popcorn should begin popping soon, and all at once. Once the popping starts in earnest, gently shake the pan by moving it back and forth over the burner. Try to keep the lid slightly ajar to let the steam from the popcorn release (the popcorn will be drier and crisper). Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid, and dump the popcorn immediately into a wide bowl. With this technique, nearly all of the kernels pop (I counted 4 unpopped kernels in my last batch), and nothing burns.
- If you are adding butter, you can easily melt it by placing the butter in the now empty, but hot pan.
- Salt to taste.
A. If you add salt to the oil in the pan before popping, when the popcorn pops, the salt will be well distributed throughout the popcorn.
B. Fun toppings for the popcorn – Spanish smoked paprika, nutritional yeast, cayenne powder, chili pepper, curry powder, cumin, grated Parmesan cheese.
Yield: Makes 2 quarts, a nice amount for two people, or for one hungry one.
~ Recipe courtesy of Simply Recipes
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Why Cut the Crap? – True radiant health comes from a mixture of healthy diet and lifestyle choices. The cost of our fast-paced and convenient life is chemical toxins in and around us. Ridding your home and family of chemical toxins that make you sick and drag you down doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming. In this series, you’ll learn the most efficient and easy ways to “cut the crap” so you can just enjoy your life.