3 Rules To Processed Foods: To Eat Or Not To Eat
So let’s get real here! We all know it’s practically impossible to avoid all processed foods. I mean anything in a jar, bag, can, or box is processed to some degree. That means carrots, from a grocery store, whether organic or not, they’ve been somewhat processed because they come in a bag. You would have to grow and raise every single thing you eat to avoid all types of processed foods.
So the issue is not exactly the processed foods. The issue is the amount of processing that goes into what you eventually want to digest. Some things are stripped to then be put back together with tons of additives. It is very important to look at the ingredients on the packaging to see if your family should be consuming it. This will take some work at first. But then it becomes second nature. Take out 3 food items that are currently in your pantry or freezer right now. Seriously, go get something, anything? If you’re at work, go grab a snack that’s lying around. Look at the ingredients. Does it follow the 3 rules below?
Rule #1 If it has a paragraph of ingredients, put it back on the shelf (or in this case, throw it out.) Food should not be made with a gazillion chemicals and additives. Food is food. It’s simple. Things with a paragraph of ingredients require that many ingredients for it to be edible. If you isolate some of the ingredients, you may be eating stuff you would probably never eat alone. If you wouldn’t eat them individually, you probably shouldn’t eat them at all.
Compare the food above to the food below. Instead of food with many ingredients, choose similar products with less ingredients. They do exist and although natural food is best, less is more when it comes to processed food.
Rule #2: If you can’t pronounce one or more of the ingredients, get rid of it. There is an ingredient found in most cereals, dessert mixes, & chewing gums called BHA or BHT. I don’t want Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydrozyttoluene (BHT) in my food. I can barely even say that! They are preservatives that affect the neurological system of your brain, alter behavior and have the potential to cause cancer. Your kids are probably consuming this everyday if they love cereal. Think of how much damage that can do to their bodies. You should be able to pronounce the ingredients in your food. If you look you’ll find that food that you can pronounce does exist. Look at the ingredients in Margarine vs. Butter. We are taught that butter is high in fat and we should stop eating it or risk having high cholesterol or worse, a heart attack. The truth is that when we introduce foods that are not natural, we prevent our bodies from working as God intended. That’s when we introduce the risk of fatal problems. Look at the labels of butter and margarine. Did you notice the nutrition facts? If you only go by that, you will assume the one on the right “non-dairy spread” aka margarine, is better for you because it is lower in fat. Don’t fall for the hype! Read the ingredients. Which would you eat?
At first glance some things look healthy. They look like things we’ve always eaten. But look again. The ingredients tell a completely different story.
Rule #3 Include at least 2 unprocessed foods for every processed food in your meal. This is a rule I like to follow in my house. If you like cereal in the morning, you would naturally eat the cereal (processed) and milk (processed). That is 2 processed foods. Add 4 unprocessed elements to your meal. You could try and add bananas, fresh squeezed orange juice, an egg, and yes even some type of green like broccoli (I eat broccoli most mornings.) The goal is to pay more attention to the amount of processed foods your ingesting and eventually reduce the processed stuff. Let’s use breakfast again as an example. On a normal day an average person eats a bagel(processed,) cream cheese(processed,) coffee(processed,) milk(processed,) sugar(processed.) I see no unprocessed, natural foods in that meal. Focus more on maintaining a diet rich in whole foods rather than an enriched product. This will help you maintain a healthy weight and prevent diseases.
By looking at the items you brought out of your pantry/freezer and following the 3 rules, how many could you actually put back? How many should you throw away? Look at the rest of the items. If you don’t know what they are, your body won’t know either. You don’t have to stop eating foods that you like. There are plenty of food companies that make food with less ingredients. So what, they’re $.10 more? What is more valuable? Your health or a few cents? I don’t think we should eat much processed foods, but I know that life comes at us fast and we seldom have time to think about what goes in our mouth. By following these quick, easy rules, you will pay attention to what you eat and begin to make better choices.
Stay healthy my friends, Janeris