Technically anything in a package is processed but there is a spectrum from highly processed foods to very minimally processed foods that can be a healthy option. Decoding “Clean Eating”
A highly processed food is not found in nature and goes through a procedure of extracting nutrients, adding nutrients in, changing the texture, flavor and so on.
Fresh fruit and veggies like bananas would be an example of a food that isn’t processed.
Frozen fruit, baby carrots, canned beans are examples of a minimally processed food because they are stored in a package and may have a natural preservative. Chicken nuggets, granola bars, twinkies are examples of highly processed foods. Foods that are chemically processed like this are made from mostly artificial ingredients.
Why are processed foods so bad for you?
- Full of artificial ingredients that provide you with little nutrition
- Low in nutrients
- Low in Fiber (which helps keep you full)
- Low in quality fats that are beneficial for your brain and waistline. They are full of trans fats instead which hopefully you know by now are harmful to your health.
- Often full of pesticides
- The ingredients usually include various names for sugar and high fructose corn syrup. This often leads to your becoming addicted to such foods, leading to overeating and weight gain.
- Refined carbohydrates will spike your blood sugar again causing overeating, addiction, etc.
- Full of carcinogens which have been shown to cause bone damage, rapid aging and kidney issues.
- Have shown to cause inflammation, increasing the pain where arthritis is concerned. Try cutting out or at least down on your processed food intake and I bet your face will be less puffy and skin will look better.
AND SO MANY MORE. I am not just pulling these things out of my behind. I am referring to MUCH research and will be happy to provide you with the countless articles I have pulled these facts from if you want to see the science.
Why is food processed?
- So it can be stored longer
- To make food more palatable or attractive
- Lower the cost of food production
- Convenience (pre-sliced bread for example) p.s. and apple is pretty convenient…
- Safety. Pasturizing milk, for example is used to destroy bacteria and micro-organisms
Here is a link to some great information on processed oils. I highly recommend this as you are likely going to be surprised by what you read.
To reduce your intake of processed foods, here are some tips:
- When reading labels, focus less on calories, fat, etc.and look at the ingredients
- Eat more whole foods ie. veggies and fruits. Eating what is in season will be cheaper! Choosing frozen is OK.
- Replace processed meats for freshly roasted lean meat
- Eat more dried beans and legumes (soak and then cook) and less pasta
- Buy in Bulk (think dried beans, minimally processed frozen foods, not chips, lol)
- Buy your bread from local bakers such as http://hartfordbaking.com/ http://bantambread.com/shop.html http://www.greatharvest.com/
- Eat lots of junk food but only junk food you make yourself. If you have to make it, you will likely eat less of it and you’ll know what is in it!
Eating healthy is too expensive! Actually, it doesn’t have to be. I will be giving you more info on how to eat real food on a budget but for now check this out.
Squash Chili for about $.60 per serving (serves 8)
2 eggs + 1 banana = pancake *I suggest adding 1bsp of ground flax to thicken.
Blend Ingredients (or mash and mix well). Add a sprinkle of cinnamon and/or vanilla if you wish. Heat pan with coconut oil** Carefully pour batter into pan in silver dollar sized pancakes. Flip once they are bubbling in center and on edges. Enjoy with a little pure maple syrup, berries, nut butter, real butter, etc.
** Why use coconut oil instead of olive oil? Here is how to choose cooking oils and which to use as dressings and other cold uses: http://www.balancedbites.com/PDFs/BalancedBites_FatsAndOils.pdf?63f760