If you really think about all of the implications of eating processed foods, it becomes easier and easier to make healthier choices for yourself (and the planet automatically benefits!)
Processed foods are being cited as contributors to everything from chronic degenerative diseases, learning disabilities, dental disease, obesity, coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Most processed foods have any potential nutritional value stripped during the ‘processing’ and were likely cultivated using chemicals and toxins to begin with.
So what is real food?
We aren’t going to jump into a debate between veganism v. animal proteins v. raw food here. There are any number of fascinating books and documentaries available on Netflix or at the library these days that can help make great decisions for you and your family. This is more about finding the simple ways to add plain old REAL food into your diet.
- Choose Whole Grains. “Enriched” flours and cereals, etc. have literally had the natural nutrients stripped from them during the refining process so they end up in need of added ‘nutrients’ that don’t match the benefits of the grain in it’s unrefined form. For a great guide to some easy to find and easy to prepare whole grains click here.
- Eat Fresh Fruits and Vegetables. If you have ever seen the progression of fresh food turning spoiled, it is apparent that foods are better for you the closer they are to the ‘harvest.’ If you can grow you own in a garden, a community garden, a planter box ~~ that is GREAT! Next best, find your local farmer’s market or co-op and go local. Next best, seek out the organic section in your market (at least for now, organic still means no chemicals used in growing.)
- Shop the outer aisles of your grocery store. The outer aisles are typically where you will find your produce, bulk grains, dairy, fresh meats and natural foods. You may need to check an inner aisle for your whole grains,, but if you end up ‘in there’ read your labels. If it has up to 5 ingredients that you can pronounce, you are probably in good shape.
One of the best (and simplest,) manuals to help navigate the tricky waters of WHAT TO EAT these days, is Michael Pollan’s, Food Rules. Approximately 70-pages of really easy to digest tidbits, for example: ‘don’t eat food that a grandparent wouldn’t recognize as food’ (bright blue yogurt, anyone?) Or, ‘don’t eat cereals that change the color of the milk,’ ~~ simple right?
Give yourself a gift of awareness and watch the self-proclaimed “unlikely crusader for cleaning up the food source.” Robyn O’Brien was raised in Houston, TX ‘eating Twinkies and PoBoys,’ but became passionate about the food supplies in the US after a family trauma. It is a truly remarkable 18 ½ minutes from Robyn O’Brien at TedX Austin.