Wednesday, May 16, 2012

0 More reasons to cut out processed foods....

If you've been reading since the beginning, or have gone back and read through my blog – you might have read the September 2, 2011 article on why you should cut processed foods out of your diet. Well there are more than those 10 reasons. Most of those examples had to do with making yourself more healthy by eating home made foods. Cutting salt and sugar from your diet – eating only those ingredients that you can pronounce, food produced naturally not in a laboratory.

There were also articles on High Fructose Corn Syrup (September 6, 2011) and Hidden Sugars (April 11, 2012) – these sugars are added to processed foods to either hide the taste of low quality ingredients, to add flavor when the fat has been reduced or to make things taste sweeter than they should. Since the human body gets addicted to sweet flavors we want more of them and if they are artificially produced sweeteners we eat and eat or drink and drink to try to satisfy that craving – not because we really need to eat or drink more. Again this is not good for the body and even sugar-free sweeteners can lead to weight gain and obesity.

Then there was the article on food recalls (October 2, 2011)... It seems that this is a never ending problem. Salmonella, e-coli, wires, mouse droppings, bug parts and listeria – things that just don't belong in food. Factory farming caused the listeria outbreak in melons – sewage overflow from animal farms was sucked up by the melons and infected what should have been a natural and healthy fruit. Other fruits, vegetables and meats get infected or additional unwanted ingredients “fall in” while being processed – things that wouldn't get added to your meal in your own home.

Of course there are also those common food additives that I discussed on March 17, 2012 – most of which can be called “natural” flavorings and may or may not be on the label. Do you really want to have food made from bacteria, wood, feathers, hair, bugs, sand, fertilizer and household cleaners? I know I don't. Read the article on food labeling (February 5, 2012) for more information on how the government allows processed foods to be “mislabeled” to make them appear to be more healthy.

Are you buying canned foods? You might be consuming BPA from the lining of the can. Tests have shown BPA in the urine of people who have eaten canned soups, sauces, fruits and vegetables. Some companies have stopped using BPA – but what will they come up with next? We got rid of pink slime and Starbucks is going to stop using beetles as food coloring – but if you buy whole, natural foods and cook them yourselves then you can be pretty sure that none of these things will be in your food. Grow your own vegetables, maybe get some chickens to get your own eggs, go to the farmer's market, you don't have to buy organic – just pay attention to what you're buying and cook it yourself.

A little off track, but don't forget the October 18, 2011 article, “You are what you eat and what you eat, eats too”. Factory farming has destroyed the nutrients in the soil and only replaces three basic nutrients so that the apple you eat today has far less nutrients than one grown in the 1940's. Because chickens and cows are fed grains that aren't normal for their diet – their meat also has less nutrients than in the past. To help them digest these grains and/or because they are raised too close together they are given antibiotics which you wind up consuming. And, they are given growth hormones to mature faster or give more milk – again you wind up consuming these too.

If you read the articles that compare homemade foods to name brand processed foods you'll find that most homemade foods cost less to make. In fact, most of the time they take about the same amount of time to make. Or, if they take longer to make you have left-overs that when re-heated will compensate for the extra time spent upfront. And if you don't believe me, a recent study done by the USDA's Economic Research Service found that serving for serving eating fresh healthy foods costs less than eating processed or junk foods. Remember that half of your plate should be fruit/vegetables, your meat/protein should be no bigger than a deck of cards, the remainder of the plate should be your carbs (made up of whole grains if possible). Eggs, beans and rice are inexpensive protein options and if you're a vegetarian or vegan you can help fulfill your protein requirements inexpensively by eating peas, green beans, spinach, peanut butter, quinoa, tofu or lentils.

Finally, by cooking your own meals, eating more fruits/vegetables, eating less meat, growing your own food or buying from a local farmer/farmer's market you will reduce your carbon footprint.

May 19th is “Food Revolution Day” - join the conversation and help change the way people eat by educating children about food, giving families the skills and knowledge to cook again, and motivate people to stand up for their rights to better food.

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