Limiting Processed Foods
Friday, August 13, 2010
Over the years we've all become really dependent on the convenience of processed foods. They last longer, tend to be cheaper...but are NOT worth it. All the diet and weight loss books I've read say shop around the perimeter of the grocery store. All the processed junk is in the middle. I'm really trying to do better about buying the "boxed" stuff. I always check out our grocery cart at the end and do a scan...and it seems like each week less and less stuff comes in a box. I'm really enjoying the taste and flavor that comes with cooking my own food. Not to mention that I'm pretty damn proud of myself for even venturing to cook some of the stuff I've been making. Weight loss is a total learning experience, in so many facets.
Processed foods tend to be majorly high in calories and low in nutrient, so why are we so apt to fuel our bodies with this junk? It's EASY, that's why. Some processing isn't so bad. A lot of companies add vitamins & minerals to foods to help fill nutrition gaps in our diets. But a lot of food gets stripped of the most important nutritional parts.
They process foods to improve flavor & color, to balance the acidity or alkalinity, to provide leavening to things will rise, to preserve freshness, improve taste & prevent spoiling, to maintain or improve the nutritional value and to maintain the consistency of a product's taste & texture. Some of these work to our advantage and some to our disadvantage.
A couple of additives to watch out for are sulfites, aspartame, MSG and FD&C Yellow#5. All have been proven to produce negative reactions in some people.
And keep in mind that just because a product is labeled as "natural" doesn't mean that it's always safe. It's not a regulated term by the FDA, so it's misleading. Read labels and ingredient lists to decode if it's actually good for you.
All in all..I'm just going to try to minimize my intake of processed foods. It's pretty much unavoidable to get rid of it completely. We eat out too often to do that. And well sometimes, let's be honest, life can get in the way. Sometimes you just need convenience, no matter how well you plan. Just go for fresh foods as much as possible, and it should have a huge impact on my waist line, energy and overall health.