Wednesday starts my annual no processed food diet for about 2 months! I love doing this because my body feels like a whole different person! Even though I have to strictly watch that I am eating enough calories, it is well worth it in the end. The more I study nutrition, the more I’m convinced how bad these processed foods are to put in our bodies. I believe this is a diet that every healthy individual should try if only for a couple weeks to see how much better you feel in the end.
Some people are confused of what really is considered “processed.” Processed foods are any foods that have been altered from their natural state for safety or convenience reasons. Some methods used for processing foods are canned, frozen, refrigeration, and dehydration. However, some processed foods aren’t entirely unhealthy for us. For example, milk is considered to be processed because it’s pasteurized to kill bacteria and homogenized to keep fats from separating. Also, while fresh vegetables are definitely better for our health, freezing them actually preserves vitamins and minerals to have them conveniently all year around. However, many processed foods are made with trans fats, saturated fats, and large amounts of sodium and sugar that people are unaware of or just don’t care enough to stop consuming these foods. These types of foods should be avoided or eaten sparingly, but we see an over consumption of these processed foods a lot in our society.
Fast food is one of America’s biggest weaknesses when it comes to eating. In 1968 McDonald’s had one thousand restaurants and today there’s about 30,000! America is always looking for the fastest and easiest option when it comes to eating, and fast food is the exact definition of this. Also, America seems to be consuming most of their diets high in sugar due to all the chemically, sugared beverages we consume. Soda is a big problem here. Just by cutting these high beverages out could lead you to lose up to 12 pounds a year and may reduce your risks of developing a chronic disease. Do the math, the typical 20 ounce soft drink contains 250 unnecessary calories and about 16 teaspoons of sugar! This just goes to show you why our obesity rates are so high, along with our risks for developing type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases.
Sure, processed foods and pre-packaged meals are convenient and popular, but it’s important to keep in mind if you are going to shop for these kinds of foods to choose whole grain products, low sodium, lower calorie, low saturated fats and free of trans fats. It’s also important to realize that when you walk into a grocery store, the more processed foods are in the center of the store, while the fresher foods are on the outer part. So another hint for shopping for foods is to stay on the outer perimeter of the store to buy healthier options. Another helpful hint is to look at the ingredients before eating a food. The food is most likely not safe to eat if you can’t even pronounce the words listed or it contains more than 3 ingredients. Also, when you see the word hydrogenated listed in the ingredients it is important to realize this is a type of trans fat hidden secretly. Also, serving size is important to realize because we tend to overeat our servings everyday.
So I recommend that if you have been eating a high toxic, processed food diet to try a no processed food diet for a couple weeks and see how much moreenergy you have and how much better you feel! It’s a challenge, but it’s definitely worth trying!