Processed Foods- Bad or Good? 4 Mindful Steps to Transition Out of the Processed Food Game
Is all processed food bad?
All food is categorized differently but food shouldn’t be feared.
The point to make is to be an agreeable participant rather than a caught-off-guard consumer. Do you know what is in your processed food or how it is processed?
The main point about processed foods is that there should be nutrients retained. Otherwise it is just empty calories and considered filler.
For example, white flour is the end product after processing out the nutritious bran. White flour is devoid of nutrients and must be enriched with powdered, synthetic vitamins and minerals to be sold.
According to Seed Matters, over the last 50 years, crop breeding for industrial agriculture has been a major factor in nutrient decline of 43 food crops. Nutrient declines in phosphorus, iron, ascorbic acid, calcium and protein are seen in modern wheat.
Some foods need to be processed in order for consumption, such as taro, due to its naturally occurring calcium oxalates.
For example, Ancestral Taro Powder is pre-cooked, peeled, dried and ground into a powder. This would technically be called “processed” since it is not in its whole form.
Although it is processed with these steps, Voyaging Foods uses natural sources and methods to retain vital nutrients.
How can you make sure you aren’t paying for fluff in processed foods?
1. Read the back of labels first.
Foods listed at the top of the ingredient list are represented more than the last ingredient on the list. Tired of feeling like you need a food science degree just to understand the ingredients? Check out a new app called ipiit Food Ambassador to help navigate the sea of food products and ingredients.
Once you start realizing what is in your food then it’s about knowing what roles they play in your body. Relying on processed, inexpensive foods can be a short-term convenience traded for long-term health issues.
Here is a quick list of inexpensive, non-nutritive fluff:
-High fructose corn syrup or the new names being used such as corn sugar.
-fructose has can cause problems with weight and overall health as it increases insulin levels, interferes with brain signals, and interferes with feelings of fullness which makes you want to eat more.
Genetically Modified Ingredients:
-The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) issued a memorandum with recommendations to avoid GM food with the precautionary principle in mind, because GM foods have not been properly tested for human consumption, and because there is ample evidence of probable harm. One of the first steps to avoiding GM ingredients is to cut back on processed foods in your diet
Colors, flavors, preservatives:
-What use do these do for the end-user?
2. Retrain your taste buds to the real flavors of simple food
3. Don’t count calories, skip meals or deprive yourself.
Fulfilling hunger isn’t about filling a large plate. Being satisfied is when your meals include a variety of different food groups that digest properly. Being unsatisfied is when a meal creates an imbalance and causes spikes in blood sugar levels. Fill your plate with variety from real food and you will not be hungry every 15 minutes.
4. Cooking at home
The truth is that cooking food at home is more affordable and reconnects you to the ability to both provide and nurture yourself as well as others. Start with planning one day a week for a home-made dinner, then move into two, then three days. You will see how dinner can be reconstituted into a tasty lunch and even breakfast.
Instead of asking whether processed food is bad or good, get focused on whether there are natural nutrients left. Look into if there is more filler than actual real food?
Recognizing what is in your processed food will be a quick realization that you can make better tasting food at home. Your body and mind will thank you for it.