Friday, February 13, 2015

The First Steps to Cutting Out Processed Food

There is lots and lots of talk out there in the food world right now about "Clean Eating"  I don't know if you agree with the theories behind it or not - ( I don't wholly subscribe to how out of control it can get), but I really believe that eating any food as close to its most natural state as possible.

What are Processed Foods?

They are convenient, attractively packaged, and for some individuals, completely irresistible. However, some processed foods’ unhealthy ingredients can turn a healthy body into a pit of disease. Unfortunately, the consequences of constantly eating processed foods are not evident immediately, but they will appear. This is why cutting these “non-foods” right out of your diet is one of the best moves you can make for your health.

The desire to cut out processed foods and actually doing so are two different things. Processed food ingredients like salt and sugar, are designed to make you crave them more and more. They entice the taste buds to make you eat them regardless of how bad they are for you! In spite of this, if you are like the thousands, perhaps millions, who wish to cut the processed food cord, you are not alone. It can be done.

Processed foods are foods that have been changed from their natural state. If you’ve heard the term “Frankenstein food,” this is a good description of the transformation that takes place – for example, the ever-lasting “Twinkie” or fast food burger. Has it ever crossed your mind why this “food” stays fresh for months when the exact same food or ingredients would last only a few days in it’s natural state? It’s because food manufacturers use artificial ingredients to extend a product’s shelf life. While not all artificial ingredients are harmful, some are. Processed foods may have a longer shelf life, but the life of the person consistently eating this type of food may not last very long at all.

5 Tips to Take Processed Food Out of Your Diet

1. Educate yourself.

Think about how processed foods may be affecting your body. Take the time to read about natural foods vs. processed foods. Become aware of key processed food ingredients and additives that are disastrous to your health, such as food coloring, sodium and trans fat..

2. Read labels carefully.

It is not necessary to spend two hours making your favorite spaghetti sauce from scratch. Believe it or not, you can find some “real processed foods” in your local grocery store if you read labels carefully. Just avoid so-called “foods” with preservatives, and artificial flavors and colors.

3. Savor what’s on your plate.

Instead of gulping down your meal in front of the TV or computer, take the time to really “taste” your food. Really enjoy your avocado salad. Try eating without distractions. This makes you more aware of the various smells, textures, and colors of your food, eventually causing you to turn away from junk food and appreciate home-made food.

4. Discourage yourself from eating added sugar and salt.

The less you eat of these additives, the less you will crave them.  Instead choose fresh, single-ingredient foods (like an apple, egg or almonds!) that will nourish your body.

5. Give yourself time.

Even though it may be tough initially, skip the noontime candy bar or fast-food sandwich. Eventually, your taste buds change and you will acquire the taste for healthier foods. Be patient. With enough willpower you will forget all about “Frankenstein food” and enjoy the taste of wholesome, natural flavors.