I was recently talking with a family, and the discussion made me think about what I always talk about here on my blog, and how maybe what I say might not be making sense to the audience!
We were talking about PROCESSED FOODS. The question to me was what difference does it matter if we eat processed foods? Does it really matter?
YES! But first, I wanted to address WHAT processed food is, and WHAT REAL FOOD is.
These are foods that are not directly from nature. They have been created in a lab, packaged, boxed, and then shipped out to you via grocery stores. They are the INNER aisles of the grocery store. They are about 90% of the grocery store. When I teach children about this I tell them to think about this … can you see an apple tree in your mind. Or have you ever gone apple picking? Everyone says YES! Then I say now think of this … have you ever seen those orange fish in a bag that you snack on growing on a tree? Everyone laughs. It’s an easy way to think about it.
In addition, processed foods come from RESTAURANTS and FAST FOOD. Unless you have found a nice little farm-to-table restaurant, and they tell you the source of their food, it’s traditionally sourced and processed. Fast food is not healthy for you. I was under the assumption that most people realized that fast food is not something you should be eating daily, but recently after this discussion, I realized that perhaps people DO NOT indeed realize that it’s not healthy for you. It’s processed, in every way possible and the quality of the products themselves when they are real (very few things) are the cheapest possible. That is how they can provide you with fast, cheap food. Same thing in restaurants. If you go into a restaurant and pay average pricing or cheap pricing, or even sometimes expensive pricing, the oils, bread, and flour are all still processed. It’s hard to finance and afford and then charge a customer, the price to make a profit on real food.
However, it’s FAR FAR cheaper for YOU to cook real food at home, control your ingredients, and only choose the most nutrient-dense things, than to frequent all the restaurants, fast food places, and more.
Some examples of processed foods are:
* Chips, Pretzels, orange crunchy fish in a bag, neon orange snack puffs, anything that is out of a bag – even crackers no matter the brand or type.
* Candy bars, other candy items like chewy bears, chocolate chips, any chocolate bars.
* Fast food
* Most restaurant food
* Breads, pasta, anything with white sugar, white flour.
* Packaged “meal helpers” – like bags of pasta and sauces, packages of flavoring, and meal items you dump into a pan and warm.
* Microwave meals or “foods” of any kind.
* Drinks that are not water, tea, or coffee. That means things like energy drinks, other “health” drinks, “protein water”, and any water flavoring.
* Oils such as canola, corn, vegetable, soybean, or any other random seed oil that you have never heard of.
This is food that comes from nature. You can imagine it growing and living in nature. This includes meats. Can you envision a cow eating grass in a field? Can you imagine a fish swimming in the sea? Can you imagine a garden with vegetables and fruits growing?
Now, this is where SOURCING of that food comes into play. Traditionally raised animals and crops are less nutrient-dense, and in some cases, depending on chemicals used on the animals or land they can be toxic. That is why as much as possible we get the BEST SOURCE for those foods. This way we get the MOST NUTRIENTS, and we get FEWER toxins.
What real foods do we want to eat?
* Organic fruits
* Organic vegetables
* Grass-fed beef, pastured chicken, pastured turkey (very hard to get other than from a farmer), uncured bacon or ham products (ham is hard to find uncured in the store, but the bacon is more accessible now), pastured eggs
* Wild-caught seafood and fish (if you can’t find that ORGANIC farmed).
If you can’t find it all the way you need to, fruits and vegetables more traditionally are important and ALWAYS a better choice over packaged snacks and foods. In terms of meat, the lowest fat possible in traditionally raised cow animals, and try to go with minimal chicken and birds if you have wheat/gluten/grain issues.
If you have a local farmer’s market, it’s the place to go to get the BEST pricing and BEST QUALITY of all these foods. You will have a bunch of farmers selling good quality products for you to choose from.
Now that we understand processed and real, WHY DOES IT MATTER?
Your body isn’t meant to handle the level of toxins, chemicals, and preservatives that are in packaged food. It’s not meant to handle those oxidized oils. It also needs a lot of nutrients daily and those foods DO NOT provide the nutrients.
So you have a situation where you have an overfed, but undernourished body.
I run food journal analyses on my clients to show them how their nutrient levels look. When I see a client that has a primarily processed food diet, there are 25% to maybe 50% (if lucky) nutrient levels met during the day. That means that the body is MISSING 50-75% of the nutrients it needs even though they ate 3 snacks, and had 3 “full meals” at different restaurants or takeout places. But their nutrients still fall THAT SHORT. In addition, their liver and eventually the gallbladder with age is BOGGED DOWN. They show liver toxicity, and detox is needed in a huge way. In addition, they typically have some type of diagnosis and health problem they are trying to fix. It’s caused by these things.
The DIFFERENCE with real food is that you LESS hungry all day, and receive 90-100% of your nutrients EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Because I work a lot with kids let me give you an example of a middle school child’s difference in real food versus processed food diet.
On the left is processed food, and on the right is real food.
You can see overall here the DIFFERENCE in nutrients daily. This alone should be enough to say hey – wow – my body needs more nutrients than it’s getting. In addition, when eating this way – a real food diet – you are able to let your body heal and detox from the additives, chemicals and oxidizing and bogging oils that were coming in before.
If you need help and guidance on how to make these changes, I do FREE consultations. You might have certain food reactions, or special needs with food that are also causing body issues. I work as a food detective to help you figure out what is BEST for YOUR body.