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Friday, March 1, 2013

Processed Foods Are the Downfall of Human Society



Are you a processed food addict? Are there certain processed foods that you have to eat to feel normal? Is there a food that you have to eat every day or you will start to feel bad if you don’t? Do you have a nickname that is named after a food? Do you think fast food is not processed food? Do you think low fat milk, frozen peas, fried chicken, raisins, pasta, orange juice, bread, breakfast cereal, and cookies are all unprocessed foods?

Yes, the truth is many of us consume processed foods in one form or another. The thing to be concerned about with processed foods is knowing which ones are unhealthy, which ones are healthy, and to know when you are addicted to unhealthy processed foods.

I think of healthy processed foods as foods that are minimally processed, where one can still recognize the original food source, and there are no harmful additives. So, raisins, homemade nut milks, flax crackers, whole grain bread, frozen peas, fresh juices are all examples of healthier options of processed foods.

Unhealthy processed foods include low fat milk, fried chicken, refined white flour pasta, refined white flour bread, canned food high in salt or fat, processed meats, packaged high snack foods like chips or cookies high in salt, fat, or sugar, breakfast cereals high in sugar, boxed meal mixes high in salt, fat, or sugar, and so on.(1) Do you see a common thread here? Unhealthy processed foods are highly processed typically so that the original foods are not recognizable, and they have harmful additives, as well as high levels of sodium, fat, sugar, and/or trans fats.

The big danger with unhealthy processed foods is that these are the foods that as designed to taste really good, are made with cheap ingredients, and have a long shelf life. The danger with these foods tasting great is that they are typically high in sodium, fat, sugar, and/or trans fats in order to make them taste good. Table salt, vegetable oils, white sugar, and trans fats are in themselves highly processed and very unhealthy. And, these foods can become addictive to consumers so that people eat them on a regular basis and feel that they cannot stop eating these processed foods. Furthermore, being high in sodium, fat, sugar, and/or trans fats typically means the foods are very unhealthy and actually detrimental to one’s health, actually decreasing one’s lifespan.

If you sit back and think about the big picture with highly processed foods it makes sense. Unhealthy, highly processed foods are made with the cheapest ingredients, this means conventionally grown, pesticide and herbicide laden crops, typically limited to just a few foods of wheat, corn, and soybeans; meat, milk and eggs that are full of toxic chemicals and drugs like heavy metals, antibiotics, steroids, etc. Even when these foods are produced they are lower in nutrients because of the highly mechanized, industrial methods used to produced them and the deficiency of nutrients in the overused, eroded, chemical laden soils. On top of that, these nutrient deficient, toxic ingredients are severely processed in giant factories that further erode nutrition levels to almost nothing, and add many additives or ingredients that render the final product truly unhealthy and unfit for human consumption. Typical additives are added not to make the food healthier, but to give the food certain characteristics like a long shelf life through preservatives; great taste through high amounts of sodium, fat sugar, and/or trans fats; certain textures or visual and physical qualities through the use of chemical additives; certain colors through the use of food colorings; a certain price point through the use of cheap fillers; higher nutrition levels through the use of artificial, synthetic vitamins and minerals, and so on. Our food supply has gotten so corrupt today when you think that humans are going to a lot of effort to make the most unhealthiest foods that have real detrimental effects on people’s health, actually decreasing lifespan and increasing the rates of disease, there is very little regulation, and the companies producing highly processed foods advertise that their foods are healthy, AND many people believe the lies. I have to tell you that foods were just not meant to taste that good. My saying is that if it tastes too good to be true, it is. Unhealthy, highly processed foods are so bad that they should not be eaten by anyone and we should not be making them.



So, what is the solution to unhealthy, highly processed foods? The solution is for people to get back to basics, to slow down their busy lives, to set aside time each day to make all of their meals from organic, whole foods, and to sit down at the dining room table with your family to enjoy conversation and the meal together without other distractions like TV or the radio. And, I don’t want to hear your excuses like you have to work long hours or you have a long commute or you don’t have time to make a meal or you can’t afford to eat healthy and so on. These excuses are just that, excuses from taking responsibility for your own health. Only by people making the right choices will things change. We cannot rely on the government or food companies or nonprofit groups or dieticians or exercise gyms or fad diets or our parents, siblings, or friends to do it for us. You must be the change you wish to see. Others will follow your shining star of great health, positive mind, and strong spirit!


Article Sources:
Article: “Nutrition FAQ: What are processed foods?” by Shereen Jegtvig: (1)
http://nutrition.about.com/od/askyournutritionist/f/processedfoods.htm

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