Are you a “Processed Person”?

Posted by on Sep 1, 2011 in Just. Eat. Real. Food.

Are you a “Processed Person”?

It’s not up to the government , your parents, your favorite restaurant , or your supermarket to make the lifestyle changes critical to good health. It’s up to you. Educate yourself! Don’t be a “processed person”.

My friend, Jeri, has this written in the ‘About’ section of her Facebook page, Hard Core Nutrition for the Prevention of Cancer. When I commented about it, she shared this link with me for the trailer of a documentary entitled Processed People. It literally put shivers up my spine!

Do you know that at least 90% of the money Americans spend on food is used to buy processed foods?

Oh, how we Americans love our convenient ‘I don’t have to think about what to cook’ packaged food! All those pretty boxes, cans and bags seducing us with their catchy names, clever graphics, and buzz words  like healthy, natural, low-fat, fiber rich, organic, vitamin fortified. They must be so good for us, right?

Convenience does not translate into better nutrition. Processed foods are generally higher in sugar, fat and salt while lower in nutrients and fiber than the raw ingredients used to make them.

Do you read the ingredients labels on the foods you buy? Most packaged food has a long list of unrecognizable items that are used to color, stabilize, emulsify, sweeten, bleach, flavor, add texture, soften, preserve, fortify, or mask odors. If you can’t pronounce it, do you want to eat it? Most of these 6000+ additives are chemicals (that’s right – from a laboratory) and food producers have gotten very savvy about lobbying for limited regulations requiring what has to be listed on the label.

The FDA doesn’t require food manufacturers to list additives as ingredients that are considered Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS). But would you agree with which ones are GRAS? (You, as a consumer, should question who is testing the substance, who is paying for the testing, and what stake they have in whether it is approved.) For example, synthetic dyes and artificial food colorings – made from petroleum –  are commonly used in foods such as candy, popsicles, breakfast cereals, and many fruit juices. These are considered GRAS by the FDA, though many studies have determined that synthetic dyes have cancer causing properties and artificial colorings are linked to allergies, behavior problems, learning difficulties and autism in our children.

And have you heard the latest news about 100% orange juice and how it’s processed?

“Once the juice is squeezed and stored in gigantic vats, they start removing oxygen. Why? Because removing oxygen from the juice allows the liquid to keep for up to a year without spoiling. But removing that oxygen also removes the natural flavors of oranges. Yeah, it’s all backwards. So in order to have OJ actually taste like oranges, drink companies hire flavor and fragrance companies, the same ones that make perfumes for Dior, to create these “flavor packs” to make juice taste like, well, juice again.”

Hopefully you’ll never look at a glass of juice the same. And if they do it to oranges, don’t you think it’s probably the same with most other juices as well?

 

According to the World Health Organization, processed foods are to blame for the rise in obesity levels and chronic disease. Research is also showing that eating a diet high in processed foods can overload your liver, lead to diabetes and various cancers, disrupt hormones, impair immune function, play a role in fertility problems, and contribute to heart disease.

 

Try a 10-Day Challenge!

Are you ready to begin eliminating processed foods from your diet? Yes, you are! You and your health need you to give this a go. You never know, you might decide to extend this challenge to 30-days or longer!

  • Avoid foods out of a box, can, bag, bottle or package. If you must, choose foods with no more than five ingredients listed on the label.
  • Avoid refined grains such as white bread, white rice, white pasta; opt for products with whole wheat, not just “wheat”.
  • Avoid products with trans-fats, hydrogenated oils and refined vegetable, canola and soy oils.
  • Avoid products with High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). Regardless of the corn industry’s PR campaign telling you it’s good for you, this highly refined sugar has a negative effect on the body’s metabolism, liver function, insulin production, and has even been shown to increase the risk of heart disease.
  • Avoid processed meat and those with nitrates
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners

While researching this post, I read about a family who did a 100 Days of Real Food Pledge.  You can sign up for their Facebook 10-Day Real Food Pledge and download a FREE “Supermarket Real Food Cheat Sheet Guide” to help you make better choices as you peruse the grocery store aisles.

Best to you and your health as you transition to eating real, whole foods . . . the way nature intended for you to eat them!