You have probably heard that in order to be healthy you should cut out processed foods.
But what is processed food?
And isn’t all food processed on some level? After all there is a process to picking vegetables and when baking bread for example.
But there is a fundamental difference between food that has been made and food that is man made.
There are different levels of processing. Think about the differences and processes involved in corn on the cob, a tortilla and high fructose corn syrup.
Think about it like this…
You can go out and pick the corn from a corn field. You could potentially dry and ground down the corn to make maize flour to make a tortilla. But unless you work at a lab and know how to use glucose isomerase to convert the glucose in the corn into fructose you are probably not going to make it yourself. And why would you?
Some things you might consider.
How the food get’s to you? This is to do with how far it has come to get to you, how long it has spent in storage and the pesticides and preservatives used to ensure it gets to you looking ship-shape. Apparently even when you wash your fruits and veg still some of the pesticides remain. ewww!
How that food responds in your body? This is basically how fast your body converts that food into fuel. When you eat a full orange you are getting the sugars from the fruit along with some fibre and all the vitamins and nutrients which means it takes a little bit longer for the sugars to breakdown in your body to convert to energy. In comparison to drinking pure orange juice, in this case the sugars are already mostly broken down to it’s simpler form which then go straight to the bloodstream to produce energy. You can compare this again to an orange flavoured sweet’s made of high fructose corn syrup which goes straight to the blood stream without the benefits of the nutrients contained within the actual fruit.
By the way the sugar which is not converted into energy is stored in the body as FAT.
How the processing effects the economy? So this is a more complex but very interesting issue. Basically all highly processed foods are produced on mass scale by large multi-million pound companies. Every time we spend money on these products we are further lining the pockets of these companies. These companies care little about the environment and care even less about your health and well-being.
When you support local producers you ensure the wealth not only stays within your community but that the foods you choose have more than likely been handled with care and consideration.
5 things you can do to start the un-processing process.
- Buy local organic fruit and vegetables whenever you can.
- Source locally produced honey,dairy and meat (if your into that)
- Buy in season, this means that the food you are buying has not come from miles and miles away.
- Read labels, how many additives are in the food? what is the shelf life? A good rule of thumb is if it has been sitting in the supermarket and will probably still be sitting there un-scathed after a few months, stay clear.
- Cook at home, aim for 3 days a week and then move towards making all your own meals. This might seem time-consuming at first but if it becomes a part of your routine you won’t even notice. I swear. There are also loads of ways to make quick healthy fresh meals (Another post on that to come)
So maybe you are thinking, that is all lovely information Ana Maria but realistically I don’t have the time or the money to go to the Saturday market and then go home to cook everything from scratch.
I hear you! And hey, I love avocado’s and unfortunately they do not grow in London, so I do eat them and realise the implications.
So you don’t have to be perfect, but you can take small steps that have an impact towards great change.
Start small The first the simplest thing you can do is stop buying crisps, biscuits, cakes, sweets, pre-made sauces and soups. This will have a significant benefit on your health, your family’s health and on your pocket.
You can make your own whole wheat chocolate chip cookies.
You can prepare your own soup.
You don’t really need those crisps. (Unless it’s on that special occasion when you have some cheese and onion crisps with a pint of Guinness) mmm!
You will feel fuller and be more satisfied by the foods that you eat. Which means you will eat less and feel better.
So go ahead take a small step today!
As always I love to hear from you! Let me know how it goes.
Feel at ease