According to Readers Digest,
Ninety percent of Americans’ household food budget is spent on processed foods, the majority of which are filled with additives and stripped of nutrients. (I suggest you will find a similar figure for Australian families in 2010)
Grab the broccoli with cheese sauce from the freezer, the box of instant rice pilaf from the pantry, or the hot dogs from your fridge and squint at the ingredient list’s fine print. You’ll likely find food additives in every one.
Is this healthy? Compared to the foods our bodies were built to eat, definitely not.
Unfortunately, most processed foods are laden with sweeteners, salts, artificial flavours, factory-created fats, colourings, chemicals that alter texture, and preservatives. But the trouble is not just what’s been added, but what’s been taken away. Processed foods are often stripped of nutrients designed by nature to protect your heart, such as soluble fibre, antioxidants, and “good” fats. Combine that with additives, and you have a recipe for disaster
Many people when asked to ‘define processed foods’ automatically mention foods served at fast food take-a-ways. Yes they are processed foods, but the real answer is that just about everything you keep in your food pantry is a processed food, as are many items in your refrigerator and freezer.
So just what is a person to do when they have been out at work all day and come home tired but still want to prepare a healthy non-processed evening meal for themselves or the family?
Fresh is best! – That’s the motto to live by. OK you may have to defrost a piece of meat or fish, (you could have done that in the refrigerator while you were out all day) but cook it and serve it with fresh garden vegetables or a colourful salad.
If it’s a larger meal you have to design and serve, go for shrimp, oysters (if you like them) or fresh fruit for an entrée, (maybe a homemade soup?) followed with the grilled main meal and vegetables, finishing off with a wonderful homemade fruit sorbet.
In our home we shop at the local farmers market each weekend, buying up on what is currently in season. If there are some great buys for example, in green beans, cauliflower or broccoli, then we spend a little time blanching and freezing the produce into suitable serving sizes for our meals.
Living in Tasmania – next stop Antarctica, at least six months of the year we make stock for soups, which can be frozen in portion sizes, and quickly defrosted and made into scrumptious main meal soups. Personally I prefer homemade soups any day to those that come out of a packet – to be reconstituted, or out of can.
It may all sound so time consuming and possibly not worth the effort, but if you care about your health, your wallet, and most of all your family, then it’s all worth it in the long run. Believe you me, once you change to a fresh – non processed diet, the taste and aroma of freshly cooked meals is wonderful.
Living off all those quick and easy processed foods is filling up your body with massive amounts of chemically laden, not naturally nutritious, artificially fortified foods….. Actually calling them ‘food’ is not really accurate. Calling them “flavoured chemical cocktails” would be much more accurate.
I don’t watch much television, but between brackets of the evening news, sometimes there are advertisements for ‘cheap meals’, cooking for the family for under (say) $10.00 per meal. An awful lot of those recipes (not everyone) use packet mixes to flavour up the meals. Read the backs of the products being recommended, and see exactly what it is you are adding to the fresh ingredients. Then think for a moment, and decide what fresh ingredients, herbs and spices you could use in place of the suggested chemical cocktail.
Do you even know what all those symbols, words and numbers on the food ingredient list – nutrition panel area, actually mean? I think you need to know.
This is an excellent resource for you to learn from. And if you think you will never be able to remember all that information, call into your local book store and see if you can buy a copy of the Additive Alert or Low To No Additives or The Chemical Maze Book – keep one of them in your shopping basket.
Try and live by the motto Fresh is Best…… it will make a huge difference in your life, you will automatically consume less sugar, salt, chemicals, and as a by product you will increase your consumption of life giving, healthy nutrients.
As a final thought
Do you happen to have a child who gets hyped up after eating certain foods? Seems moody or miserable, perhaps non communicative at times? Is a poor sleeper perhaps? Maybe even has problems with their digestive system? Have you considered it just might be caused by some of the chemicals found in every day foods? Good information can be found here.
Till next time, be as well as you can, and give some thought to clearing out the processed foods from your pantry. The economy won’t suffer because you will spend more on fresh, healthy, nutritional produce. Your GP might complain though – you may not need to visit them so frequently!