By Guest Blogger, Lisa Leake, www.foodillusion.com and www.100daysofrealfood.com
Part 2 of a 3-part series
As I mentioned, my husband, two children and I are in the midst of a 100 Days of Real Food journey. It has been quite an interesting ride so far with both ups and downs. We hope that our mission will convince others to take the 10 Days of Real Food pledge where people would follow the same rules that we are following for a shorter period of time. In case you need some more convincing here are some of the biggest reasons our family decided to make these changes…
10 Reasons to Cut Out Processed Food
1) Processed foods are an illusion, often appearing to be healthy (with claims like low fat, low carb, vitamin fortified, no trans fat, contains omega-3s, etc.) when these foods are in fact the very thing making a lot of Americans unhealthy, sick, and fat.
2) Coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer – four of the top ten chronic diseases that kill most of us – “can be traced directly to the industrialization of our food” according to Michael Pollan.
3) Making smarter (and sometimes more expensive) food choices now may reduce your healthcare costs later in life.
4) Why would one want to eat a processed food-like substance that is scientifically designed to never rot?
5) The food industry has proven that it is not very good at seasoning our foods by adding way too much salt, sugar, and/or oil to almost everything.
6) When you eat white bread and other foods made with white flour (which is a highly processed version of wheat) you are basically consuming empty calories with far less nutrition than the whole-wheat or whole grain alternatives.
7) It is estimated that up to 90% of processed foods* in the supermarket contain either a corn or soy ingredient in the form of an additive under a variety of different names. Now how is that for eating variety?
8) Cutting out processed foods could lead you to experience a variety of personal health benefits such as having more energy, losing weight, improving regularity, or just feeling healthier overall.
9) Rather than counting calories, watching fat grams, or reducing carbs for “healthy eating”, simply eat whole foods that are more a product of nature than a product of industry. It is certainly less complicated.
10) It just makes plain old sense to fully understand what you are eating, be able to pronounce everything on the list of ingredients (if there is a list), and know exactly where that food comes from…don’t you think?
*Statistic courtesy of a food scientist interviewed on the documentary Food, Inc.
Below are some more excerpts from our journey, which is being chronicled on 100daysofrealfood.com.
Part of me is absolutely amazed that we have gone more than two weeks without giving either of our children a single piece of candy. I have just always thought that kids and candy kind of go hand in hand. And I assure you that a few months ago I would’ve been unable to fathom the idea of not handing out a sucker to calm one of my fussy kids, not packing a convenience store selection of sugar-filled snacks for an airplane ride, or even completely doing away with our treat basket. Luckily, “out of sight, out of mind” does help with the little ones. And somehow we have managed to make it this far, and we have honestly been perfectly fine with our selection of homemade and sugarless “treats”. Again, I am just amazed…Click to Read More
I have to admit that when faced with social plans my first thought is (from a food perspective) it would be easier just to stay home. But, I always talk myself out of taking the easy road and we end up going along with our bags packed full of our “approved” food. I was especially worried about what would happen at a get together yesterday with our playgroup friends.
After some sprinkler and backyard time all of the kids were being fed chicken nuggets, chips, and fruit as part of a little picnic lunch. I knew I had to pack something just as appealing for my children if I didn’t want any problems. I ending up bringing hot dogs (from a local farm), popcorn, and zucchini bread, and I also served them some of the same watermelon as the rest of the group. I was shocked that I had zero issues with feeding my children this separate meal, and I have to wonder…were they just starving or are they starting to get used to this? Every time I feel funny about having to bring our own food I remind myself that this is exactly what parents of kids with allergies do all of the time so I should stop feeling like it is so unusual. (Although I do of course admit that our “allergy” of choice is just a tad uncommon!)…Click to Read More
As much as I like to complain about how difficult it has been to eat real food out in social situations and restaurants, how much I miss store-bought condiments and my white chocolate mochas, and how I have occasionally wondered if it was the right thing to involve (and restrict) our children’s diets…I have to admit that I am glad we are doing this. I guess it took me a little while, but I am finally starting to see a clear picture of what we have gained from our experience thus far…
Adjusted expectations –
I was preparing dinner last night when my 3-year-old started circling the kitchen, hungry for a snack. It seems like no matter how early I start dinner it always gives at least one of my children the idea that it is time for a snack. Since I was busy cooking she was limited to items within her reach. It honestly felt so nice to have my child willingly pull out one very healthy snack after another and ask to eat them. Why in the world would I have to say “no” to anything she selected when it included all natural applesauce, dried apple rings, freeze dried bananas, peanuts, and then cheese? This child of mine could not have been any happier with being able to pick out food herself. And since we literally got rid of (or hid) every last item that doesn’t follow our rules a few weeks ago, she only expects to find those healthy foods in our house. I am so thankful it has become the new and very much accepted normal around here…Click to Read More
Stay tuned next Friday for more excerpts and ways that you can easily cut back on your family’s consumption of processed foods.
This is all very fascinating. Can you clarify what you mean by processed vs. unprocessed? Even the Great Harvest Bread or Oatmeal or Brown Rice have some processing to get to us. Where do you draw the line? Do you have a more comprehensive list of "rules?"
Great question! We are mainly referring to highly processed foods because you are exactly right even cooking your dinner is technically a "process" that changes the food. For example, one of our 100 Days of Real Food rules is to not eat anything out of a package that has more than 5 ingredients. You can check out the full list of rules here: http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/real-food-defined-a-k-a-the-rules/
I really respect what you are doing. I have a 7 month old and want to start her out with healthy eating habits. This is a great guide.
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