Why Cut Processed Food

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  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, as Michael Pollan puts it, are more the product of nature than “the product of industry.” It certainly is 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”

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454 comments to Why Cut Processed Food

  • Aarin Farrell

    Hi, I have been following your site for a while and I love it! I was wondering if you have any tips or tricks for weight loss while following your real food eating plans.

  • cheyenne

    Hello, I ran across this site today. Great site. Our family got into a diet change back in 2007, my son was only 3 then, actually just turned 4. In 2010 I finished my certification in nutrition. Our son has benefited greatly from learning the whole foods way. However, we cut back on fresh food and went back to near completely processed foods for 2 years 2012-July 2014. I can’t believe we did that(well we were trying to save money and pay some things off, med bills) I got so so sick. oh so sick and it came on all of a sudden in May this year. Everything was wrong. My whole system tanked. I knew I needed to save myself, and I also knew a trip to the doctor would yield a plethora of pills.

    So, we went 100% non processed and I broke out our near century old Vitasphere Juicer we bought back in 2007 and haven’t touched in 2 years. I spend 80$ down at our local fruit market every week and we eat for the whole week, 4 people, and juice every day and blend everyday on it.

    In addition I have had to add in a yard of whole food vitamins to our diet. I am just now beginning to
    see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    My dad lives with us, and he is a Meat Addict, also a processed foods junkie, so the whole no processed foods thing is making him grumpy but at least he drinks the juice I make without complaining.

    It is so important to keep up this eating habit. I know so many very sick people around me and Its all nutritional in origin. I also knew better way before I got sick that I would end up nutritionally deficient eating SAD, I guess you loose your way sometimes. Nice to find sites like this out there. There is moocher out there now than there was in 2007 thats for sure.

    I remember I told my best friend Back then, that GMO’s were crossing plant and animal life to make franken foods and put them up for sale (processed) in the grocery store…and he called me a crazy person. Now its common knowledge.

    Great site, take care Cheyenne, C.N.C

  • Heather

    Is there any type of saltine cracker that is a good choice? I have scoured everything on our grocery shelves and cannot find anything. My husband is willing to do a lot to change our eating habits but I got the evil eye when I tried to give him unsalted crackers yesterday because they had the smallest ingredient list…help!

  • Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

    Hi Heather. It is very difficult to find a saltine with a clean ingredients list. Annies is fairly short but doesn’t really meat “the rules criteria”: http://www.annies.com/products/snacks/organic-saltine-classic-crackers. Also, here is a simple recipe: http://realfoodandrealfitness.com/2014/03/homemade-clean-eating-saltine-crackers/.

  • Brandi dunnill

    I’m wondering where Cheerios falls on a the scale of prosessed foods? We are about 80/90% whole foods but there are still some things in my kitchen I’m not sure on and this cereal is one of them. It’s my go to “what the heck do I feed my girls” when I can’t keep up. So what are your thoughts please?😊

  • Kay

    Where do you start – especially when you do not have money for fancy kitchen gadgets? We’re starting with the bare minimum.

    • Rachel

      Click the “get started” button at the top. You don’t need a bunch of fancy kitchen gadgets. Also, consider buying her book. I just bought it and it’s a gold-mine of info on how to make the transition.

  • Lauren

    I just download meal plan one and am planning to start it in January. How many does the grocery list feed? It is just me and my husband and I don’t want to spend a fortune on food that will go bad before we use it. We also live in an apartment and space is limited. Thanks so much.

  • Julie waldbieser

    Hello Lisa,
    I have discovered that sodium nitrate is a trigger for my migraines. So I have purchased a raw picnic ham to cook for Christmas. My dilemma is finding how to cook a raw picnic ham! Most of the directions reference a smoked or cured ham or a pork butt. I just want to know the best and simplest way to cook my ham!! Do you have any suggestions? The ham is 14 pounds and it’s beautiful! I’m just not sure what to do with it!!
    Thanks in advance for any tips anyone has!!

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