Why Cut 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, 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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  1. Zena |

    Hi, I just found this blog. I have been suffering on a daily basis for the past 4 years from all sorts of allergic reactions. It seems like I’m allergic to everything I eat yet the tests for food allergies appear to be negative. I’ve also had eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, body odor, as well as sudden severe cystic acne.
    I truly beleive most skin conditions I have are from a bad diet(alot of sugars, processed foods and dairy)
    I would like to switch to a natural diet with zero processed foods but I feel soooo hungry. How do I replace bread & pasta? How do I replace tomato paste or Chicken stalk?
    Are canned foods and jarred foods safe??

    • Amy Taylor (comment moderator) |

      Hi Zena. Allowing for a few minimally processed items may help. Lisa buys 100% whole grain pastas and breads. Look for organic tomato pastes/sauces in glass containers. I prefer jarred products to canned because you do not have to worry about BPA. Lisa’s recipe for stock can be found here: http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2010/08/09/recipe-homemade-chicken-stock/.

      • don |

        I know several months later, but me and the Mrs use spaghetti squash to sub for, well, spaghetti..
        Jarred food are safe, but nutritionally, alot of them are just plain crap in a can

    • Gene |

      Zucchini and a Veggetti. No need for pasta it’s all processed.

      • Garnette |

        Try yam noodle known as miracle Noodles

    • Monica |

      I have found that I do not have to replace bread and pasta or even dairy. Just get it in its most natural form. I bought a Komo grain miller from Pleasanthilgrain.com. I now mill MY OWN FLOUR from 100% organic whole hard winter wheat (they also sell tons of organic wheat and spelt and rye and whatever other grain your heart desires (no pun intended).

      We’ve lost the art of REAL cooking. Most recipes use short cuts and say things like ” 1 bouillon cube” ……heres an idea….. OR………just boil chicken (on the bone to get the cellulose) Go back to basics! It takes time and at first your devoid of energy because of eating the empty calories. Push through it and you’ll see you have energy you thought only possible with a cup of esspresso and it will amaze you.

      My staple kitchen appliances for this type of eating and cooking are: VitaMix, Breadman Breadmachine, Cuisinart Food Processor, Kitchenaid Stand Mixer (with pasta roller attachments) and a Jack LaLannes juicer along with a good set of knives, bamboo chopping boards and cast iron pots, pans and dutch ovens (with no chemical overlay disguised as “non stick”)

      Stick with un processed food purchases (whole foods) and Organic where possible. The recipes are endless, the effort is minimal (once your energy picks up) At first I found it expensive and tiresome but once your body gets the nutrition in needs you dont need to eat nearly as often or as much to feel satisfied and energetic.

      I work full time (50+ hours a week) in a corporate environment, have a husband and religious obligations that take up quite a bit of time outside of work. And I can do it all………… because I have energy!!! Listen to your body. It took all these years for us to destroy our bodies so dont be discouraged if the recovery is equal in length. Only good can come from this sort of eating so keep reading about how you can make healthy, whole food recipes at home and invest in the appliances that make it just a little easier to keep up with.

      I’m not an expert but I know my body and I know that when not even bacteria will touch the grocery store food, its no longer food no matter what it looks like. I feed my dogs the same way. Because our food is unprocessed what I eat they eat (minus the dangerous foods like grapes, onions and garlic etc) and we are all productive, healthy, happy and love it.

    • Karyn |

      I’ve been eating Paleo(ish) for a little while and after the first couple of days of sugar withdrawal (from sugar and other carbs) I don’t miss the bread and pasta. I’ve had a few people be pretty critical over my choice – i think because they don’t know much about it. They think you eat bacon every day :). What it really boils down to is protein, tonnes of veggies and a bit of fruit. You eat more fat, but it’s all good fat. When eating this way it’s not even possible to eat processed food – its all real food – nothing in a package. I’m not hungry and I have better energy.

    • |

      I came across a new health food product that offers you 43 essential nutrients in every serving. I had back surgery last sept where they did a fustion. I’m at the gym 6 days a week now doing weights and cardio. With little to no pain anymore . I’m also diabetic that has never been able to get my sugar to be consistently under 115 and now that I have added Yevo it runs about 85 to 90. I can’t say it’s from the Yevo but that’s the only thing I have changed. biofoods.myyevo.com

  2. Shannon |

    I just recently cut out all sugar from my family’s diet (only using honey, agave & maple syrup), buy organic whenever possible and cut our meat/dairy consumption in half. Its been a month now, and things are going pretty good :) I just found your website here today, and want to say thank you for compliling such a great resource of recipes! I just tried your tortillas tonight and they were yummy.
    Thank you!

    • Jen |

      Agave is just as bad if not worse than sugar. The fructose level is insane.

  3. |

    You may want to explore food intolerances. Intolerances don’t show well on allergy tests. I’m not 100% real food yet, but am moving that direction because of food intolerances. My dietary transformation started out as a byproduct of weeding out things in my diet, one by one, that were affecting me. No soda, then no sugar substitutes, etc, etc, till I found soy was my personal nemesis. When I finally looked at the overall of the things I had weeded out that helped me, they all fell into processed foods! Soy is in practically everything processed.
    I haven’t had the skin issues you have, but I’ve read that intolerances can cause those too. Best part is when I finally figured it out, I was able to focus on what I could eat and I don’t feel deprived anymore.
    All the best in your journey to real food, Denise.

  4. Roma |

    Zena, if you have not already done so, you might consider being tested for Celiac disease. Make sure they run ALL antibodies in the test. Many doctors leave one out of the test, considering it “statistically insignificant” but a few Celiacs will be incorrectly diagnosed as a result. With the symptoms you describe, it’s worth eliminating that as a possibility. Hope you feel better soon.

  5. Cat |

    I am wondering if I was to make my own bread, which is the best type of flour to use as I have been diagnosed with diverticulitis

  6. dw7 |

    An abundance of specific food intolerances is actually unlikely. If you are experiencing digestive problems with a range of foods, it’s likely an undiagnosed systemic problem. I have had two friends who were diagnosed with chronic appendicitis – which is not the most common digestive ailment, but if celiac and Crone’s disease are ruled out, please get tested! One of my friends had two years of digestive problems, and she blamed it on a plethora of foods, until her chronic appendicitis became acute, and she had to have an emergency appendectomy! Now she is back to eating all the the things she once ate.

  7. Heather |

    What steps can I take to cut out refined sugar? Cold turkey or gradual weaning? What do I use as a replacement is recipes? Do I cut out all types of sugar or just white sugar? I welcome all the tips and ideas you have ! Thanks

    • Trish |

      Heather, I just recently started a journey to remove sugar from my diet and eat whole foods. Read a lot of articles online and done a lot of research. It’s amazing how all of the processed foods along with sugar have such detrimental health effects on all of us. From what I have read the only suggested sugars are maple syrup, honey and I found palmyra jaggery but it is expensive and not very cost prohibitive for my morning coffee which is where I miss the sugar the most. The journey has been difficult at best and at least once a day, typically in the evening I find that I typically fall off the wagon. But I still keep getting back on and trying again the next day. I have read both ways to stop sugar, cold turkey and gradual using natural alternatives, I suspect which ever works best for you would be the best option. Good luck on your sugar free journey.

    • Mag |

      Go cold turkey! The funny thing is once you get it out of your system you will not crave it or seek it out. Cold turkey is quickest. Otherwise you will dabble in it and be on sugar for weeks before you really switch. This way after about four days – you’re done! It’s great. I used to have a huge sweet tooth. I would pick at the brownies, eat cake at parties, etc. I don’t miss it at all and my energy levels are much more stable. No 4 oclock lulls. Good Luck! Oh and I do use honey in my pumpkin muffins and on my yogurt and it’s basically the same satiating taste.

  8. |

    Make chicken stock in your crock pot:
    1 Chicken carcass – great use for bones after you’ve eaten a roasted chicken
    2 C coarsely chopped onion – or just get an onion and cut into 8 wedges
    1 C coarsely chopped carrots – or just get a carrot and chop into 8 pieces
    1 C coarsely chopped celery – or just chop into 8 pieces
    3 cloves garlic – smashed
    4 bay leaves
    1 t whole black peppercorns
    2 t sea salt – adjust to taste
    1 t dried thyme – or use a sprig of fresh
    1/2 t dried rosemary – or use a sprig of fresh
    1/2 t dried oregano- or use a sprig of fresh
    Put all ingredients in crock pot.
    Cover with water.
    Cook on low overnight. Your house will smell so yummy in the morning.
    Cool. – Freeze some in ice cube tray so you’ll have small amounts handy.

  9. Mag |

    I love the site! So helpful and we are on our way to a healthier lifestyle. It’s day 30. Woo-hoo! I had a question. Some research and sites I am reading are categorizing whole wheat as a processed food and toxin. What’s the story there? I see that it’s allowed on 100 days and am using it all the time to make pancakes, muffins, etc. I also have Esekial bread with my eggs, etc. I am confused so figured I would ask the expert. See the exerpt below which is what I am referring to.

    from Natural news:If you are a regular Natural News reader, then you are likely already aware of some of the major processed food ingredients and additives that are harmful to health. Monosodium glutamate (MSG), refined sugar, wheat flour, natural and artificial flavorings, etc. just a few of the many toxins commonly added to processed foods that you will want to avoid.

    • Amy Taylor (comment moderator) |

      Hi Mag. If you are concerned about wheat, you might want to consider using sprouted wheat flour which is easier to digest. Lisa’s family has shown no sensitivity to wheat or other glutens so whole wheat flour is a common ingredient in her recipes.

      • Mag |

        Thanks! I don’t have sensitivity to wheat or gluten either. I just saw recent things here and there bad mouthing wheat. Ha!

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