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”

459 thoughts on “Why Cut Processed Food”

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  1. I am wondering…have a lot of people lost a good bit of weight by going to “real food?” I have had 2 kids in 3 years (including pregnancy with first) and I have some extra weight I want to shed ASAP.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Ashley. I always tell people it will depend on what your diet was like before switching to whole foods. Just be careful to still continue to pay attention to portion sizes. Best of luck to you. Jill

  2. My husband has given me a challenge, and I am hard pressed to find the info I need. He wants proof that what we ate in the late 1970’s to early 1980’s is not the same ‘food’ we are eating today. Even though I have told him that at that time food manufactures had to label food as ‘imitation’ and not what is acceptable now as ‘processed food’ or no label at all. He said he would stop fighting me on every food choice I have been making and help me stop the in-laws from giving our kids so much junk. Please help!

    1. I would recommend both Unhealthy Truth by Robyn O’Brien and In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. Also, if you haven’t already you two should watch Food, Inc. together!

  3. So glad my sister is so involved in healthy eating! She looks and feels great! I used to eat real food and have slowly lost motivation; so this excites me!

  4. Thanks for your outstanding work on healthy eating!
    I have also been using an excellent book called You Are What You Eat by Dr. Gillian McKeith.
    She had a very entertaining TV series a few years ago which brought out the exact same issues you have… This series made me think about all the bad stuff I was eating (sugary things,white bread,etc).
    Changing my food choices and adding more veg and fruits cause me to lose 24 lbs in about six months time. I eat more nuts and much less meat.

  5. I have been following this site for awhile now. It is very interesting. I have thought alot about these very things over the years. I am now 55 years old. On the most part I have made most things from scratch. Sometimes have fallen off the road but jumped back on. Mainly because we dont like pre made food. I have been very upset lately, because I recently went to a fast food restraunt and took some (honey). Something masde me read the package and it said (HONEY SAUCE) what is that? I am outraged that our USDA would let the industries that are supposed to be feeding us change something so simple, or let them be using this stuff and calling it food. I have not studied any of this but do know that our bodies dont know what to do with synthetic food we put in it. So what does it do with it? It stores it somewhere. Our body can’t use it, it dosn’t know what it is or what to do with it. I’m just very sad about our future food supply and how our bodies with will respond.

  6. My journey started a couple of years ago when we moved across the country. In Nebraska we drove past a small (but seemed huge to us)feed lot. It broke my heart to see the cows squashed like sardines and stuck in mud. When we settled in, I began to do some research, but didn’t really think too much about it. We moved again and then I got pregnant with my fourth boy and my first son was diagnosed with Aspergers. I soon learned how sugar, food dyes, MSG and other things affect him. Now, only four months in and I’ve never felt – or looked – so good. The only weight I’ve gained is baby and people tell my skin glows. Last time I had a high-risk pregnancy and this time, I can honestly say I’ve never felt better. No acid, no blood pressure issues or morning sickness and I have a ton of energy! My Aspie’s moods are so much better. He rarely has an emotional outburst and is finally making friends! My husband is losing weight without trying and my other two sons just seem to be happy all the time. The best part is that we’re all craving fruits and veggies like never before. The extra cost is so worth it and we’ll never go back.

  7. I love what you’re doing and how you are empowering others! I have been on this real food journey for 6 years and feel great! I started my own experiment based on your chic fil a post. My sandwich is a week old and doesn’t even smell bad. Surprise surprise

  8. Hello. I’m so interested in learning ALL I can in changing the way my family and I eat….We are a family of 8…That’s myself, husband, 4 kids, and my parents, whom we moved in with to take care of. I need to learn as much as I can for quick and easy ways of eating, what we need to be eating to be healthy…Diabetes highly runs in both sides of our family, as does heart problems, asthma, and being over weight. I am so excited to have stumbled onto this website, and can’t wait to start following some of the recipes, and would love to get advice from anyone to make this transition easier. :)
    Thanks so much for taking all the time to do this research and share with the rest of us. I too get so upset about the foods that are allowed to be fed to our families, and what is or isn’t in our foods. I look forward to hearing from anyone with good advice to get started.
    :)

  9. Just subscribed and looking forward to different ideas for recipes etc. We’re not new to “real food”. My husband is a trained chef and our 7-year old has always ate the same thing we do at every meal. As my parents both grew up on farms, they raised my sister and I to eat fresh whatever we could. We always had something planted in what little space we had. The same holds true for my own family. We have herbs and some veggies as we can get room. My son LOVES to cook with us and that is partly where I credit his “open-ness” to food. I can tell you I didn’t know what Kale and Quinoa were at 7, but my son does and he loves and loves them! It takes a little more effort (more frequent grocery shopping) but a little price to pay for clean eating.

  10. Thank you so much for such a WONDERFUL resource! My new husband and I are about to start your 100 day challenge. I am already on day 5 and seeing fantastic benefits.

  11. Just wanted to say thank you for doing what you are doing. Four years ago I had a heart attack at 34 years old. It was a huge wake up call… Exercise and diet have become major priorities in my life since then and the closer I can get to the plant, tree, dirt or bone my food comes from the happier I am. Ive found it difficult to find recipes and options to keep variety in the diet… I think that your blog is going to be my new best friend! By the way, Ive known Ashley Eller for years now, she is amazing! Glad to see her get a shout out in your canning article! keep up the great work! :)

  12. I’m really interested in this, but my husband would never be; we’ve talked about it plenty. but, I would love to know about yogurt. We love it in our house, but I don’t recall ever seeing an unsweetened fruit flavored yogurt available. I’ve shopped at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, plus the chain stores. Do you buy unflavored and add your fruit/sweeteners? My kids probably wouldn’t miss the sweet, but the extra flavor, they would. Also, when baking I find 100 % whole wheat products to be heavy and not rise as well. Is it different with whole white wheat? Or do you just get used to the denser cookies? Thanks!
    Tina

  13. My family and I have been making changes for about 6 weeks now. I am so excited to have found your blog. What a huge help it has been to me over the last few weeks! Thank you so much. Is there a recommended book list somewhere on your website? I want to read as much as I can that will help me in our quest to live cleaner healthier lives. Any recipe books you can recommend? Thank you again for your commitment to this site….it is really great!

  14. My family and I have been eating real food for two months now. The interesting thing is that I’m actually consuming more calories than ever before (real butter, real sour cream, whole milk, etc.), but I’m still losing weight. When I would count calories and eat “fake” food and less calories than I am now, I couldn’t seem to drop the extra weight. Maybe it’s because my body is able to process real food better? Or more nutrients are being used, thus I’m not storing all the extra crap? Hmmmm, I wonder…

  15. This website is fantastic, and I totally prescribe to your way of living! However, have you ever thought about not buying foods packaged in plastic (this includes buying things from a bulk bin and putting them in plastic produce bags)? I think it’s important to improve our health while simultaneously looking out for Mother Earth. Reducing (or better yet, ELIMINATING) plastic packaging is key if you want to be a good steward of the earth. Reuseable cotton or muslin sacks with drawstrings are virtually weightless and make great substitutes to plastic bags. :-) Just thought I’d throw that out there!

  16. Well for one I love this site. And I am going to do the 100 days of “real food”. I am 20 years old and I want to change the way I eat now because when I have children one day I want them to have the best of everything and I think food is the most important. I am going to try and get my mother on the band wagon also. She did a low carb diet and most of the food she ate was fresh but the shakes and bars they offer are so processed it is scary. I can’t wait to make this life change and keep it going. Thanks

  17. I am new at this but have researched a lot about processed foods and it’s relation to disease and obesity. I am sold to the fact that our current diet is contributing to the overwhelming increase in cancers, diabetes and other significant health issues. My grandparents and parents ate whole foods and were so much healthier than our generation (I’m 58) I was raised on whole foods but as I reached adult years and fast foods became so convenient I got away from cooking real meals.
    Thanks for your website and for keeping us up to dat on why we need to return to our “roots” of real food, not processed. As for me and my family…we will return to whole foods and organic/local as much as we possibly can.

  18. I love #9. It’s so ironic how we try to make bad food healthy by tiptoeing around it, when really we just have to eat REAL food with little to no tiptoeing involved! :)

  19. You should also remember that many processed foods are addicting (because of sugar/artificial sweeteners and other crappy chemicals). And that’s the whole problem with cutting processed food from your diet – it’s damn hard because you’re so used to it and when you’re used to eating it, it tastes better than vegetables, fruits, nuts or whole grains.

  20. Love this site!! Thanks!!!

    @Kim try probiotics! It will clear up!! Choose one with many strains and a high billions count :)

  21. Just discovered your site today! pretty awesome. I recently discovered an organic and locally grown store (Freshfield Farms)in Orlando, fl. and I have been shopping there. We have completely changed our diet and eat fruit, veggies and meat. I also have a husband, daughter (5), son (3). My daughter has bad allergies and my husband has suffered from Candida for a long time. Since the change my hubbys rashes have almost all cleared up. His downfall is still sneaking sweets after everyoone is in bed. I need lots of healthy brownie, cookie recipes. I’m going to try a swap and see if he notices the differences. I believe this is the last step to clear his candida forever.

    1. Candida….totally try getting in some good probiotics. Greek yogurt is a good source. add powdered form in fruit smoothies (feeds sweet tooth, too). I also take an amino acid to help with sugar cravings … glutamine. 1000 mg /day I think. (just one capsule typically) not expensive. Probiotics will likely help all of you! Good luck and happy FRESH eating! My latest thing, btw is to give up WHEAT. It has helped my belly fat go bye bye (in my mid-40s) – and there are plenty of substitutions!

  22. I am a homemaker/student and I have gone from not ever cooking a meal (when we first got married almost 6 years ago) to cooking almost every night. I recently watched Food, Inc. and I was appalled at what I put into my body and the bodies of my family. It seemed unfathomable that I have been putting food into my body on a daily basis that I didn’t even know what it contained! I am so happy to report that the very next day after watching that movie, I have cleaned out my cupboards, spent a load on some staples, and now I’m excited to use my culinary creativity on foods I am proud to feed my family. Thank you for this site, as I can feel it’s going to be one of my biggest resources.

  23. I’m also a no processed food newbie, I came across your site via Penterest which was also given to me by a co-worker just recently. I decided for my new year resolution to cut back on the processed foods and make as much of it on my own. I did not know what I was missing!! I’ve been told in the past by my Dr to cut back on processed because of my HBP but I didn’t really listen, now I’m in my 50’s and it just seems to make since and to know we live in the same state, I’m in W-S, I look forward to learning more..thank you for the helpful info!!!

    1. Christine, I am in my 50s too and have taken BP meds for years. Since I stopped eating processed foods, especially fast food I have been able to stop taking the BP meds. I stopped eating fast food and processed foods (for the most part) in April this year. Just a few weeks later my BP stared being really low and I felt tired all the time. I stopped taking the BP meds and now I don’t feel tired and my BP is normal. That is really the only thing I have done that would reduce the BP….it works!

  24. Lisa,
    I am just SO THRILLED that I found this website. I am a no processed food newbie, but I am obsessed with this site. I love the way you break this complex topic down into easy to understand smaller portions, and offer recipies and suggestions. I am so thankful for you and your help!! I have learned so much already…I can’t believe I ate so much processed JUNK without knowing what it really does to my body! This has been an eye opening experience!!

  25. Just wanted to say “Thanks” for great and simple recipes. I’ve started cutting back on processed food and have been struggling on how to still make interesting meals that don’t take a lot of work every night. So Thank You!!

  26. I just stumbled upon this blog via Pinterest, and I love it. I have lost all 45 pounds of my pregnancy weight following most of these guidelines, and I really don’t feel like I’ve been on a diet at all. It’s just delicious, healthy food.

  27. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia not too long ago and I don’t like taking pills unless I really have to take them. Since switching to a whole foods diet, I have seen a significant decrease in pain flare ups. Not only do I have fewer headaches, limb pains, etc, but they’re less severe. That was all the proof I needed to make the change permanent. Since then, my whole family has eliminated processed foods from their diets. Everything is better. Everyone is so much healthier! I love your blog!

  28. I have lost 45lbs since September 2011 all due to cutting out sodas, upping my water intake, and eating organically. So yes, cutting out the processed foods can give you a weight loss. I am hoping to reach my goal by this Summer.

  29. I am so glad to have found your blog! I have recently developed an allergy to corn and corn derivatives, which are in just about every processed food out there. Your blog will definitely be a go to when I’m at a loss of what to make.

  30. We moved from the US to Nigeria in 2009. Here we eat very little processed food because it’s either not available or very expensive. After one year of living here and not intentionally “dieting” I had a physical exam, including blood tests. All my numbers (cholesterol, etc) had gone down) and that was without trying. I know it was due to our change in eating natural foods (and the fact that the meat here is very lean). This is a great website. Thanks for sharing the recipes.

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  32. Totally! I’ve been really paying attention to this over the last couple of years, have cut out most processed food completely, and am noticing incredible energy based results. Love it!

  33. I am glad one of my friends told me about this site. I have an allergy to yeast in high amounts and being tested for an allergy to gluten. Diabeties, heart problems and cancer runs high in my family. I am glad that there is a site out there that I can go to for advise.

    Thanks again!

  34. Lisa,

    I discovered your site a couple of months ago and it has been so inspiring for me! I have learned so much but at times I have been overwhelmed with all of the new information. I am hoping that you can provide some guidance on dairy products. I live in a rural area with a Food Lion and another small gorcery store. I can purchase Horizon Organic Milk for twice the price of Food Lion’s Milk for my family of six–and we typically by 4 gallons a week. I have recently done that. However, from reading other material, I have wondered whether we should even consume homogonized, pasteurized dairy–some people believe that raw dairy is the only way to go. Do the health benefits from processed dairy outweigh the risks? We have even thought of buying a cow! One other option is to buy regular Sealtest milk which I am assuming would be more local than Food Lion’s milk due to where it is processed. However, I really don’t know whether that is true and am wondering how to find the answers to that. My dilemma concerns whether I should buy local and not organic, buy organic instead of local or try to find a way to buy milk that is not from a grocery store and how does one do that?
    I hope that I have not asked too many questions!

    Thanks!

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      Hi there! I agree it can be overwhelming at first to make the transition to “real food.” Raw milk is actually illegal here in North Carolina so we drink the least processed milk available, which is non-homogenized whole milk that’s been pasteurized at a lower temperature than standard grocery store milk. I actually don’t even think it is “certified organic,” but the farm (which is in Virginia) does follow organic practices. I would check with your local milk option to see how they treat/handle the cows (what they feed them) and if they use any antibiotics or hormones. Whenever in doubt…call the company and ask questions! If they don’t make themselves (or the information) easily available then that would raise a red flag for me. I hope that helps!

      1. We are in SC and purchase raw milk from a dairy who makes deliveries in Ft. Mill, SC. There is a huge group from NC that travels down every 2 weeks to pick up milk. Look at the dairy at http://www.scmilkyway.com. We have been using L.D. Peeler’s milk for 4-5 years and love it.

  35. I have recently been treated for chronic migraines and the first thing the doctor said, after drink LOTS of water, was cut nitrates from your diet. Come to find out, nitrates are in EVERYTHING! Mostly processed meats. It’s crazy to find out what we are putting in our bodies and our kids bodies without even thinking about it! After 3 months of drinking 80-100 ounces of water a day and cutting out most process foods I have my migraines mostly under control and on half the dose of meds that are usually recommended. So happy to find your website!

  36. Good write-up. Thank you for sharing the information. I was certainly not aware of your website, but will return again much more frequently at this point. Adding you to my RSS reader.

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  38. Completely agree that is great to go back to the real food. I was shocked when I looked at the ingredients of some of the really simple foods in the store, some of them have a 10 rows with listed ingredients even though when made in home the same foods will contain for example 3. I am also amazed how the food producers do not think of people’s health.

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  42. What is the best chesse? or alternatice? I have little kiddos and they LOVE cheese…if they want mac and cheese I make it from scratch, including the noodles, but cheddar cheese is so highly processed itself…what should we be buying? Thanks

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      Most cheeses are actually okay if they are a block (not pre-shredded) and not colored (most cheese is supposed to be white). We also buy organic when we can.

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  49. Beyond Organic

    Hi! I love your blog! I have severe gluten sensitivity and insulin issues. Eating real/whole foods has helped so much! It’s amazing how good I feel. I was so sick two years ago and now I have a healthy productive life.
    I recently found out about an organic coop that is going national. They go beyond the standards set by our government and everything will be shipped to homes. Go to bethfoods.com to learn more about it. It’s free to become an insider and view the info on the products. Hope this helps some of you! I am really behind this coop because I too know how hard it is to get good quality food, for good prices. Have a blessed day!

  50. Living without processed foods is something I’ve done for a long time as I have food allergies (corn, soy, wheat, artificial sweetners, malodextrin to name 1/3 of them…) the hardest part is budget. I have friends who can easily support a family of 4 through coupons for under $60 a week. I can’t get 7 items at wholefoodsto meet dietary needs for that. Its one reason the poor are grossly more prone to consume junk… its cheap.

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  53. What a fun, fabulous idea! Love, love, love it!
    Ironically as I was shopping at Trader Joe’s today my son looked at what I was buying and said, “Mom, why are you buying all of this junk food?” It really made me pause as usually I buy fresh food, raisins, nuts etc. Tonight though it was carrots, snow peas etc. along with yogurt, ice cream, animal cookies…

  54. Stephany Nelson

    I am really excited about your blog. I have realized that my family and I have not been making the best food choices. I would like to feel more energetic, fell good about my body and mostly provide my husband and boys with the best nutrition. Thank you for taking the time to put all this information together. You are truly doing something amazing for the lifes of those who read it and put it to practice. Thanks!!

  55. By the way, THANK YOU for your blog.. I just found it and LOVE it.. Even though we are not as strict as you, we long ago cut out almost all processed foods, like hamburger helper, etc.. I try to stick to 6 ingredients or less, make most things from scratch, etc.. (we still use some sugar, but I am working on subbing honey, just having to be sneaky.. ;)However our farmer’s market only runs from May thru Sept. and Earth Fare or any other whole foods market is over 1 hour away. I am forced to shop at either Food City, Kroger, or Wal-Mart most of the time.. I HATE it.. we have nowhere that sells local foods.. I do have a friend who gets raw milk, so occasionally if I can get with her, I can get milk. However there are no dairy stores and no bakeries anywhere near me. :( We use less than a loaf of bread every 2 weeks for 6 people..I make cornbread (less than 5 ingredients and NO sugar) most of the time. Anyway do you have any suggestions or links for someone who does not have the option of “local” year round. We grow/raise what we can, but need alternatives for the rest of the time. I strive to buy as little as possible from the big chain stores.

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      Thanks for the comment! And that is a hard question. I know there are a lot of shoppers out there who are really great at sourcing stuff online including amazon.com. I rely on my local resources therefore haven’t had to research that yet myself. I bet you could find good deals online on bulk items like organic whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, whole-grain crackers, etc. Most of what I buy is perishable though so that would be harder to do. Since I don’t have a better answer I will ask the facebook fans…they always seem to know when I don’t! Go here to see the conversation: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-100-Days-of-Real-Food-Pledge-Sign-up-for-the-10-day-pledge/111437015567316

  56. I haven’t found a link for it, so forgive me if it is already covered. What is the reasoning behind so little meat. Being true 6th or more generation southerners, we are use to having meat with most every meal except for summers when the fresh garden veggies are coming in. We raise our own chickens, and eggs, we raised our own hog this year and had it processed, will raise a calf this fall, and hopefully be getting milk from our goats in the fall, also maybe a milk cow in a year or so. So we know our meat is un-medicated, well fed, ranged meat. So is it the meat that is the issue, or is it the way the meat is raised, fed, and processed??? I can give up meat for the most part, but the hubby and 3 growing boys would never survive without meat at dinner. ;) Just wondering if it was meat, or the way the meat is raised that was the reasoning for avoidance?? THANKS by the way I blog on herbal remedies, so check it out if you do happen to catch a cold.. :D

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      The issue is the way animals are raised, but also the quantity in which meat is raised (and consumed) which has a negative impact on both the environment and personal health. Here are two posts where I cover this topic: https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2010/05/19/becoming-a-%E2%80%9Cflexitarian%E2%80%9D/
      https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2011/03/25/mini-pledge-week-3-meat/
      This is all based on the research of both Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman.

  57. Nice work!!

    I’ve been forced to adjust my diet recently due to cholesterol issues and although not as drastic as your admirable effort I’ve been taking similar steps. The family is benefiting enormously although it’s not without daily struggles from our 6 year old. I look forward to reading your blog in its entirety!

    Check out my blog – subversivegourmet.

  58. I read the book “Skinny Bitch: A no-nonsense, tough love guide for savvy girls who want to stop eating crap and start looking fabulous” by Rory Freedman yesterday, yes the WHOLE book! It was just too interesting to put down and let me tell you what as soon as I finished I went and threw out the nesquick, splenda and bologna! The kids won’t be happy but I am! And next is meat! We eat meat 6 nights a week. You can get iron from other, better and more natural sources and that’s what we intend to do. I don’t remember how I came across your blog but it really is inspiring! Thanks for all you’ve done! And everyone should read this book!!

    BTW- I’m not a fan of the title of the book but I love the content.

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      I was just browsing through that book at the bookstore the other day. I am not saying I agree with absolutely everything they say, but they certainly aren’t afraid to tell it like it is!! And good for you for making some changes for the better. The more the merrier! :)

    2. Have you eliminated all food coloring from their diet? The food coloring used in the US has been linked to ADHD and ADD.

  59. Thanks for posting this. Esp the last point. I always read labels on food products, looking for less sugar, the chemical names always scare me.

  60. Before I get started, just want to say how amazing you and your family are to take this challenge. I’m so thrilled to see people are realizing how strange our American diet has become. (And, the oddity of highly processed foods costing less than fresh foods grown in our own back yards.) Feeding your entire family on a budget every week has been an amazing feat!

    Last year, I began a whole foods diet/lifestyle and lost about 25 pounds. I’ve managed to keep it off (and even lose a bit more). But, since I moved to the Charlotte area a few months ago, I’m having a harder time getting the fresh foods I love. Instead of a quick walk to the store (we literally lived a block from a Whole Foods), I now have to drive 30 minutes or more for the best produce and products. We still don’t eat the way most people do–I abhor boxed dinners, etc–but do you have any advice for someone new to the area? Am I just going to have to shop three places each weekend?

    Hope you guys have a great Thanksgiving! and vacation. :)

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      Thank you Stephanie! A quick walk to Whole Foods sounds like that must have been nice! In most cases you won’t have that type of luxury here in Charlotte and as much as I wish I could tell you different I think you pretty much have to shop around to get everything you need here. I am actually feeling relieved that I got my budget shopping down to only 3 or 4 stores! If you are willing to spend a little more you could maybe stick with just Earth Fare and the Farmer’s Market, but if you are more budget conscious I think Trader Joe’s needs to be on the list too. Good luck with your journey!

  61. I’m starting tomorrow! I’ve cut out chicken/beef/pork and other meats for a yr now and limited my animal protein to seafood and eggs…partly as an experiment and largely as a result of watching ‘Food Inc.’ However, it was a struggle to significantly reduce processed foods in my diet for the long term. I lasted a few months and then gave up. I echo some other posts that it tends to be more expensive. Also, there are limited options if you’re on the go and don’t have prepared food on hand…like after a night on the town, there may only be a pizza shop open, for instance. Also, I found myself going through withdrawal(psychologically) so I gave myself one day a week to pig out on processed food…and then I fell off the wagon altogether.

    The value proposition is too great for me not to return to this healthier lifestyle though. So, I’m taking the pledge!

  62. I’m having some difficulty trying to load your blog. I have been read it many times before and never gotten something like this, but now when I try to load something it just takes a little while (4-11 minutes ) and then just stops. I’ve tried with www or not. Does anyone know what the problem could be?

  63. Just found your blog. Love it. Been eating this way (mostly) for about 8 years when I figured out after 2 years that my “eczema” was actually related to a food preservative allergy. Just wanted to add to the top 10 list on how healthy your skin will look and feel on REAL foods. Have “converted” 3 friends w/varying degrees of Eczema & Psoriosis and they have all but cleared up. (They have not totally eliminated preservatives or processed foods). Anyway…keep up the great work!

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      Thanks for sharing your experience…the benefits are endless! I didn’t even know when I first started the 100 days that eating this way would also “cure” my daughter’s wheezing/asthma problems. It really is amazing how much of an effect your diet can have on your health!

  64. This list is very wise and sort of backs everything I’ve been learning over the last few years. I don’t believe I’ve seen ‘Food Inc.’ yet but I would like to now since it seems to be so highly recommended. I think everyone should be enlightened as to what they’re really consuming and what we aren’t told about that we ought to know. The food industry is a sneaky thing and pretty much out to do what every other big business is out there to do: make money, no matter what. I’m skeptical of all big businesses and I think we should all be wary of how far they’ll go to satisfy greed. On the bright side, I think there are good people out there trying to make a difference and teach us how to eat healthfully and compassionately as well. Thanks for this list, I’m going to try and link it to my blog to further spread its message.

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      Glad you found the site!! I also think that those big businesses would change too if we change what we buy from them. If the top sellers were boxes of 100% whole grain foods then they would follow our lead. Food, Inc. talks about voting with our dollars. You should definitely watch it!

    2. Another great movie to watch via netflix is King Corn. It is amazing and very eye opening. I agree that we should be an example to our kids. I am going to watch Food Inc. again tonight…. I am going to take the plegde!

  65. Trader Joe’s will also give you a print out of everything Gluten Free they have in the store, you just need to ask for it…

  66. there are a lot of flours that are gluten free…also a lot of web sites and books. The magazine Living Without is great…Harris Teeter has a lot of gluten free stuff as does Trader Joes if you live in the Raleigh or Cary area. Watch for calories on gluten free products, some are high..

  67. @Tina…savingdinner.com has a menu-mailer subscription service. They give you weekly menus w/ shopping lists, and special instructions to make it gluten free. It only costs $15 for 3 mos or $47 for a year. When you subscribe, you can copy the menu to your documents so you have them forever. They are all excellent recipes that my family and I enjoy very much. I’m sure this will make it easier to make whole, gluten free dinners for you and everyone in your family.

  68. I’ve just been told I have a gluten allergy..so that cuts out wheat flour for me…is there anythng that you know of would be good substitutes for someone with a gluten allergy. Thank you

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      Stores like Earthfare and Whole Foods have a lot of whole food gluten free substitutes…you should check those out!

      1. Gluten is a protein in wheat that makes bread soft and chewy. You may not be allergic to it, but you may have a sensitivity to it. I supposed eating gluten two and a half weeks ago, and have lost 9 lbs and 5 inches from my hips. I’ve also stopped getting headaches and being excessively tired in the afternoon. I’m not allergic to it, but obviously, it doesn’t agree with my body!

  69. Hi Lisa,

    Congrats for making this commitment to eat healthier, whole foods. Processed foods are LOADED with chemicals, preservatives and flavor enhancers like MSG. MSG is known as an excitotoxin or neurotoxin. And by eliminating those from your diets, it’s no wonder that you and your family are feeling better.

    If you’d like to read more about MSG and all of the other bad nasties in processed food, I did a three-part series on it my blog called MSG by Any Other Name. Please check it out here: http://eco-steps.blogspot.com/2010/02/msg-by-any-other-name.html (Parts II and III are also there as well).

    Keep up the great work!
    Amy
    http://eco-steps.blogspot.com

    1. MSG & aspertame make me shake & my heart race. I avoid these things, along with hydrogenated oils & ingredients I can’t pronounce. I still haven’t converted to all organic foods because they’re too expensive.

  70. If you haven’t already, sit down and watch Food Inc. I’ve been eating whole foods for a while and my husband has not unless I’m cooking. This movie made him jump a 180 and now we only consume locally grown and oraganic. This movie will give you many reasons to care about what you eat.

    1. I Went into Food Inc with a Sonic hamburger, tater tots, and a diet coke to drink. That was the last time that I ate meat, or drank soda. I had to see it for a class when it came out, and it changed my life, for the better! 20 pounds lighter, and healthier on many levels. I can’t express how much this movie is a part of my daily living. Go Food Inc.!

      1. I stopped drinking sodas years ago & now am hooked on fresh ice water, but I still eat meat. I can’t remember when I ate at a fast food place. My homemade burgers are from super lean ground sirloin tip from the grocery store. Not one drop of fat comes out of them into the skillet.

    2. My husband did the same! We watched it together and then vowed not to be like the headless fat poeple. The biggest benefit of watching this movie was getting him on board with buying organic, even though it is generally more expensive.

  71. I’m a Grandmother who is very concerned how children are being fed these days.If its quick and comes in a box ..Its food….!Schools should be teaching the reality of “empty calories” versus “real food nutrition.

    1. I totally agree. When we were kids, our schools served fresh, hot, tasty, well balanced meals that were prepared at the school. Now they have luke warm pizza & mushy french fries delivered each day. Yuck!

    2. Yes most schools do teach about nutrition, but the kids aren’t the ones buying the groceries. Most parents are both working and to be fair, opt for the quick option because they are time poor, and most healthy foods tend to be more expensive than the fast foods.
      Schools are also there to make a profit in the canteen, so it is a vicious circle!