9 Reasons to Stop Eating Processed Foods
There are many opinions these days on what constitutes a healthy eating lifestyle. There are strict vegan diets as well as high “protein diets” with lots of animal meats. Some experts advise to stay clear of carbohydrates, while others will tell you to make it a staple part of your meals. Some experts believe dairy is an essential part of proper nutrition, while others extremely advise against it. There is so much confusion and blasts of information these days, how does anyone know what to believe?
In an effort to not confuse you any further, let's start with the suggestion that I acknowledge that different things work for different people. There are many aspects to consider, including: food allergies (many people are allergic to wheat, dairy, soy or gluten), ethnic background (Europeans tolerate milk better than Africans), lifestyle (active vs sedentary), nutritional goals (weight loss vs weight gain) and even physical conditions (illness, elderly, pregnancy, lactation).
Today, I wanted to share one of the general basics of eliminating processed foods for a healthier diet and lifestyle. This was one of the things that especially worked for me in order to heal myself of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS, (infertility) nearly 11 years ago. Along with adapting a plant-based lifestyle, cleansing and detoxing, incorporating natural herbs for reproductive health such as red raspberry leaf and chasteberry, eliminating processed foods has been extremely beneficial to my health and energy.
The chemicals found in processed foods and conventionally grown fruits, vegetables and even meats can have a detrimental effect on our health. It is impossible to process chemical additives into nutrients that our body can utilize. These chemical additives are not able to just simply pass through our system “as is”. Therefore, these chemicals get absorbed into our body for an unlimited period of time, which causes delays in our digestion and adds extra toxins to our blood, organs, tissues and extra pounds to our weight. Preservatives such as sodium nitrate that are found in hot dogs, ham, bacon and other processed foods along with BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are stored in our fat cells for an excessive period of time.
Here are Nine Reasons to Avoid Processed Foods:
- They ruin the taste buds. Processed foods contain extra salt, sugar and other flavor enhancers that are many times slickly labeled as “natural flavors”. These foods are very unhealthy and over time dull your taste buds to natural flavors and what’s actually good for you, like green vegetables. So, what's the result of dull taste buds? A need to eat more processed foods to get the taste you want, as you will no longer be able to appreciate the taste of natural foods. I have noticed my taste palate to actually “upgrade” and change to accepting and craving more natural organic foods since adapting a more alkaline plant-based lifestyle and eliminating processed foods.
- Deadly additives. When I say deadly, I mean deadly. There are very harmful chemicals that are added to foods to keep them “fresh” or to be kept on the shelf longer. There are many instances where people are also very allergic to these food additives. Some examples of food additives are: artificial sweeteners like corn syrup, anti-caking agents, food acids, color enhancers, preservatives, artificial antioxidants and emulsifiers.
- Hide and seek ingredients. Processed foods often contain ingredients that play hide and seek, such as hidden sugars, salt and harmful fats. An example would be when a product says it is sugar free, but still contains aspartame which is a harmful artificial sweetener.
- Mystery ingredients. Many processed foods are filled with stranger parts and pieces of animals. For instance, hot dogs contain “edible offal”, which are the organs of a butchered animal. These organs or random animal parts can be the animal skin, snout, ears, etc.
- No nutritional value. When foods are processed, most of the nutrients are taken out of the nutrient rich foods. This leaves you with almost nothing of what your body needs nutrient and mineral wise.
- Fortified with synthetics. Food companies add synthetic “vitamins” (the soil doesn’t produce vitamins) and minerals to make up for the loss of nutrients and minerals during the stages of processing. Our bodies are not built to process synthetic nutrients. A great example is when a product such as bread is labeled with “enriched flour”. This means that the wheat is stripped away of all its natural nutrients and then synthetic vitamins or minerals are added to it. This is what they consider “enriched.
- Wrong Market. When your money is being spent in the processed foods market, you encourage growth in the market and suggesting that there is a demand in this market. When you spend money on organic fruits and vegetables instead, it encourages others to enter this market and creates a demand, thereby bringing the expensive prices of organic foods down.
- Money. Although organic fruits and vegetables often appear to be expensive, they are often less expensive than processed foods. The cost of them is also cheaper in the long run than what medical bills can amount to if inorganic fruits & vegetables and processed foods are continuously consumed over a period of time.
- They are dead! Most of the nutritional goodness is cooked or processed out. We do not benefit from the enzymes and nutrients the foods normally contain. Dead foods equal dead cells!
As we can see, processed foods and food chemicals have a harmful effect on our health and body. Avoiding them are a great start to prolonging your quality-of-life and for immediate relief of chronic health conditions.