Processed foods are much more than Mighty Kids Meals from McDonald’s, and definitely includes foods that you probably would never have ever even considered “processed food.”
A processed food is any food item that has been altered from its natural state, through any “processing method,” regardless of how small that change might have actually been—including canning, freezing, refrigeration, dehydration.
In fact, every food item you currently have—-every food item in your pantry, fridge, and freezer—and every food item that is boxed, bagged, canned or jarred—and every food item that has a list of ingredients somewhere on the package is indeed a “processed food.”
If a food not as it is found right from the vine, bush, tree, or whatever else God Himself may have put in on, then that food is considered a “processed food.”
If you do happen to find any single-ingredient food item that has been ground or put into a jar with no added chemicals, that food item is a “real food.” Anything else that you find as you clear out your fridge, freezer, and pantry should probably be making its way to a trashcan about now…
Like “What Not to Wear” when they come in and clear out and dump most of that poor victim’s clothes into the big metal trashcan, we’re doing the same thing here…except the name of this show is “What Not to Eat”…and perhaps could also be called “Hoarders” if you’re anything like me.
Processed foods are not “real foods,” and should never replace those “real” foods, drinks, dishes and meals that we all know really do belong on our plates and that we all really should be eating.
The NOVA Classification System
The NOVA classification system, developed by Brazilian academic Carlos Augusto Monteiro, organized foods into the following four categories…
1. Unprocessed or minimally processed foods…such as fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, fish, and milk.products that are pre-prepped for convenient use – including chopped veggies and roasted nuts
2. Processed culinary ingredients—such as table sugar, oil, and salt
3. Processed foods—such as tuna, beans, tomatoes—that have been processed in order to lock-in nutrients and flavors at their peak
4. “Ultra-processed foods—such as frozen and pre-made meals, frozen pizzas and microwavable entrees, breakfast cereals, soda, instant soups and pre-packaged crackers, chips, and cookies—that have been chemically processed and made solely from refined ingredients and artificial substance
So what’s wrong with “processed food”?
It is this fourth category of processed foods that we should concern ourselves most with, and the first category of food products that we probably all need to eliminate from our diets.
These foods are packed full of things that none of our bodies need—such as synthetic additives, preservatives, artificial colors, emulsifiers, sugar and artificial sweeteners, fat, and salt.
Back when I was in my early twenties, I constantly ate ice. I remember laughing when people would tell me that I should stop eating ice because I would end up losing the top back tooth where I first bit down on a huge chunk of ice and my lowest back tooth on the opposite side where I bit down on that ice next. Guess what, they were right?!?! Twenty years later, I ended up having to have those two teeth removed.
I refuse to take that chance of not listening to the people twenty years older than me telling me to make the changes that I need to now in order to save my overall health. Losing two teeth when you’re forty because you failed to listen to what people were telling you back when you were twenty, is a whole lot different than losing your overall health and well-being when you’re sixty because you failed to listen to what people were telling you back when you were forty.
Right now, I am going to focus on removing this “worst category” of processed foods from what my family eats. Eliminating this category will hopefully help prevent us from having to face many more of the biggest health problems in America—such as type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, hypertension, stroke, coronary heart disease, and cancer.
About 90% of the money that Americans spend on food is spent on processed items…(gee, would that other 10% be spent on eating out…that’s actually “processed food” too)…
Basically, over half of what the average American eats in any given day fall into this last category…(we should all be so proud of ourselves, right(?!))….
We would all be so much better off if we could all simply eliminate two foods in particular off of our weekly grocery lists—soda, and
Soda…Soda, coke, “pop,” whatever the heck you call it in your neck of the weeds…oops, I mean woods…Regardless what you may call whatever might be in that cup that isn’t filled with water or sweet tea or lemonade or juice or beer or Kool-Aid…the fact is that the stuff in that other red Solo cup is one of America’s worst enemies. Mass-produced soda contains 35 grams of sugar per 12-ounce can. Mass-produced soda and sweetened “fruit drinks that contain less than 5% juice combined contribute to 40% of the US intake of “added sugar,”…the amount of sugar Americans consume which is over what actually should be consumed.
Mass-produced soda derives 100% of its total calories from sugar. Mass-produced soda contains 140 calories per serving. Being that one can of mass-produced soda actually contains two servings, a typical woman limiting herself to a 1400-calorie-per-day diet only needs to drink five cans of Dr. Pepper to meet her calorie demands for the day…no food allowed?!
Another food that should be eliminated from our American diet altogether is “pre-packaged cakes, cookies and pies.” It’s way too easy to eat entirely way too much of these foods without even realizing how much you have actually eaten.
Having our grandmother bake us awesome-tasting cakes, cookies, and pies and send them to us in a care package is one thing.
Having food scientists “engineer” us awesome-tasting cakes, cookies, and pies…and then offer them to us in creative packaging in quite another.
Our grandmother baked such foods for us and put them in packages because they loved us.
Food scientists engineer such foods for us and put them in packages because they simply want to take our money.