Why And How To Avoid Processed Food

By Larraine Roulston:

For everybody’s convenience, processed foods are readily available on grocery store shelves. Science-based evidence junk-food-caution mainindicates that these edibles have harmful effects that include cancer, obesity, diabetes, and kidney and heart disease.  These health problems now are linked to the standard American diet mainly of animal and processed foods.

One major culprit in processed foods is excess sugar. They also include artificial ingredients designed to enhance flavor and texture as well as to make them aesthetically appealing.  As the grains are refined for processed foods, they hold little fiber and less nutritional value. To enhance our digestive system, we need to eat high-fiber foods such as leafy greens and oatmeal. 10 high-fiber foods will help motivate us towards a healthier diet. On the list is nutritional yeast which, by the way, is an amazing topping for homemade popcorn.

Processed foods also contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs ) such as soy and corn. Short term studies also have noted a rise in food allergies. As well, Research reveals that if your diet includes many processed foods, your sense of taste will make you crave more junk food and could be a cause of depression. People are becoming more aware of these negative impacts and slowly have been leaving processed foods on the shelves, returning to more natural and nutritional meals. This movement is now beginning to have an impact on processed food manufacturers who have made their profits from making us fat, sick, and nearly dead. It should be noted that consumption of smoked and cured meats should be limited. For the past several years, I have avoided eating processed meats due to their high salt content and the use of a binding process incorporating various animal parts.

processed food cartoonMy non-processed speciality is homemade soup. I have many wonderful soup recipes, but usually opt to begin by simply sautéing an onion while stirring in spices. Next, I pour Homemade vegetable broth into the pot together with whatever veggies I have on hand. Also, it’s an opportunity to include any sauces or leftovers lurking in the fridge. A bit of wine and dry beans that you have soaked overnight can be included. You can add any combination of a handful of rice, barley, noodles or even a spoonful or two of oatmeal. A few shreds of cabbage also add to the texture. Should you desire extra flavoring, a bouillon cube or some tomato sauce will do the trick. There is always plenty of soup in one big batch to serve again or freeze for another time.

Once you get into the habit of whipping up a favorite cookie recipe, you’ll be healthier by not digesting preservatives from cookies with a long shelf life. Some people enjoy making batches of homemade spaghetti sauce, and others will go a step further to create their own condiments from my recent post on Care2 about homemade condiments. Many mothers purée their own Homemade Baby food. For snacking, try No-bake granola. Rather than purchase breakfast fruit juices with excess sugar, reach for fresh fruit. Recently, Fredrica posted her recipes of homemade crackers and herb salts.

Most likely, we all have to purchase some processed foods; however, take the time to understand the ingredients. Become more aware of the health benefits of whole fresh foods. When supermarket shopping, challenge yourself each time to make choices from the perimeter of the store, thus continually striving to avoid the middle aisles, where less beneficial foods are located.

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Larraine authors children’s adventure books on composting at www.castlecompost.com 

Larraine Roulston

A mother of 4 with 6 wonderful grandchildren, Larraine has been active in the environmental movement since the early l970s. When the first blue boxes for recycling were launched in her region, she began writing a local weekly newspaper column to promote the 3Rs. Since that time, she has been a freelance writer for several publications, including BioCycle magazine. As a composting advocate, Larraine authors children's adventure stories that combine composting facts with literature. Currently she is working on the 6th book of her Pee Wee at Castle Compost series, which can be viewed at www.castlecompost.com. As well, Larraine and her husband Pete have built a straw bale home and live in Ontario.

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