Tuesday, July 20, 2010
We all hear that processed foods are bad for us. Yes...most of them are. However "processed" means that they have been altered from their natural state, which isn't always "bad". With that said, eating fresh, whole foods is best.
Processing involves canning, dehydrating, refrigerating, freezing, and aseptic processing of foods. Frozen veggies for example are processed, but they aren't necessarily bad for us. They may lose some of their vitamins and minerals, but they aren't bad for us. The trouble we get into with veggies and fruits are when they are frozen or canned with lots of sugar and salt. The nutritional value plummets and our health risks go up each time we consume these items.
Now, the processed foods we all usually think of are boxed foods (cereal, crackers, chips, cakes, cookies, etc). We all know those aren't good for us...that holds true. No ifs, ands or buts about it. They are loaded with processed grains (yes even the whole grains), they are loaded with sugar and salt and other perservatives...stay away!
But, an often times overlooked processed food category is meat. As Paleo eaters, we consume a lot of meat. If we're not careful we can be doing our body quite a bit of harm by consuming junk meat. First of all, animals that are fed processed food (grain fed beef, caged chicken, etc) are loaded with the food we are trying to avoid (therefore we're indirectly consuming those foods). Even worse than that are the packaged meats (hot dogs, lunch meat, sausages, etc). These are loaded with sodium and several other preservatives to keep them fresher longer. These are the chemicals that can cause serious damage in the long run. SOOOOO....it's best to support a local rancher and buy grass fed/cage free meat or to spend the extra buck at the store to get the same meat that is already packaged for us. Take a look at the most recent food recall...seriously, we have to recall the food we put in the stores...that's scary!
I understand that in our world it isn't realistic that we can all go out and get fresh eggs from our cage free raised chicken in the back yard, pick fresh apricots from the tree and cut up fresh zucchini from our garden each morning for breakfast (wouldn't that be ideal though!). So when hitting the grocery stores take the above into account before throwing items in the cart.