They say you are what you eat, and while that phrase is often misused and laughed at, it couldn’t be more true. What you put into your body seeps through to the outside too and if you’re eating rubbish it’s only a matter of time before you start to feel it. So let’s capitalise on our healthy 2015 promises shall we? Here are 10 little ways to cut processed foods from your life… for good!
Why cut out processed foods?
Processed foods are those which are not in their natural state by the time that you eat them. A good way to tell if a food has been processed in some way, if you’re not sure, is to read the ingredients label. If there are more than one ingredients listed, then it’s been processed. So a bag of apples should contain nothing but apples, frozen spinach should be just that- spinach, nothing else, and chicken breasts should have nothing added to them at all.
So why is processed food bad enough to eliminate? Because many of the added ingredients you find in processed foods are man made. They’re not natural. They contain additives and chemicals which are not designed to be eaten by human beings. Not human beings that care about what they put into their body, at least.
Processed foods also have fewer nutrients because they’ve been pumped out in favour of preservatives and additives instead. So that low fat microwave meal you think is really good for you? Not so much. And that bag of air fried savoury crisp alternatives? Nope.
And if all of the above doesn’t convince you, here are some more reasons why processed foods should become a thing of the past:
- Weight gain– chemicals create false flavours in foods that are high in fat and never satisfy your hunger. So you want more and you eat more.
- Addiction- yes, its true. The chemicals in some processed foods make the body think it feels good, so you crave more and more.
- Depression- the chemicals added to processed foods can cause lethargy and low moods, and the fact that your body is being denied nutrients that can help alleviate these symptoms only makes it worse!
How to cut processed foods from your life
It’s not easy to change habits of a lifetime but it can be done, and here are ten ways you can do it:
- Go cold turkey. Some people find it the easiest and only way to do it and report that they feel the benefits a lot quicker too.
- Choose foods that are as close to their natural state as possible so that you can minimise your ingestion of chemicals
- Always go for organic produce.
- Avoid eating out until you have a hold on what you’re eating and know how to order smart. Research organic restaurants before you go and be prepared to ask for more details on the dishes you’re ordering.
- Be wary- VERY wary- of ‘healthy foods’. If it says low fat or vitamin fortified it could be processed dressing up as healthy. See point 2- go fresh.
- Read your labels carefully. If it’s natural then it stays. If it’s not, or you don’t understand it then it stays on the shelf.
- Start slowly. Aim for two vegetables per meal for one week. Then move on to switching meat to locally sourced cuts only. Next aim to eliminate all fast foods and all fried foods. Also aim to try two new whole foods each week and take it from there. Once you open your eyes to the plethora of foods that your body will thank you for, there’s no going back!
- Go for 100% whole grain.
- Cut refined sugars from your life. You can do it. Natural sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup are your friends!
- Avoid refined oils including vegetable oil, organic vegetable oil, soybean oil, corn oil, canola oil, organic canola oil, margarine, and grape seed oil. Instead go for coconut oil, red palm or olive oil.