Processed Foods is a “Tricky” subject that needs some clarification in regards to some important facts. Processed foods have become a pantry staple in households across the globe. looking a little more closely, most kitchens you will find a bottle of tomato sauce, loaf of bread, jam and other condiments. What exactly is wrong with processed foods and do you need to avoid them.
The Danger with Processed Foods
A large percentage of “Processed Foods” have become a leading cause of obesity and disease due to the increased quantity of sugar, salt, saturated fats, artificial additives and dangerous chemicals being used in the processing of these products. Some of the diseases these products are causing are Cancer, Heart Disease, Bowel Cancer and Diabetes.
Average Australian Diet
It has been recorded that around 60 – 80% of the average Australians diet is that of processed foods. Making the majority of Australians nutrient deficient, as even if nutrients are added they don’t provide the health benefits to your body as does fresh nutrients found in fresh foods.
How Processing of Foods all Began:
Processing of foods may have well started with the best intentions of finding a way to preserve foods so that they would have a longer shelf life. This way of preserving was using the use of natural ingredients such as salt, sugar and vinegar. Not saying that this was necessarily good for you, but wasn’t used for any other purpose than to preserve the foods as fresh food was often difficult to get. Preventing such things as food poisoning when refrigeration wasn’t terrible effective and there were no such thing as a freezer. Now in the 21st Century this isn’t a problem, allowing fresh food to become a healthy staple for our daily diet.
Processing of Foods in the 21st Century
It is of no secret now that processed foods are manufactured very precisely to achieve quite different outcomes, with no actual care factor to your health. Using a myriad of chemical derived additives and preservatives that not only cause damage to your health, but also deplete nutritional value of the food and its structure. The preservation of these processed foods is carefully calculated so as to encourage addiction to these foods. Then of course you have the subliminal programming of being led to believe – That these processed foods seem like the answer to your busy life’s schedule. Billions of dollars are poured into creating new fads and deceptive advertisements making promises that keep you coming back for more.
Supermarket Isle – “Danger Hazard”
The supermarket isles are lined with thousands of these, nothing short of toxic products, that are not just killing you, your children, family and friends. But causing serious health problems. The sad reality is that processed products are not just in the supermarket isles, they are in the cold meat and refrigerated section of your supermarket as well. Making them increasingly harder to avoid or maybe not when you know the harm that they will cause you and your family. Something interesting to remember – “The Longer the Shelf Life, the more Damage to You and Your Life”.
How Processed Foods will “Harm” You
Processed foods have been found to be addictive and they are nutrient deficient. Due to these two discoveries they lead to you overeating.
The eating of processed and these highly concentrated foods will artificially stimulate dopamine (the pleasure neurotransmitter).
- This being the major role player to addiction. In this way, you are eating foods that lack nutrients and fiber, but create a pleasurable feeling. A food addiction starts because you feel good when you are eating these foods, allowing you to think therefore they must taste better. You crave that pleasurable feeling again and again. This is the beginning to food addiction problems.
- Processed foods link to obesity. It is no secret that since this enormous increase in the consumption of these readily available foods that obesity has soured both in Adults and Children. Due to this problem so has childhood and early adult disease increased to an alarming rate also. There are several reasons for this: Firstly as mentioned because they are nutrient deficient you will need to eat more of these foods to full satisfied. The additive processing and the toxicity of these products is stored in your fat cells as a way of your body attempting to protect you. The metabolism of these now toxic fat cells becomes impossible for your body to break down the fat. Your body will also store more fat once again as a way of protecting you against these toxins.
- Processed foods lead to digestive disorders such as Chron’s, Ulcerative Colitis, Diverticulitis, Bowel and Stomach Cancer. These foods deplete your digestive system of good bacteria that is necessary for effective digestive processes. This is important for your body to receive the nutritional support needed for each of your systems to perform effectively. These foods are also what is known as acid forming foods, an acidic body is a toxic being the right terrain for disease to occur. An example would be a frozen meat and cheese pizza. Cheese (a dairy product), meat (an animal protein) and pizza crust (a grain product) make a terrible food combination that can wreak havoc on your digestive health.
- Processed foods are known to lead to brain malfunction problems such as memory loss, poor concentration and mood swings. This is because it has a negative effect on your heart and arteries causing the build up of plague and also effecting the consistency of your blood making it sticky. Therefore blood circulation to your organs is diminished and these organs firstly begin to malfunction to virtually dying due to inadequate nutrition that would be being delivered by your blood flow.
- Processed foods make it easy to eat on the run. This creates in addition to affecting the effectiveness of your digestive system, because you are not eating in a relaxed state. You are eating in a rushed state that makes digesting very difficult for your body. Also eating on the run you will not be necessarily eating because you are hungry but just because you think you need to eat. Therefore losing touch with your normal appetite senses that allow you to know when you are hungry and how much to eat.
- Processed meats such as ham, hot dogs, metwurst, salami, meat pates, sausages, bacon, frankfurts and canned meats. Evidence is now undeniable about these products having a direct link to cancer. The major discoveries to their link to cancer is because of the preservatives, the high salt and fat content. Such chemicals as nitrites are added to maintain colour and prevent contamination. Nitrates are converted in your stomach to carcinogenic nitrosamines, this is a known fact.
- Processed foods lead to problems such as infertility due to the lack on nutrients available to proper conception. This diet especially when going down through to two to three generations will cause infertility.
- Processed packet foods such as chips, biscuits, cake, lollies are all loaded with salt, sugar, fat, preservatives and chemicals. Remember nothing that is massed produced is healthy.
- Processed foods are made for a “long shelf life” not a long or healthy human life”. The chemicals, additives and preservatives used deplete the product of nutritional value, lengthening the shelf life but making the product extremely toxic and dangerous for human consumption. Food manufacturers spend time, money and research on beautiful packaging and strategies in order to get the product purchased, not in research regarding your health or improvement to your family or lifestyle. That is why you should know what is vacuum skin type of packaging and make sure you pick one.
What Processed Foods are OK in Moderation!
I believe that even the healthier choices of processed foods should only be eaten as a small percentage of your daily intake of food. Your body craves and needs fresh food with the least processing as possible to obtain adequate nutrition to perform optimally for you. But here I will give you a list of processed foods that you can include as a small part of your diet:
- Canned beans such as cannellini, chick peas, pinto and kidney beans. These are less expensive to buy dried but can have a lengthy cooking time, so canned can be easier for you. I always rinse the beans well 2 – 3 x with water this decreases the salt by 40%. You can get some that don’t have added salt, I also buy organic.
- Oats, Rice Flakes, Quinoa, Rice and Flaxseed. Prepare to have a heart-healthy breakfast by combining old-fashioned oats and ground flaxseed, both found packaged in either cartons or bags. One cup of cooked oatmeal with 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed will give you 8 grams of much needed fiber, as well as a dose of omega 3 fatty acids, for protection of your heart.. Choose old-fashioned oats over quick oats or instant oatmeal to ensure you’re getting the maximum amount of fiber.
- Pasta once again I go for organic and gluten free. Eating pasta no more than say once a week.
- Tuna or Tinned Salmon – Wild caught packed in spring water.
- Locally produced cheeses, milk in moderation. I prefer goats cheese and we have almond, coconut or soy milk.
- Yoghurt – Natural with no artificial colours, sweeteners or preservatives. Once again go for locally produced product.
- Tomatoes or Tomato paste – in a glass jar or bottle with no additives, preservatives or added salt is the best to go for. However I do at times use some tomato paste, but mostly use fresh tomatoes in cooking. I don’t bother to peel them, just cut them up as they are and put them into your dish.
- Frozen Vegetables. I have to admit here I am not a fan of frozen vegetables. They are watery, lack flavour, lose a certain amount of nutrition and are really no easier for cooking purposes. Because of the health benefits are so much better with fresh fruit and vegetables that is what I stick to.
- Peanut and almond paste, vegemite are ok, in moderation.
- Dry Biscuits – once again in moderation but stick to organic or wholegrain not just off the supermarket shelf. These are best found in your health section, health shop and under organic produce.
- Oils – Go for Coconut or Olive oils mainly for your cooking purposes and get cold pressed and organic.
- Long-life products such as milks and stock keep to organic and GMO free. Once again in moderation, I rarely use additional stock to meals or soups any more using garlic, onion and curry spices to add flavour.
- Bread is definitely something that should be kept to a minimum in your diet. Bread of any description is probably one to the worst culprits for boosting you salt intake, well above what your daily intake should be. That can be a little as having one slice.
A Rule of Thumb here is to remember – “Fresh is Best”
Keep 75% of your Daily Diet Fresh Vegetables and Fruit – 15% Healthy lean protein & 10% Yoghurt, Roasted Almonds, Walnuts, Brazil nuts. Healthy Drinks such as Kombucha, Filtered Water, Freshly Ground Black Coffee [No more than two cups per day]
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