6 Reasons to Avoid Processed Food
6 REASONS TO EAT LESS PROCESSED FOODS
1. PROCESSED FOODS ARE DRUGS!!!
One time I was talking to a woman about why it would be best to avoid eating processed foods, and she told me, "You don't understand, I would die if I could never eat "Eggo Waffles" again!"
I had to laugh when she said it, but the scary truth was that she wasn't trying to be funny, and a lot of people truly are "Junk-food Junkies"!
In the documentary "Super-Size Me", a man lived on nothing but McDonald's food for 30 days, and at one point in the film he said that whenever he was eating the McDonald's food, he would feel happy, but then in between meals he would start to feel down for no apparent reason, and then once he started eating the McDonald's food again, he would instantly feel happy again. (Which is how a drug addict would describe their addiction.)
EVEN ANIMALS GET ADDICTED
Anyone who has ever given their pet dog processed food, knows that they can become seriously addicted to it as well...
Even seagulls in touristy areas have become so addicted to the processed junk-foods that tourists frequently drop on the ground, that they have started to boldly go up and "rob" tourists...
And believe it or not, there are even videos on-line like the one below showing how seagulls have even learned how to "shoplift" from grocery stores...
CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO
Although a lot of people will find pictures and videos like these "funny" and will even make memes out of them, I feel that images like these demonstrates the serious addictive power that processed foods can have over ANYONE who consumes them, and that just like a person who is so addicted to street drugs that they will begin to lie, cheat, and steal to get their fix, animals will also resort to these same behaviors in order to get their junk-food-fix.
Many people may not agree or like the fact that I'm referring to processed foods as "drugs", but once you can admit that they are "drugs", you have taken the first and most crucial step in breaking your addiction to them.
2. THEY WILL WEAKEN YOUR TASTE BUDS
Our taste buds are naturally designed to seek out sweet, salty, and fatty foods, and processed food companies take advantage of this by adding outrageous amounts of sugar, salt, and fat to their products to make them more addicting.
If you eat processed foods, your taste buds can become so desensitized from the all of the stimulation that they will no longer be sensitive enough to appreciate the taste of natural foods like fruits and vegetables.
But the good news is that our taste buds are alive, and they only have a lifespan of about a month, so if you can avoid eating processed foods for 30 days, and you don't add sugar, salt, or fat to anything, your taste buds will become a lot more sensitive, and once you have your "new and improved" taste buds you will start to notice the following changes...
- The natural sugars in fruit will taste a lot sweeter, and fruits will start to taste like candy.
- The natural sodium in vegetables will taste a lot saltier, and sodium-rich vegetables will start to taste like they have been sprinkled with salt.
- The natural fats in avocados will taste a lot richer, and avocados will start to taste buttery and cheesy.
A lot of the foods that people are addicted to these days are so heavily processed, that they would literally taste like nothing if it wasn't for all of the salt and artificial flavors and spices that are added to them. ("McDonald's" chicken nuggets are said to taste like nothing before they are given all of their addictive flavor enhancements, and if you replaced the chicken meat with something like tofu, or even broccoli or cauliflower you would end up with something that tasted just as addicting.)
Below is an analogy I have which might be helpful in understanding "desensitization" and how to overcome it...
Young people today who have only seen movies that were made recently and that cost millions of dollars to make, may have no interest in sitting through an old black and white movie that was filmed on a small budget, because it would probably seem bland and boring to them at first. But if they could only watch old movies for the next 30 days, they might start to feel that a "great movie" doesn't mean having lots of special effects, lots of celebrity cameos, and lots of hit pop songs in the soundtrack, but rather, a "great movie" doesn't have those things and instead focuses on the acting and the storytelling.
Imagine if you went to a restaurant, but right before you walked inside, you noticed that all of the chefs were outside behind the building taking a "smoke break" and they were all complaining about how much they hate their jobs.
Would seeing that cause you to not want to eat there?
Many adults swear that their mom's food is the best food that they've ever eaten (even if their moms will be the first to tell you that they don't really know their way around the kitchen and are far from being "the world's greatest chef") and this is because their mom's food was made specifically for them by someone who loves and cares about them.
Processed foods aren't made with love or by companies who care about your health, and in most cases processed foods are prepared in factories by people who hate their jobs, or by unconscious machines, or in some cases, slave labor!
If you are going to eat processed foods or feed it to your children, ideally make it yourself using "minimal processing" (like by blending just a few healthy ingredients that combine well with each other into a smoothie) and by making one of the ingredients that you add "love".
It might sound a bit "esoteric" to some, but eating foods that were made with love really does make a huge difference, and eating wholesome foods instead of processed foods that you know full well is bad for you is a form of self-love.
4. MISLEADING HEALTH CLAIMS
Just because the brand name of a frozen microwave dinner is "Healthy Choice" doesn't mean that it's healthy, and if you are going to buy something processed you need to be paying far more attention to the ingredient list than to the brand name or the picture that is on the front of the box, can, jar, or bag.
More and more people are starting to become health conscientious, and because of this, virtually all processed food companies are coming out with health claims that are intended to make consumers think that their product is healthy, and below are some common health claims that you have probably seen recently on processed food labels...
"Low In Fat"
"Low In Carbs"
"Low In Sodium"
"Low In Calories"
"High In Calcium"
"High In Vitamin C"
"High In Antioxidants"
"High In Dietary Fiber"
"No Trans Fat"
"No Added M.S.G."
"May Help Reduce Your Risk Of Cancer"
"May Help Reduce Your Risk Of Diabetes"
"May Help Reduce Your Risk Of Heart Disease"
"May Help Reduce Your Risk Of High Blood Pressure"
But did you know that EVERY SINGLE ONE of the health claims listed above could be put on something like Broccoli? We don't see health claims like these being put on things like broccoli though, and instead what we see is processed food companies taking just 1 of these claims such as "Low in Fat" and putting it on something like a box of microwave popcorn to give people the impression that it's a healthy product.
Sure, "Lucky Charms" cereal is "High in Fiber", but so is the cardboard box that it comes in, and the best thing to do would be to avoid eating anything that has a listed health benefit, and to instead stick with the humble fruits and vegetables in the produce department that don't come with any listed health benefits. (Because it would literally take a book just to list them all!)
Below is a really old class photo which demonstrates that before processed foods became so common in our society it wasn't uncommon to see a large group of children and not be able to find a single overweight kid among them...
Recently there was a man in America who was living mostly on "Twinkies" and other processed junk foods, became so overweight that he could no longer fit through the front door of his house, and fire fighters had to come and break down his living room wall just so he could get out!
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world thousands of people in Africa die every day due to starvation, and what's mind-blowing to think about is that the starving people in Africa and the overweight man in America who became trapped in his own house are actually both suffering from the same problem. (Malnourishment)
The starving people in Africa are malnourished because they simply aren't getting enough to eat, while the overweight man in America became malnourished because he was eating lots and lots of processed junk foods that are high in calories, but low in nutrition, so even though he was over-eating and over-weight, he was "starving" for nutrition.
The calories in heavily refined processed foods are often referred to as "empty calories" because they don't contain all of the nutrients that they would if you consumed them in their wholefood form, and consuming large amounts of sugar, oil, or even protein in their isolated forms can easily lead to fat gain.
If you look at a herd of zebras in the wild, it is hard to even tell any of them apart, because they are all eating the diet that they were designed to eat, and therefore they have all ended up with the same and physique that they were designed to have. But if you look at a herd of humans waiting in line at a fast-food restaurant like "McDonalds", you can clearly see that eating unnatural diets has caused people to end up with unnatural physiques.
People who eat a healthy and natural diet tend to be thinner than the average person. (Which is great for those who are overweight and are wanting to get down to a healthy weight.) But if you aren't overweight, and you are afraid of becoming "underweight" by eating healthy, please keep in mind that because the average person today is overweight today, it has distorted what we think of as a "normal" weight.
As a man, I personally weigh less than the average man does today, but I realize that if I were to get into a time machine and go back just 100 years ago back when companies like McDonalds didn't exist yet and almost nobody was overweight, nobody back then would call me "skinny" or tell me that I look like I need to eat a hamburger.
Believe it or not, the man in the picture above used to be "The World's Heaviest Man", and people actually used to pay money just to see him in person because of how GIGANTIC he seemed back then. But now-a-days, you can probably see people as big as him in person by walking into a McDonalds, and there are even doctors now who weigh as much as him now.
To make matters worse, there are now serious efforts being made to encourage everyone to accept, normalize, and even promote obesity. (Despite the fact that more and more evidence is showing that obesity can dramatically increase your chances of major health problems and premature death.)
And if taken too far, the attitude that "there is nothing wrong with being overweight and eating junk-food" could eventually lead to the attitude that "there is something wrong with being fit and eating healthy", and the people who have taken the most care of their health and who are trying to inspire others to do the same could be accused of "body shaming" just for posting pictures of themselves on-line looking fit and healthy, and could even be accused of being "what's wrong with society".
Processed foods might taste good, but no taste is worth the consequences of a society who is so addicted to processed food that they would rather die from eating it than live without it!
6. TOO MANY RANDOM INGREDIENTS
Below is a typical example of a day's worth of food if you are following a "Standard American Diet", as well as all of the ingredients that are listed in the processed versions of these foods from some of the most popular brands...
There are so many different ingredients in this list, that unless you are viewing it on a movie screen, you probably won't even be able to read it all without having to do a lot of zooming in and out or scrolling up and down.
I also want to mention that the spell checker I used didn't even recognize a lot of these ingredients, and I seriously doubt that our bodies will recognize or know what to do with a lot of these ingredients either.
It should also be noted that companies don't always list every ingredient that is in their product, and they can get away with this by taking several ingredients that are similar and calling them one generic name. (Like "artificial flavors" which could literally mean dozens of different chemicals that have no place in the human body.)
If you look at an ingredient list, and you see ingredients that you can't pronounce, or if there are so many ingredients listed that you don't even have the time or patience to actually read them all, then it would be wise to put it back on the shelf and not to buy it.
And the wisest choice of all, would be to only buy foods that don't come with an ingredient list because they are whole foods such as "apples", "cucumbers", and "walnuts" that don't have anything added to them, and to strive to eat a wide variety of healthy foods while simultaneously avoiding a wide variety of unhealthy additives.