Unprocessed Foods 101
Let's review the basics of what it means to eat unprocessed.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, “ Unprocessed food has not had any sort of chemical or industrial treatment in order to cook it, preserve it, or improve its taste or appearance”.
Food in America has become extremely complicated. Walking around a grocery store you are bombarded with a million choices around brand, new types of food and buzz words that make foods sound healthy when they really aren’t.
In one word, this is all just MARKETING! Food companies spend Billions of dollars a year marketing modified foods that create cravings to make you want to buy more. Then they use fancy buzz words like “Low-Fat/Fat-Free”, “Diet”, “Low Carb/ Carb-Free”, “Low-Calorie” etc. to trick the average consumer into thinking the food is healthy. My favorite is when they go all out and just straight up use the word “healthy” to describe processed foods loaded with sugar just hoping that we won't read the label. Because at the end of the day it is a business. A SUPER competitive business and they have to get that bread $$.
To keep this simple, when you see a label with words you can’t pronounce do not buy it and do not eat it! If you can only make it in a lab, and not a kitchen, do not eat it! A balanced diet of fresh, unprocessed foods includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. For some, it also includes eggs, meats, fish, and dairy (depending on any intolerances/lifestyle choices you may have).
I created the cheat sheet below to help break down unprocessed foods & help you reduce your exposure to chemicals, hormones, and highly processed ingredients.
We’ll talk more about the benefits of eating organic. I just want to make it clear that you do NOT have to buy organic/local if that is not an option for you. You will still very much benefit from eating unprocessed. When changing habits, it is important to be realistic about what you can afford so that you can maintain the changes over time and that means buying foods within a budget that feels right for you.
My biggest goal is to increase awareness—awareness around what you are putting into your body, awareness about food’s impact on your health and awareness about the power you hold in your decisions every day.
Once you are aware, you can start incorporating changes and see the benefits that comes from eating unprocessed: clearer skin, weight loss, increased energy, stronger hair and nails, improved mental health, and better sleep. Talk to me in the comments below! I’d love to hear your thoughts, and any questions you might have!