The Problem in the Process
Often we hear a lot about eating processed and unprocessed foods? What does it all mean, and why does it matter?
Whole foods are those foods that occur naturally, and we can eat them just like they are found without doing anything to them. Minimally processed foods are those that we have to do just a little something to – like peeling it, cooking it, steaming it, etc, but we don’t actually change the content of the food very much at all. But highly processed foods involve processes that sometimes remove or add in things that weren’t there to begin with.
For example, consider oranges. In their natural state, they are delicious. We can minimally process it, by simply removing the peel, and then enjoy a delicious and nutritious snack just as it is. Oranges are full of vitamins and minerals that help our bodies become and stay healthy. However, we can take that same orange and process it into orange juice that we drink instead of eat. To do this, we often blend it up, remove the pulp, and then add sugar to it. Orange juice still gives us a serving of fruit, and is still good for us, but by removing the pulp, we remove the fiber – which is very, very good for us. The added sugar isn’t good for us, and too much can actually be harmful to our teeth and our bodies.
How can you tell if a food is highly processed? Look at the ingredient list. If most of the words are unrecognizable, that’s a big clue that it’s been processed. Some foods HAVE to be processed before consuming – such as meat. Make sure that you always cook meats to the appropriate temperatures beofre you eat them.
Your local farmer’s market can help you stock up on the fresh ingredients that you need to prepare more foods at home. When you process them yourself, YOU control what you put into them and how much.
So, remember, any time you have the opportunity, choose whole foods. Your body will thank you!