The Ten Week Challenge Syllabus

I walked people through a ten week challenge, using the following syllabus.

Week 1 - Sugar-free
Week 2 - Whole grains
Week 3 - Wild-caught fish and grass-fed meats
Week 4 - Raw dairy
Week 5 - The microwave
Week 6 - Fats and oils
Week 7 - Cultured and fermented foods
Week 8 - Local and organic produce
Week 9 - Processed foods
Week 10 - Implementing lifestyle changes

Visit my Recipe Index over at Going Green in a Pink World.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Processing: Fake Food vs. Real Food

Ready for a shocking statement? My diet is filled with processed foods. Yup, I confess. I eat my food baked, cut up, fermented, sauteed, previously frozen, canned, and/or steamed. So what the heck am I doing blogging about Real Food? Well, let's get our definitions straight. Processing food simply means altering it in some way before consuming it. In fact, in many cases, processing, or cooking our food, helps make it more digestible. But what we've recently (since my grandmother roamed the earth) come to know as processing takes on a whole new meaning. I think the difference is in the manner the food is processed, and what's been added to it during the process. Enter, industrial food processing.

When you prepare food yourself, you have much greater control on the ingredient list. Granted, it can be more time consuming, and require preparation and foresight, but if you live a healthier, more vibrant life, isn't it worth it? However, if you buy food with more than one ingredient in the supermarket, chances are good you're going to find some add-ins in order to--

* Color - Farm raised salmon is pink, right?
* Stabilize - Watery gravy = gross
* Emulsify - Ever had homemade salad dressing? Oil and water just don't like each other...
* Bleach - We need to get the rat poop out of the flour
* Texturize - Nothing's worse than soggy cereal...
* Soften - It's as if the ice cream was churned twice
* Preserve - I'm so glad I can eat that box of crackers three years from now
* Sweeten - Even when it's sweet enough...
* Hide Odors - Do you really want to smell the fish paste in your instant Pad Thai?
* Flavor - Strawberry pop-tarts, anyone?
(Adapted from the Body Ecology site)

Maybe knowing that someone's messing with your food doesn't really bother you, but check out these fast facts to see if they ruffle a feather or two:

1. Harvard conducted a study that showed women who avoided processed carbs cut their heart disease by 30%!

2. Your taste buds become used to the strong flavors of processed foods and make you want to add more salt or sugar to the natural flavors of whole foods.

3. Convenience Foods save little time and lack nutrients, contributing to obesity and water retention according to this article

4. The World Health Organization (WHO) says processed foods are to blame for the sharp rise in obesity (and chronic disease) seen around the world.

5. Americans spend 90% of their food budget on processed foods!

Interesting Resources:

Natalie Butler, a Registered Dietitian, has a series of videos and a website detailing some of her holistic nutritional advice. I just think she's pretty cute, and she has some good basic info regarding processed foods!

Weston Price article on Industrial Food Processing
Freedom You Nutrition - The Dangers of preservatives and additives
Top 5 Hidden Dangers of Processed Foods
Twelve Dangerous Food Additives

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