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Old 01-24-2013, 10:43 AM   #1
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Default Avoiding Processed Food

This is taken from a food blog I was reading. I try to abide by these rules for the most part (still drink 2% milk) but it's a lot easier said than done. For example, the grocery store nearest my house only caries one brand of bread that doesn't contain high fructose corn syrup. Even the stuff from their own bakery is full of it. Eating healthy is hard work, and expensive.



Highly Processed Foods and Ingredients to Avoid:


Artificial ingredients
This includes both synthetic dyes (like FD&C Red No. 40, Tartrazine, or Blue No. 1) and artificial sweeteners (like saccharin, aspartame, or sucralose). When you look at the history of food artificial ingredients haven’t been around all that long, and I don’t know about you, but I am not interested in being the guinea pig here. Plus the fact that artificial dyes require a warning label in many countries outside of the U.S. is enough of a deal breaker for me.
Instead: Look for dyes that come from natural sources (like paprika, saffron, or annatto) or forget the coloring all together (it’s only for aesthetics). When it comes to sweeteners pick those that come from natural sources (like honey, maple syrup, and even sugar) over the artificial stuff, but always consume them in moderation (see #2).
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Refined sweeteners
It’s not that refined sweeteners themselves (like sugar) are the devil, but the quantity in which sweeteners are consumed these days is honestly the scary part. Sugar (or corn syrup or cane juice or brown rice syrup or whatever creative name is on the label) is no longer reserved for truly special occasions anymore, and instead is lurking in yogurts, breads, crackers, flavored oatmeal, beverages, and even innocent-looking salad dressings.
Instead: Rely on natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup since they are mostly “processed” in nature and at least contain some trace nutrients. BUT it’s important to remember that “sugar is sugar” no matter what you choose. So even if you go the more natural route (which is recommended!) that by no means gives you the green light to turn up the bottle. It’s also helpful to buy foods “plain” (like yogurt, oatmeal, etc.) and sparingly sweeten them yourself to make sure things don’t get out of hand.
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Refined grains
This includes products made from white flour (usually labeled as enriched “wheat” flour), white rice, corn meal, etc. When grains are refined the most nutritional part of the grain (the bran and germ) is removed. This prolongs shelf life among other things, but remember…real food should (and does!) rot so avoid the science experiment and stick to the whole grains provided to us by nature.
Instead: Give up the white stuff and rely on nutritious whole-grains like whole-wheat flour, oats, brown rice, quinoa, and others.
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Factory farmed meat and seafood
“Factory farms” raise animals in incredibly crowded and confined quarters so some (literally) never see the light of day. What’s more these animals are oftentimes fed unnatural diets (for instance cows were meant to eat grass, not corn that, by the way, is likely GMO) and given unnecessary synthetic hormones and antibiotics to ensure they produce the most abundant meat products as quickly and efficiently as possible. According to Michael Pollan, “You are what you eat eats, too” so animals raised in such an unhealthy environment in turn produce products that are not as nutritious for you as the local, pastured (or wild caught) alternatives. Not to mention the negative impact these factory farms have on our environment and the inhumane manner in which these animals are being raised.
Instead: Shop your local farmers’ market for humanely raised, pastured animal products. If you are concerned about the higher cost, then just eat less meat. It’s that simple. And when selecting seafood always pick the “wild caught” variety so you know they were raised in their natural environment and eating their natural diet.
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Ingredients you would not cook with at home
Rather than memorizing a complicated list of chemicals to avoid in packaged foods I am going to make this one really easy for you. Don’t buy anything packaged that’s made with ingredients you wouldn’t cook with at home (which are usually items you can’t even pronounce).
Instead: Stick with simple products made from a handful of pure ingredients or make food yourself from scratch.
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Refined oils
“While olive oil and other pressed oils have been around for millennia,” refined alternatives like shortening, soybean oil, and even canola oil are fairly new on the scene. That’s because they are basically science experiments that were dreamed up in a lab by the food industry. These highly processed vegetable oils are cleaned with chemicals, genetically modified, and sometimes even hydrogenated so as a result we like to avoid them as much as possible.
Instead: Stick with traditional cooking fats like butter, olive oil, ghee (refined butter), unrefined coconut oil, and, yes, even pastured lard. As Michael Pollan says, “Innovation in food is bad.”
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Pre-flavored packaged products
As I touched on above there are a wide range of “flavored” products available these days including everything from beverages to yogurts to oatmeal to cream cheese. Trust me, food factories are going to use a lot more sugar, salt, oil, and unrecognizable ingredients than you would use to flavor these foods at home.
Instead: Buy plain and flavor/sweeten it yourself (naturally). When it comes to drinks squirt some lemon (or other citrus) in your water or sparkling water to kick things up a notch.
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Imitation foods
This includes anything that’s trying to pretend to be something it’s not. Like margarine (or vegan “butter”), processed cheese products, imitation crab meat, pancake “syrup,” and “lemonade” powder. Believe it or not there used to be a regulation requiring manufacturers to clearly label foods like these as an “imitation.” But of course these products were looked down upon so it’s no surprise that the ever-so-powerful food industry got that regulation thrown out the window. The bottom line is that imitation foods are a highly processed “fake” version of the real thing.
Instead: Buy the “real” versions of imitation foods like real butter, real cheese, real crab, or pure maple syrup, and make lemonade with real lemons (not artificial powder!).
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Low-fat and fat-free products
You are off the hook. “Diet” foods are not only more processed (to get the fat out), but they never tasted that good anyway. As it turns out, according to Michael Pollan, “We’ve gotten fat on low-fat products.” And that’s because when they take the fat out of these foods they no longer taste good so they have to add in a bunch of sugar (see #2 above). Binging on sugar and other refined sweeteners is the real issue here…not eating healthy fats like our ancestors have survived on for centuries.
Instead: Switch to full-fat dairy (including milk!) and avoid low-fat packaged foods all together.
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Fast Food
It’s an amazing feat, but fast food places have somehow managed to screw up the most innocent, wholesome-sounding real food meals like oatmeal, sandwiches, and salads – “Even the salads at McDonald’s are full of high-fructose corn syrup and thickeners made from corn.” So how about we all agree to “vote with our dollars” and avoid fast food joints all together?
Instead: Planning ahead is key when it comes to avoiding fast food restaurants while on the go. Before you leave the house each morning be sure to have all your meals mentally planned out in your head so you aren’t caught off-guard empty handed. And always have some wholesome snacks (like dried fruit, nuts, or Lara Bars) on hand just in case you get in a bind!
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Old 01-24-2013, 11:09 AM   #2
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Default Re: Avoiding Processed Food

I will still eat brown rice but giving up white rice is something I cannot do.
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Old 01-24-2013, 12:01 PM   #3
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Default Re: Avoiding Processed Food

Most of that stuff is common knowledge for anyone that's moderately health-concious.
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Old 01-24-2013, 12:08 PM   #4
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Default Re: Avoiding Processed Food

Great post. I abstain completely from processed food and now only eat natural farm raised humans


















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Old 01-24-2013, 12:18 PM   #5
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Default Re: Avoiding Processed Food

What are the downsides to drinking reduced or low-fat milk?

What effect does that extra bit of processing have on you?
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Old 01-24-2013, 12:31 PM   #6
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Default Re: Avoiding Processed Food

Quote:
Originally Posted by HardwoodLegend
What are the downsides to drinking reduced or low-fat milk?

What effect does that extra bit of processing have on you?


Probably negligible, especially if it's organic.
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Old 01-24-2013, 12:38 PM   #7
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Default Re: Avoiding Processed Food

I don't believe HFCS, artificial sweeteners or any of that nonsense has any affect on your physique or weight loss.

As far as general health I haven't made up my mind.
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Old 01-24-2013, 12:59 PM   #8
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Default Re: Avoiding Processed Food

It is extremely difficult to eat a truly healthy diet, especially if you work a full time job and live a busy life.

I try my best to eat the right things, but I have work lunches and dinners that are unavoidable where my only choices are somewhat unhealthy.



This is part of why the rich live longer...they can afford to have their housewives shop at Whole Foods all day and cook healthy meals...most people just don't have that as an option.
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Old 01-24-2013, 01:08 PM   #9
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Default Re: Avoiding Processed Food

Unfortunately the options are just way to expensive and very time consuming. To truly be on point you got to buy your food daily as organic foods have very short shelf lives. And don't always believe what you hear. Alot of "organic" products are just technicalities. We are only exposed to what media wants you to believe. Believe me, I work hand in hand with the FDA.

I try my best, but I also got to be realistic and fit within my budget and time frame. I refrain from alot of instant products. But time to time I will enjoy a store bought oven pizza. Having said that, everything in moderation. What I will suggest is to fill nutritional gaps in your diet by supplementing multis, essential fats, and "greens"
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Old 01-24-2013, 01:35 PM   #10
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Default Re: Avoiding Processed Food

Quote:
Originally Posted by -p.tiddy-

This is part of why the rich live longer...they can afford to have their housewives shop at Whole Foods all day and cook healthy meals...most people just don't have that as an option.



So true. When your options are going hungry or eating from McDonald's dollar menu it's a no-brainer.
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Old 01-24-2013, 01:41 PM   #11
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Default Re: Avoiding Processed Food

We obviously can't follow every single things on the list. It is very time and money consuming to do it 100%. Ones like refined grains are very difficult to avoid.

But yeah it is great to know and if you can choose better then good for you.
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Old 01-24-2013, 01:42 PM   #12
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Default Re: Avoiding Processed Food

Quote:
Originally Posted by rufuspaul
So true. When your options are going hungry or eating from McDonald's dollar menu it's a no-brainer.

This is a falsehood that people need to stop spreading. You can eat healthy and cheap, it just takes some effort and preparation. In college I was eating 4000 calories a day with at least 300g of protein every day on less than $200 a month.

Rice, tuna, potatoes, whole heads of lettuce, bananas, eggs, bulk chicken and pork, peanut butter, olive oil, milk, lean ground beef when it's on sale, etc etc. Spend the rest on a few different seasonings and you can eat very cleanly for very little money.

The problem is people are lazy and don't want to spend the time researching foods and recipes. They'd rather spend $5 at McDonalds for a bunch of junk.
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Old 01-24-2013, 01:45 PM   #13
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Default Re: Avoiding Processed Food

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmulls
This is a falsehood that people need to stop spreading. You can eat healthy and cheap, it just takes some effort and preparation. In college I was eating 4000 calories a day with at least 300g of protein every day on less than $200 a month.

Rice, tuna, potatoes, whole heads of lettuce, bananas, eggs, bulk chicken and pork, peanut butter, olive oil, milk, lean ground beef when it's on sale, etc etc. Spend the rest on a few different seasonings and you can eat very cleanly for very little money.

The problem is people are lazy and don't want to spend the time researching foods and recipes. They'd rather spend $5 at McDonalds for a bunch of junk.
you CAN eat healthy for cheap but if you live a busy life it is still not much of an option...

I don't care what anyone says, not eating completely healthy as in no processed foods at all is extremely difficult in this country if you work a full time job...just cooking 3 meals a day for yourself is alone is extremely time consuming and requires never eating out

for many it isn't a case of being lazy...I am NOT LAZY...and I have money...it is the issue of "time" that comes into play here
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Old 01-24-2013, 01:49 PM   #14
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Default Re: Avoiding Processed Food

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmulls
This is a falsehood that people need to stop spreading. You can eat healthy and cheap, it just takes some effort and preparation. In college I was eating 4000 calories a day with at least 300g of protein every day on less than $200 a month.

Rice, tuna, potatoes, whole heads of lettuce, bananas, eggs, bulk chicken and pork, peanut butter, olive oil, milk, lean ground beef when it's on sale, etc etc. Spend the rest on a few different seasonings and you can eat very cleanly for very little money.

The problem is people are lazy and don't want to spend the time researching foods and recipes. They'd rather spend $5 at McDonalds for a bunch of junk.
Excellent post.

Fast food in particular is easily avoided altogether.
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Old 01-24-2013, 01:54 PM   #15
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Default Re: Avoiding Processed Food

I do avoid fast food...but the stuff in the OP goes far beyond fast food...it would have me avoiding nearly every restaurant in the country
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