Monday, September 30, 2013

Making the break from processed foods

Processed food has become the staple of the American diet.  We identify our foods by brand names, coupons and commercials.  Many of us have forgotten or may not even realize that Kraft, Jello, Cheeze-wiz, Butterball and Cool Whip are not names of food, but brand names! 

How did we get here?
After the drought and depression of the 1920s-1930s, America went to war.  Food was hard to come by and food rationing began.  Many people planted "victory gardens" in their backyards so they could have fresh vegetables on the table.  Those with farms sold their canned foods "preserves", usually kept to preserve food over the winter, to families who didn't have fresh food available. 
During the 50s and 60s the food industry started applying the principles of mass production to food.  The surplus food was then processed into different food products that lasted longer than "preserves" on the market shelves.  Products such as SPAM, cereals, t.v. dinners and snack cakes appeared on shelves.  This food was edible, but low in nutritional value.  But, when fresh food was not available, these food products kept people alive.

Now we live in a society that tends to eat food products more than real food.  Many families buy all of their food in a jar, box or can.   From this lifestyle, American has seen a boom in obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancers and other chronic illnesses.  When the body does not get enough nutrients or gets an abundance of artificial colors, flavors and ingredients; the liver cannot remove all of the toxins and they are stored in our fat cells.   This back-up of your systems can lead to reduced liver function, problems with your gallbladder and colon, and diverticulitis of your intestines.  It also leads to sluggish adrenal glands and a slowing of your metabolism and hormones in your body.  Your body can then start malfunctioning, cancers form or your immune system starts to attack your thyroid, parathyroid, hypothalamus and pituitary glands.  Watch Super Size Me to see how your body starts to shut down.  It took Morgan Spurlock 30 days to get sick, but for most people it creeps up over several years.

Washington, D.C. July 7, 2011 - Mississippi was named the most obese state in the country, according to the eighth annual F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2011, a report from the Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). Mississippi's adult obesity rate is 34.4 percent.  Adult obesity rates increased in 16 states in the past year and did not decline in any state. Twelve states including Mississippi now have obesity rates over 30 percent. Four years ago, only one state was above 30 percent. Obesity rates exceed 25 percent in more than two-thirds of states (38 states) 

Eating fresh, real food unlocks the toxins in your cells and allows your body to release them through your daily bowel movements, sweat and urine.  Eating and drinking greens, vegetables and fruits gets the nutrients back into your cells!

So how do you make the break from processed foods? 

1. Stop buying them.  If a food item has a shelf life of longer than a week then it's processed with added preservatives, unless it's dried or jar'ed "preserves".  There is no healthy processed food, no matter what the commercials tell you.
2. Clear out your pantry, fridge and freezer.  If you have something in a container (box, bag, can or jar) look at the ingredients.  Look for chemical names you can't pronounce and toss them out.  Look for anything artificial or with added colors or dyes and toss them out. 
3.  Shop once or twice a week and buy things from the outside edge of the grocery store or at a farmers market.   Stock your refrigerator and freezer with fresh bought food or fresh picked food from your garden. 

Ready for a challenge?  100 days of real food


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