It’s hard to follow a diet that doesn’t consist of processed food since supermarket shelves are mostly with canned, pasteurised, or frozen food. However, it’s not impossible if you’re a bit more mindful of what you purchase on a daily basis.
Understanding the harm highly processed foods can do to your health is essential. Not only does processed food lose vital nutrients when altered, but it also contains more sugar, salt, and saturated fat than recommended, putting your health at risk. Not to mention all those preservatives and additives that, although used to preserve taste and extend their shelf life, can transform into carcinogen agents, leading to some forms of cancer. The saying “You’re what you eat” is now more relevant than ever, with so much processed food on the table.
We know it is much easier to buy ready-made or cooked food, especially when getting home after an exhausting day at work. You do not have the energy to cook; you can barely stay at the table and eat something. But if you don’t think about your health, who else would? Learn that it’s not necessary to change your entire lifestyle to eat healthily but take simple and conscious steps toward a more balanced and healthy diet. You can even grow your own fruits and vegetables and use them to prepare delicious meals and smoothies, like in Martha Stewart’s style.
At a loss from where to start? Not a problem. Here are some simple yet sure-fire ways to cut back on processed food.
What is processed food, anyway?
Any food that has been altered through processes such as canning, freezing, drying, or baking is processed. Products of this sort are generally high in fats, salt, and sugar and thus unhealthy. Unlike whole food, which is the closest to the original state, processed food is altered to such an extent that it eventually loses some essential nutrients.
Although there are many processed products to be avoided, we’ll mention the most common ones:
- luncheon meat
- granola bars
- cheesy slices
- shop-bought cakes
- microwave popcorn
- instant noodles
- microwave ready meals
- vegan meat alternatives
Don’t forget that beverages can be processed, too, so it would be wise if you cut down on fizzy drinks.
Grow your own food
Home food gardening has increased in popularity lately, with more and more individuals choosing to take the unprocessed route. It’s encouraging news that people have started to be aware of the risks processed food involves and are mindful of their health. There is no better way to cut down unhealthy foods from your diet than growing your own fruits and vegetables. And no, it’s not that hard.
First and foremost, you need to find the right spot and understand your gardening goals. Then, you have to choose your seeds. Some plants don’t grow everywhere, and some require a particular type of soil. So, consider these aspects before jumping to plant something not meant to grow in your garden. And always look for organic seeds if you are serious about this change in your diet. Fortunately, there are many companies that sell bio seeds of great variety, so choosing a proper one shouldn’t be headache-inducing.
Choose something that best aligns with your lifestyle – heirloom and herb seeds or flowers and vegetables. If you’re a bit adventurous, you can plant cannabis feminised seeds and reap the benefits of a plant that has been used for thousands of years for medicinal purposes. Many people use cannabis in their food recipes for a plus of favour and relaxation. Examples of cannabis recipes include:
- salted caramel fudge brownies
- pasta with green chiles and clams
- tea with rose and lavender
- cannabis milk
Or, opt for a raw marijuana smoothie using cannabis seeds. These contain unique cannabinoid acids with impressive health benefits, including reducing inflammation, preventing seizures, and fighting against anxiety.
Add more fresh foods to daily meals
As simple as it is successful – this practice can save you a lot of trouble. You can enhance your meals by including fresh veggies and fruits for extra nutrients. For example, consider including spinach in that every-morning omelette, or maybe in potatoes? Honestly, you can play with foods and combine tastes as you wish as long as you take into account their nutrient values and don’t go too far on experiencing them, not because it’s wrong but because it can cause digestive problems. You may also want to prepare greens like chard, kale, and spinach as an easy side to round up your meal.
Replace refined grains with whole grains
You may not have the possibility to grow your own food, but there are certainly some simple practices you can employ starting today. In particular, you can replace refined grain products such as white rice, pasta, and bread with whole grains, which are richer in minerals, vitamins, fibres, proteins, and antioxidants. Plus, they can prevent certain conditions like type-2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. You can make a tangible difference by switching from white to brown rice and purchasing whole wheat bread and pasta.
Labels matter more than you imagine. Processed products are literally under your nose; no one urges you to purchase them. So, one way to avoid such unhealthy foods is to read labels and learn to understand them. We know some ingredients are unreadable and questionable, and yes, this should be scary, but it is an important clue. Anything with an artificial aroma or an infinite list of ingredients is processed and must be avoided. The 3S’s, in particular, meaning saturated fats, sodium, and salt, are some of the worst ingredients on product labels. Hydrogenated oils and sugar are also red flags, so be mindful of them and try to limit them from your diet as much as possible.
At the end of the day, you are the only one who can make a real change, so think wisely before grabbing that snack from the grocery store’s shelf.