Remember the days when we shopped in food markets no bigger than a convenience store? They were full of locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, nuts, beans, and grains. Markets back then had only a couple of shelves that were stocked with non-perishable foods.
Today, it’s the opposite. We now have supermarkets that are predominantly stocked with non-perishable food items that can sit on a shelf for years. They are called “processed foods.” There are many reasons why this shift has taken place, but the real concern is, how do we now maneuver through a world full of artificial food? That’s a valid concern, so hopefully, the following information will help you sift through this confusing world of food sources
Most processed foods are actually not real food at all. Real food is alive, and will spoil. Processed foods may include a few “real food” ingredients; however, those items have been processed in order to give it a profitable shelf life – which ultimately reduces it from a living food, to a dead food. Dead food can sit on a shelf for a long time.
Many manufacturers add addictive chemicals to their processed foods in order to cause cravings and hook us into consuming their product more frequently; therefore driving up their profits. I read years ago about MSG’s hallucinogenic effects that cause us to crave the food that is laced with MSG. These chemicals get lost in the huge list of ingredients. Many times people will eat the food and ignore the dangers. Usually they just don’t want to, or don’t have the time to investigate every ingredient. They are driven by their appetite and cravings because the last time they ate the food it gave them great enjoyment. But as we know, just because something was enjoyable, does not mean that it was safe.
Fortified and Enriched Food
Fortified and enriched foods typically originate as real food, however with the healthiest part removed; either purposely removed, or destroyed during the processing stage. This is done to give the product a long and profitable shelf-life. Unfortunately, the part that spoils is the part that contains the greatest health benefits. Adding synthetic vitamins, minerals, and fiber back into the product does not make up for the lost natural nutrition. It simply makes the product look better. Again, this reduces the real food to artificial food – dead food.
Here’s an interesting fact about fortified foods. If the manufacturer does not complete step 2, by injecting artificial nutrition back into the item, then it cannot be sold in a grocery store. A pharmacist told me years ago that it’s illegal to sell this kind of product in a grocery store because it’s not really food! Without being “fortified” with artificial nutrients it could only be sold in a drug store. Remember, our bodies are alive, and they require food that’s alive – in order to remain alive!
Real food is grown from the earth. Fruits, vegetables, grains, lentils, seeds, and nuts are loaded with vitamins and minerals, natural medicine (phytochemicals), and energy; and are alive and full of remarkable components that keep us alive and healthy. You can never go wrong with living food choices. Living food has the right amount of fiber, as well as vitamins and minerals perfectly combined to work synergistically together. Living food has protein, carbohydrates, and fats balanced to compliment your body’s needs, and phytochemical medicines that fight the daily bugs and chemicals of life. With living food, there is no need to count carbs, omit fats, or double up on protein. The work has already been done for us. It’s been created to perfectly match our body’s needs. Eating real food is like inserting a square peg, into a square hole. It fits.
Furthermore, living food tastes great! If you remove artificial food sources from your diet, your taste buds will begin to detox and return to normal sensitivity. When that happens, you will find that artificial food tastes artificial and real food tastes marvelous!
What about animal protein? Animal protein is considered real food, but not living food. The purpose of animal protein is for our protein needs. Animal protein does not supply us with vitamins, minerals, or natural medicine. However, lean animal proteins can be very helpful for those who require more protein. Be aware though that animal fat and any chemicals or hormones that the animal is fed can be harmful to you. Choose animal proteins carefully and limit your intake.
So how do we maneuver in this world of artificial food? We’ve been conditioned to believe that we can solve this problem by simply reading the ingredient list and being aware of what we are eating. I don’t agree with this method. We can spend countless hours in our life reading words we don’t know, then Googling them to decide whether they are good or bad. Even then, we cannot be sure that what we are reading on the internet is true. The internet is full of opinions, sales pitches, and tainted studies. A person can go mad trying to follow all the internet health rules!
Why do we need to know all of the technical verbiage on an ingredient list anyway? After all, when a manufacturer sees that the public is catching on to their unhealthy ingredients and processing techniques, they simply change the names, which can send us back into the Google trap again or frustrate us to the point where we give up. So how do we get out of this bondage?
There are two ways to deal with this confusing issue. We can throw our hands up and say “Whatever, it’s too hard; I’m just going to eat what I want.” Or we can take what I think is an easier route and a healthier route, not only for ourselves but also for our families.
I learned long ago that the best way to identify a counterfeit is NOT to study the counterfeit, but to study the real thing. When you know what real food is, you know when it’s NOT on an ingredient list. So I tell my clients not to READ the ingredient list, but instead, sift through it. Look for the words you know, like “chicken,” “black beans,” “carrots,” etc. Then choose foods with ingredient lists that are clearly identified as 90 to 100% real food – preferably 100%. Keep in mind that 100% food may not even have an ingredient list, and if it did there would be only 1 ingredient!
Every day we are faced with tempting and unhealthy choices. Choose today to become proactive for your health and the health of your family. Here are a few tips to propel you in the right direction:
1. Use your valuable time to study real food, not the counterfeit.
2. Sift through ingredient lists to find real food.
3. Choose food items that are 90% to 100% real food.
4. Put dead food back on the shelf. Don’t spend your hard-earned money on something dead.
5. Plan ahead and prepare your meals.
6. Investing a little time now saves a tremendous amount of time, money, and pain later.
7. Don’t expect to get it right all the time. Simply aim for getting it right more times than wrong.
8. It’s not about perfection, it’s about perseverance!
Just my 2 cents! Bon appétit!
Harvesting Healthy with Christi Taylor, Plant Healthy Seeds Today; Harvest a Healthier Tomorrow. Christi Taylor – Nutrition & Fitness Consultant, Life Coach, and Home-Fitness Video Star. Christi has produced and filmed 30+ home-fitness videos, guided several hundred serious health conscious go-getters to reach their wellness goals, and traveled the world educating fitness professionals for the American Council on Exercise.