As I’m growing older and learning more about health and nutrition, I’ve been making an effort to eat more wholesome, real foods and try to keep away from anything that is processed. Processed foods can be split up into two categories: foods that are mechanically processed and foods that are chemically processed. According to Kris Gunnars from Authority Nutrition, a real food can still be packaged, as long as no chemicals have been added in the process.
Lisa Leake, blogger from 100 Days of Real Food, has made it her mission to consume wholesome foods, putting the stamp of approval on my favorite healthy fat – coconut oil. I was a little lost at first with distinguishing the difference between real and processed foods, so today I wanted to recap some of Gunnar’s top ways to avoid processed foods.
- Cut out Sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup: A lot of processed foods are loaded with added sugar, which can become highly addicting. In Gunnar’s recent article in the Business Insider, he states “many studies have shown that sugar can affect the metabolism, lead to insulin resistance, high triglycerides, increased levels of bad cholesterol and increased fat accumulation in the liver and abdominal cavity.” I know it’s hard to tame that stubborn sweet tooth, but I’ve found that incorporating coconut oil into my diet has helped decrease my sugar cravings. Michelle’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites give just the right amount of sweet satisfaction.
- Processed Foods Lead to Over-consumption: It’s no secret that if you dive into a bag of potato chips, it can be pretty hard to stop. Processed foods are deemed “hyper rewarding” to the body because we naturally crave sugar, salty foods, and fat. For a healthier alternative to fuel your body, try making Beet Chips, Sweet Potato Fries, or Zucchini Chips.
- Avoid Artificial Ingredients: Chances are, when you look at the back of a nutrition label, you won’t recognize a majority of the ingredients listed. These days, many artificial ingredients are added into products we purchase to give added color, flavoring, or health benefits. If you’re looking for an energy bar or quick snack, try making our Coconut Berry Energy Bars or Cauliflower Popcorn that contain natural ingredients. This way, you won’t have to second guess your next purchase.
Remember when doing your grocery shopping, make sure to read the labels- especially when choosing a coconut oil. This is one tip that I can’t stress enough. Try making more foods from scratch, especially your favorite sweets. It’s better to know you’re using wholesome ingredients for a craving or even when entertaining. Going to my local farmer’s market to purchase my ingredients has given me a new appreciation for all the fruits, vegetables, and homemade dishes. Now that I’m learning more about how to incorporate “real foods” into my diet, I’ve been making it my goal to stay consistent. For more information on avoiding processed foods, make sure to check out the Business Insider.