You wouldn’t believe how many times I will talk about avoiding processed foods with clients or acquaintances where I get a blank stare, or the big questions:
“What exactly is a processed food?”
Michael Pollan’s “Food Rules” should be on everyone’s coffee table in my opinion!
The easy answer is anything from a package. If you make it from scratch, it’s okay….if it came in a box and or you need to microwave it then it’s not.
Basically “real food.” Simple? Right? Not so much. Unfortunately “normal” has become, well, processed foods. There are even many, many, many processed foods disguised as health foods. I think this is where most people need guidance. So I want to take the next couple weeks to try and convey exactly what to avoid, and hopefully my health conscious friends out there can help! Let’s use the comments section or myblog/ instagram/facebook posts for Q&A’s and tips for each other.
What falls in that “gray area?”
In actuality we really don’t purchase many processed foods around here. The biggest changes for me would be the packaged nut or seed milks. I make my own a lot, but it’s not always convenient. When I started learning more about carrageenan then I made the decision to stop making excuses and just ditch the store-bought milks. It really is cheaper and better to make it myself. If I make hemp seed milk I don’t even need to soak it so there;s really no excuse. Ella has preferred the Tempt brand, but until they take the carrageenan out of their product I unfortunately can no longer buy it. A shame because I really did love their product. There are also some “gray area” things I may need to chuck. More on that later though!
I’d like to get back to basics with this challenge as well. We can get as detailed as saying certain flours are processed and things, but I would love to see people switch from store bought breads (as opposed to getting as crazy as telling people to stop eating bread) to making their own. Can this be done conveniently for the typical busy American? I have clients that tell me they could never ever give up their sandwiches. So is it realistic to do so while cutting out all the added preservatives, processed sugars, GMO’s?
Is cheese a processed food? Kraft cheese is. Shredded packaged cheeses are. Raw, grass-fed fermented block cheeses are what you would want to switch to.
Let’s get into the processed “health food.” Protein powder. Some of you may not like this, but technically it is a processed food! Even if it has a bunch of healthy stuff added to it. It’s still processed. Can you switch to getting your protein from whole foods for a month?
There is definitely SO much more to cover and talk about. I want to open it up to you guys though—what do you consider to be a “processed food” and what do you think falls into that “gray area?” What do you think you will have the most difficulty with? What about “processed food” confuses you?
If we can tackle these questions and help pave a foundation for everyone preparing for this challenge we can tackle March like rock stars! It’s not as tough as you think.
I have many blog friends who are awesome at this, and even more amazing with the budgeting tips (I’ll share them soon! If you have a blog post like this let me know too!) so I am going to create a link-up each week. I’d love to get instagram and facebook friends without blogs involved too! Share your meal and budget ideas and I can repost them to help everyone out. This will be a lot of fun! Thanks in advance to participating! And thank you to my clients for inspiring me to finally do something like this!
for sharing tag me (@lauryannraik)use #processedfreemarch and Lisa’s awesome suggestion: #processedfreelife –can’t wait to see your ideas and tips! Questions too! We can all help one another to stay motivated!