Monday, June 20, 2011

Processed Foods Propaganda

Food advertising is a multi-billion dollar industry. It IS propaganda by food marketers who want you to spend your shrinking food budget on their highly processed foods that have been made to appeal to consumers as exciting, convenient and healthy. If you keep on drinking the kool-aid (literally and figuratively), the food marketers will continue to reap the benefits while you will continue to be plagued with poor health.

Avoiding and eliminating processed foods is one of the first actions I took in my strategy to regain my health and fitness. By staying away from fast food restaurants and store-bought packages that have been altered from their food natural state and loaded with preservatives, you can quickly make a shift to real food. Doing so will give you the boost your body needs to repair itself and benefit you for the long term. There are some processed foods that you could consider are good and some that are clearly bad. For example, frozen veggies are convenient and are not altered to strip the nutrition. Other frozen foods like fish, frozen berries and even oatmeal are nutritious even though they are processed.

The processed foods I avoid specifically are usually canned foods with massive amounts of salt or fat, breads and pastas made with refined flour, high-calories snack foods like chips and candies, frozen fish sticks and frozen dinners high in salt, packaged cakes and cookies, boxed meals that are high in fat and salt, processed breakfast cereals high in sugar and processed meats. Eating these bad foods may increase the risk for disease. Hot dogs, bologna, sausage, ham and other packaged meats that are high in calories, saturated fat and salt with low nutritional value are simply not in their natural state and are altered. If you cannot avoid processed foods, try to balance them out with lots of veggies, fruits and whole grains.

Using a little common sense goes a long ways towards choosing food to improve your health. Every week before heading to the store, we make a grocery list. So for example, instead of buying canned soups, we buy the raw ingredients needed to make the soup at home. It's not as time convenient, so you just plan ahead and prepare enough for several meals and either freeze or store in the refrigerator for later use.

So before you head to the grocery store, here are some tips that start at home!
  • Make a grocery list and stick to it
  • Eat before you go shopping so you're not hungry
  • Add lots of fresh fruits and vegetables or frozen fruits and vegetables
  • Choose lean proteins like fish, skinless chicken breasts or turkey
  • Stay away from the snack aisle
  • Read the nutrition labels and note the salt and fat content and avoid where possible
  • Choose low fat soy milk, almond milk or rice milk as a substitute for dairy
  • Replace white bread with whole wheat grain bread, read the label
  • Buy spices and herbs to flavor food instead of adding table salt for seasoning
  • Avoid frozen dinners

If you want the straight dope on fueling your body with nutritious food and what to avoid, I'm here to help and it won't cost you a penny for the free advice based on my own experience and what has worked for me.  I hope you'll follow my blog and provide me with some feedback on my posts.  I'll be catering good choices that include both dietary and lifestyle changes.  So if you could use a boost to your engine, buckle up for the ride of your life and let's get started!

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