Break up with Processed Food!
All bad relationships are hard to break. And like any toxic relationship in your life, this is also one worth doing. Let’s face it, you owe it to yourself. Processed foods come with a whole lot of baggage that you simply don’t want to take on, and this includes most of those packaged foods in the ‘health’ aisle.
High fructose corn syrup (and all its known alias’) triggers a chain reaction in your body leading to fatty liver disease, cardiovascular conditions and diabetes, as can high dietary amounts of fructose.
Artificial Trans saturated fats (hydrogenated fats) increase your body’s harmful (LDL) cholesterol and triglyceride levels, thereby increasing cardiovascular risks. In addition these artificial fats increase inflammation in the body, cause damage to the inner lining of blood vessels, and are thought to increase risks for cancers.
And if this wasn’t enough ‘baggage’, processed foods can contain dozens of artificial chemicals which need no explanation. Put simply, they do not belong in your body and can have numerous ill health effects, physically and mentally.
1. Fall in love with Fruit and Vegetables.
Say yes to 5 to 7 serves of vegetables per day. Set yourself a goal and try this for a week. You will love the way your body feels on this! And it's not as hard as it sounds with a little forward planning.
Cook extra veg at dinner time for a mid morning or afternoon snack
Chop a salad/raw veg to snack on in the afternoons at that crazy hunger time
Pimp your sandwiches/breakfasts/snacks with things like sprouts, radish, edamame, kale, sauerkraut, mushrooms, beetroot
Grate and chop a large container of salad at the start of the week, for a daily lunch base. You can add any protein to this base (dinner leftovers, tuna, nuts and seeds, pesto, egg, feta)
Cook a large pot of nutritious vegetable soup, or vegetable curry to freeze in small containers
2. Shop at the butcher, green grocer and deli.
If you find it hard to resist the impulse buying sections of the supermarket, or if you fall for false health claims on those packaged foods, aim to avoid the supermarket wherever possible.
It doesn't have to be expensive. Look around for a bulk whole foods store such as The Source. And remember more often than not, a pantry and freezer full of processed ready to eat foods cost far more than whole foods!
3. Capture pockets of time.
I hear you! Where to find the time to make food from scratch? There are a few tips which help a little:
Double cook. Standing at the stove making dinner? Whip up a batch of home made muffins and chuck them in the oven at the same time
Cook extra large at meal times and freeze leftovers or pack them for lunches
Design some easy peasy meals for when you are busy or tired. They can be just as quick as heating that processed meal. Maybe it's pasta with some broccolini, beans and kale thrown in toward the end. Then add some cherry tomatoes, a tin of tuna, olive oil, lemon and basil. Make it zucchini pasta and you will be next level!
4. Get onto those ‘good’ recipes.
Not the ones with hours of labour induced panic! But the no fuss, super speedy, two step recipes which just so happen to make really yummy and healthy snacks.
5. Lastly, taste and experience your food.
No seriously! When you eat take a moment to explore the texture of the food in your mouth, how it feels on your tongue, how it makes you feel as you're eating it. Conscious eating! Give it a try this week and at the end of the week you may see some more differences between real food and processed food. When consciously eating, I can guarantee you won’t be able to eat processed food. It simply won’t resemble food anymore.
6. Oh wait, there's one more .....
Please drink water. Not the high sugar high fructose corn syrup and carcinogenic additives laiden can of drink sitting on the impulse buying shelf at the supermarket. Water is what your body needs.