Monday, May 13, 2013

Why I Cut Out Processed Food

"Pink Doughnut" by Grant Cochrane from freedigitalphotos.net


What goes through your mind when you see commercials on television that show big, juicy hamburgers and crispy French fries with a very large, ice cold soda?  Does your mouth start to water?  Do you give in and go buy it for dinner?  I have been guilty of that.  Advertising knows what it’s supposed to do.  The foods portrayed on television or on billboard ads are made to look very appetizing.  They even go so far as to offer “healthy” options for people who are weight conscious or watching what they are eating.  The problem is, even the “healthy” options offered in processed form are not healthy at all a lot of the time.

Several months ago I ran across a website that gave people a challenge.  For 100 days, go without processed food.  Eat only real foods that are wholesome and in their natural state.  I have learned a lot from this website and others as well regarding how to eat healthier, what eating processed foods does to your body, and other things.  I know firsthand that my eating habits play a role in how my body functions.  That is why I chose to give processed foods up…completely.

Processed food can cause all sorts of problems if consumed on a regular basis.  It makes you tired all the time, causes weight gain, causes breakouts in the skin, interrupts normal digestion, can aggravate or cause diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure, and it most certainly causes nutrition deficiency.  I had to change my way of thinking about food.  I had to realize that anything that goes into my belly is fuel to my body, not just a pleasing taste in my mouth.  If you put diesel into a gas engine, you will have trouble with your car.  If you put unhealthy food with a lack of nutrients into your belly, you will have trouble with your entire body.

Your body needs wholesome foods, in their natural state, to receive the fuel and nutrients it needs to function.  Your internal organs need a proper diet to do their jobs.  If you withhold that your body needs by eating something it doesn’t, you are putting yourself at risk for a wide range of health problems and issues in everyday functioning.  Studies have shown that additives in processed food can cause issues with memory and attention disorders.  I am speaking from personal experience when I say this it completely true.  I notice when I eat processed foods, not only does my belly hurt, but I can’t think straight and I get distracted a lot.

A lot of people would probably say they know that already but that it’s impossible to buy wholesome, organic foods on their budget.  I also learned from the 100 day challenge that there is a way to keep it cheap.  Look up the challenge on a budget.  Also, it really is not more expensive to buy healthier foods when you compare the cost over time and keep in mind the cost of healthcare.  When you eat healthy, you get sick less often because you are supporting your natural immune system.  When you eat unhealthy, you are weakening your immune system, which means you will get sick more often, possibly even develop a long term disease, and need more man-made medications to control the illnesses. 

The cost of healthcare is expensive.  Eating cheaper now will not be cheaper in the long run.  Obesity is a huge (no pun intended) problem caused by unhealthy eating.  It affects our wallets more than we realize.  In 2010, an article in the Huffington Post said, “…healthcare costs related to obesity are $118 billion per year. That's nearly 12 percent of total healthcare expenditures--and more than twice that caused by smoking! Seventy-two percent of Americans are overweight and over one third are medically obese. One in three children born today will be diabetic in their lifetime and the life expectancy of our population is declining for the first time in human history.”  That’s crazy!  This was three years ago too!  How much worse has our eating habits been since then?

There are many other reasons I choose to no longer eat processed foods.  The reasons include the artificial dyes and flavors that the companies add to things to make them more appealing.  (Did you know cheese is not naturally orange?)  I believe that by changing what we eat, even if it’s little by little, we can change our health.  When we make unhealthy choices, we suffer from consequences to our overall health.  I am obese as of right now and I have back and knee problems.  I choose not to take pain medication, instead I choose to move more and eat healthier, and I am getting better because of it.

God made our bodies to move, and for it to be able to move, it needs to be fit.  Eating processed foods with additives, extra sugar, extra fat, and fewer nutrients will not help me to be fit.  I want to live a long and healthy life and that starts now.  I will not wait until tomorrow to clean up my habits because I am not promised tomorrow.  I have only today, right now, in this moment to make a good choice.  I will choose to be healthy and live a healthy lifestyle.  What about you?  Will you make a commitment to live a healthy lifestyle?  Email me or comment if you would like more tips.

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