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5 Ways Your Family Can Avoid Processed Foods

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

14 months.

I have to admit. Part of me is trying to figure out if I’m some kind of prophet or something…

On January 15th I published an article here about why I despise red food dye. Then a week later, on the 21st, I did one questioning where chicken nuggets come fromreferencing that now infamous “pink slime” picture we all recognize and attribute to McDonald’s.

Turns out, last week on February 1st, Yahoo News published a very popular article entitled, “McDonald’s confirms that it’s no longer using ‘pink slime’ chemical in hamburgers.” The author, Eric Pfeiffer, covered the topic of the mystery of processed meat and even mentioned red food dye, just as I did in my articles.

What does this mean? It means we as Americans, and we as parents of children, are officially questioning where our food comes from. We care now. The Eighties are over, sadly.

But it’s not just about questioning where our meat and food dye comes from. It’s about where all of our food comes from. And the real reason we’re having to ask this question to begin with is because, according to the documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, over 60% of the average American’s diet consists of processed foods.

In other words, the majority of the food we eat has been… messed with. And it only makes sense that the more processed a food becomes, the less nutritional value it can have.

So while it’s important to ask what’s in our food, it’s even more crucial to find out how to avoid processed foods as much as possible.

Fortunately, this “food prophet” is willing to part the red sea of processed foods (receiving its color thanks to Red 40 and Crimson Lake) which maintains its perfect consistency thanks to sodium lauryl sulfate.

Today I bring to you the 5 commandments of avoiding processed foods:

1. Nix fast food. Fast food is nothing but processed food. From mysterious meats to white bread buns to soda to wash it down, fast food restaurants are the epitome of what processed food is.

2. Only eat foods with 7 ingredients or less. The higher the number of ingredients it takes to make a food, the better chance you’re going to see ingredients you can’t pronounce; meaning you have no idea what they are. Should we really be eating something with mysterious ingredients? The FDA doesn’t care, but I do.

3. Recognize high fructose corn syrup as the most obvious dead-giveaway. When genetically modified corn is turned into sweetener for ketchup, hot dogs, and the buns we put them on, we begin to question whether or not our meal really needs to be that sweet and so likely to give us Diabetes.

4. Avoid buying any food that comes with “microwave instructions.” I think subconsciously, we realize that cooking food alongside radiation is something we should avoid. So what does it say about a food that was designed to be prepared this way? Probably not something to make a habit of.

5. Prepare as much of each meal as possible yourself. The idea is to use the freshest ingredients possible. After all, the healthiest foods you can eat don’t even have a nutritional label on them at all; nor are they as convenient as the canned, microwavable version.

Image: An opened can of bite sized sausage, via Shutterstock.

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