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This “Stuff” Made Me SO FAT!

Back when I was VERY overweight, I was consuming LOTS of processed foods and at least 6 sodas per day! Yikes!

All that garbage I ate made me very FAT and very UN-healthy.

It can be VERY confusing to know what is good to eat and what to avoid, right?

Especially when you are just getting started on how to eat better.

So let’s talk about processed foods for a minute.

What are processed foods?

  • Processed food definition: foods that have been changed from their natural state

Not all processed foods are bad for you, but as a rule of thumb you want to try to eat food in as natural state as possible as often as possible.

The really bad-for-you processed foods have these things in common:

  • They have a VERY LONG shelf life (like twinkies!)
  • You usually find them in boxes or canisters in the center sections of your grocery store.
  • They usually don’t require refrigeration.
  • They are foods that are filled with lots of preservatives and chemicals so that they won’t rot or go “bad.”

Here is a list of processed foods to avoid that made me fat and unhealthy before I lost weight:

  • sugary breakfast cereals
  • frozen fast foods (even the diet ones!) that are high in sodium and preservatives
  • prepackaged snacks like chips, crackers, cookies and candies
  • pasta made with refined white flour
  • breads, rolls, prepackaged pastries made with refined white flour
  • canned food that has a lot of sodium and / or fat
  • processed meats like hot dogs, sausage, ham, pepperoni, salami, bacon, lunch meats, bologna

A majority of processed foods are made using trans-fats, highly saturated fats, and large quantities of sodium and sugar. These are ingredients that can really harm your health in the short term and long term.

Harvard School of Public Health researchers did a study and found a very strong correlation between consuming processed meats and getting type 2 diabetes.  Processed meats like hot dogs, bacon, sausage and processed meats from the deli were recommended to be avoided or at least reduced from your diet.  Boston, MA HSPH August 2011

What is wrong with the “bad” processed foods?

For one thing they are created to have a long shelf life  so that they won’t spoil. So they are filled with preservatives and chemicals – these ingredients are HORRIBLE for your health.

With some processed foods it can be like eating a science experiment.

As you scan the ingredients you will find many ingredient names you don’t recognize and probably don’t know what they are.

For example:  Butylated Hydroxyanisole – this is a chemical used as preservative in cereals and snack foods. Or Xanthan Gum – Used to create sticky dough, xanthan gum  is processed using petrochemicals (chemicals obtained from petroleum and natural gas).

If you feel you absolutely must buy processed foods….

Check the ingredients PLEASE.  If the ingredients list has items you don’t keep in your pantry to use when YOU prepare food – then don’t buy it. If the ingredients list contains stuff that is not REAL FOOD  with names you recognize – then don’t buy it and please don’t EAT it.

BUT….. processed foods are good for food manufacturers that create a product that can sit on the grocery shelf for months and years before you, the consumer, buys it. Those manufacturers are not as concerned about your health as they are about making sales. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with manufacturer’s making them (they have that right, right?).

And….. in extreme moderation you can enjoy processed foods…. hear me again…in EXTREME moderation.

However MANY Americans are consuming highly processed unhealthy foods daily in HUGE super-sized quantities.

So who needs to be watching out for your health?

YOU!!

You need to take control of what you eat and be responsible for your health. Bottom line.

That is why I always recommend that you shop for your most of your groceries around the PERIMETER of the grocery store.

<<< The yellow highlighted area in the picture to the left.

If you stay around the edges of the grocery store that is where you find most of the REAL foods.

The healthier foods.

The usually more nutritious foods.

Now that you have a little more understanding of what BAD processed foods are and how they might hurt your health, I will share a little about what I eat.

What has helped me maintain weight loss and be more healthy?

I like fresh natural whole foods

UNprocessed foods

REAL food

Food that is filled with nutrition

The majority of the foods I eat are as close to natural as possible and they include a lot of vegetables and fruits, beans, rice, nuts, seeds, whole grains, wild Alaskan salmon.  And every once in a while I will eat some NON-factory farmed wild natural meat.

I stay away from processed foods as much as possible.

I try to follow Michael Pollan’s easy rule which I have mentioned to you before:

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

And before you go thinking that you can’t eat that way – that you might not get YUMMY food….relax.

I eat some of the most delicious food you can imagine. And you can too!

Using a few simple techniques to eat natural foods prepared in a healthy way is easier than you might think!

So…what can YOU do?

Begin the next time to go to a grocery store.

Do your best to get the majority of your groceries from the perimeter (the area highlighted in yellow in the picture above) and you will automatically start to eat better, lose weight and improve your health!

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