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Friday, April 2, 2010

Scratch the Surface: Whole vs. Processed Foods

Whole food eating is not just a health issue, its a green one. We need to get back to basics again with our food. First off the most obvious reason to eat whole foods is our health. We need to cut way back on the processed foods we take in. This is another case of convenience foods being the determent of our health and environment. Processed foods are created through manufacturing methods to transform ingredients into convenient little packages which we can cook up quickly and consume. Most are filled with artificial flavors, preservatives, hydrogenated oils, fillers and artificial sweeteners. In the end of all this processing we end up with a product that yes can taste good, but not so good for us; nutritional value has been processed out to a very low level, but they have a long shelf life. On the flipside whole foods are grown in orchards, gardens, or greenhouses. They are unprocessed, unrefined and have a shorter shelf life. These foods are richly flavorful from nature, straight from the earth like God meant them to be for us.

Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day. Genesis 1:11-13

God sure didnt grow a box of au gratin potatoes from the earth, did he. Whole foods are filled with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and fiber. They do require longer preparation times, for us to do the unthinkable ... cook from scratch? Isn't that what we used to consider home cooking? Loving from the oven? I have to say I am one person that even before this journey I love cooking from scratch. Food tastes better, richer, honestly I feel the time is worth spent because its a way for me to show my love for my family. Now I am even cooking more than before for the health of my family. We have almost eliminated fast food, eating out less, buying as much organic as possible and happily I am cooking more since this journey started (I will get into more details on these changes in future posts). It is truly amazing how these green methods truly reduce our waistlines.

The other reason to cut back on processed foods is waste. Look at any box of processed food, you have the box, then you have plastic wrap inside, some even have a tray insert, all of that is building up in our land fills. Packaging materials make up more than 30% of all consumer waste, according to the EPA.

Ways to Cut the Waste

  • Cut back on processed foods, especially those with overdone packaging
  • Be a connoisseur of packaging, watch close and be aware of all the packaging things you buy have
  • Always find ways to reuse or recycle if possible
  • Reuse your bags for fruits and vegetables or buy eco-friendly ones to reuse
  • When buying packaged items, buy the glass or tin ones so you can easily reuse
  • Buy bulk, reuse the bags when possible or buy eco-friendly ones to reuse
  • Take eco-friendly shopping bags to carry all of your purchases

Remember, we vote at the register!

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