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Life In a Processed World


 

Have you ever taken a bite of a home-cooked meal and thought, “That’s just like my mom used to make it!” You could almost smell the house you grew up in, mingled with the delicious aroma of mother’s cooking simmering on the stove.

 

There is an intense surge of nostalgia behind the foods that we eat. But life happens fast in American culture. No time for Momma’s slow-cooked stew or home-made mashed potatoes here. Just a quick solution to fill our bellies, and off to change the world we go!

 

Many adults depend on the commercialized world to feed them and their children. And we all know they have our best interests at heart…right?

 

In fact, they don’t. Back in the day, people may have been a little more under the rug about what was in the food they ate or bought in the grocery store. How did we actually get where we are today? Let’s stroll down memory lane for a second and think about it.

 

My grandpa’s generation grew up not asking what the nutritional facts were of his mother’s home-cooked recipe. (And they didn’t need to). He and his siblings didn’t think twice before they chowed down at supper time. It was an automatic trust in the giver (mom) that led them to believe that what they were receiving was the best of home life and sustenance. It was quite literally a mother’s trust, and they were right in doing so.

 

Wall Street and the commercialized food industry made their counter on this innocent trust and have exasperated the good feeling of food by a cheap and convenient substitute. What once came from a nourishing home kitchen is now found in the freezer section of any grocery store. Images of Grandma and Aunt Susie are littered all over the boxes to add to the screenplay, making us think we are a two-minute dial on the microwave away from reliving our childhood. To the average American…the food industry is the “mother,” and they know it.

 

In fact, “Ultra-processed foods — such as frozen dinners, sugary cereals, potato chips and fast food — account for up to 58 percent of total daily energy intake in the United States, the researchers said.” (1).

 

And what do these highly processed “goods” actually do to your body? Dr Gearhardt helps us answer that question:

 

“Dr. Gearhardt has found in her research that these highly processed foods share much in common with addictive substances. Like cigarettes and cocaine, their ingredients are derived from naturally occurring plants and foods that are stripped of components that slow their absorption, such as fiber, water and protein. Then their most pleasurable ingredients are refined and processed into products that are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, enhancing their ability to light up regions of the brain that regulate reward, emotion and motivation.”

 

With today’s generation immersed in chemically-altered everything, how in the world can we turn the tide and set our children up for a healthy desire for good foods? Here are a few eating habits that have certainly been a game-changer in our home when it comes to the food we eat.

 

1. Eat foods that Rot.

 

A good rule of thumb to eating the right kinds of food is to ask yourself the question, “will this rot?” This is a surefire way to know you are on the right track with healthy food options. Why?

 

Because whole foods are rich in vitamins and minerals.

 

Fruits and vegetables are packed with essential vitamins (like vitamin C, vitamin A, and folate) and minerals (such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium). These nutrients play a vital role in maintaining overall health, supporting immune function, and promoting healthy skin, eyes, and bones (2).

 

Whole foods contain fiber for digestive health.

 

The fiber content in fruits and vegetables aids in digestion, prevents constipation, and supports a healthy gut. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels and promotes a feeling of fullness, which can assist in weight management (3).

 

Whole foods contain antioxidants and phytochemicals.

 

Natural produce is rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals. These compounds protect your cells from oxidative damage, reduce inflammation, and may even lower the risk of chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease (4).

 

Yes, it might take a little more time and even a learning curve in the kitchen, but eating whole fruits and vegetables are well worth it!

 

2. Save eating out for special occasions.

 

Probably one of the hardest temptations to overcome in my own health journey is eating out! Sometimes I just want to pig out on a monster-size cheeseburger and fries. And the best part is…I don’t have to make it! But a rule we try to uphold in our home is that eating out is a special occasion.

 

Our kids know that we don’t eat out every meal. Not only is it more expensive, but it is much harder to make healthy choices each week when you are accustomed to the McDonalds drive through.

 

We all know that fast food tastes good, but did you know…

 

Fast food is often high in empty calories.

 

These foods lack essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Instead, they are loaded with unhealthy fats, refined sugars, and excessive salt through processing for preservation.

 

Fast food is a major contributor to global obesity.

 

Its high calorie content, coupled with large portion sizes, encourages weight gain. Obesity increases the risk of various health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and joint problems.

 

Fast food often contains high levels of trans fat.

 

Trans fat raises levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and lower levels of good cholesterol (HDL). This imbalance significantly increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.

 

Fast food often has many additives.

 

Ultra-processed fast foods contain a plethora of additives, preservatives, and artificial flavorings. These compounds may have long-term health consequences, including an increased risk of cancer.

 

Fast food often lacks dietary fiber.

 

Dietary fiber is essential for proper digestion. A deficiency of it can lead to constipation, bloating, and other gastrointestinal problems.

 

3. Prioritize the Dinner Table.

 

The fast-paced American culture has often shoved aside family priorities and has, in many cases, thrown away any sense of meaningful and healthy conversation. The table has become a decorative household item versus a wholesome desk of fellowship and support. And I get it. Some days are harder than others, and sometimes you simply just don’t have the time or energy. But I think that the benefits of being together at the dinner table far outweigh the “inconveniences.”

 

According to The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, children who share family dinners three or more times per week:

 

  • Are less likely to be overweight

  • Are more likely to eat healthy food

  • Perform better academically

  • Are less likely to engage in risky behaviors (drugs, alcohol, sexual activity)

  • Have better relationships with their parents

 

There are tremendous benefits of prioritizing the family table and all it takes is for someone to step up and make it a big deal. It could start with you.

 

Your health does not have to be dictated by the highly processed foods on the market. Your body is valuable to God and should be stewarded in a way that pleases His will and work. Sure, are you perfect? NO way! But you can take active steps to turn the tide of industrialized “health food” into a healthy home culture of whole foods and healthy living. Its start with one step.

 

  Your body is valuable to God and should be stewarded in a way that pleases His will and work

 



SOURCES:




***The contents contained in this article are opinion. No interpretation of professional medical advice is implied.

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