There are many reasons to stay away from processed foods. They are full of unnecessary ingredients, laden with chemicals, and preserved with unpronounceable additives. Processed foods can sometimes last indefinitely, in the same state! I find it a bit disturbing when a piece of food can get lost in a bag and when it’s found a year later it looks exactly the same as it did the day the package was opened.
Let me share a story with you…there was a day a few years ago that I was cleaning out my van. I have three kids – things can get lost between the seats and under the seats. You’d think I would learn to just not allow my kids to eat in the car, but I haven’t. Anyway, I was cleaning out all the crumbs and garbage and I came across a half eaten chicken nugget. Gross. I knew it had probably been 3-4 months since we had been to McDonalds. (Don’t judge me that I hadn’t cleaned my car in 4 months!) My point is that the nugget looked EXACTLY like it did the day we bought it. How can this be? It’s chicken, right? Hmmmm…
It’s easy to look at the unhealthy nature of processed foods, but the bad stuff still may not convince you to switch to a real food lifestyle. So, instead of looking at the negative, let’s look at the positive benefits of real food, shall we?
5 Firsthand Benefits of a Real Food Diet
- Intestinal Happiness – Tums are a thing of the past in our house. Prior to cutting out most processed foods my husband and I both experienced our fair share of acid indigestion. We always had a container of Tums on hand. I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I’ve bought those chalky tablets…and I haven’t missed them one bit! A real food diet also ensures that you’ll be regular…yes, that’s what I am talking about. Constipation will be a thing of the past as well!
- Less Sickness in General – As I’ve mentioned, we have three kids. Kids can bring all sorts of germs into the house! It’s not very often that anyone in our house is down for the count with a virus. There might be a minor cold here and there, but nothing that keeps anyone down for days. And, stomach viruses haven’t hit our household for a very long time. Coincidence? Maybe. But, I believe the healthier the things are that you put in your body, the healthier you will be overall.
- Wider Range of Liked Foods – Growing up, I was a somewhat picky eater. I had my very few favorite vegetables. My “salad bar” salads were iceberg lettuce, cheese, and chow mein noodles. Once I began to expose myself to different foods, prepared in different ways, something happened. My palette began to change. I began to appreciate freshly made things. I began to taste the artificial things added to processed food and realized that the “real foods” tasted much better! My entire family has experienced the same thing. My oldest son values food from home. He has no interest in hot lunch at school. My kids like things many other kids do not…and I love that. Things like sushi, brie cheese, cole slaw, spinach, crab legs, fresh tomatoes…I could go on and on. This didn’t happen by them eating McDonald’s food on a regular basis. Did you know that it takes tasting something 7-10 times before you truly decide if you like it? My kids are continually encouraged to take at least 2 bites of different foods…even if they’ve announced in the past that they don’t like it.
- Decrease in Grocery Expenses – Processed food can get expensive. Unless you spend hours researching sales and clipping coupons, money spent on convenience foods can really add up. Now, I do purchase a good amount of organic foods. Organic is generally more expensive than conventional. Had I switched from processed food to conventional food, my grocery budget would have dropped substantially. Since I switched from processed food to organic food, my budget stayed comparable. I made the choice to opt for organic because I felt that was the healthiest choice for us.
- Kids at Healthy Weights – Childhood obesity is a growing epidemic. Studies reveal that this upcoming generation will be the first generation to NOT outlive their parents. This is due to higher obesity rates which trickle down to increased diabetes and weight related illnesses. My kids are at healthy weights. They fuel up on fruits, veggies, quality cheeses, and lean meats rather than candy and chips. They eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full. Did you know that many of our processed foods encourage overeating? How, you ask? It has to do with flavor enhancers. Our bodies are designed to send a message to our brains when we are satisfied, in regards to eating. Flavor enhancers alter those mechanisms. They actually cause confusion – mixed messages. Our mouths crave the flavor so we keep eating, even though we’re full.
If you’ve switched to a real food diet, what kind of benefits have you experienced?