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Health & Wellness

Putting away the processed.

Putting away the Processed.

Resisting cravings can be a daunting task daily, especially if you have grown accustomed to eating highly processed foods as part of your normal diet. Once you understand a little more about how these and other processed foods affect you, it becomes easier to make healthier choices.

Processed foods are highly addictive. Your body processes whole foods much differently than it does refined and processed junk. Processed foods overstimulate the production of dopamine, also known as the pleasure neurotransmitter, which makes you crave them constantly because they illicit an initial uplifting buzz, but followed by a crash due to your body’s response to such a flood/stimulation of dopamine. Your body becomes accustomed to the rush and it craves it so you continue eating these foods, which will eventually lead to obesity and other health related problems.

Many processed foods contain phosphate additives that augment taste, texture, and adds shelf-life. But these additives are known to cause health problems like rapid aging, kidney deterioration and weak bones, according to research, which makes foods that contain them far less attractive to those that know the truth.

There’s a HUGE misconception that fresh foods are expensive when actuality they are cheaper than processed foods. Whole foods made from scratch end up costing less per serving than their unhealthy, processed equivalents. People with addictions to processed foods argue that sometimes they don’t offer the same convenience BUT they really can be convenient. It’s their tastebuds that are changed. How quick and easy is it to grab a whole food option that requires no prep other than a quick wash? A whole food, as nature intended without any toxic additives. Change your taste, change your life for the better. Believe me. I’ve been there. My old go to which left me feeling empty and dragging, snickers and a Dr. Pepper. Now the thought of it makes me squirm. The super sugary, overly syrupy poison. Literally queasy at the thought. Now,  Moroccan mint tea, handful of organic unsweetened dates and maybe half a banana. I’m in heaven. Dates are natures candy. Your next grocery store trip, pick some up and you’ll be hooked.

How about some chronic inflammation? Sounds fun, right? One of the leading causes of chronic illness today is inflammation. Studies continue to show that refined sugars, processed flours, vegetable oils, and many other nasty ingredients commonly found in processed foods are largely responsible for this inflammation epidemic. So the next time you craves a candy bar or a box of cheese crackers, consider the fact that heart disease, dementia, neurological problems, respiratory failure, and cancer have all been linked to the chronic inflammation caused by processed food consumption.

What about your digestion and processed, refined food? Since they have been stripped of their natural fibers, enzymes, vitamins, and other nutrients, processed foods tend to wreak havoc on the digestive tract. Chronic consumption of such foods can throw your internal ecosystem off balance, harming beneficial bacteria and exposing your system to infection. You are poisoning yourself with the foods you eat. Your trading a lifetime of health for momentary tastebud satisfaction. A fleeting, false, neurotransmitter induced buzz.

Processed foods destroy your mind. If you suffer from chronic bouts of brain “fog,” or have difficulty concentrating and thinking normally, chances are your diet has something to do with it. And a recent study out of Oxford University lends credence to this possibility, having found that junk food consumption can cause people to become angry and irritable. Nutrient-dense whole foods, on the other hand, can help level out your mood, sustain your energy levels, and leave you feeling calmer and more collected.

GMOs. This incites anger within me. The Monsanto Monster. GMOs are the basic buildings blocks of most processed foods on the market today are derived from laboratories, not nature. Genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), which have been linked to infertility, organ damage, gastrointestinal disorders, and cancer, are prolific in processed foods. Excess consumption of these poisons promotes weight gain, acidifies your blood, and can even permanently alter the composition and function of your intestinal flora. This doesn’t include the pesticides that they used. I could devote and entire blog to just the dangers of GMOs and how Monsanto is destroying our lives and our planet.

Processed foods are NOT food. One of the ways you can assess the nutritional value of food is to see how animals, insects, bacteria, and fungi respond to it. Real foods will actually rot or grow mold, for instance, while fake, processed foods remain largely the same in appearance and shape no matter what their age. (We have all seen the McDonalds time elapsed photos, unchanged. Not what you want digested or just passing through your body.) Processed food is essentially synthetic, and the industry that produces it admits that heavy tampering and crafty modifications are necessary to make it taste real, even though it is not.