Mother Nature Knows Best: Choose Food that is Minimally Processed

  • Posted on: 14 August 2014
  • By: jessica

Hi everyone! Welcome back to my series on Clean Eating. I hope you are having a beautiful day! Today we will be discussing processed foods and the potential harm they can impose on your health. Let me start by saying that food processing is a massive subject. There is no way that I will be able to cover everything in one blog post. I hope to simply shed some light on the subject. I have noticed there is not a lot of basic, easy to understand information out there. I hope this blog post will change that. 

All food that we eat is processed, in some way. Chopping, cooking, mixing: all forms of processing. The concern comes about with the degree of processing that occurs. Has the food been processed to a degree that it doesn't even resemble the original food product, or for that matter does it contain anything that is actually pure food, not ridden in unecessary chemicals?

Here is one that most of us know is highly processed.

Side note: Do not be fooled by the word "enriched". This usually means that something nutritious was removed and then a few nutritious things were added back in to meet FDA requirements. Read more about that here: Global Healing Center

And here is minimally processed food: 

Ingredients: Tomatoes from a local Alabama farmer. 

Which of these do you think your body will be able to digest and use as fuel more efficiently? If you guessed the tomato....ding, ding, ding! 100 points for you!

Some negatives of highly processed foods:

  • High in sugar: excess amounts of sugar in the diet can lead to insulin resistance, high triglycerides, increased levels of the harmful cholesterol and increased fat accumulation in the liver and abdominal cavity (Nutrition and Metabolism). 
  • Contain Simple Carbs: feed malignant cells, brain atrophy, drug-like dependency, and fatty liver disease (which will eventually lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer). 
  • Less health benefits: processed foods are easier to digest and therefore your body does not use as much energy over a long period of time, they do not sustain you, they lack nutrients your body needs. 
  • Leave us ignorant: processed foods are so full of confusing food like products and unecessary chemicals that they take away the power of the consumer to know exactly what they are putting into their body. Consumers become accustomed to seeing labels like the one above. The public has begun to accept the fact that most things sold as food contain long lists of indecipherable ingredients. We do not know what we are eating!

Some positives of clean, minimally processed foods:

  • High in nutrients
  • Give your body the power to fight and prevent disease
  • Provide sustained engergy
  • Knowledge: consumer awareness brings about empowerment. When we know what we eat, we are taking control of our health. 

I have compiled a whole foods swap out list for you. I hope this blog post was both informative and encouraging! Take charge of what you put into your body. Your decisions will determine your body's ability to prevent and fight disease! Don't allow convenience or cravings to decide you and your family's health! Please share any questions and comments below. I will do my best to answer your questions or point you to a good resource. 

As most of you know, I am a personal trainer, NOT A SCIENTIST. I do however, have a biology background from many late nights of studying in college. I have done a lot of research on the subject of clean eating and processed foods. All that said, I am not perfect, my research may have some flaws, and I ask for your patience. My hope is that through everything that I have learned, I may be able to share new information and help people realize the importance of knowing what you are eating! Thank you all for reading! And please join me next week as we dive deeply into the benefits of a diet full of diverse fruits and vegetables.

Here are some great resources:





So informative, thanks!

Great! Thank you for reading!

Is reduced fat Greek yogurt bad for you? Everyone says Greek yogurt is so healthy, but I hadn't thought about the consequences of the reduced fat part...

Great question, Mandy!

In my research I have learned that the term low-fat typically means the item is highly processed and has unnecessary chemicals and additives. Most importantly to me, our bodies need certain nutrients in fat to function. Low-fat dairy takes out a lot of those nutrients. I want to keep all the nutrients that I can! I always choose full fat dairy to give myself nutrients! Thank you so much for reading. I hope I've answered your question. 

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