Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Navigating the food market in a nation of processed food
Do you think about what you eat? That may seem like an obvious answer: of course I think about what I eat. Unfortunately it is not always that simple. If your parents do most of the cooking you do not often know the ingredients in the food you are eating. You are eating an apparently healthy meal: pasta, meatballs and a salad. Unless you made it you do not know what was in those frozen meatballs. The jarred sauce, who cares? I believe everybody should care about what they eat. Not only does it affect your long and short term health but it affects the environment as well.
It seems like it might be easy to go into the grocery store and pick out what is processed and what is not and just buy the unprocessed food. Unfortunately changing life styles like this is a huge change. It takes more time to make food that is less processed and friendlier to your body and it often takes more money.  In this blog I want to help you understand:   How to navigate the food market (consumption, time, economically) in a nation of processed food
First of all you might think: Why does it matter? What does processed food do to our bodies? Who cares? All the preservatives and additives in the food people eat daily affect the function of our bodies and the way we feel.  How do we fix that? Before we can answer that question we need to think about what needs fixing.
Think about the energy used when processing and transporting all those meatballs to your freezer. According to Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture a recent study proved that in California more than 485,000 trucks full of fruits and vegetables leave each year to be taken to different places around the country. After leaving California the trucks full of fruits and vegetables travel anywhere from 100 to 3,100 miles to reach their final destination.  That is just a statistic for one state. Think about the other 49. All those truck release so many fossil fuels into the air. That statistic does not even include the processing of the food.   It only includes the transportation. Those fossil fuels effect the environment in so many ways. Think about how many fossil fuels would not be released into the air if we all try to eat some local food. I am not saying eat everything local. The key word is moderation. Take small steps. It would make a big difference. For further reading about fossil fuels check out this link:
Not only do you have to think about the effect of processed foods on the environment but you have to think about the effect of processed foods on your body.  One common ingredient in processed foods are trans fats. Trans fats are used by food companies to fry and process foods. Trans fats last a long time, they are cheap and have an addicting taste. These qualities appeal to many food processors. The issue with trans fats is that they can contribute and lead to heart disease and other health issues. This is just one example of harmful ingredients in processed foods. I am not suggesting that all processed food is cut of out your diet but I believe that Americans need to limit their processed foods to almost none.
These are some of the problems with the foods some Americans eat. Do you ever eat jarred tomato sauce? What about biscuits in a roll? Foods like these are OK in moderation but these are the foods causing the harm. They are overly processed and not whole foods. I want to provide you with an education about processed food. What is it? How do you recognize it? What does it do to your body? How can I avoid it? I would like to provide alternatives to the processed prepared foods you buy.
What if you can make a tomato sauce that tastes so much better and it so much better for you than that jarred one? What if you could freeze it and use it another time? What is that small change made a big difference?  What about these biscuits? What is you could freeze handmade dough? Would you feel better doing this? Cooking homemade food not only is good for you and the environment but is quite enjoyable. I have a passion for food and I want to spread that passion among other people my age.  
In this blog I am going to take foods that are often bought processed and packaged and find alternatives. These alternatives will use time and money wisely and find a healthier replacement for overly processed, packaged, store bought food. I will create recipes as an alternative to common processed foods. I am not saying a treat once in a while it not okay. It is all about moderation. The next posts will be about processed foods, local movements and how you can make small changes to your life that make a big difference.

I want all kids to be educated about the food they put in their body. It affects today and tomorrow. 

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