We all know that processed food isn’t great for us but still turn to it when we are rushing from one thing to another, out at the weekend or in a hurry to make dinner and get the kids to bed…….
Because it is easily accessible and cleverly marketed.
When you go to the supermarket there are cartoon characters plastered all over sugar filled cereals that we end up buying after constant pestering from the kids or because we know that they will eat up quickly when pushed for time in the morning, and then you have the endless aisles of pizza’s, pasta, ready meals that make dinner times easier, quicker and less stressful – personally I need all the help I can get and have fallen into the processed food trap many times, chucking a pizza in the oven or throwing together some pasta and sauce.
Processed foods are empty calories laden with sugar, salt, starch, chemicals and additives! Food manufacturers also add addictive substances to their foods which make us crave the foods that are bad for us even more. How many times do you open a tube of pringles with the intention of just having one and then realise you ate the lot??!!
There are lots of health damaging toxins in processed foods too and to name and shame a few…. for starters there is BPA (well this is in the packaging but can still affect the food) and this interferes with hormones – that’s that last thing I need right now!! Then you have acrylamide which is a toxin that is formed when starchy foods are cooked at high temperatures and is linked cancers as well as various other nasties! MSG is flavour enhancing chemical which is an excitotoxins, and excitotoxins excite the brain and promote the growth of cancer. Then there is High Corn Fructose Syrup (HCFS) which is a chemically altered food that is added to processed food as a cheap sweetener, the high fructose content can contribute to many health issues such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, blood sugar issues (and that’s just naming a few)
Foods affected by the above include: fast food, deep fried food, crisps, cookies, canned soups, pies, cakes, canned foods, foods packaged in plastic, water bottles, cereals, cough syrups, crackers, yoghurt, frozen meals, salad dressings… the list goes on and on….
After reading all that I bet that bag of crisps is not looking so appealing as an evening snack right now!!
It actually scares me to think about all these awful things crammed into a bag of crisps or a cookie and I bet you would shocked if you made a note of all food and drink you have in a day and then look at the ingredients label or think about how it was cooked or stored and like me you would probably find that your healthy diet isn’t as great as you thought!
It’s bad enough thinking about what processed food does to our slightly more matured bodies (to put it as polity as possible!) but what about our children? Their little bodies need all the help they can get to grow and develop physically, mentally and emotionally. Giving them a diet that is high in processed foods and lacks essential vitamins and minerals seriously compromises their future health.
The problem with kids is that we loose control when they are at school so even if we get them on a strict no junk diet at home they will still get their hands on the goods at school – I refuse to stress over this as its out of my control so I just try to give them a good balanced diet at home and make them aware of healthy eating. At the end of the day our children learn from us so if we are eating well then they will follow. Ella often asks me questions about the food I eat and I love to explain to her about the good and bad effects food have on our body and health and she generally eats what I make her as she sees me eating it.
As I said yesterday the facts are that children are rapidly becoming more obese and there is an ever-increasing rise in reported ADHD cases. Both the food and pharmaceutical industries are worth billions, so it is not in their interests to give up their big bonus’s, luxury holiday homes, private planes and super yachts! No way, they will be sitting back thinking up the next money making marketing scheme at the expense of our health!
I avoid processed and junk food, I haven’t cut it out totally but have made lots of positive changes in my house. For example, I try to buy food in glass jars or bottles rather than plastic, I avoid plastic packaging and tin cans where possible, I buy frozen veggies if I can’t buy fresh, I check the labels of food for HCFS and avoid if I can, and I just don’t keep any junk food or treats in the house, so anyone popping round for a cuppa will get a nothing more than a quinoa cracker with almond butter if they are lucky!!