PROCESSED FOOD: A LOVE AFFAIR

Hello everyone,

 

Happy Friday! It’s the weekend! Do you meal prep? I recently started trying it out myself. If you don’t know what meal prepping is, its basically front loading your entire cooking for the week. Some people just do it for one meal, some people do if for literally all of them; breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s a pretty good idea, because it is quite a bit healthier than, say, not being sure what to eat and instead eating out. I like to prep my meals over the weekends, though I have not moved up to prepping more than just my lunches. Usually I get my groceries  on Saturdays and cook on Sundays (if I have the option to go to my local farmers market on Sunday to get food, I prefer to do that). Much like planning your life with a schedule, by meal prepping you plan your food. The advantage of this is that you are making and eating real food.

I don’t mean real food as in edible items—technically McDonald’s and soda is something your body can use as fuel. I mean not processed foods. Processed food effectively is food with added treatments and what not to make it sustainable in long voyages across the country as well as able to last while it sits on shelves. Think something like…Lucky Charms or Hot Pockets, or even bacon (yes, I know, bacon. Sorry for the bad news). What I mean by real food is items that avoid these mechanical aspects. The human body is designed to break down natural foods. Michael Pollan’s Food Rules is a great guide to understanding the difference between good food and bad food (hey look, categories!), and I highly recommend you do your best to pick up a copy. Science wise though, human beings have gone through thousands of years of development as omnivores, which is a trait we have maintained to this very day. The difference is, however, that for that vast majority of time we survived primarily off of green foods, with the occasional pleasure with meats and sugars.

The reason meat and sugar tastes so good to us is because we are programed to enjoy their flavor more—to crave them. For so long, humans beings were incapable of getting the ideal amount of proteins and sugars in their diet (hence why we have adapted to function off so little of it), and thus our brain brokered a deal with our “want center” in order to push us to eat these foods whenever available, because, back then, who knew when the next time we would get some would be? Processed foods provide an easy production of these foods, which I’m sure sounds like a great thing, but in reality is bad. We don’t control our want center very well—we never get training for it, and it’s all reactions to chemical stimulants in our brain that we don’t really control. This allows us to overindulge in sweets and meats, which our bodies are not ready to process. The result is increased rates of obesity and diabetes. In order to reduce this problem, we need to get control of ourselves—and the best way to do that is to create a disciplined schedule of our food intake!

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