This series of posts, The 4 Horseman of the Foodocolypse, is looking at 4 ways to avoid items in our diet – items that can make our lives less fulfilling. The last post looked at Horseman #1 – Drinking Your Calories. Today’s looks at processed foods.
Most people want to eat good food. They want to eat food that will make them healthy and able to enjoy life. But finding out what is the most advantageous is sometimes hard. After all, how can you really tell what is “processed food”?
In Michael Pollan’s book “Food Rules” he uses some easy techniques to make sure the food you eat is real food and not something processed and thrown in a box. I like to use two simple measures:
- Avoid things you don’t recognize. You may not be happy with the results. (For instance, if you’re a brave soul, click this link to find out where L-Cysteine comes from before it’s put in some breads.)
- Avoid things that have more than 5 ingredients.
There seems to be a lot of ingredients in a lot of the food we buy on store shelves nowadays. Many frozen dinners have over over 50 ingredients. It’s hard to eat well when we aren’t even sure what’s in our food. If you have to take a chair to read a label, it’s probably too long.
Many cereals have quite a few ingredients, but the more telling thing is how many times they includes different types of sugars.
The best way to eat healthy when it comes to processed food is to avoid it and eat only real food. Food you recognize. Food where you can read the list of ingredients in one breath. This not only gets pure food in your system, but avoids an overload of sugar – the next horseman.