We’ve been on a clean eating streak around here and it feels great. I’ve written out my thoughts on food in the past, but I want to take a few minutes to reflect, especially since we’ve been doing so well and I don’t want to lose this momentum.
What do I mean by “clean eating?” The term clean eating can be used to describe a lot of things, but when I use it, I’m mainly talking about a whole foods diet — eating only (or mostly, at least 90%) whole foods, foods that haven’t been processed or diluted in any way, foods that come as they are.
Note that you can process (chop, mash, cook, etc.) foods at home and they are still considered whole foods. The processing in the term “processed foods” refers to the chemical and mechanical processing that takes place in factories where foods are mass-produced.
Clean eating means eating fruits and vegetables straight from the earth and meats straight from the sea or the farm. Most whole foods will not come from a package or a box.
Processed foods are the opposite of whole foods. When you buy processed foods, you can look at the label on the package and you will see a whole list of ingredients that you don’t recognize. These ingredients are often nasty chemicals that are used to preserve, dye, and sweeten your food. When you buy a box of cereal, for example, you may think that you’re just eating the whole grain oats which are advertised on the box. However, if you inspect the ingredients, you’ll find a long list of chemicals, preservatives, and tons of added sugar. Whereas when you eat whole foods, you always know exactly what you are eating.
Eating a whole foods diet requires a bit more work than eating a processed foods diet. You’ll have to wash, peel, and chop your fruits & vegetables, instead of just popping them out of a package and into the microwave or pot. However, it’s worth the extra effort to avoid polluting your body with those “added ingredients” that are literally making you fat and sick. Speaking of fat…
It’s no secret that health & weight are big issues in my life. (If you’re new here, here’s the story of that time that I lost seventy pounds.) For a long time, I attributed my weight loss/health to my state of mind, but upon further reflection I realize that it’s also a result of how I eat. I don’t want to get too technical, but my point is that eating whole foods will make you healthy and keep you at a healthy body weight; while eating processed foods will make you unhealthy and keep you overweight.
Most of the products that are marketed as “low fat,” “low calorie,” “diet,” and so on — will actually make you fat & sick! If they have these words written on them, then they come in a package, and they are probably processed foods, loaded with added ingredients (preservatives, chemicals, and sugar). If you want to lose weight and be healthy — you must eat whole foods. Do not eat anything that has ingredients in it that you do not understand and cannot pronounce. Those ingredients will slowly kill you.
I don’t mean to sound “preachy” — this advice is as much for me as it is for my readers. At this point in my life, I am disgusted with the standard American food system and food marketing. Now that I am a mother, I think about these things more than ever. I spent the entire first half of my life unhealthy, overweight, and depressed — all because I was eating the Standard American Diet (SAD). I will never allow my children to go through what I went through.
Health is as simple as eating whole foods. Once we have this knowledge, it’s foolish and lazy to continue eating the Standard American Diet. It may sound harsh, but it’s the truth.
If any of the information that I’ve shared here is new or confusing to you, I highly recommend checking out some documentaries on these topics. A few that have literally changed my life are: Food Inc.; Food Matters; Forks Over Knives; Fat Sick & Nearly Dead. (Most of these are available on Netflix streaming.)
If you’re still here, thank you for bearing with me through my ranting. I thought that I would share one of my recent go-to meals — egg salad. I make lots of varieties of this recipe, substituting eggs with salmon, chick peas, etc. and adding different veggies, like carrots or onions. You will notice that I do use mayonnaise — which is a packaged food. However, the mayo that I use is Just Mayo and it’s healthy and contains only recognizable ingredients. (Learn more about Just Mayo here.) All packaged foods are not evil — but a lot are, so do your research and choose foods that are healthy and safe for your family.
For this simple egg salad I used hard-boiled cage-free, organic eggs; diced celery; halved grape tomatoes; mayonnaise; and a bit of dill, salt, and pepper. It’s delicious, nutritious, and easy.
P.S. We eat unhealthy, processed foods on occasion. I’m far from perfect. My main concern is that we don’t eat them often and that we don’t keep them in the house on a regular basis.
P.P.S. I’m proud to share that I’ve lost all of my “Marina” baby weight. I’ve still got thirty pounds to go until I reach my goal because I was holding onto some “Roman” baby weight and some “before Roman” weight, too. 😉
So what do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts about processed vs. whole foods. I’d also love to hear your favourite whole food recipes if you have any!