Now that we’ve determined why real food is important, how do we start to make the switch? Here are three easy tips to start cutting processed food:
1. Plan a week’s worth of meals in produce and protein. Before you go grocery shopping, know what meat and produce you need for the week. It’s when we run out of the good stuff — veggies and protein — that we resort to “easy” frozen or boxed meals that pack a punch of preservatives and other additives. My weekly staples include:
- sweet potatoes
- other seasonal or on-sale veggies
- bacon (nitrate and nitrite free)
- eggs (organic and free-range, although I hear pastured is best)
- chicken breasts
- grass-fed ground meat
2. Season the natural way, with herbs and spices. Instead of supplementing meals with MSG-laden Ranch Dressing or BBQ sauce sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, create your own sauces or marinades with any combination of the following ingredients:
- raw honey
- olive oil
- coconut oil
- apple cider vinegar
3. Don’t avoid fat. Some fats are good. If you want to read about which ones and why, check out this article. For the sake of simplicity and staying sane, don’t get overwhelmed with the details. Remember, keep your food close to the way God created it. Cold-pressed oils created from almond, coconut or olives are healthier, because they’re created (basically) just by squeezing. Canola oil, on the other hand, is usually created from a genetically modified hybrid seed that is heated and chemically extracted from a petroleum-derived solvent hexane. If that goes over your head, it shouldn’t go in yo’ mouth!
As for dairy products, before my family went Paleo, we stopped buying non-fat cheese or milk and went for the whole versions. We didn’t gorge ourselves on cream for every meal, but we enjoyed the real deal and got full quicker, so we ate less.
Have you ever noticed that skim milk has a bluish tint? Many companies try to whiten their milk by adding powdered skim, which is produced under heat and high pressure, oxidizing the cholesterol. Read: processing and altering the natural state. If you aren’t convinced that’s a bad thing, Spanish researchers have said oxidized cholesterols are carcinogenic and mutagenic. That should STEER you away from skim.
So, there you have it. Give yourself some grace as you make these changes. They won’t all come easily and become habit in one shopping trip, and cutting processed foods 100 percent will be difficult.
When you do fall back to some of the old processed staples, don’t get too discouraged. There’s no use crying over spilled milk. You should really cry because the milk is blue and fortified with cancer-causing grossness. Just saying.