Today I’m throwing it back to a time when I would eat junk food like it wasn’t a huge problem. YIKES! – we’ve all been there, right?
WEIRD because I basically I grew up in a house that almost never had candy, chips, or soda at an arm’s reach.
I think what really makes junky processed foods SO alluring is that they’re easy to eat & packed full of flavor – WAY too much flavor than necessary.
Crazy thing though : While inhaling an entire bag of chips or cookies, I never ever wondered “Oh gosh, I wonder what makes these so damn good?” … Until one day I randomly decided to read past the nutrition facts & glimpse the ingredients label.
MAN, what a totally eye-opening, life-changing moment that was!
Like, curiosity killed the cat?
… NOPE, just my appetite.
Not even being extra ( okay maybe a lil’ – who am I KIDDING ), but just WTF was sodium stearoyl lactylate? High fructose corn syrup? Sorbic acid? Artificial flavors?
These are all ingredients commonly found in highly processed foods – kind of as if we’re eating out of a chem lab instead of a kitchen.
I decided I wasn’t a fan & I wanted to cut down on the unnecessary chemicals going into my body – food should just be food, y’know? & thinking back, these processed foods tasted good for about 2 mins before I ended up feeling sluggish & gross – just not the best version of myself AT ALL.
The Skinny on Processed Foods
So exactly how do you distinguish between highly processed foods & minimally processed foods?
Minimally processed foods usually have a VERY short ingredient list consisting of super simple, no-BS ingredients that you prob would’ve found in your great grandmother’s kitchen about 100 years ago. These foods are much more nutritious & are most likely lower in calories. There may be some fats ( super important when it comes to a balanced diet ) but absolutely NO trans fats. These foods also keep you naturally energized, so having caffeine is less of a life-or-death situation. ( Ok, but there are STILL those days where I’m not worth a damn thing before coffee – HA! )
On the other hand, if you look at the ingredient lists of highly processed foods, you’ll probably find some new words to add to your vocab. A lot of these sketchy ingredients are used in order to 1. increase the shelf life 2. improve the flavor that disappears when the food isn’t as fresh anymore.
Sounds a lot like cheating, doesn’t it?
Highly processed foods aren’t going to be doing you any favors when it comes to attaining a balanced lifestyle because they’re FULL of empty calories – meaning you’d get hungry a lotttt faster. They’ll also make you feel like a sloth – still cute, but super lazy / tired.
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I’m not saying that I 100% avoid processed foods. It’s honestly almost impossible to completely cut out processed foods in this day & age – unless you’re on the paleo diet. Which, I mean, GO YOU!
Butttttt, if ya know me well, you’d know that I’m OBSESSED with XXTRA Flamin’ Hot Cheetos & jalapeño chips. I also adore pizza. They’re totally my guilty pleasures & it’s soooo bad … but hey, I’m human, too!
What I AM saying is that it’s smart to slowly cut these things out of your diet. Nothing TOO drastic … maybe eat out of portion-controlled bowls instead of taking it to your in-bed Netflix sesh & eating straight outta the bag ( guilty ? ).
It’s all about MODERATION!
Really & truly, our bodies
want CRAVE the natural stuff. That’s how we were built, & that’s how it was before processed foods made their conveniently terrible entrance.
So, let’s chat : What’s your biggest guilty pleasure food? & if you have, what are some ways you were able to cut it out of your diet? DO TELL.
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