Thursday, February 4, 2010

In the Kitchen - Can you live without Processed Food for a month?

Kim, The Inadvertent Farmer, was musing on Twitter last night and posed a question. “Can a person go without eating processed foods for a whole month? Could I?” That got me thinking. Could we do it here? Then I spent a sleepless night grappling with What Is Processed Food?

Webster defines processed (at least where it is most applicable to food) as, “to prepare or modify by a special series of actions directed to some end.”

Under that broad of a definition, nearly every food we eat is processed. However, most of us tend to define processed food in a much narrower sense. For us, “processed food” is food which has been chemically altered through additives such as flavors, flavor enhancers, binders, colors, fillers, preservatives, stabilizers, emulsifiers, etc., or which has been manufactured through combination or other methods. Generally speaking, if the ingredients aren’t “natural”, then we consider it to be processed.

So, using the second definition, could we live for a month without using processed food? I’m going to the cupboard to look at what we have and what would be considered processed.

This is not a comprehensive pile by any means, but it does show a bit of what we use regularly that fall in the "processed" category. Some of them would be fairly easy to give up or replace. Some of them would be a bit harder. The flour, yeast, and salt surprised me. Life at our house would be difficult without them. The tomato and apple are not in season here and are only available to us through special storage, waxing, and ripening processes. I'm not sure I'm ready to try a month without processed food, but I'm really thinking about it.

What would life be like for you without processed food?

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