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?

8 comments:

inadvertent farmer said...

Now that is the question...could I? I don't know but am thinking I might try. Kim

inadvertent farmer said...

I'm taking my own challenge next month at NDiN...want to join me?

Di said...

Go for it and let us know what you think. We on the other hand will continue to eat our apples, tomatoes, berries... all stored, either frozen, refrigerated or dried from our harvests, therefore processed?

I am quite curious as to what you will be able eat?

G-B said...

I think I'd be much more successful in the height of summer. ;) We're getting to the end of the stored potatoes, and the girls aren't laying well due to the cold we've had lately.

Hmmm...interesting to think about!

Teresa said...

I've debated over whethter to reply or not because our current definition of processed may not be the same one as yours, but here is what are last two weeks has consisted of....
Our son has asthma and severe allergies which have gotten worse this past year- we have tried numerous avenues to help him. We have just started the gut and psychology syndrome diet- specifically for him but- for the whole family. We have had to cut back on anything that is "processed" and use only fresh/ frozen produce that has does not have any additives in it. It has been a hard transistion- not from a taste viewpoint- but from a time and preparation standpoint. No longer is meatloaf a dish that can be prepared in an hour- but now one has to think about taking the fresh tomatoes and making your own ketchup. Yes- we could do without meatloaf- but- it was a food that all seven of us will eat without complaints. We have all seen major health benefits: our son's asthma has disappeared, we have seen an increase in positive behavior and an air of "calm" in the house that has not been there. It has really taken the edge of everyone. The biggest help has been the addition of an appliance- the vitamix. I can make fresh soups and smoothies in a blink of the eye and feel as though we are all eating well. I have learned a lot- how to make our own cranberry juice, ketchup, etc. but it takes time. Time that is hard to come by some days- especially with a large family. It is a challenge that I don't think I would have embarked upon without the extra push of needing to try something radical for our son, but it is one that has taught me and continues to teach me more every day. It has changed the way I view food. I used to view it as a pleasure and a way to celebrate. I no longer view it that way, but rather as a means to nourish our bodies to perform the work that we are called to do.
So, to make a long story short- DO IT!! Take the plunge and try to go off of processed foods. See where the journey takes you- what do you have to lose?

Callie said...

I try very hard to stay away from processed food and just eat fresh. I have done it, but find myself drifting back to store bought mayo, butter, bread, mustard, vinegar and pickles, stuff I don't make. But then I will go back to no bread, lemons for seasoning, and fresh fruit and veggies, organic chicken and eggs and dried fruit and nuts, etc.

Unless you grow your own feed, grow your own food and raise your own meat animals, you really don't know what is in the food you eat. It is very difficult to find and only eat food that has not been processed in some way and had "things" added or taken out or been exposed (and picked up) to the chemicals used to clean the equipment the food passes through.

If you have ever read about the percentage of rat feces, etc., that is allowed in grain, cereals, etc., then you know that lots of stuff gets in processed food that we really don't want to know about. The less processed food I eat the better I feel.

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Callie, LOL about the rat feces,insect parts,hair and fibers in food. There is a food & soil testing lab near me, and I work there once in awhile. The test is called light filth,makes me glad I grow my own food. A sample of product is sent and pieces scrutinized under a microscope. Fragments, etc, are tabulated and if there isn't "too" much according to the FDA it passes.

Grains and dried fruits seem to be the worst. Makes no difference if it is organic or not. Not surprising there are food recalls all the time...

Kevin Kossowan said...

I'd agree that it's a pretty all-catching term, and I'd agree that cooked food, for example, could not be deemed to be processed.

As an example of what I CAN exclude: we were shopping the other day at a supergrocer, and my wife snagged a jar of pickles. As we ate them that week, I took a look at the jar, wondering where they grew that varietal of cucumber. India. Pickles from India. That's just ridiculous, when the other pickles in the fridge are lactic fermented mixed garden veg...

Answer: no. I have kids that are into cheerios and soda crackers. I think I could do it easily if moose and pork I butchered and froze is not included as processed... but only way to really know is to actually do it...

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails

ShareThis