Let’s Get Fresh: Breaking the Cycle of Processed Foods
In simplest terms, processed foods have been heavily altered to maximize convenience, flavor, and shelf life (mmmm, preservatives). More than half of the calories in the typical American diet come from ultra-processed foods, an eyebrow-raising statistic considering the health risks. Fresh, unprocessed, natural food has recognizable ingredients rather than chemical preservatives. Just like Morrocco Method prides itself on completely fresh products with organic, wildcrafted ingredients, natural foods will keep your immune system working full throttle to keep you healthy.
What Makes Processed Foods So Bad?Ok, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the downsides of processed foods are no joke. While they often taste great, they’re loaded with sugar, fats, and salt, while lacking of fiber, vitamins, and other key nutrients. Here’s how they can affect you and why they’re so hard to leave behind.
They are designed to be addictive. It’s important to know that the food industry is very aware of our penchant for the sweet and salty. We naturally gravitate toward food that our taste buds find exciting. Manufacturers readily exploit this for profit, engineering processed foods to stimulate the brain’s “feel-good” center. Overpowering our better judgment, they leave us craving more, more, more.
They are packed full of artificial ingredients. The simplest fresh foods have no label at all, like fresh produce. If you look at the label of processed food, you’ll find that many of the ingredients are not food at all, but chemicals and additives meant to enhance color, flavor, and texture, plus those pesky preservatives to maximize shelf life (and therefore profit).
The same applies to over-engineered personal care products. Avoid chemical-laden self care, inside and out, with pure and natural Morrocco Method products.
They are too easily digestible. We digest processed foods much faster than unprocessed foods, burning fewer calories and feeling hungry again, right away. Unlike whole, unprocessed foods, eating these junk calories leads us to pack on the pounds, contributing to health issues like heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure.
Being the largest organ in the body, keep in mind that your skin also absorbs whatever is applied on it. Your hair and scalp will appreciate Morrocco Method products for the real, natural, chemical-free nourishment they offer to help heal previous damage and enhance your hair’s natural vibrance.
They lead to an increased risk for cancer. Studies confirm that a mere 10% increase in processed foods increases the risk of cancer by up to 12%. Breast cancer, in particular, has been associated with diet high in ultra-processed foods.
How best to choose fresh over processed?It’s not all bad news, I promise. Kicking processed food to the curb will make you feel better and even taste better. Once your taste buds adjust, you may find that you prefer the sweetness of a strawberry over the corn syrup crash. You’ll start to notice that you have more energy, your skin is happier, and your hair is healthier. Pair good food on the inside with naturally grown botanicals on the outside to strengthen your whole self. Here’s where to start:
- Eat local and seasonal. One of the best ways to get more fresh food in your diet is through farmer’s markets and local produce. Not only are you eating better food from people you can trust, farm-to-table cuts out the middle man and supports your local growers and farmers.
- Eat around the edges. If you can’t make it to the farmer’s market, or your favorite fruits and vegetables aren’t in season, eat around the edges of your local grocery store. You may notice that you don’t find produce or fresh meats in the center aisles, but around the edges of the store. The more you stay out of those middle rows full of processed, shelf-stable foods, the better your diet will be.
- Eat no-label or short-label foods. Eat as many no-label foods as you can get your hands on. These single ingredient beauties bring it back to basics in the best way. And while label reading may not be sexy, it should be, because there’s nothing delectable about those long lists of artificial ingredients. “Artificial flavoring” is a particularly icky one. It’s a blanket term for over 100 possible chemicals for a bit of ingredient roulette. For more information about the importance of reading labels, please refer to our article on the importance of understanding ingredients.
- Eat simpler and slower. Whether you love to cook or live on takeout, eating more mindfully is something anyone can do if you just slow down. Make food choices based on simple, whole foods and get your instant gratification from tasty fruit rather than packaged treats. If you are a lazy cook like me, explore one-pot recipes to keep even the cleanup simple.
Want to learn more about healthy eating, including more ways to support your immune system? Visit MyPlate.gov for more information. And remember, many of these same nutrients are just as good for your hair and scalp as they are for your tummy. Learn more about our 100% natural and nutritious ingredients so you can shine inside and out. And be kind to yourself – you deserve it.