I grew up in the era of processed food.
This was a way of life for my generation, and we didn’t know any other way. If someone pointed out that everything I ate in a given day was processed in some way, I wouldn’t even care, much less know what that meant. Looking back, I cringe at the things I once ate, and I marvel that people still eat this way.
Whenever I venture into the grocery store there are inevitably people with carts loaded full of popular processed items: TV dinners, ice cream, packaged snacks, breakfast waffles and canned everything. I remind myself that there was a time when I didn’t see anything wrong with these items either, and I realize how important it is to educate people on nutrition and the dangers of processed food. My food education came in stages.
You could say I was privileged in that my parents were very health-conscious. This probably gave me an interest in health and a knowledge that the food we eat does matter. Still, I bought into the idea that food is food, and that the government and food companies wouldn’t allow anything into the marketplace that was harmful for us.
Slowly, though, I started to see the world differently. I began to realize that huge billion dollar food companies were just that: profit-centered businesses. I began to realize that my health was my own responsibility. I felt betrayed by the system, and abandoned in a world that didn't care whether I lived or died, as long as they made some money off of me while I was here.
I began to educate myself. I realized that all of the information I needed was out there. I just had to find it. And with the internet these days, if we have anything in abundance, it's information. Knowledge is power, and I was about to empower myself to a whole new level.
Stay tuned for more in the Step Away from the Can series: Big Food is Not Our Friend; so you can learn how to kick that can to the curb and ditch processed food for good!