In our first postin the Step Away from the Can Series, I told you about my fast-food childhood, and my slow transition away from processed food. Today we will discuss why we should give up processed food, for our health, our economy and for the environment.
We've literally grown up eating processed food, to the point that most of us never thought twice about it. Cereal for breakfast, candy for snacks, and pizza or burgers for dinner was just our way of life. When I began to realize that the food industry was not in business to keep me healthy, I started to educate myself, and I discovered a lot of things that needed to change.
It seemed overwhelming: so many things to change in my own diet, not to mention even attempting to change the mammoth food industry as a whole. But all I could do was begin with myself and try to educate others so they could make their own intelligent choices. A friend introduced me to a book called Nourishing Traditionsthat totally changed the way I think about food, along with a few other books ( like this one).
The first thing I began to eliminate from my diet was artificial sweeteners. The news was reporting studies that aspartame was definitively linked to cancer.
I grew up drinking diet soda. Sugar is bad, right? But now the alternative is going to kill us. Wonderful.
Next I saw studies of artificial colors linked to brain disorders such as autism and even tumors and cancer. I began studying the ingredients lists more carefully now, and started wondering what all of those other unpronounceable ingredients were. Research into each ingredient resulted in some unsettling information.
Every ingredient was questionable at best, and this is where it began: my disillusionment with the food system in America. Up until this point I trusted the food supply. I realized now that food corporations weren’t trustworthy: they were after the bottom line, no matter how many corners needed cutting. I realized that cheap food comes at a cost, but I still didn’t understand the extent of that cost.
Stay tuned for the next installment in our Step Away from the Can series: Organic Food, 101.
To see the first post in the series: A Beginner's Guide to Ditching Processed Food For Good, click here.