Let's Take a Look at Some Processed Foods
Grocery stores are filled with processed foods. For example, let's look at Goldfish crackers and Cheerios. These are very popular foods that seem relatively benign as they're not very sweet.
Goldfish Cracker Ingredients: Unbleached Enriched Wheat Flour (Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Riboflavin [Vitamin B2], Folic Acid), Cheddar Cheese [(Pasteurized Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes), Annatto], Vegetable Oils (Sunflower, Canola and/or Soybean), Contains 2% or less of: Salt, Yeast, Sugar, Spices, Autolyzed Yeast, Leavening (Monocalcium Phosphate, Ammonium Bicarbonate, Baking Soda) and Onion Powder
"Unbleached enriched wheat flour" is a fancy way of saying refined flour that has been processed to remove all of the bran. Unfortunately, the refining process also results in most of the vitamins and minerals being removed from the flour. As described in Nourishing Traditions, "consumption of refined calories depletes the body's precious reserves". For this reason, foods like refined wheat flour and sugar should be considered "negative calories".
Vegetable oils like sunflower, canola, and/or soybean are oils that contain a very high amount of omega-6 fatty acid. According to The Skinny on Fats, consumption of excess omega-6 can lead to an "imbalance that can interfere with production of important prostaglandins. This disruption can result in increased tendency to form blood clots, inflammation, high blood pressure, irritation of the digestive tract, depressed immune function, sterility, cell proliferation, cancer and weight gain."
Autolyzed yeast is a flavor enhancer similar to MSG. Since it contains free glutamic acid, autolyzed yeast can lead to the same problems as MSG.
Cheerios are touted as "heart healthy" and "whole grain", but are they actually good for you? With all the media hype these days about whole grains, the "whole grain oats" sure sound good. However, improperly prepared whole grains can actually contribute to health problems such as cavities. Modified corn starch is a highly processed granular powder that sometimes contains MSG. But wait, aren't Cheerios fortified with vitamins? That means they must be good for you, right? Unfortunately, synthetic vitamins are not as easily assimilated as natural vitamins found in real food. There are also toxicity risks with synthetic vitamins (whereas consuming large amounts of natural vitamins in food does not pose the same risk). Don't even get me started on Froot Loops and Spaghettios!
Real Foods Research
Weston A. Price was a dentist who traveled the world trying to figure out why so many of his patients in the United States had such prevalent tooth decay and cavities. Price learned that people who ate traditional foods had virtually no cavities or tooth decay, nor even cancer, diabetes, or heart disease. When the same people started consuming modern foods (like refined white flour, pasteurized milk, canned foods, and sugar), those health problems did develop.
The diets of the people studied by Price were very different depending on what foods were available in each geographic region. However, the traditional diets had some common characteristics (from Nourishing Traditions).
- The people "ate liberally of seafood or other animal proteins and fats in the form of organ meats and dairy products,
- "they valued animal fats as absolutely necessary to good health,
- "and they ate fats, meats, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains in their whole, unrefined state."
Feed Your Children Real Foods
To ensure the best health and development of your children, their diets should have the same characteristics as traditional diets. This means your children should eat real foods, which are those that have not been refined or adulterated with chemicals. There should be an emphasis on consuming animal foods and fats, organic fruits and vegetables, and fermented foods.
People have relied upon real foods throughout history to ensure good health and proper development. While it may take some adjustment time and extra work in the kitchen, feeding your children a nourishing diet is the best way to give them robust health. The following links may help in easing the transition to real foods:
REAL FOOD FOR ROOKIES CLASS
10 Tips for Real Food Newbies
Zapping Sugar Cravings
Questions and Answers on Kids and Traditional Foods
Packing the Perfect Lunch Box
What I Put in My Kids' School Lunches
Healthy Meals and Snacks for the Back-to-School Season
10 Healthy, Nourishing School Lunches
This post is part of Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist, Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade, Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet, and Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop!