Is life possible without processed food?

This is exactly the reaction of people when I tell them about the dangers of eating processed food and the importance of reading the labels. (On reading the labels, I guess I need to have a separate tag for that!). Most of us are convinced that it is not possible to read the list of ingredients for each and every item that they purchase and we have a mindset that as far as something looks clean and flashy, it is okay to eat. I understand it takes time to develop that habit of carefully picking up what you eat and what you feed your children with, but that is no excuse.

Palm nuts, guava, cucumber and sweet potatoes

It is we who have complicated our lives replacing our traditional food with the mass market products like cereals and get fooled that the nutrient values are the same. I am a strong advocate of this line "Don't eat anything your grandma doesn't recognize as food". It is a simple line, but makes a lot of sense. Here are some simple tips to begin with:

  1. Nurse your child and avoid formula as much as you can. Never give up to useless advice like 'breast milk is not enough for your baby' or ' you are spoiling your baby' and so on. 
  2. Making baby food at home is much healthier and less expensive. You don't need to buy any expensive food processors, but just steam and mash anything that you eat. You can find ample resources on websites 
  3. Give your children soaked nuts, fruits, yogurt and home made snacks instead of chips and store bought cookies. Teach them about healthy eating habits right from the beginning
  4. Include healthy fat in your diet- butter, ghee, coconut oil, gingelly oil, etc instead of margarine and refined oil. Remember that anything that you don't remember using back home is not fit for consumption- be it corn oil or rice bran oil. Even the commercially available palm oil is not advisable
  5. It is always better to eat whole fruits than drinking as a juice as it destroys its nutrients. If at all you feel like drinking juice, never drink the store bought ones
  6. Buy fresh, full cream milk instead of low fat options. Low fat dairy are loaded with chemicals to enhance their taste
  7. Always make it a point to consume only fresh meat- be it fish or red meat and never even think of buying those frozen, processed ones. It is better to skip the meat and replace it with vegetables and eggs instead of eating those highly processed ones. 
  8. Never buy any packaged food which has more than five ingredients and the ones that you don't understand. Avoid Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) in any form
  9. Don't use any artificial flavours or colours in your kitchen though it is only used in a small amount. You can eat that chicken 65 with its natural colour instead of that bright, red artificial dye. 
It might sound too complicated, but if you go back to your childhood days you would remember that your mother followed the same plan just that she was unaware of this. Remember you are doing injustice to your health and that of your family's by being ignorant and giving in to the false 'convenience'. 


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