This post is part of my series commemorating October Unprocessed, a month-long initiative to commit to eating only unprocessed foods.
A few years ago, I was attending a health talk when I overheard a fellow attendee say to her friend off-handedly, “Oh, I never eat anything from a box.”
When I heard this I thought this lady sounded quite holier-than-thou. “Does she live on Mars?” I wondered.
At that time I thought avoiding packaged foods was impractical and silly. But as I learnt more about the various artificial ingredients commonly found in processed and packaged food and their detrimental effects on our health, I began to understand why this lady had made the commitment to avoid processed food.
Today I’m very conscious about the packaged and processed food I buy. I’m not looking to ‘convert’ anyone into going unprocessed, but food is something I’m really passionate about and I think it’s vital that we eat well. So here’s why I think it’s so important to eat unprocessed food as much as possible.
- Most processed, packaged foodstuffs can no longer be considered real food as they’re so far removed from their natural ingredients. Often they’re laced with various additives, artificial flavours and colours, preservatives and flavour enhancers like MSG. Some artificial ingredients and additives are suspected to cause various health issues such as weight gain, digestive problems, and hyperactivity in children to name a few. Personally, I’d rather avoid having questionable ingredients in my food.
- If you find reading labels and ingredient lists confusing, it’s actually easier to just avoid processed food altogether as much as possible. A simple way to peace of mind.
- We can’t always rely on regulatory agencies to prevent questionable ingredients from appearing in our foodstuffs. Food standards vary across countries and sometimes it can take a long time for a questionable ingredient to be banned or phased out. Instead, it is up to us as consumers to take responsibility for our own well-being, which starts with switching to unprocessed foods.
- Unprocessed food tastes better. Yes, it’s not as handy as heating a frozen dinner or opening a foil packet, but once your tastebuds get accustomed to homemade food prepared with wholesome, high-quality ingredients, you’ll naturally never go back to the boxed version.