Why Avoid Processed Foods? 5 Important Reasons

Young woman in the supermarketWant to know why avoid processed foods?

First of all, what IS a processed food?

A processed food is a food item that has been bagged, canned, jarred, boxed or gone through some other process that changes it from its natural state to something else.

A processed food does not occur in nature in that state and typically has preservatives, hydrogenated oils, sugars, salt and often artificial colors and flavors to make it appear more appealing to the grocery store customer.

In fact, the more ingredients listed indicates the food item has been highly processed. Examples of processed foods you will find in the store: cereals, bread, cookies, mac-n-cheese, pizza, crackers, potato chips.

Okay so if it's not a processed food what is it?

The opposite of a processed food is a whole food.

A whole food is a food items that is exactly or very close to how it presents in nature without any added ingredients. Examples of whole foods are fresh produce of all kinds, eggs, 100% whole grain brown rice, fish, poultry and meats with no added ingredients.

Not all processed foods are bad and the convenience of some is often understandable. But, in most cases, however, avoiding processed foods and choosing whole foods is preferable.

Why avoid processed foods?

Here are 5 important reasons to avoid processed foods, especially if you are wanting to lose weight and be healthy:

1. Salty Risks.  According to nutritional experts processed foods have a ridiculous amount of sodium. Many processed foods far surpass the recommended limit of 2,300 milligrams per day. Too much sodium puts us at very high risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, stomach cancer and kidney disease, according to the American Heart Association.

2. Sugar Coated. Processed foods often contain lots of added sugar. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, too much sugar in your daily diet can lead to decay of teeth, obesity, type 2 diabetes, unhealthy cholesterol levels and heart disease. Additionally, if you eat processed foods full of sugar, you won't have room in your belly for all the healthy whole foods that protect and enhance your health and wellbeing.

3. Bad Fats Abound. Processed foods often contain trans fats which come from partially hydrogenated fat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that if there can be a reduction of trans fats in the food supply we might see a reduction of 7,000 deaths from heart disease each year and up to 20,000 heart attacks each year because trans fats build up plaque in the arteries and this can contribute to heart attack. Whoa. Enough said.

4. Chemicals, Additives, Preservatives! Oh My! MSG, BHT, BHA... it's alphabet soup and there have been many research studies linking these additives to severe health problems.  Processed foods most often contain chemicals to increase shelf life and artificially enhance flavor... so you'll keep eating it.... Think about this... Do you want this in your body?

5. Genetically Modified and Pesticide Laden. I don't want to get into the GMO debate, I do want to say, though, if a plant created in a laboratory or factory rather than coming up from the earth naturally it might not be well-received by your body.

Processed foods also most often contain pesticides.  Pesticides are poison sprayed on crops to keep insects away.

Do you want to eat poison? I don't.

Buy and eat organic whole foods instead of processed foods for optimum health and wellbeing.

The next time you're strolling through the grocery, opt for the fresh and frozen produce, eggs, wild caught fish over all the colorful boxed and canned items.

Weight: Mind Your Body Over 40

How to help your body and manage healthy weight over 40

By the time we hit our 40's, we women really start to realize that the body seems to have a mind of it's own.

We can no longer bake in the sun working for that golden tan without paying the steep price of leathered skin.

Gone are the days of noshing on an entire bag of chips and bouncing to the gym the next day to work it off easy-peasy.

The upside of this slippery slope is that we can begin to realize and REVERE the fact that this body has not only a mind of its own but a wisdom. An intelligence.

With hormones gone awry, metabolism halting with a seeming screech and a growing desire to be deeply connected and respectful of what our bodies are trying to tell us, many middle aged women are seeking holistic weight loss solution.

We don't want the stimulant diet pills or the plans where we eat only pickles for weeks, lose a lot of weight only to gain it all back later. We don't want to spend hours daily pumping iron and racing on the treadmill (okay, some of us love that! but many of us don't, right?).

We are seeking a softer path. One that's easier on the joints and meanders flexibly within our very full lives. We have teenagers, careers, community projects, meaningful hobbies, relationships to nurture.  We want to FEEL good in our bodies.

We want our eyes to shine and our skin to be clear with a glow from the inside that comes from leading a healthy, well-balanced life.

There are so many lifestyle changes that can be made in order to observe a holistic plan for wellness and weight loss. It all begins, though, with learning to "mind the body."

Mindfulness is the practice of paying close attention without judging. Try it right now. Sit where you are. Look up from your computer or device and gaze around you. Try to just notice. Pay close attention to the objects and sounds in and around the room you're in without labeling anything. Without analyzing. Without judging anything as good, bad, pretty, ugly. Just notice it.

Now, if we can apply this same process to our bodies.... with a healthy dose of deep reverence for the wisdom our bodies are just waiting to share with us...

If you eat something... say... a big hunk of bread... and you notice 10 minutes later your belly is really bloated... there might be some information to notice there.

If you notice your lips are cracked and dry no matter how much moisturizer you put on them... there is likely a message there to uncover.

Many times we need a health practitioner to help us figure out what messages our body is sending us. Sometimes we need supplementation of particular vitamins or minerals.  And sometimes if we listen, pay close enough attention without giving way to frustration with the messages (a.k.a. symptoms) we might just feel our way to a new direction.. maybe an answer.

If our bodies feel stiff and tight from sitting all day, some stretching and moving is in order. But how often do we continue to sit and sit and sit because we have a work deadline or we just ignore the body's signals?

Same thing with weight loss for women.  Weight loss for women over 40, especially.  If we are carrying excess weight the body has some information for us. In order to release that excess weight we have to tune in to what the body needs first and foremost.

Holistic weight loss for women over 40 begins with a profound choice to slow down, tune in, breathe deeply and mind your body. Listen.... really listen. Look for the softer path...


Weight Loss for Women Over 40: Mind your Mind

Weight Loss for Women Over 40: Mind your MINDlady meditating sunset

A holistic approach to releasing excess weight from the body requires examination and addressing yourself as a WHOLE person.

Holistic weight loss for women over 40 requires taking a close look at the thoughts we are thinking, the beliefs we are operating from, the actions we are taking often without awareness in relationship to the physical body and the spirit of who you really are. 

Let's take a peek at the power of your MIND...

Your thoughts are directing and attracting your life experiences so you might as well learn to harness the power of your thoughts consciously and healthfully, right?

Here are  just 3 simple tools to train your brain...

Mind Your Mind...

1. Catch and Release. Begin observing the thoughts that pop into your head. Notice thoughts occurring just as you over-hear a conversation at the next table in a restaurant. Tune in. Pay attention and remember this: You do not need to BELIEVE everything you think.... Catch your thoughts and make a choice as to whether to keep the thought or throw it away, let it go, release it.

2. Flip the script. Ever heard of "stinkin' thinkin'?"  This is when negative, discouraging strings of thoughts run through your mind. When you are able to catch "stinkin' thinkin'" and consciously STOP and turn it around to a statement of thanks. For example, if you notice yourself thinking, "Ugh, I hate my body! None of my clothes fit anymore and I look so fat!" you would catch that negative train of thought, and consciously and decidedly flip it to, "I am so grateful for this body. I am grateful my legs carry me around, my arms are able to hold my child, my eyes are able to see this beautiful sky..." A regular practice of flipping the script will begin to yield less stress in your mind and body and more peace.

3. Be gentle. Once you start really noticing the thoughts that happen unconsciously you might notice a pattern of thinking that is very harsh, critical - even cruel. Choose to be gentle. Here, not only do you flip the actual script of thoughts, you soften the tone of your thoughts. Being gentle with yourself means to allow yourself to feel compassion for the pain you have experienced in your life and for the trials you may currently be experiencing.  You may notice you have a lot of harsh judgments of others as well. Choose to be gentle in your mind instead.

Mindfulness practice begins with deciding to really pay close attention to what you are thinking without beating yourself up for what you notice.

Holistic weight loss for women over 40 begins in the mind.  We work on observing what thoughts are driving our experiences and we consciously shift and change what we are thinking and the way we are thinking.

Losing weight (and keeping it off!) happens when the mind shifts into a groove of observing, accepting what is in order to allow for change in actions to take place with ease and alignment.


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