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Do It

Give Up All Processed Foods For A Week

Chelsea Frazee

Processed foods have little nutrition and contain ingredients not found in the natural world. Even foods that are considered healthy because they are low fat or low calorie have little to offer you. Like pretzels. Pretzels might not add a lot of calories to your diet, but they also don't add a lot of nutrients. Challenge yourself to cut out all processed foods for a week. It will most likely require some planning on your part, but I guarantee that you will feel the difference after a week.

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41 others are in

  • Sanhith Chowdary
  • Isha Gupta
  • Emma Hafkemeyer
  • Mimi Moffatt
  • Faviana Fabiano
  • Baldr Van Gorp

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  • Chelsea Frazee

    I'm excited you're trying this out! That's a really great blog that you found. I really like the definition that he uses because it really does get down to the problem of processed foods. There's a whole bunch of crap in them that we don't need to be eating.

    I also like his definition because some food can be considered processed depending on where you purchase it. For example, pick up a loaf of bread at the grocery store and read the ingredients. Even brands like Open Nature have at least one ingredient in their bread that you wouldn't find in a bread recipe if you were making it at home. Go to a farmers market or bakery and look at the ingredients in their bread. Those ingredients will resemble a recipe you've seen.

    If you haven't been on foodgawker before, you should check it out. It's a great place to find a ton of recipes (some good for, some not so much).

    • Hannah Kim

      I just got done doing this and it was ... difficult. I didn't realize how much food around me was processed! At first, I thought I'd just have to stay away from instant meals/junk food but I came to realize that SO MUCH of the food around me was processed. I tried to make everything on my own and not rely on anything pre-made- so I stuck a lot with vegetables and brown rice.
      Even some oil is processed so sometimes I would boil vegetables instead of fry them.
      I think it made me feel healthier- but Im definitely going to need to try it for longer than a week to get more tangible results!
      It was really cool though, I want to keep it up! :)
      It forces you to be self-reliant and creative- instead of making something out of pre-made ingredients (butter, milk, bread etc) you have to make everything on your own, as well as find creative ways to mix up the food you're eating so you don't get bored.
      It's a challenge but very much worth it!

    • Hannah Kim

      Yeah exactly! It's so much more intense than I thought at first glance. I like it because it forces you be reliant on yourself- basically if you can't make it yourself you can't really eat it (i.e. almond milk, butter, processed bread).
      Oh, I recently posed a question to the GOOD community, I'd love your feedback if you get a chance. It's about being vegetarian and even if you're not vegetarian I think your insight into healthy eating (giving up processed foods) would be really interesting for the good community: http://www.good.is/posts/goodanswers-i-m-going-vegetarian-and-unsure-how-to-start-what-are-some-yummy-and-easy-ways-for-me-to-get-pl

  • Hannah Kim

    I'm going to do this, this upcoming week and I'll check back in next Wed with how it went! :)

    However, it's so hard to know what food is processed sometimes- besides the obvious junk food- even food that is seemingly "natural" can be made from processed ingredients. So if anyone has any information that will help me navigate the difference between processed/unprocessed food that would be awesome.
    or...
    Does anyone have any tips for things I should avoid? Or some yummy recipes to help me out this week? Please share!

    • Chelsea Frazee

      I'm excited you're trying this out! That's a really great blog that you found. I really like the definition that he uses because it really does get down to the problem of processed foods. There's a whole bunch of crap in them that we don't need to be eating.

      I also like his definition because some food can be considered processed depending on where you purchase it. For example, pick up a loaf of bread at the grocery store and read the ingredients. Even brands like Open Nature have at least one ingredient in their bread that you wouldn't find in a bread recipe if you were making it at home. Go to a farmers market or bakery and look at the ingredients in their bread. Those ingredients will resemble a recipe you've seen.

      If you haven't been on foodgawker before, you should check it out. It's a great place to find a ton of recipes (some good for, some not so much).

  • David Zimmerman

    Where do you start? Would love to see a timeline that anyone has put together for a weeklong period, to get some inspiration.

    • Chelsea Frazee

      I don't have a timeline or set menu for a week. It really depends on what kind of food you enjoy. My suggestions would be to plan out your menu for the week and prepare as much of it as you can before the week starts. The key is that most of your food is homemade from fresh ingredients.

      Below are some examples of what a typical week looks like for me, but I eat a mostly vegetarian diet. It might be a little different for you. It might also depend on what you define as processed for yourself. For example, bread could be considered processed. I still eat bread, tortillas, pizza dough, etc. I go for the whole wheat or whole grain kind and make sure I understand the ingredients. Fresh made from a bakery is better than store bought.

      Breakfast Options: eggs scrambled with vegetables and a piece of toast, smoothie, oatmeal with banana and berries, quinoa cooked in almond milk with berries

      Lunch: veggie sandwich, quinoa salad, kale salad, left overs

      Dinner: veggie burger and yam wedges, stir fry with rice, lemon pepper chicken with veggies and rice, lentils cooked in taco seasoning and served with lettuce, tomato, and avacado

      Snacks: hummus and veggies or homemade pita chips, gaucamole, fresh fruits and vegetables, hard boiled egg, sliced apple with peanut or almond butter

      These are all just examples. I mix it up a lot and love to try new recipes. I'm also not perfect. I find it really hard to go without tortilla chips (which I guess I could make homemade but never have) and dark chocolate. In the end, it comes down to understanding where your food comes, what's in it, and how that affects your body.

      • Hannah Kim

        How do you define processed foods? I'm going to try to do this but I don't even know where to start -_-

    • Hillary Newman

      We should start an At The Pool veggie/non-processed dinner series.

      • David Zimmerman

        I'm not sure what that would entail, but I'm into it. First stop, Trader Joe's.

  • John Verway

    I switched to just a two egg omlete in the morning and a salad with or without chicken some days and lost 26 pounds over a three month period and never had more energy, ever.