1/3. 33%. 1 in every 3.
Author: Rania Renno of Hungrily Homemade
Holy crap. One in every three American adults are obese. I read, then re-read, then fact-checked, and then died a little inside. The CDC reported that in 2012, U.S. obesity rates were approximately 35%. This is outrageous. How can one in every three American adults be obese? The answer is super simple—processed foods. The definition of processed foods given by the FDA is “any food other than a raw agricultural commodity, includeing any raw agricultural commodity that has been subject to processing, such as canning, cooking, freezing, dehydration, or milling.” Think about that. Processed foods constitute about 70% of our grocery stores. Yes, this includes things like yogurt, baby food, and hey, get this—even veggies on most occasions. There are tons of reasons why foods have moved away from their clean, organic state and into intense processing, but if I had to simplify it into two buckets, I would call them Culture of Convenience and Corporate Greed. The sad part about all of this is that our Culture of Convenience has fueled and fed Corporate Greed. With a simple change of attitude and eating behaviors, we can fix this. It’s simple, really. Here are some easy ways to move away from processed foods and toward healthier, cleaner, more sustainable eating habits:
- Pre-packaged: The very first is to avoid anything that comes pre-packaged and ready to eat in a matter of minutes. Fast food is not real food. Food that feeds your body usually takes a little bit of preparation and effort on your part. But, there are some times where it’s necessary to buy pre-packaged food—that’s fine! But please… read the ingredients on the back of your food. Here’s my rule: if I can’t easily access the ingredients that are listed on the back, I’m not buying the product. Listen guys, cake should only have a few ingredients, all of which you can pronounce and find in any market or store. Any pre-packaged stuff that tells you otherwise is wrong.
- Framers Markets: Find your nearest farmers market and frequent it. Farmers markets typically carry fresh, local ingredients. Yes, you will see veggies that are un-waxed (*GASP*). But, what the heck is wax doing on my apples in the first place!? Farmers markets will hold in-season foods. That means the fruits and veggies are not picked while they’re completely unripe and ripened with some gaseous spray.
- Make meals, not just dinner: Finally, take time to prepare your meals with your family. Meals do not have to take forever to make. You can even spend one evening (lets say Sunday) preparing your meals for the week. So, help us in our movement to eradicate chemicals that poison our bodies! Make it a conscious effort to always learn about where your food is coming from and how it has been prepared. Corporations respond to what the public will purchase. If we demand organic, clean, unprocessed foods, this is what they will provide. It’s economics really—demand drives supply (on most occasions). I challenge you to change your lifestyle and to look at food from a different perspective. Just like you fill your car with gas, our bodies also need to be fueled. You don’t put weird liquids in your car just because it looks like gas. Why should we do that with our food? It’s easy-peasy, lemon squeezy! Ready, set, go!