Seven Tips And Homemade Alternatives To Processed Foods
Processed foods or food that is processed before you purchase it and is ready to heat and eat is very convenient. It saves time, money, and work, which is great because so many of us are in a hurry to get other important things done. The question is… are we also hurrying to an early grave? The answer is an unfortunate yes. Many of these every day foods that we purchase because they are fast and easy are helping us to a fast and easy grave. The ingredients that are meant to preserve the life of the product are doing nothing to preserve the life of the consumer… that is certain.
Fortunately, we can get back to doing things the “Hard Way” because the hard way is really not that hard, especially when it is so much healthier, say organic food. Would you purposefully feed your loved ones poison in order to shave a few minutes off the end of your day? Of course not; however, we have been programmed not to think in terms of healthy by years and years of advertising to the contrary. Here are at least seven ways that will not help you shave minutes off your day, but just might add years to your life.
1. Yippy-Ki-Yi-Yah Trail Mix
Trail Mix may sound like something a cow hand would eat at night after a hard day’s work of driving cattle but it is actually an extremely healthy snack. Maybe that why there are so many old cowboys. Wyatt Earp lived to see his 90’s. The nuts in the mix are very nutritious but are also high in calories. Going light on the nuts, say, ¾ of a cup, with 2 cups chex or other cereal… like Total, (See number seven before you decide) with air-popped pop-corn and perhaps, some fresh raisins and you have a snack that will make you want to get along, little doggie.
2. Salad Dressing
Salad Dressings seem harmless enough and many say “All Natural” right on the bottle. Did you really think it would be that easy? Read the “All Natural” ingredients and you will find about eight different and often unpronounceable ways to say sugar. Instead, make a grab for the Extra Virgin Olive Oil, the red wine vinegar, and then get creative. Honey, honey mustard, lemon pepper, lemon or lime juice, or any other natural ingredients and you have a great tasting salad dressing that is actually good for you.
Okay, not only is ketchup extremely high in sugars and sodium… it is also the one condiment we simply cannot keep in stock. I cannot count how many after dark trips I have made to the convenience store for an overpriced bottle of the delicious red sauce. Fortunately, we can make it at home and make it better for us. (Plus it tastes better) It starts, of course, with pureed tomatoes. The rest is easy and may already be lurking in your cabinets. Do not worry about how much of each because you can wing it, do it differently every time and still make fantastic ketchup… every time. (Use it on top of your world famous meatloaf as well)
- Brown sugar
- Cider vinegar
4. Quick… Boil Some Spaghetti
Speaking of tomatoes sauces, Pasta Sauce is another one of those foods that we take for granted has our best health interests at heart and we grab them off the shelves like the jars were lined with money. In fact… much like catsup, they dress up the flavor with tons of salts and mucho sugars. If lot’s wife had not turned into a pillar of salt, she would have become a can of tomato sauce. Make your own!
With some minced garlic, sauté chopped or pureed tomatoes in a fry pan. Add your olive oil, fresh ground pepper and salt. (Sea salt is the best option here) You can also add green peppers, shredded parmesan cheese or any other ingredient that you enjoy in your Italian sauces. Your homemade sauce is not all jacked up with preservatives, sugars, or salts and can be frozen for use at a later date.
5. Alternative to the Eternal Corn Chip
Corn chips are nice and crispy and taste great with just about any type of dipping… especially salsa. The thing is, you can lay that corn chip on the counter and it will still be crispy next week. That is because it is 5% corn and 95% preservative. Try this instead. Puree some tomatoes and add some sour cream, chives, chopped onion, and a little pickle relish. Now slice raw beets (Or carrots!) into thin slices and use for dipping. It is a crisp and crunchy treat that is far better for you than the corn chips and the home made salsa will not keep you up all night with heartburn.
6. The Better of Two Breakfast Evils
Processed meat is bad for you; however, if you are at a friend’s house and are given the breakfast option of sausage patties or center cut bacon, which do you suppose would be better for you? True, neither is a great option thanks to the high salt or sodium content. Still, one is better for you than the other. In this instance, you do not want to be an ungrateful guest so choose the bacon. Center cut bacon is high in salt but only contains about 25 calories per serving. One or two slices will be just fine.
7. They’re not Great… They’re Shooooooocking!
As long as we are talking about processed food, breakfast, and food that is bad for you, let’s talk about cereal. The funny thing is that we do not realize what we are feeding our children because of television commercials that are so busy telling us how good they are for us. There are exceptions like Total and Chex, but the sugar based cereals have something in them that may shock you. Forget the artificial sugar, forget the dyes, you can even scratch the partially hydrogenated oils. Watch out for BUTYLATED HYDROXYANISOLE.
It is very bad for your children and adults, animals, etc. That is, of course, unless they are already dead since Butylated Hydroxyanisole is found in embalming fluid and antifreeze. Really, it is in there, although we cannot for the life of us tell you why outside of preserving cereal.
Better choices are available, such as Quinoa or Millet with granola, steel cut oats, and maybe your favorite dried fruit. Pour on the 1% low fat milk and you have a hearty, fiber filled breakfast that will not embalm you.
There is Much More Online
These seven tips are fantastic alternatives and give you an idea of what wonderful foods we can come up with at home that do not take up a ton or time and will not push us to an early grave. Facebook and other social media websites are a great place to get recipes like these. Pinterest is particularly good at having healthy alternatives. However, there are survival groups that have recipes that will blow your socks off. Keep eating healthy and break the processed foot habit before it is too late.