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I am done with 'food products'...

post #1 of 65
Thread Starter 
After reading Michael Pollan's most recent books, and seeing the results of eating like shit for the past 2 years, I am essentially done with food products (ie, food that has been chemically modified- 90% of the items in most of today's grocery stores). It's now crystal clear to me that even in moderation, that stuff is BAD for you. Our clamoring to have cheap food, along with a couple of really abhorent laws passed years ago, has completely changed the food culture in the country.

For many reasons, I'm going to gradually change what I eat. I'm going to start making my local farmer's market my 1st food stop for the week. I'm going to strive to have 90% of my food 'whole'. I'm not going to count calories, because that says I'm dieting, which I'm not. I've simply become appalled at what the food industry now looks like.

I'm not becoming a vegetarian, and I'm not turning into an organic freak. I'm just going to practically cut processed/altered foods out, and see how it goes. I've had a strong interest recently in cooking, so this is a perfect time to start going crazy with veggies/herbs/fruits I've never tried.

Does anyone else currently do something similar?
post #2 of 65
I'm with you on this one. It started before I read his books, but they sealed the deal for me. I used to drive by a food processing plant, which turned me off to a lot of packaged foods, but didn't do anything concrete until last year.

We try to eat only seasonal and local produce - there is a modified CSA that we joined that provides us with nearly all of the fruits and vegetables we eat each week. Through the same pickup we get beef, chicken, and eggs. The only time we go to the grocery store is for milk and a few other staple supplies. We round out what we get from the CSA with a trip to the farmers market on Saturday mornings.

We're not organic freaks, but most of what we buy tends to be organic. I think local is far more important if you're concerned about environmental factors.

I thought it was going to be a lot of work, but it's turned out to be easier than going to the grocery store. It's also turned out to be cheaper for us to eat this way than going to the grocery store. It does force you to be more creative with your cooking, but I enjoy that part of it.
post #3 of 65
We just joined a CSA, too. First timer. I can't wait. The soil on the plot of land is contaminated, so they turned to hydroponics.
post #4 of 65
I hope you don't cook food, because that 'processes' it. I wish people realized they're nothing but huge cockroaches. There isn't some kind of magic in organic foods or 'unprocessed' foods. Different processes do different things. It's like not eating scrambled eggs because the proteins have coagulated or mayonnaise because it's emulsified. Just saying 'I'm not eating any more processed foods!' is so black and white that you end up missing all the grey in between.
post #5 of 65
Thread Starter 
I feel pretty lucky- I've got a farmer's market 5 minutes from me, an organic farmer's market 20 minutes away, and 2 natural, small scale grocery stores within 10 minutes of where I work... not to mention countless sustainable farms and CSA options. Nothing like what some bigger cities have, but given where I live, I'm fortunate. Most of that has to do with Virginia still having a ton of farmers, which surprised me.
post #6 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by why View Post
I hope you don't cook food, because that 'processes' it.

I wish people realized they're nothing but huge cockroaches. There isn't some kind of magic in organic foods or 'unprocessed' foods. Different processes do different things.

It's like not eating scrambled eggs because the proteins have coagulated or mayonnaise because it's emulsified.

Just saying 'I'm not eating any more processed foods!' is so black and white that you end up missing all the grey in between.

I think I get your point, but it's a bit 'grey'...
post #7 of 65
Yeah, there is a bit of a difference between loading something with dies, chemicals, preservatives, salt and corn syrup... and cooking something in olive oil for instance.

Anyway, I agree with you. I've started eating better, buying whole foods from the farmers market down the street from me (Eastern Market) and from Trader Joes. There are tons of local Virginia and Maryland farmers that supply the many farmers markets in the area.
post #8 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbadbuff View Post
I think I get your point, but it's a bit 'grey'...

care to explain, or is this a failed attempt at turning a phrase?
post #9 of 65
I think there's the misunderstanding on the term "processed". I think the OP meant processes in the industrial-process-additive-chemical sense, not the very strict "this object is undergoing a process to become something else (i.e. egg into scrambled egg)". Sure, cooking food causes chemical changes in the ingredients, but this is different than adding some 12 syllable chemical so that the product has a shelf life of 2 years. Anyway, think the conversation is aligned with the latter rather than the former when it comes to the term "processed". OP, correct me if I'm wrong.
post #10 of 65
Pay good attention to labels. There are some companies making things that are preservative-free, like salad dressings. If you use dressing, you can vote with your dollar and encourage these companies to continue to manufacture preservative-free products. I'm shocked that you don't buy few-ingredient bread (wheat, yeast, water, salt, a little sugar) and such already. I guess my eating patterns are different than most people though. I don't want to come off as a food elitist-- I'm blessed with having a lot of time on my hands to make things from scratch. Two of the things on my list to make in quantity from scratch are bacon (nitrite-free) and sausage. Good lord do I love pork. Re: organics, there's nothing worse for you about them but there's really sketchy evidence that they're actually any better. I think of buying them more as economic voting against straining field soil and over-fertilizing that causes runoff problems. If you don't eat beans already, you're missing out on one of the most delicious foods that nature produces. Dry beans are ridiculously good.
post #11 of 65
Amen to this thread! I've been attempting to eat un-processed foods for a couple months now and feel much better overall. I've even gotten to the point where I can put processed food in my mouth and taste the difference... just tastes terrible to me. Now if I could just convince my wife that she needs to stop eating those Weight Watcher friendly foods because they're riddled with that stuff.

Like hi-val started out with, pay attention to those labels. If you see a bunch of ingredients with 12 syllables, put the product back on the shelf. I've found Trader Joes is the best chain for unprocessed foods. But even they have products with a bunch of chemical crap in it.
post #12 of 65
just be happy that you have food to eat and forget such frugal, unecessary goals
post #13 of 65
If it doesn't expire, don't eat it...

As for organics, it may not be noticeably better for you now, but in the long run I think it would be better than the ingestion of chemicals, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and other things over time. You get enough of that from our environment as is. Plus, organics taste better too.

There is also no doubt that organic farming is way better for our environment and for the farmers than what we now call traditional farming. A quick tour of the chemical wastelands they call farms in Texas can attest to that.
post #14 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by villasenor View Post
just be happy that you have food to eat and forget such frugal, unecessary goals

This makes no sense! Do you have something constructive to add?

Were it more frugal, it certainly would be and even better. His goal is to eat high quality food.

If you thought for a second... organic farming is cheaper and better for family farmers in developing nations to employ. Organic food can then be sold for 3 times or more than chemically farmed food can be. This allows these families to earn a living that will provide them with more opportunities they wouldn't have otherwise.

There is a reason that Oxfam is promoting this so vigorously.
post #15 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spencer Young View Post
I think there's the misunderstanding on the term "processed". I think the OP meant processes in the industrial-process-additive-chemical sense, not the very strict "this object is undergoing a process to become something else (i.e. egg into scrambled egg)". Sure, cooking food causes chemical changes in the ingredients, but this is different than adding some 12 syllable chemical so that the product has a shelf life of 2 years. Anyway, think the conversation is aligned with the latter rather than the former when it comes to the term "processed". OP, correct me if I'm wrong.
But if that 12-syllable chemical ended up preventing cancer what would be your take on it then? Chemical processes, like I said, do many different things. Look at iodized salt -- iodine was added to normal commerical salt because hypothyroidism was reaching epidemic levels. Or flouride in tap water. Or...or...or... Many of the chemicals found in foods are harmless/beneficial and are easily excreted or metabolized. I find it funny that people who have no knowledge of the chemicals involved in food often criticize the chemicals. In short, nutrition of a given food doesn't improve linearly with knowledge of its ingredients. If you didn't know what sodium bicarbonate was and saw it on an ingredient label you might be turned off by it...despite the fact that it's just baking soda. This whole 'organic' and 'health food' craze is completely misguided and driven by marketing. I mean, you see imitation crab meat being advertised as being high in Omega-3s. No shit. It's made of pollock -- a fish that used be scrapped for fish sticks and other commericalized foods. My personal favorite is this obsession with almonds and olive oil. Both have next to NO nutritional value yet they're mentioned as being healthy all the time.
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