When people hear the way I eat, they usually ask, “But don’t you miss such and such food?” Such and such food most often being some type of processed/junk/convenience food.
In the beginning, I would say yes. I did miss the ease of ready to go foods. I missed the taste of the sugar and salt and fat of those foods. I missed what I thought was the cheaper option of food at the grocery store. Overall, I missed the comfort of what had been my eating habits for the majority of my life.
Now, I don’t miss it at all. I don’t even think about the food I’m not eating because I’m too busy enjoying all the food I am eating. Here are the reasons that I don’t miss processed food anymore.
“But Katie, have you tasted a Reeses/Twinkie/Doritos/whatever lately? They are delicious!” To be honest I haven’t tasted any one of those things in a very long time, but that is a good thing. It has allowed my tastes buds to realize how good real food tastes. Processed food is chemically altered to make it tastes as appealing as possible, real food just grows that way. It doesn’t need anything added to make it better. I like that. It does take some time for your tastes to adjust, so if you have been living primarily on processed food you’re probably raising an eyebrow right now. There is no way that a piece of broccoli tastes better than a candy bar. Give your taste buds and your brain a chance to adjust and you’ll realize real food is pretty delicious!
I’ve known how to cook for awhile, but I really grew confident and adventurous in the kitchen when I stopped using processed food. Rather than boiling some pasta and throwing a store-bought jar of sauce on top, I now had all these ingredients that had to turn into a meal. There was a learning curve, but I got the hang of it and now I come up with my own meals and recipes and enjoy the whole cooking experience. I wonder how certain foods would taste together, or if one technique would work better in a certain dish, and I can test all those things out. I never did that with boxed or packaged food. I like the creativity real food lets me have.
I never used to wonder what happened to create the package of food I bought in the store. It tasted fine and I didn’t need to worry about that. Now I am a firm believer in reading all labels and really understanding what is in the food you eat. There are certain ingredients that we don’t need to put in our bodies and the more we are aware of these things, the better off we’ll be.
After I’m done eating, I don’t feel the need to take a nap (fact: I’m always ready for a nap). But seriously, food doesn’t make me feel like I need to slip into a coma after I’ve eaten it. I don’t feel sluggish, my stomach doesn’t hurt as much, my skin has gotten clearer, and I have more energy to do the things that I like doing. Now some of that is the result of living a healthier lifestyle overall, but a lot of it is the food I choose to eat. Food plays such an important part of your daily functioning and you should choose it with care.
5. I have never felt restricted
When I first started, I worried that there would be nothing left for me to eat but salads and celery. I would never really enjoy food again, it would just be something to fuel my body and move on. Nothing could be farther from the truth! I love food and savor every bite. I never feel like I’m missing out on something and I love finding a healthier way to enjoy old favorites. So much of our culture is centered around food and we forget to enjoy the experiences going on away from the table. It’s nice to place the emphasis on people and making memories rather than worrying about what I’m going to eat.
Do I think that all packaged and processed food is the devil? No. There are many things that I still buy myself and use in my kitchen. I’m just more conscious of my decisions and do my best to choose things that are as close to their natural state as possible. If you’re trying to step away from a highly processed diet, do it slowly. Take baby steps towards eliminating old foods and introducing new ones. You’ll start to see the positive effects in your life and you’ll wonder why you haven’t switched sooner!