Everyone knows that processed foods are bad for them at this point. Still, many people can’t find the will to make a change.
People seem to think that finding unprocessed food is extremely difficult. Sure, you might have to venture into an organic food store from time to time, but these foods are easier to find than you might think.
Here, we detail some of the health benefits of switching to clean eating as well as give you a guide on how to find unprocessed food when money is tight.
Why Choose Unprocessed Foods?
Processed foods are often easier to find and cheaper, so why should you go out of your way to choose unprocessed foods?
There are several benefits of clean eating that can transform the way you feel on a daily basis. There’s a reason, so many clean eaters rave about the importance of unprocessed food. Ahead, we’ll cover some of the benefits of eating clean, so you can decide for yourself.
Reducing Health Risks
Processed foods can lead to all types of medical complications. Clean foods, however, often have the exact opposite effect on those who choose them.
By choosing unprocessed foods, you’re lowering your risk of heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and some cancers. If you’re still eating a “dirty” diet, switching to unprocessed food will have multiple long-term health benefits.
Improve Your Skin
The saying “you are what you eat” is truer than you might realize. Our skin reflects everything we put into our bodies. Making a change in your diet is one of the best ways to clean up your skin.
If you suffer from dry skin, acne, or other skin conditions, topical treatment probably isn’t treating the cause. Proper diet can even help prevent wrinkling and improve elasticity in aging skin.
If you want clearer, better-looking skin, switching to unprocessed food is the best way to achieve your skincare goals.
Invest in Your Health
Unprocessed food costs more than processed food. You can find some sales and specials from time to time, but you’ll generally be paying more for organic food.
You might be paying less in the long run, however. Healthcare and medical supplies are far more costly than food. If you continue to eat processed foods, your health will eventually decline which will lead to high medical costs as you age.
Unprocessed food can reverse some of the damage processed foods have done to your body. You’ll live a longer, healthier life and won’t have to worry about the rising cost of healthcare as much.
Broaden Your Horizons
Eating processed food is often the easiest choice. You may have been raised on processed food, and that’s all you’re used to eating.
While some processed food is admittedly delicious, trying unprocessed food will open the door to all kinds of new meals. The choices might seem limited at first, but once you complete your clean eating grocery list, you’ll start to understand all the possibilities clean eating has to offer.
Additionally, eating a variety of unprocessed meals is healthier than eating the same thing every night. Convenience is great, but learning how to prepare new meals is extremely rewarding.
Finding Unprocessed Foods
If you’re interested in making a change toward clean eating, you might be wondering: how do I know which foods are unprocessed?
Finding unprocessed food is easier than you might expect. Shopping at organic food suppliers is always the best option. There’s a long list of unprocessed foods at these stores than you will at regular grocery stores.
Check the Label
Whenever you’re wondering whether something is processed, check the label. Many unprocessed brands display their organic badge proudly, so you won’t have to look far.
If you still aren’t sure, take a look at the ingredients list. If the list is organic, you’re good to go. If it isn’t, move on to the next item on your list.
Shopping at organic food stores will help a lot with this. The staff in the store will usually be able to help if you have any questions.
Clean Sources of Protein
Eggs and meat you find at the grocery store are likely processed. You can check the label to make sure, but you’ll have a hard time finding unprocessed protein sources from the local supermarket. Even many of the nuts at the grocery store go through pasteurization.
A local organic shop will be your best shot at organic protein sources. Their eggs, meats, and nuts are almost always unprocessed. These protein sources are often from local farms as well. You’ll be improving your health and supporting local agriculture at the same time.
Eat Produce When it’s In Season
The produce section is the best place to find organic food. You hardly ever have to worry about finding processed vegetables on the store shelves, but beware of bagged food and produce that isn’t in season.
When the season is correct, the produce on the shelves will likely come from local sources. If you’re buying peaches in the winter, you can be sure that the store shipped them in from another part of the country. Although these fruits are still better than processed meat, companies will have to process them, so they stay fresh during shipment.
Clean Eating on a Budget
Eating on a budget might be the biggest perceived hurdle when considering clean eating. In an ideal world, unprocessed foods would be cheaper and more accessible than processed foods, but that’s not the reality.
Much of the time, finding an unprocessed alternative means you’re paying a higher price. It’s unfortunate that clean eating tends to cost a bit extra, but it’s the reality of our food world.
Fortunately, there are several strategies you can use for creating a natural or paleo shopping list without breaking the bank.
Limit Your Meat Intake
Unprocessed meat is one of the most difficult clean eating ingredients to find. It also happens to be the most expensive.
If you’re on a budget, it’s best to limit the amount of meat you’re eating in a week. Processed chicken, beef, and pork can be relatively cheap, but their unprocessed counterpart can seem far too pricey.
Try creating a vegetarian grocery list with meals that utilize alternative sources of protein. If you still crave meat in your diet, eat it sparingly instead of with every meal.
Meat doesn’t have to be the center point for each lunch and dinner. You can find vegetables, nuts, and other sources that will give you enough protein to fit your activity level.
Shop for Sales
Sales, specials, and coupons should be your best friend when you’re shopping on a budget – clean eating or not. It might take an extra hour or so each week to scour ads for appropriate coupons, but the extra time can save you a fair bit of money in the long run.
Finding unprocessed foods for a discount isn’t as difficult as you might think. Fruits and vegetables often go on sale when the season is peaking. Unprocessed meats that get close to their expiration date will be cheaper as well.
As long as you freeze your food or eat it shortly after your purchase, these are some of the best grocery deals you’ll find. After you consider specials and coupons, clean eating might end up being cheaper than eating processed foods with a longer shelf life.
Buy Larger Quantities
Buying large quantities of food from supplier stores is another money saving tip that applies to everyone. If you eat oatmeal for breakfast every morning, why not get a month’s supply in one trip? You’ll save both time and money buying products this way.
Several clean-eating foods like whole grains have extended shelf lives. You can usually keep these in your cabinet for months without them spoiling.
Find some organic dried foods and buy them in bulk.They’ll stay fresh for a long time, and you won’t have to go to the store as often.
Don’t be Afraid of Frozen Food
Fresh produce is always the tastiest, but it’s not the only unprocessed option. Several companies provide organic frozen fruit and vegetables that you can eat as your schedule allows. Frozen food is usually cheaper than fresh produce and meat, but that doesn’t mean it’s always processed.
The freezer should be your best friend when you’re eating on a diet. If you have too much organic meat, freeze it and allow it to thaw for another meal.
Check the label to make sure it’s clean, then store it in your freezer to eat later.
Clean Eating for a Healthier You
Clean eating is a lifestyle change, but it’s easier than most people think. You can still eat many of the meals you’ve come to love and will have some new recipes to explore as well.
Take baby steps to see the difference clean eating makes for yourself. After a month or so, you’ll realize that what you were putting into your body only brought you down.
Clean eating will help you reach your full potential. All you have to do is get started making the change.