Unprocessed foods are any food that you consume in its natural state. We call this clean eating. There are no alterations made to foods that are unprocessed. One of the best examples of unprocessed food is fruits and vegetables. There are many more unprocessed foods. And a general rule of thumb is to look at ingredient lists.
If you want to know how processed your food is, the ingredient list is an excellent place to start. The longer the list is, and the more items on there that are unfamiliar, the more processing it took to make that type of food.
As a general rule of thumb, unprocessed food is a healthier option. However, there are other risks, like food-related illnesses, for people who consume only unprocessed food. Some of the buzzwords that surround unprocessed foods include clean eating, paleo diet, and vegetarian or vegan food.
The Clean Eating Lifestyle
The clean eating lifestyle is becoming more popular as time goes on. Google searches for information about clean eating are at an all-time high. The idea behind clean eating is consuming food that nourishes people in its natural and whole state. This means your food is free of all added chemicals or processes that reduce its effectiveness or add unnecessary ingredients.
Many people don’t realize it, but clean eating is not a diet. It is a lifestyle choice that is embraced by people who want to live more gently. It means eating foods that help you feel good, without putting chemicals into your bodies. If this lifestyle is something you are looking to get started with, learning what foods are unprocessed can be tricky. Here are some tips for success, and a clean eating grocery list of foods to consider.
Tips for Starting the Clean Eating Unprocessed Foods Journey
First, you need to recognize a desire to eat more unprocessed foods. However, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed by all of the different pieces of information you need to know. Here are some things you should do, and other things you should not do along the way.
It is important to choose food in its purest state. The less processing food requires, the more nutrients are available to nourish your body. That means the fewer harmful ingredients it will contain. An example of an unprocessed food is a fruit, like an orange. The only ingredient it has is that it is an orange. On the other hand, do not pick foods that are processed or manipulated a lot.
An example of an over-processed food would be orange pop. If you look at the ingredient list in orange soda, you will see several ingredients that are hard to pronounce and that you don’t recognize. Those are triggers for heavily processed foods.
For best results, try to purchase and eat food that is available during its peak season. You should do this instead of eating food that had to be preserved to be available during the months when it isn’t available. Most food offers the most nutrients when you consume it during its typical peak season. When you see food like watermelons in the winter, the fruit had to be stored in a warehouse for months before being shipped.
It is easy to limit yourself to the foods you are already familiar with. But one of the best ways to enjoy unprocessed food is to make sure you are adding a wide variety and colorful array of foods to your diet. Vegetables of different colors have different phytochemicals than other foods. Some foods are great for fighting inflammation and keeping you healthy. The better you feel, and the more energy you have, the more you can utilize your power to help you achieve good things.
Most people believe they don’t have enough time to make healthy food changes. The reality is that the amount of time it takes to wait in a drive-thru or order and wait for take-out can instead go into preparing healthy meals that are healthier for your body. Instead of falling for the trick that you don’t have enough time, utilize your time differently. Make shopping lists and meal plans. And have everything on hand so you can quickly throw it together for a meal.
Fuel your body
The purpose of food is to fuel your body and mind. It’s also to connect you with other people and even to refresh your soul. Sometimes people forget that food that is healthy can also taste amazing. The food you eat should taste good to you first and foremost. It should also be good for you. There are so many different flavors. And when you pair them together with other textures and tastes, they can make very satisfying meals.
When you are making a change to a different lifestyle, it is essential to spend time exploring different flavors and textures to find things that you love. One of the best ways to make a significant lifestyle change is to crowd out your old lifestyle.
Waking up one day and making a drastic change can cause your new lifestyle to fail. It is overwhelming to your body and mind to do that. Instead, if you start exploring the clean eating lifestyle, you will find things you love to eat. And you will gradually push your old lifestyle away by preferring the new foods that taste even better than what you left behind.
Embracing unprocessed foods, and the rest of a clean eating style doesn’t have to be stress-ridden, miserable, or painful. Instead, it can be a peaceful process that ends with you feeling a lot better physically and mentally.
A List of Unprocessed Foods
For people who want to build a vegetarian grocery list, a paleo shopping list, or are looking for a clean eating food list, there are many food options out there. Here is a list of some of those foods.
Vegetables and Fruit
Fresh vegetables and fruit are naturally unprocessed. The only requirement they have is that you pick them from a plant, wash them, and then consume them. The produce section of the grocery store is where you will find the majority of the unprocessed fruits and vegetables you need.
When you are shopping the produce section, consider trying to find the fruits and vegetables that are in season, for a better taste and often better pricing. Pick a variety of colors, and explore fruits and vegetables you have never tasted before.
Frozen and canned vegetables and fruits do go through some processing to increase their shelf life.
Dairy is a processed food unless you purchase your milk raw. Pasteurization is the process dairy goes through to kill any bacteria that is present. Raw milk is a choice for some people who want to keep dairy in their diet but stick with unprocessed foods. It is important to know though that raw milk can come with several different pathogenic bacteria like listeria, salmonella, E. coli, and campylobacter.
They pasteurize the eggs before you buy them from the grocery store. However, fresh farm eggs are unprocessed. There may be some extra risks for bacteria in farm fresh eggs. But thoroughly cooking and baking them will decrease those chances.
Raw seeds and nuts are a good source of unprocessed protein. Most grocery stores do lightly process nuts and seeds. However, it is possible to purchase them at health food stores.
Dried beans are another good source of unprocessed protein. They don’t require any processes and don’t have added ingredients.
Almost all grains have undergone some processing before they shelf them at the grocery store. Whole grains are the least processed because they contain the whole kernel. If you do want grains, choosing whole grains will ensure you are getting the germ, endosperm, and bran inside the kernel, which is a good thing.
For anyone who is wanting something sweet to eat, honey is the best option. All other types of sugar, besides honey, have been processed to be safe for food preparation. Honey isn’t pasteurized or processed; you can buy it raw. We recommend that you try to buy local honey as much as possible. Purchasing local honey can help you build histamines against the allergens that exist in your area.
If you are exploring the clean living lifestyle, you may feel overwhelmed by the drastic change in unprocessed and processed foods. Processed foods are everywhere, there is a significantly larger variety. And it is often easier for people to just grab processed food. However, the benefits of a diet that center on unprocessed foods makes the change worth it to many people.
There is more time and energy involved in planning, shopping for, and preparing fresh foods. But it gets easier over time. Lifestyle changes do take time and significant adjustment. However, the result is that it eventually becomes a habit, and you will find yourself wondering how you ever existed a different way.
Once you embrace the idea of eating unprocessed foods, you will quickly find foods you love. And that will help you make the transition a little easier. Over time, you will find many recipes and food items that you love and won’t have to plan like you do when you first start out.
The important thing to remember is that lifestyle changes are hardest at the start. But planning will help make the transition easier until it becomes a habit for you.