Eliminating processed food from your diet might be a struggle â?? and, since it’s a lifestyle change, you’ll have to overhaul from scratch the way you think about food. If you follow these steps to eliminate processed food from your diet, your health and wellbeing will certainly benefit from the change.
Look at the food you have at home
Before you overhaul your diet, think about what you’re eating now. Go through your kitchen and throw out, donate to a food shelter or give away any processed food. You’ll be able to tell if it’s processed if it comes packaged and is ready to eat in a box, container or can.
Remember to check the labels. Many processed foods are loaded with sodium and contain chemical food additives such as preservatives, artificial colours and flavours which all impact adversely on your health.
Collect healthy recipes
Look online for ‘primal’ or ‘paleo’ recipes, which are recipes that use only whole foods. This is the easiest way to eliminate processed food from your diet. When you are first starting out, stick to simpler recipes that don’t use many ingredients until you get used to this new way of eating.
Make a meal plan
As with any diet, it’s easy to fall off the wagon within the first few weeks. It will help to hang a calendar next to your fridge and plan all your meals.
Make a list before you go to the supermarket so you don’t end up buying things you don’t need or forgetting an important recipe ingredient. Stick to the fresh produce sections and the shelves with whole food products. Avoid all areas where the processed foods are found.
You’ve figured out how to eliminate processed food from your big meals, but what about snacks? Stick to things like nuts, fruits and raw veggies. Stay away from potato chips or sweets. The processed food will only make you feel bad â?? even more so once you’ve become used to a diet of unprocessed food.
Keep a food journal
It will help to keep track of what foods you’re eating â?? processed or otherwise â?? and how they make you feel. You will soon learn what foods make you feel good and what foods you should avoid.
Stay away from fast food restaurants
At all costs, avoid fast food outlets â?? rather take your own lunch to work, or if you plan to be away from home for the day. If you do go to a sit-down restaurant, it’s best to order basic food like meat, eggs, potatoes, salad, or anything that is as close to its natural form as possible.
Treat yourself, but in small doses. If you’re craving something sweet like ice cream, don’t binge â?? try to find good quality ice cream, and allow yourself just a few spoonfuls. Stay away from carbonated drinks, limit your alcohol consumption, and up your intake of plain filtered water.
It’s a good basic policy not to eat anything your grandmother wouldn’t recognise â?? or any food with an ingredient that a 7-year-old wouldnâ??t be able to read or understand!
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