We hear so much about processed foods and wonder what is true and what isn’t- do we really need to avoid ALL of them?     FB 1 veganNot long ago someone insisted that EVERYTHING is processed, so it is ridiculous to tell people they should avoid all processed foods. I took issue with that statement and decided to not only clarify the subject, but do an experiment.

We went to the dictionary to see what the official meaning of ‘processed’ is and here is what we found.

1. A series of actions, changes, or functions bringing about a result:

OK– if that is what processed means, then indeed everything is processed since selecting seed, planting, watering, harvesting, washing, chopping and shredding is a process by which we get a tasty fresh organic vegetable salad on the table–  salad bowlbut we live in a busy world and some people don’t have the time or desire to do all that is necessary for a very healthy, fresh organic salad, so companies have been formed that do all that work for us and when we visit our local grocery there are a number of choices and many bags of fresh salad ready for us to take home and enjoy.

So now you want to bake a wonderful tasty cake for dessert after dinner– you choose your recipe and collect all the necessary chemical-free, natural and whole ingredients on the counter, mix and bake– but you’re very busy, so the next time you want to bake, you see a box of cake mix at the store. It’s so wonderful that companies are putting all the dry ingredients in a box for us to take home, add water, oil, an egg, then bake!  So quick and easy! So wonderful! So tasty!

SURPRISE!!  Your friend is joining you for dinner and says– WHY are you doing that? Don’t you know it’s not at all healthy? It will make us fat! Look at the ingredients! What is wrong with the ingredients, you ask- look- it’s Betty Crocker and everyone knows she’s the best cook ever!  The package says it’s Chocolate Fudge and SuperMoist!  FD cake mix It will be great!                 Now you check the box and see this panel with all the ingredients……….                              Your friend is right. The ingredients here is not at all what you use and chemicals have been added that you have never heard of– they put in processed bleached flour and sugar. You use Einkorn or gluten free flour, and raw or coconut sugar. They use processed cocoa and carob powder. You use cacao powder. Why do they put corn syrup, soybean oil and artificial flavor in it? Yipes! You promise your friend you won’t ever try to treat her with a chemical filled cake again!

Are we beginning to see the facts and truth here? If a product is organic, meaning it doesn’t contain poisons to keep bugs and weeds away (there are natural ways to do that), if it has not been altered from the way nature intends it to be, if it still has all the nutrients Mother Nature gave it and nothing has been lost or changed, then it is a very tasty and healthy food for us. Now you may ask- what about cooking? Isn’t that processing- doesn’t that remove some nutrients and change it into something not so good for us? The answer is that it all depends on how you cook and what the food is. Some foods are best eaten raw, but some are actually better for us when cooked. Then of course there are some that need to be baked. Back in Bible times when wheat was taken from the field, ground into flour and baked into bread, it was called the staff of life and was very healthy for us. In fact God gave instructions for a bread in the Bible– “Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself.” Unfortunately man decided to change that. We don’t know why, but perhaps he didn’t like the color of wheat that was ground into flour, anyway he began to bleach it white, removing all its nutrients, adding a few vitamins and selling it as a wonderful enriched and good for us product. Really? Now folks, THAT is what we call processed. It was changed from the way nature made it and is no longer good for us. In today’s world a good bread is being made by sprouting the grains found in Ezekiel 4:9 and making a number of great and yummy products for our enjoyment. Sugar is much the same. To make it white it is bleached and stripped of its nutrients. Raw sugar from the cane is not white, but a beige color.

The question has been asked whether or not we can heat some veggies- make a soup- at what point is it no longer raw? I’m told that anything under 106 degrees is raw and then it begins to slowly lose it’s nutrients as it is heated and when it reaches 118 degrees and over, it is cooked. Normally people drain off the cooking water, which sends much of the nutrients down the drain and leaves you with whatever didn’t cook out. That means that when you dry fruit and/or veggies, you can use a Dehydrator or your oven and even though you will no doubt dry at 200 degrees or more, nothing is really lost. Yes, it is ‘cooked’, but it still retains the nutrients it is meant to have and makes a most wonderful tasty and healthy snack for taking along when you leave the house, or anytime you crave a sweet in-between-meal snack.

I am now going to do an experiment– can I process a raw carrot? What, if anything, will change?

OK- I washed and cut a raw carrot in half (no, I didn’t peel it). One half I put into a small pan with a small amount of nice fresh clear water and while it was boiling I put the other half into my Bullet to process it into something that looked like baby food and since it was so thick I added a bit of fresh water. The end result was indeed something a baby’s mom would be proud of and nothing was lost. All the carrot was there. OK- now I pour the water from the cooked carrot into a glass. It is no longer clear, but an orange color. I put this carrot into my Bullet and needed to add some of that water back, but not all the water was needed so some went down the drain.  THE TASTE TEST– Hmmm– they tasted slightly different, but both were very good. I can honestly say it matters not to me if my carrots are cooked or not– what REALLY matters is did the company I’m buying my foods from add chemicals or are they still just the way nature intended.

The bottom line is this– always read labels and avoid processed  foods that have added things we want to avoid. Also it is a good idea to avoid using a microwave.



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