Wednesday, January 23, 2008

More on Processed Foods: Just Say No

O.K., I'm a little late.
By now most people have abandoned their New Year's Resolutions. I'm just getting ready to make one.

After I researched the last article, I took an inventory to see how much high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) we were harboring in our own kitchen. And I found a lot!

Some surprises? Breakfast cereals, even some of the "healthy" ones. Fruit juice. Low-fat yogurt. Spaghetti sauce. Bread. Soups.

I am fairly representative of the average American. We eat more processed foods and fast foods than the rest of the world's population.

For a very graphic representation of this fact, take a look at these pictures from Hungry Planet, What the World Eats, by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio. These two went around the world, photographing families posed in front of a week's worth of food. Their photos demonstrate in a very powerful way that as countries become more and more industrialized, the populations of those countries eat more and more junk. And that contributes to rising rates of obesity and related diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and other chronic ailments.

Take a look: here's a typical American family, the Revis family of North Carolina. They spend about $342 a week on food.

Now take a look at the The Namgay family of Shingkhey Village in Bhutan. They spend about $5 a week on food:

So, who's getting the better deal?

You've got to wonder.

So here's my resolution -- no processed foods for at least a month. I'm going to focus on fresh foods: fresh fruits and vegetables and fresh meats -- grass-fed whenever possible.

We'll see how hard it is to cook and eat real food in Colorado.


LA Farm Girl said...


I am going to be watching and reading how you do since I am trying to do the same but haven't made as firm a commitment as you to eliminate the processed foods. It's so hard since I have eaten this way for 45 years (yikes)!!!!

Good luck and keep me posted.

homegrown colorado girl said...

You're right. It's not easy. Last week I tried making my own yogurt (success) and baking bread with sprouted wheat berries (not so much -- tasted good but was heavy as a brick.) Still, I am soldiering on....

Keep me posted on your progress, too!

Anonymous said...

You know, it boggles my mind that this family spends over three hundred dollars a week on groceries. I probably average $150 (and that might be high because I buy my meat bulk from the ranchers) and I'm buying almost all organic and or grass-fed foods. I even buy some processed foods like chips and cookies. But, mostly I buy whole foods and even buying the more expensive foods I can keep our weekly bill close to what a family on food-stamps would be getting. It blows me away that people spend so much money on crappy foods and then say they can't afford the good stuff..

homegrown colorado girl said...

Thanks for the comment --

I wonder how much of that $300 is for junk that actually compromises health instead of promoting it(?)

You're an inspiration! We've nebver bought meat directly from the ranchers, but we're cranking up to it...

Anonymous said...

For grass fed beef you may want to link to:

homegrown colorado girl said...

Hi anonymous,

Thanks for the tip and the link. As I understand it, however, beef that is fed corn as a diet supplement for the last six months wouldn't technically qualify as "grass-fed." (I'm not judging -- all the other stuff looks great and I'd rather buy from a local rancher than pick up "grass-fed" beef from Argentina at Target!