“Processed Food” I Buy on a Regular Basis

It’s true. I buy processed food all the time. Check it out…

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What you see there is none other than cases of processed Spaghetti Sauce, Salsa, and Canned Black Beans. Processed food, baby. Store-bought, canned, jarred, food right off a shelf.

And you thought you knew me.

But there’s more…

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Are those hotdogs? What is this world coming to? Oh, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet:

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This might come as a surprise, but I do not have a maple tree in my yard to tap in an effort to provide our family with this golden pancake and waffle topper. Also – and it might hurt to hear me say this – I don’t always take time to squeeze limes. Indeed, I have stooped so low that I actually buy jars of lime juice to make my Guacamole. Can we still be friends?

Those baked beans though. They are on my shelf ready to be served with the hotdogs you saw above, but you’ve already seen my Beanie Weanies and you haven’t abandoned me yet. Pizza sauce? In a can? Well, thank goodness that at least it is organic.

I’m not even done. There’s more for you to see:

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That there is a box of spaghetti noodles. There are a couple ingredients in that cream that I would rather not know about, and see that cheese? That’s 10 pounds of Colby jack all wrapped up in a package.

So here’s an idea…

Let’s change our thoughts about processed food

Not all processed food is bad.

When I first started making the switch from “bad food” to “good food” I got an idea in my head that all processed food was evil, that I must make everything from scratch in order to be a “good mom” and canned food would never again enter my home.

Eleven years later I have come to terms with the fact that someone else can juice my limes. Having shelves full of canned pizza sauce and black beans in my pantry makes my life so much easier I smile every time I see them. I open and use jars of salsa like there’s no tomorrow but guess what?

It’s all still real food.

It’s all real food!!!! Do you hear what I’m saying? The “processed” food I buy hasn’t been turned into something horrible. The spaghetti sauce in those jars is made from actual tomatoes and spices (and nothing else because I’m careful about the ingredients in my jarred and canned food purchases). These items started as food and ended as food and they help me put Simple Meals on the table like a boss.

This is what we must consider when choosing food from a shelf, a box, a bag, or a can:

Is this real food and does it nourish?

There are all kinds of processed “foods” that I don’t even call food because they do nothing to nourish and everything to harm. If it started as one thing (corn) and came out completely different (high fructose corn syrup), it isn’t real food and it doesn’t nourish. If it took a detailed process to create in a factory (margarine) instead of starting as one thing (cream) and becoming something good for us naturally (real butter), it isn’t real food and it doesn’t nourish.

Don’t be afraid of a box, jar, or can.

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Read the labels. Do your homework. Consider what’s actually inside the container. Ask: Is it real? Does it nourish?

Sometimes these are the foods that help us get through a day in peace and with a smile.

What are the “processed foods” you keep on hand to help make your real food life easier?

P.S. As many of you requested, I am slowly but surely making a list of items and brands of “processed food” I trust and purchase. Don’t hold your breath, but know that you can look for that list in a few weeks.

Funky Fresh Kitchen Challenge #1: Toss it Out ~ Make a Switch!

It’s time for our first challenge during the Month of the Funky Fresh Kitchen! Are you ready?

This challenge might just take a few minutes of your time — or it might take a few hours, depending on what you’d like to do. It’s all up to you – whatever you are ready for. No pressure, I promise. Small changes can be big changes, right? (That sounded so incredibly profound in my head…)

This week, your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to throw something out. Easy, right? Right. Although I’m not talking about your holey socks or your junk mail. (Although for Pete’s sake, please do something about your holey socks and your junk mail.)

I’m asking you to take a look around your kitchen. What needs to be thrown out? Is it a box of processed food you are trying to avoid eating as you are working your way toward eating more whole foods? Is it a plastic container that isn’t safe for serving or storing food? Is it a seasoning mix that has MSG in it?

Whatever it is…don’t look back. Just make the decision and throw it out. Pick just one thing – pick twenty things – pick whatever you’re up for.

Then replace what you’ve thrown out with a healthier choice. You can do it. 

Here are just a few ideas to inspire you to make a “Toss it Out ~ Make a Switch” plan (but don’t feel as though you are limited to just these few ideas):

~  Toss out your sugary cereal and replace it with Homemade Granola
~  Toss out your bottled salad dressings that have MSG and high fructose corn syrup and make a homemade salad dressing
~  Toss out something plastic and replace it with glass. (I LOVE jars!)
~  Toss out your Hamburger Helper and make homemade Cheeseburger Macaroni
~  Toss out your white rice and replace it with brown rice
~  Toss out your chemical filled cleaners and replace it with a non-toxic cleaner 
~  Toss out your boxed brownies and make homemade Fudgy Brownies. (Seriously, what an incredibly happy switch to make.) 
~  Toss out the chips and replace them with fruit for snacking.
~  Toss out your sugar filled beverages and replace them with…water. :)

The possibilities are endless. Just pick one thing. Make one small baby step on your healthy eating journey. Then, if that goes well, consider tossing out something else and making another switch.

You’ve got until Friday, September 7 to meet this challenge. If I were you, I’d get off the computer right now (um, after you finish reading this post…) and jump right in before you lose your motivation. We’re all in this together. Be brave! Chuck the junk lurking in your pantry! (I refuse to be responsible for angry husbands, so if it’s his favorite snack, do consult him first before you chuck it. You knew that, right?)

Leave a comment here letting us know you’re taking the challenge.  Have a plan forming in your mind? Share it! Participants (who leave a comment here) are eligible for our $25 and $50 Heavenly Homemakers Shop gift certificate drawings.

Are you a blogger?  Share this challenge on your blog, tell your readers your Funky Fresh Kitchen plan to “Toss it Out ~ Make a Switch”, then come link up with us here so we can learn what you’re up to and be motivated!! Be sure to link back to this post so your readers will know how they can join the challenge too. 

Are you ready? The trash can (or local food pantry, if you wish to donate) awaits…