What exactly does no processed foods mean? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 15 Old 02-10-2010, 09:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay. So, yesterday Dr. Oz puts a single mom and her family on a 28 day no processed foods eating plan. I want to clarify a few things.....

What about dairy products? specifically yogurts, cottage cheese, regular cheeses....would you just make your own if you could?

What about making stuff via recipes (incl. breads)?

Where do meats fall into the picture?

Is this what a "whole foods" diet is?

OR.....Are you pretty much confined (food-wise) to what the Good Lord himself put on the earth?

I've been contemplating such a plan myself (at least for Lent), but, really don't know a lot of details. I guess I have a week to figure this out. Thought I would start with you ladies.

I posted this exact question on another board and got some good responses. But, I knew if I came to MDC I might get some additional details/insight. So here I am. What does no processed foods mean to you?
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#2 of 15 Old 02-10-2010, 10:30 AM
 
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My rule of thumb is, if I could (at least theoretically) make it myself in my kitchen from scratch, it doesn't count as "processed". That would include real cheese but not "American" cheese, butter but not margarine, oatmeal but not cold cereal, plain yogurt but not flavored/sweetened yogurt, real cooked sliced meat but not packaged lunch meat, real maple syrup but not the maple-flavored corn syrup that passes as maple syrup, fresh cut fruit but not fruit cups, etc. etc. the list goes on for days.

Another good rule of thumb (from Michael Pollan I think) is: If your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize it as food, don't eat it. Think of the basic raw ingredients of food (what the Good Lord put on the Earth, as you said) and what can be made from them by simple mechanical means. No high pressure, high speed or very high heat.

You would also want to avoid all processed additives like high fructose corn syrup, flavorings, preservatives, colorings and so on. Even seemingly innocent foods like bread or canned food can contain hfcs or any number of flavorings and preservatives. Reading the ingredient lists on labels is essential here. Often different brands of the same food will have different ingredients. For example, at my store there are two brands of canned kidney beans: one contains sugar, salt, and preservatives in addition to the beans and the other contains only beans and water. You just never know until you check.

I would also recommend avoiding "low fat" versions of food - usually to make up for it there's extra sugar and artificial flavorings added, which is far worse imo.

Good luck and don't worry about completely overhauling your diet all at once! It can be so overwhelming that way (I know, I tried ). The best thing to do is concentrate on eliminating or changing one thing at a time until it feels natural. For example, pick high fructose corn syrup to eliminate and concentrate on that for a while, then when that comes automatically move on to maybe replacing refined grains with whole grains, lunch meat with real meat, or whatever else you can think of.

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#3 of 15 Old 02-10-2010, 10:38 AM
 
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I didn't see the show, so I can only guess. I think it can mean a range of things. On the extreme end, it can mean a raw diet. Even meat that has been cut commercially is "processed". But I'd venture to guess that what he is saying is that you eat "minimally" processed foods. So, no processed meats, no soups with all sorts of ingredients you can't pronounce, no processed cheese, no dairy items that have added ingredients (and yeah, that would include most yogurts), most canned items, etc. Nothing with artificial anything, MSG, nitrites, nitrates, preservatives, HFCS. For all intents and purposes, the Feingold diet with a concentration of fresh, in-season, local fruits, vegetables, whole grains and humanely-raised and butchered organic meats.
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#4 of 15 Old 02-10-2010, 12:31 PM
 
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Michael Pollan's new book "Food Rules" is where that grandmother rule came from. They discussed a bunch of the rules when he was on Oprah (also discussing Food Inc.).

I remember one of his rules was "Avoid food products that contain ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce".

Basically his rules get at eating real food (unprocessed or less-processed). Real food that you prepare yourself, or food that is prepared in the same way you would do it yourself.

There are more natural yogurts - look for one with only 2 (or 3) ingredients. The best (mass-produced & affordable) commercially available yogurt I've found has 3 ingredients: skim milk, cream, bacteria.

One of my favourite rules of his is "Eat all the junkfood you want, if you make it yourself". Example: french fries and cookies are fine, if you make them yourself. Part of that reasoning is that if you actually spend the time to make these junk food items yourself, you will eat them less often - and they will be the occasional treat they're meant to be.

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#5 of 15 Old 02-10-2010, 01:28 PM
 
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I would guess that the show meant foods that do not have more than 1 or 2 ingredients. For example I would not consider canned tomatoes to be a "processed food" (although they are of course processed, that's how they get in the can!) while a jarred tomato pasta sauce would absolutely be processed cause it has so much other stuff in there.

I thnk there is a whole continuum of "processing" and here on MDC people tend to go for more natural items (whether in terms of food or other products) so it's a different environment. In "real life" that's not what most people mean when they talk about processed food, and with the show being pretty mainstream I don't expect they meant the MDC version. For me unprocessed food would mean as I said above 1-2 ingredients only and all pronounceable. I expect there are some here that would say only food you grow yourself in unprocessed, but that's just not where I'm at.
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#6 of 15 Old 02-10-2010, 02:45 PM
 
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I didn't see the show, but does this look familiar?
http://www.doctoroz.com/challenges/packaged-foods-detox


or this
http://www.doctoroz.com/challenges/dr-oz-ultimate-diet

"You’ll begin by implementing Dr. Oz’s Rule of 5, which forces you to throw away all the food in your house that list ANY of the following within the first 5 ingredients:

1. Simple sugars
2. Syrups
3. White flours
4. Saturated fats
5. Trans fats"

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#7 of 15 Old 02-10-2010, 03:12 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ursusarctos View Post
My rule of thumb is, if I could (at least theoretically) make it myself in my kitchen from scratch, it doesn't count as "processed". That would include real cheese but not "American" cheese, butter but not margarine, oatmeal but not cold cereal, plain yogurt but not flavored/sweetened yogurt, real cooked sliced meat but not packaged lunch meat, real maple syrup but not the maple-flavored corn syrup that passes as maple syrup, fresh cut fruit but not fruit cups, etc. etc. the list goes on for days.
:

That's my rule, too. Like for oils... theoretically, I could make walnut oil or olive oil or even coconut oil myself with very little difficulty. I could not make corn oil or canola oil or soy oil.

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#8 of 15 Old 02-10-2010, 05:11 PM
 
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I am watching Dr. Oz now. I think though we look at processed food differently. I think he really only meals "packaged fast foods" He says its a package free diet

ie-chicken fingers/pizza pockets/breakfast sandwiches ect
And the "killer 5" that dr. oz always talks about

Not so much canned pasta sauce/packaged dried pasta/oils, that though they are "packaged" aren't as evil as some

I LOVE LOVE LOVE DR. OZ!!!

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#9 of 15 Old 02-10-2010, 07:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone!!!

BBL to post more.
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#10 of 15 Old 02-11-2010, 01:33 AM
 
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For me, no processed food means many of the same things pp said.

however, food with msg, yes I could make it at home (they sell msg at the store) but I wouldn't want to!!!

basically, for a food to be "unprocessed" (or more like, whole) to me, it means it doesn't have artificial ingrediants, or other ingrediants that aren't still "food". If the name of the ingrediant is 2-3 long scientific words, probably not. If it is components (corn syrup as compared to corn meal which is just dried and then ground or whole corn kernals, etc), nope.

If meat has had something added to it (other than a marinade I could make at home that was made in-store, though I don't buy these), it's processed. If bread has more than about 5 ingrediants (flour, yeast, water, and sometimes butter/olive oil/coconut oil and/or sugar/honey/maple syrup), it's processed. Storebought crackers are essentially always processed. breakfast cereal, even if it is "whole grain" and organic, is processed.

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#11 of 15 Old 02-11-2010, 07:07 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magelet View Post
however, food with msg, yes I could make it at home (they sell msg at the store) but I wouldn't want to!!!
They might sell msg at the store but I couldn't make it myself so it still doesn't qualify by the "don't use it if you couldn't make it yourself rule"

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#12 of 15 Old 02-11-2010, 11:56 AM
 
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I didn't see the show but just wrote about something similar in my blog. Over the past year I've been cutting down the foods we eat as a family so that everything will be made from scratch and not processed. Something I do make myself (yogurt, ricotta) and other foods... I started by eliminating certain chemicals from my diet and now I'm to the point of trying to eat as simplistically as possible. I often think of the "old days" when my great-grandparents were alive ... I want to cook like they cooked back then (late 1800s/early 1900s).
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#13 of 15 Old 02-11-2010, 06:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ursusarctos View Post
They might sell msg at the store but I couldn't make it myself so it still doesn't qualify by the "don't use it if you couldn't make it yourself rule"
lol true

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#14 of 15 Old 02-11-2010, 10:31 PM
 
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From my understanding processed foods means a lot of additives and preservatives are used by manufacturers to give the food a certain taste or a certain flavor and color. Sometimes these additives and preservatives can be very unhealthy.

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#15 of 15 Old 03-12-2010, 07:05 PM
 
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I'm going to bump this to the top since this episode was on again.
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