Heavily processed foods are often known to possess higher levels of added sugar, sodium, and fat. While I’m not really sure what that means, I’ve heard that removing processed foods from your diet can benefit your health, give you more energy, and improve your focus. It’s for these reasons that I decided to avoid processed foods altogether – unless, of course, they’re cheap, taste good, or are, like, right there.
The results have been, in a word: mixed.
I initially wanted to cut down on my intake of processed foods for the alleged health benefits. For some reason, I felt sluggish and sick after only eating Hot Pockets for a week. However, I wanted to make this change in a sustainable way so that I wouldn’t just end up giving up after a couple days.
This is why I opted to not cut out anything from Dunkin’ because (1) donuts taste good and (2) there’s a Dunkin’ 750 feet away from my apartment. I found that continuing to consume donuts and lattes from Dunkin’, along with hot dogs from 7-Eleven, too-big bowls of Froot Loops, and a bag of Doritos whenever I go to the grocery store and think, “Wait, do I like Doritos or no?” has been a much more sustainable change for my life than just giving up processed foods cold turkey. I did, however, give up cold turkey fairly easily because (1) slimy and (2) ew.
Turns out, I don’t actually like Doritos, but I’m happy I gave myself the space to figure that out!
Overall, this change has been incredibly smooth. Too smooth, even. My consumption habits have largely stayed the same, and I still get Taco Bell any time I remember that it exists, but I’m now able to pompously tell people that I “like to stay away from processed foods whenever possible.” They don’t need to know that “whenever possible” just means “whenever it’s a food I already don’t eat because I don’t like it.”
I’ve never been happier, or more full of mozzarella sticks!
However, in spite of my less-than-strict approach, I still think it’s important to eliminate processed foods from your diet whenever you can, in a way that fits your lifestyle! Which is why, from here on out, I will be cutting out canned beans, Greek yogurt, frozen fish, tofu, nuts and seeds, soy milk, granola, brown rice, cottage cheese, and olive oil.
I can already feel the health benefits rolling in!