Dangers Lurking In Common Convenience Foods
We all know that home-cooked meals can be far more delicious that highly-processed convenience food. And it’s no surprise that studies show that home-cooked meals are far healthier. But a lot of people still opt for convenience food even though over time it is harmful to their health.
Why is that? The simple answer is that most people have been led to believe that convenience food is actually, well...more convenient. But as I’ll show you in today’s article, that doesn’t have to be true. You can get the best of both worlds: nutritious and delicious meals that are also convenient.
The Hidden Dangers Of Convenience Foods
Most processed foods are loaded with questionable chemicals, preservatives, and stabilizers. These poisons wreak havoc on your endocrine and immune systems, and that’s just for starters. The truth is anyone who dines mostly on processed and fast foods is not destined to live a long life.
It’s no real surprise that home cooking is by far the healthier choice. Cooking healthy food from scratch doesn’t have to be a pain in the butt. In fact, there are loads of quick and easy recipes using readily-available, affordable, and fresh unprocessed ingredients. In the time it takes to drive to a fast-food joint, or nuke up a frozen dinner, you could be eating a healthy, delicious home-cooked meal.
Studies have shown that home cooking leads to lower calorie consumption. People who eat most meals at home consume on average about 130 less calories per day than those who eat out. Home cooking also increases diet quality even among people who are not trying to lose weight.
But what about the cost of fresh foods? Many people are mistakenly under the impression that convenience foods are cheaper than healthier foods. But it turns out fresh foods cost no more than fast or processed foods, and sometimes less. There are loads of healthy, affordable fresh foods available to you. What follows are four that might surprise you.
Fresh Organic Vegetables
Locally grown vegetables taste better and are fresher than store-bought, which may have traveled on a truck for hundreds of miles. Fresh-off-the-vine tomatoes and straight-out-of-the-ground carrots make their store-bought counterparts taste like counterfeits.
The good news is that local vegetables are easy to find. These days almost every community in the country has some outlet for locally grown organic vegetables. Typically it’s a local farmer’s market. And when you buy from these local producers, you can often save a lot of money too!
Vegetables are a great source of essential vitamins and minerals. The fresher the better. Research shows that a lot of the nutrients are lost within days of being picked. And as an added bonus, when you buy naturally-produced food you’re not exposed to all the toxic pesticides found on plants grown on giant corporate farms.
Another type of fresh vegetable that you might also consider is organic sprouts. They are loaded with minerals, vitamins, and enzymes. This makes them a true superfood overlooked by many. In fact, the mineral, protein, and vitamin content in sprouts is often higher than organic veggies.
You can add sprouts to soups, salads, and side dishes for a healthful addition to any meal.
Bone broth is a health staple. Not only is it tasty, but it also speeds healing from illness or injury. It contains huge amounts of important minerals, vitamins, and assorted nutrients that boost immune function.
Did you know that studies have found that traditional chicken soup really does shorten the time of a cold? But it only works because traditional chicken soup is made from bones and feet. Unfortunately, Campbells and other soup manufacturers stopped making traditional chicken soup a long time ago. So to get the very real benefits of chicken soup, you need to make your own broth.
Bone broth can be made from the bones of fish, chicken, beef, or pork - all of which offer the same healing benefits. You probably will want to start off with chicken, since it has the mildest flavor.
Just place the entire raw chicken into a pot and cover with water. A small amount of natural vinegar will help draw the minerals out of the bones. Another way to do it is use a chicken carcass from a cooked chicken after removing the meat.
You can throw your favorite vegetables into the pot to enhance the flavor. Then bring the whole thing to a boil. Be sure to skim the froth that rises as it starts to boil. This is an important step since the froth is actually the impurities rising to the surface. If you don’t skim it off in time it will roll back into the broth.
After you’ve skimmed off all the froth that comes to the surface, let everything simmer overnight. It should simmer 12 to 24 hours.
Here are some of the benefits of delicious bone broth:
- Helps promote a healthy gut and aids digestion
- Fights inflammation
- Mitigates infections
- Promotes bone health
Making your own bone broth is not hard, provided you can plan a day or two ahead. It is also a thrifty way to make up a few meals. You can use a leftover carcass that would otherwise get tossed.
Free range organic eggs are a great source of important nutrients, some of which aren’t found in most other foods.
To get healthy eggs, make sure they come from free-range chickens. These are chickens that are allowed to roam around in a pasture. These chickens eat a much healthier diet than commercially raised caged chickens. You can make sure you’re getting free range chicken eggs by the color of the yolk. Free range chickens lay eggs with bright orange yolks. Caged hens lay eggs that have a dull yellow yolk.
The best source for free range eggs – if you don’t want to raise backyard chickens – are from farmers who let their chickens forage outside in a large area. Like farmer’s markets, free range chicken eggs are easy to find.
Canned Wild Alaskan Salmon
No, canned salmon is not a fresh food. And yes, avoiding pre-packaged and processed foods is essential to good health. But like most things in life, there are sometimes exceptions. One of them is canned wild Alaskan salmon.
First off it’s cheap, selling for only a buck or two in most supermarkets. Second, the healthy fats and low levels of contamination overshadow the downside of being in a can.
The sad fact is that rising levels of pollution have contaminated many fish to the point of being possibly hazardous. This is especially true if eaten often or in large quantities.
These days it’s important to eat fish low in contaminants. Alaskan salmon that has been caught wild falls into this category. Unfortunately, other kinds of salmon, like farmed Atlantic salmon, are high in contaminants.
Naturally, frozen or fresh Alaskan salmon is going to be more expensive. So canned salmon is a cheap alternative. Be sure to check the label. You’re looking for Alaskan salmon and not another kind of salmon, like Atlantic. Alaskan salmon is not allowed to be farmed. You’re getting fish that lived healthy and free, the way nature intended.
Sockeye salmon is another great, healthy fish that can’t be farmed. It also has one of the highest levels of astaxanthin of all food. It is directly responsible for improved cardiovascular and eye health, among many other benefits.
There are a few other canned fish to consider because of their high nutritional value and low contamination levels. These include anchovies, pickled herring, and sardines.
Importantly, when you look for any of these canned fish, look for those packed only in water with or without salt. Too many are packed with dangerous soy oil, and should be avoided.
It’s important to eat more nutritious meals with natural ingredients instead of large amounts of convenience foods. Convenience foods are loaded with toxic chemicals that will make you sick if not worse when eating in excess. You’re far better off to get into the habit of eating inexpensive and tasty fresh foods. They are just as easy to prepare as processed foods, and often less expensive.
Begin gradually with one or two of the foods outlined above. You’ll soon find yourself feeling great, and you’ll have more energy. That’s your body telling you you’ve made a wise decision.