Today I’ve got a another guest post for you. This week it’s from Bruce Bradley, author of the book Fat Profits (you can read my review of that book here–psst..I loved it!). He also blogs on his own blog here. One of the questions I get asked most often on my blog’s Facebook page is how to learn to cook more real food. But what does that mean exactly? It can probably be answered a lot of ways but Bruce breaks it down for us here. This type of information is not meant to scare you but rather help you navigate the grocery aisles and markets in your area to help you make informed decisions about the food you buy for your family and hopefully learn ways to start cooking more from scratch at home yourself. Welcome Bruce!
REAL food. Those two little words have a lot of us scratching our heads wondering what it means. “Hasn’t my food always been real?” we ask.
Sadly the truth can be really confusing. So when Brenda invited me back after my interview to help Meal Planning Magic readers learn more about REAL food, I jumped at the chance.
So why has eating real food become so challenging? One of the main sources of confusion are the big processed food companies. They literally spend billions of dollars in advertising and promotions convincing us the food they manufacture is healthy, delicious, and real. But should we believe everything they say? After all, aren’t they a bit biased? They make billions of dollars off the processed foods we buy.
To help bring this problem to light, I’ve decided to put a popular breakfast item to the test: Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches. Check out one of their advertisements here:
With ads that feature their sunny spokesperson and make claims like “fuel your great days with a balanced breakfast with protein,” it’s hard to believe these sandwiches are anything but good for you. Unfortunately there are quite a few facts that the folks at Jimmy Dean have left out when describing their breakfast pick-me-ups:
•3g of trans fat in each sandwich—yes, these are the dangerous fats that come from highly processed, hydrogenated oils.
•GMOs—genetically modified ingredients are in almost all processed food products that contain corn, sugar, soy, or canola. These breakfast sandwiches are no exception.
•high fructose corn syrup and sugars—using cheap, highly processed ingredients doesn’t give food much taste, so oftentimes high fructose corn syrup and sugars are added for flavor
•MSG and lots of sodium—again, these salts are used to give otherwise bland, overly processed foods some flavor
•colors—artificial colors and caramel color are used to make the food appear more appetizing, but did you know these ingredients can result in allergic reactions, hyperactivity, and may even be carcinogenic?
•dairy products made from animals treated with growth hormones—most processed food manufacturers source their dairy products from cows treated with rBGH/rBST, potentially dangerous hormones that are used to increase milk production
•lots of ingredients that sound more like a lab experiment than something you’d find in your pantry— mono- and diglycerides, calcium propionate, potassium sorbate, sodium diacetate, lipolyzed butter oil, sodium citrate, sodium phosphate, and sorbic acid
•inhumane treatment of animals—most processed food companies source dairy, eggs, and meat from large, confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) where animals are often mistreated, held in very small spaces surrounded by their waste, and are routinely treated with antibiotics and hormones.
Yikes, this doesn’t sound very appetizing. But in today’s time-starved, budget-driven world, what alternatives do parents have? Well, with a little Meal Planning Magic, here’s a quick solution that you can feel a lot better about.
Instead of buying store bought or fast-food breakfast sandwiches, make your own. I use a loaf of organic, sprouted whole wheat bread ($3.49), 12 slices of hormone/antibiotic-free cheese from grass-fed cows ($2.99), a pound of bacon ($6.49) and a dozen organic eggs ($4.29) from a local farmer who treats his animals humanely. On Sunday morning I fry up the eggs and bacon—then I assemble the sandwiches, wrap them in wax paper, and freeze them in a couple of large ziploc bags. During the week, I pull out sandwiches as I need them, using my convection toaster oven to heat them up (you can also use a microwave). Total cost per sandwich? $1.45. Not only is that 10 cents cheaper than the packaged food option, it tastes a whole lot better and is MUCH better for you and the environment.
So don’t get sucked in by the processed food myth of taste, convenience, and health. There are quick, affordable options that you can serve up for your family that just take a little bit of planning but will pay huge rewards.
After working as a processed food marketer for over fifteen years, Bruce Bradley decided enough was enough. Growing increasingly concerned with the food we eat, he’s speaking out to help people learn more about the tricks, traps, and tools big food companies use to get us eating more and more processed foods. As a food advocate, bloggerfollow and authorfollow, Bruce cuts through all the hype and actively speaks out about the concerns over the food we eat. He’s just recently published a novel, Fat Profitsfollow, that takes a close look at the industry.