A couple nights ago we had taco night in our house — fun for the girls, as they can pick and choose what they want and create their own mix (which often means half on the floor half on their plates) — but always good to get the kiddos involved in the kitchen as much as possible.
We had a combo of ground beef and mushrooms, then had caramelized onions, guacamole, black beans and hummus …
… all wrapped up in a Bibb lettuce wrap.
I bring this up because the other day I was in a conversation at the grocery store. By "conversation" I mean a person who happened to be near me in the "organic" section of the grocery store asked a question about a particular product, then answered her own question and started to tell me all about her various food beliefs.
I just smiled and nodded and ultimately had to politely excuse myself as Ella, who was with me, very fortunately started to get a little antsy.
I was looking for a particular product — Food for Life’s Sprouted Grain Tortillas — which are in that section.
This woman was on a rampage against all processed foods since, as she said "they are the reason people have all the diseases they have."
And, to be honest, while this woman may or may not have had a screw loose, it’s not the first time I’ve heard that. We admittedly have shared similar sentiments to others (hopefully with a little less opinion and more useful soundbites).
But let’s take a step back and actually think about this.
Every single food we eat is processed, unless you’re picking it off the tree and eating it (and we certainly do that sometimes, like when apple picking). But it’s rare.
But the beans we had on our tacos the other night?
Processed – in fact, we open up a can, drain them and they’re ready to go. Completely processed.
The almonds we enjoy almost daily. Completely processed. I’ve been to an almond farm to see the massive processing plant first hand. If they weren’t processed, we couldn’t eat them — the actual nuts are covered in hulls that are ultimately removed and fed to cattle.
The olive and coconut oils we enjoy daily. Yup, both processed. Coconut oil comes from a coconut, yes. But to ultimately get the oil that we enjoy, that coconut must be processed. Same thing with olives – they’re picked and mechanically pressed to get the oil that we enjoy out of the olives themselves.
The ground beef we had in our tacos. Well, considering it started as a whole cow, processed is putting it mildly …
… sure, we got it from a local farmer at our farmers market, but that beef is processed (after all, it starts as a whole cow and ends up as ground beef) just like the ground beef you buy in the store.
When we made hot chocolate the other night — we used ground cacao, which of course is very processed, considering where it comes from.
The coffee we drink in the morning. Processed.
The list can go on and on.
At the end of the day, we love — and embrace — processed foods and if it weren’t for processed foods, none of us would be alive. Don’t let logic go out the window when thinking or talking about what you eat.
The question really is "define processed." So how do YOU define it?
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