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What Exactly Is Considered "processed Foods"?
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People toss this term around quite frequently and I was wondering, what exactly qualifies as processed food? Does a Lara Bar qualify as processed? What about Heinz ketchup? gluten-free cereals? I can't believe it's not butter? Just wondering what people consider processed?

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People toss this term around quite frequently and I was wondering, what exactly qualifies as processed food? Does a Lara Bar qualify as processed? What about Heinz ketchup? gluten-free cereals? I can't believe it's not butter? Just wondering what people consider processed?

Well, the way I look at it, if God didn't make it.....if you can't pull it out of the ground or off of a tree, or squeeze it out of a cow, it's processed.

But, that's just me...... :P

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I consider all of those things "processed". Any food that has been changed from it's natural state when harvested/slaughtered or had chemicals/preservatives added is processed. Some foods are more processed than others, IMO. The more ingredients (especially ingredients that you could not go out and pick/buy/grow yourself to duplicate the product in your own kitchen) the more processed the item has been (and probably the worse it is for you health-wise). Of the list you gave Lara Bars would probably be the least "processed" because they don't have added preservatives. You can buy all the ingredients in Lara Bars and play with making them in your kitchen yourself.

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Well, the way I look at it, if God didn't make it.....if you can't pull it out of the ground or off of a tree, or squeeze it out of a cow, it's processed.

But, that's just me...... :P

Well, I think Connie took it a little too far, because of course that would exclude meat since I don't think too many of us go around butchering our own animals (although we may catch and fillet our fish :) ). But she had the idea correct; it is anything that man hasn't messed with and added stuff to that nature didn't put there in the first place. If you buy a bag of rice, sure it has been "processed" into the bag, but if it hasn't been turned into "instant" rice or a rice mix, then I would consider it unprocessed.

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If anyone is super interested in learning about processed foods, I'd recommend reading Michael Pollan's books. To Connie's point, at the end of "Omnivore's Dilemma," he stages a dinner party where he serves only food he's gathered, grown, or hunted himself. Yes, you can find wild boar in Berkeley, California if you know the right people.

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. Yes, you can find wild boar in Berkeley, California if you know the right people.

Or know where to look :D Can't say as how I ever came across one, but I have come across coyotes at Anderson Dam, and bobcats and bears at Incline Village. Not to say that I am going to go hunting any of them :P I prefer someone else to catch my game for me - that's what men (except Sarah Palin) are for :rolleyes:

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That is a really interesting question -- and quite subjective! I pretty much say the fewer ingredients the better. I wouldn't consider a bag of rice or a bag of beans a "processed food" although they technically have been processed. I use dried foods (that I have dried myself or bought) a lot and I don't consider them over processed.

What about spices? Obviously the ones I pick aren't processed, but what about table salt or pepper?

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I'd even take it a little further and say that things w/ REAL foods as ingredients aren't processed. As soon as you start adding preservatives, stablizers, etc., it becomes processed.

I wouldn't consider 100% juice or bread made only w/ flour, water, salt and maybe eggs and oil or ice cream using only cream, sugar, and nuts/chocolate, etc., as processed food... like the Larabars thought.

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I think when people say try to eat "unprocessed" foods they mean simple stuff. Stuff without a lot of processing steps before you get it. The more steps needed to make it, the more likely it could be cross contaminated. Stuff without a lot of different ingredients, espcially ones you couldn't or wouldn't use. Example: Chicken broth: If the ingredients say chicken, salt, onion, carrot that's how you would make it yourself. When it starts to have "autolyzed yeast" and "artificial colors" its overprocessed. Plain spices that are just: "dried oregano" is pretty simple.

A few people go the whole way and grow and dry thier own oregano or make the chicken broth. Good for them. They have more energy or desire then I do.

So I think the moral of the story is: Eat as simply as possible and its better for you. Sometimes single ingredients you add to other single ingredients are easier to digest.

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Well, the way I look at it, if God didn't make it.....if you can't pull it out of the ground or off of a tree, or squeeze it out of a cow, it's processed.

But, that's just me...... :P

When I consider CC, it is Connie's definition I use. Once man gets involved...

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I eat only "unprocessed" foods - meaning, I do eat some packaged foods like Coconut milk, protein powders, etc., but I only buy it if it has natural ingredients. If it has a chemical, was packaged in a foreign country, etc, it goes back on the shelf. Mostly I try to eat organic veggies and meat, but I still makes smoothies, etc, where the former items I mentioned come in handy. In a perfect world, I would only eat things I could find at my local farmer's market.

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