I don't know about you, but I grew up on processed, sodium-filled, high-fat, well-preserved foods. It lasts longer and tastes better than any other kind of food to me! It up most of my diet as a child - and still does to this day.
But now when I go home to visit my parents, longing for a meal like Mom used to make, I'm faced with the tragic situation that my parents have fallen into the same trap as most -- they no longer see the value of processed food. :(
Unfortunately, in our "Health Conscious" obsessed culture, people are seduced by advertisements and trends that say - "It's good for you to eat fresh foods" - but it's not necessarily the whole truth. This strategy did, however, work to sell the over abundance of soy. That's right, soy is only "good for you" because there was too much of it. Soy farmers had to do something to insure that this tasteless product sold. So, what did they say to entice consumers to buy soy products? They promoted soy as a health-food even though it's probably not true.
Americans have been on this crazy "natural and fresh foods are best kick" because they've been told by "experts" that it's more healthy - and they believe it. This situation has compelled me to provide some education on the value of processed and prepackaged foods.
First, preservatives in most processed foods are natural - like salt, lemon juice, sugar, seeds, fruits and seaweeds - so I think that those in the "I only eat natural foods camp" should rethink their choice and stop denying themselves the pleasure of those processed delights that are prepared for good taste and (in fact) for good health.
Processing food rids it of many bacterias that could potentially be harmful to ones health. After all, processed foods - such as canned and frozen veggies, box potatoes and instant breakfast drinks and cereals - are fortified with vitamins and the daily nutritional requirements. This often makes these savory dishes more healthy than "natural foods."
For example: The vitamins in veggies deteriorate almost immediately once they are taken from the vine, but if they are frozen (a process that is completed upon harvest) the veggies maintain their nutritional value until they are served on the dinner table.
Processed foods also give us the option of eating certain foods that would otherwise be out of season. Because the shelf life is much longer, these food are eatable and safe to consume for a much longer period of time than natural food substances.
Honestly, how would you feel if you couldn't get your favorite food simply because it's the wrong time of the year? That's just down right un-American. One thing we do want is access; access to anything we want whenever we want it. And processed food (because it's preserved) solves this problem, making all kinds of food fresh and available all year 'round.
Check your labels... and your taste-buds. Keep it tasty and healthy by eating processed foods which keep better, longer and help your body get the nutrition it needs.
Processed food = Healthy eating!