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Eliminating Processed Food – SlowMoneyFarm Challenge

July 30, 2012

Our regular readers know we don’t advocate for elimination of anything. Elimination reduces food choices. And if we eliminate someone else’s choices why should they have to follow ours?

Still, articles, blogs, media reports and Tweets say eliminate processed food. Have you thought about what elimination really means? It means under no circumstances can you use any food item you didn’t process. Now some may think that’s a good thing as it’s their choice.

It means no more heat and serve pizza, tv dinners or dump and bake dinners. The convenience on busy nights of tossing something on the stove…gone. Many stores have a 5/$20 deal where you can choose from chicken, pork, vegetables, fish and more – easy for lunches as well as quick dinners. Those are gone. Canned foods – gone. Soups, stews, boxed macaroni dinners, spaghetti, minute rice – gone. Some might even argue cheese is processed.

This can change in ways that many would not expect. This week take some time and really think about your food choices when it comes to processed food. Do you want to dedicate yourself to making the same soups and stews that you currently buy canned? Do you want to eliminate certain foods from your household? Are you willing to make popcorn rather than snack on chips? Are you willing to make granola, do away with breakfast cereals and no more cookies or cakes unless made at home? Are you willing to fire up the bread maker to avoid processed bread loaves?

Look at what the result of elimination would mean for you if these food choices weren’t available? Do you want to eliminate, reduce, or make no changes?

Here we live a combination, probably like most folks. We may have fresh eggs, shred some potatoes for hash browns and add a sausage patty for breakfast. At night we’ve been known to have a curry with diced rabbit, onions and peppers with rice (yummy!) but on nights when there’s limited time diced potatoes with onions, peppers and spicy chicken diced into a skillet dinner, topped with a little cheese, is a quick meal. We may make a couple cans of soup for lunch, or Connor sometimes makes (from one of those  5/$20 offers) chimichangas that he can heat and eat. There’s a balance, which I suspect is typical of many families. We seldom eat out and normally can count our annual trips to McDonald’s on one hand and have fingers left over.

Rather than approach this challenge as elimination and toss the food as some celebrities do – I want you to really think this week about the food you eat, how much is processed and what you would do if it wasn’t available. Can you reduce the processed food in your budget and why or why not?

Take an honest look at your own eating choices. Can fresh food find a place in the kitchen? Explore with us what processed food elimination would really look like. Are you ready?

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