Processed Food vs. Me

By: Sara Coulter

Last week, I opened an email from Beloved magazine. It contained my assignments for the summer and made me as nervous as it did excited. Here’s what I opened the email to see:

Sara Coulter
May: food

When I got my email with bloggin’ assignments for this summer, I audibly chuckled at my May task. My first blog post (ever) was supposed to written about food.

Those of you who have spent more than 2 hours with me in the last year know about my tricky relationship with food. Before you assume the worst, let me explain.

For the last year, I’ve struggled with major injury and sickness. Eating is something that has become very tricky to do without making my body fall apart. My friends like to joke about how I am gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, sugar-free, and really fun-food-free (quick shout-out to said friends for still managing to find treats to give me).

With this being said, I am still a foodie. I am a proud gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, sugar-free foodie, and I’ve experimented with so many different types of food this year that I feel (somewhat) (actually, probably not) qualified to share some of my adventure with you.

Here’s the big lesson I’ve learned: the simpler, the better. I’ve learned that what I put into my body is truly what I get out of it. Now, while I’ve never been one to consume fast food or copious amounts of processed food, I enjoyed the occasional Oreo or handful of potato chips. About a year ago, my body gave me a big ole’ NO to anything that was made by a machine. My stomach has been the real poster child for what our moms have been telling us for years: eat your fruits and vegetables.

Processed food is so easy and convenient sometimes, but the extra minute spent cutting up an apple and throwing a packet of almond butter in my backpack compared to grabbing a pre-packaged bar or bag of chips has truly been my saving grace this year. Grab a healthy snack instead of an easy snack. If you’re currently looking for ways to make your lifestyle just a little bit healthier, I encourage you to make one easy switch: stop buying snacks that come in a package.

Yes, sadly this means that those (sugar-FILLED) granola bars will have to go, along with the chips and cookies. Yes, this is hard at first. Yes, I still cheat on my own rule. And yes, I pay for it. But I promise this gets easier and you will feel so good. Instead of a granola bar, grab an apple and a packet of Justin’s All-Natural Almond Butter. On your way out the door, throw a container of blueberries and roasted almonds in your bag for a quick antioxidant and protein-filled snack. Cut up some veggie sticks and bring some hummus along for an easy snack throughout the afternoon. Eating healthy is easier than you think (and way tastier too!).

Above all, appreciate the value of the foods that nature provides us with, and feed your body the things it was designed to eat. Put good things in and you’ll get good things out, but also eat that cupcake every once in a while. It won’t kill ya.