Moderation and Processed Food Muse

by Annie on February 12, 2010 · 4 comments

in Eating Healthy

When something is not working in your life, do you strive to change it or do you hold still in fear of rocking the boat?  I made some great strides last year in changing our household eating habits, but I still feel like there is a long ways to go before I can go around telling people that we are eating healthy.

Moderation a favorite word in the diet industry

Of the many diet and fitness books I read last year, moderation seems to be the favorite word when it comes to process food.  But they never truly explain what moderation is.  For someone who eat fast food at every meal, moderation could be once a day.  Or for some someone who rarely eat fast food or junk food, moderation could be once a week.

Sometimes I feel like the word moderation is thrown into the healthy eating arena to placate us into believing that it is ok to have cake once a week.  But mostly I believe the main reason is to prevent a backlash from processed food manufacturers.

Is it possible to avoid all processed food in modern living?

I don’t so think so.  When we have a baby, my husband and I will join the ranks of two income households living in suburbia, shuttling our child from day care to activities.  If I don’t get a mini-van within the next 10 years, it is from making a stand against the ultimate symbol of a soccer mom, not from the lacking of moms convincing me how convenient it is to drive one.  I shudder at the thought of constantly pulling my long hair in a pony tail or (please don’t let this happen) cutting it into a bob.

If I think my life is busy now, the upcoming 20 years will bring more chaos and joy to my life.  How is this related to processed food?  As any working mom should know, processed food is vital to keeping your family fed.  If the only way you can have dinner on the table at a decent time is from throwing a bag in the microwave so you can have time to bathe the kids and help them with homework, how can we apply moderation to processed food?

But what if one of you stays home with children?

And that person will have to learn to grow their own produce and raise livestock.  In our modern living, it takes more knowledge and effort to live like families did three generations ago.  There is no way I can raise livestock and grow all our produce.  My HOA will have cow if I have chickens pecking in my front yard.

I cannot change what is.  And as a 31 year old who spent all her life living in a city or suburb, I do not have the drive or skills for rural living.  What does that leave me?

I can only make the best possible healthy food choices available to me.  I can eat processed food in moderation and cook some of our meals on weekends.  I can make time to exercise.  I am a health blogger as hobby.  I do not get paid to eat clean and be in top shape.  I do not have the time or money to focus exclusively on my health.   In the end, that is about the best that anyone of us can do.

Until next time and thanks for stopping by Small Steps to Health.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Sagan February 15, 2010 at 12:01 pm

We just have to do the best we can! (And take advantage of weekends when we can cook stuff ;))
.-= Sagan´s last blog ..The Living Healthy in the Real World Guide to Grocery Shopping, Part One: Preparation =-.


lisef February 15, 2010 at 1:11 pm

What exactly do you mean by processed food? Most food has been processed in some way, even it just means that it has been picked from a tree, sorted, and brought to market. I try and eat food that has been minimally tampered with and that is as close to the source as possible. I live in the city and I have a young family but I’m still able to buy a good portion of my food from small farmers and producers within a 30 mile radius of the city. For me, eating unprocessed means eating food that comes mostly from the perimeters of a grocery store, ingredients, rather than finished products. It is hard to make food from scratch when you are exhausted, but the less we prepare our own food the less we know about nutrition and what is healthy. It is possible to make simple meals that are easy, quick, healthy and minimally processed, however, most people haven’t been handed down that knowledge and don’t know how to balance a frazzled life of work, kids, and homemade meals.

Moderation is an overused word, though I do think that it is an important concept. Most people know that they shouldn’t be eating french fries or layer cakes every day, but it is possible to enjoy those things occasionally without being unhealthy. How often you indulge does depend on how healthy and fit you already are and what your diet is like, but if you are honest with yourself you should be able to figure that out yourself and not have to rely on someone else’s rules


lisef February 15, 2010 at 1:14 pm

I don’t mean to sound condescending or that I have it all figured out. I know its hard to eat healthy, I struggle with it often. I just think that sometimes people don’t realize that it is more possible than it seems.


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