Unprocessed Food: What Exactly is It?
We’ve all heard that we should avoid processed food. There are thousands of articles on the internet about how to eat an unprocessed diet on a budget and more. It’s important to understand exactly what people are talking about when they say “unprocessed.” Sure, it’s easy to understand “processed” versus “unprocessed” when you hold an apple next to a Twinkie, but what about olive oil, yogurt, or flour? Is it even possible to tell if they are processed or not?
The good news is, there is a general system for differentiating foods based on how processed they are. In our next few blogs, we’re going to explore how it works. Today, we’re starting with the good stuff: unprocessed foods.
Group 1: Unprocessed/Minimally-Processed Food
- These are foods that can be taken from nature and consumed in their original form. Any processing that does happen is completed by the primary producer. Minimal processing includes drying, cleaning, bottling, freezing, pasteurisation, vacuum packing, and wrapping. The results are foods like meats, milk, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and roots.
- As you can see, Group 1 foods are the closest you can get to buying fresh produce straight off a farm stand. They don’t put harmful, man-made materials in your body, which is why they are so favored. Therefore, olive oil, yogurt, and flour are Group 1 foods if they haven’t been touched by additives. As long as the steps to get them into usable form don’t compromise their purity, they’re good foods to eat.