There are substantial differences between the two. In order to analyse this, we need to consider the MAIN difference if we look at the words, “Real Natural” and also – “Packaged.”
Real Natural Foods – Untouched or modified, and straight off the vine or tree.
Packaged Foods – Processed and packaged, modified and “enhanced or tampered with.”
Now I know these two descriptions are the extreme, and you must realise that if it’s modified or processed, then it is (by definition) not natural – in its natural state.
Your body will consume anything you put in it, and deal with it as best as it can. This includes all the processed and modified foods. Some are not bad, and others, not good at all.
Now, the real health concerns over what foods to consume is not going to be a big debate today, except to say that everything that we put in our mouth will either do us good, or not good. As you could imagine then, you have to be careful about the processed foods we put into our bodies, and understand that everything has consequences. Whether it is in short term, long term or secondary effect, it will affect your body in some way.
Now let’s have a look at the packaged foods.
What do we do about research understanding things that are in foods? Do we read the packet to see what adverse elements are actually in them? Do you know how your body reacts to certain processed foods? More importantly – do you know what you are actually feeding your children?
We also have to understand that although packaged foods (processed foods) affects us all differently, there are some fundamental ways in which we will react, and it’s usually the degree of the reaction that varies among each of us.
Now this is what I want you to do. I want you to consider what is in your pantry and fridge. What is in your food cupboard? Now this is where we have to be honest with ourselves to get the most out of this information.
The reason this is important is because we can often “fool ourselves” into thinking that “it’s only a little bit,” or “it’s just a treat.” Here is the real question… Is it a treat? What constitutes the timing of treats? Well, a treat every night is not a treat. It’s really part of your staple diet. Are you consuming too much of the “nasties” that react adversely to your body?
Here is a typical list of what is found in most ‘western society pantries’ and fridges:
– Potato crisps (chips in a packet) / corn chips
– cookies (biscuits and crackers)
– rice crackers / rice and corn shapes
– cup cakes
– muslie bars / rice bars / nut bars
– confectionary – chocolate bars
– candy / lollies / sweets on sticks / wrapped sweets / toffee / chew bars
– mints / breath mints / candy suckers / lollie suckers / lozengers
– premade pasta meals, instant noodles
– soda drinks / soft drinks / soda pops / premix carbonated drinks
– juices / fruit drinks / pre-squeezed fruit and vegetable juices
– beers / wines
Now I ask the question – where is the real food in it? Where are the fruit and veggies? Is this your staple diet?
Watch how you or your kids react when they eat packaged foods, and watch how they act after they eat natural foods. There is a big difference. As a parent, I have seen this first hand. There is food related bad behaviour, as well as good behaviour.
I know what I prefer. What about you?
There is another element that affects how fast we digest our foods through our bodies, called Glycemic Index (GI for short). The higher the Glycemic index, the faster our body digests and processes food in our body. If you have heard the term “Low GI food,” it is food that is slowly processed and gives a slow release of energy. On the other hand, a “High GI food” gives you an almost instant pick up of energy, processes fast, and then you “fall flat” and you are out of energy. Even some natural foods have a high Glycemic index. BUT, the majority of packaged foods have high GI.
If you eat a packet of potato crisps, you may feel satisfied for a short while, and then you are probably empty and “unsatisfied” a short while later. That is because they usually lace the chips or snack with salts and flavours that make you ‘want more’.
Here is a challenge for you.
Instead of snacking on packaged foods, choose a natural alternative. This could include nuts, dried fruit, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sweet peas or beans, tomatoes, grapes, fruit, and yoghurt.
The idea is to have it prepared beforehand. It is very difficult to “grab a snack” that is healthy when you are in a hurry, unless you have something pre-prepared. With seeds and nuts, have them separated into small bags or containers, so that when you “run out the door” you can simply grab that pre-organised snack. You will be satisfied, and you will feel better for it. You won’t feel gluggy, or flat, and you are doing your body good, not filling it with junk foods. It is a matter of being prepared and it is not hard to do. If you are serious about having slight changes in your lifestyle, then this is an easy step.
Packaged foods are mixed. Some are “healthy” some are not. You have to be careful even if they are labelled healthy. Are they really healthy? Do they have chemical flavour enhancers such as MSG, preservatives, or pH balancers? Do they have swags of laboratory numbers on the ingredients list? Or really, really long words that only your doctor or chemist would understand? If so, then you should do some research, find out what they really stand for, and avoid foods that contain them. This can be a little difficult – especially if you have kids. It’s that “No” word. Just make healthy alternative choices instead.
Making the right decision for your whole family will mean changes. And no one likes change. Just do a little research to avoid some bigger problems later on. However, a good mix of natural foods will be the best solution. Take an apple. – If your kids can’t eat a whole apple, cut it up into smaller sizes, they are more likely to eat it. Make eating these things fun. You get excited about eating healthy, and your kids will follow. Don’t make a big fuss over it though, it will just happen. A good variety is the key.
As you can see, there are major differences between packaged foods and natural foods. As a rule, if it comes in a packet, so it has to be preserved. How have they done so? Natural foods have a shelf life, and go off. That is the natural order of life. If a packaged food can sit on the shelf and not go off, decay and decompose, then it is not food, and is probably doing you more harm than good.
We have to be careful of what we put in our mouth. Ask yourself this question, am I eating food, or eating a chemically unstable snack? There is a big difference. We just need to be careful, and be diligent about what we feed our bodies, and our kids’ bodies as well.