I would love to completely give up all processed foods, but time, money and sometimes even laziness kick in and make this not realistic for me. So there are some things I compromise on. I do try to find the lesser evil of these processed foods when possible though.
Here are some of my compromises:
Bread – I have a breadmaker. It works great. But honestly, even with the breadmaker, it’s not always reasonable to make homemade bread what with the storing and slicing. So I try to find the least evil of commercial breads. While we probably still end up with some not quite so savory ingredients, I do stick to whole wheat, avoid high fructose corn syrup and try to find the ones with the least ingredients that I can still afford and don’t have to drive for an hour round trip to find. That said, if you have a Great Harvest Bread Company nearby, they’ve got great less processed bread – just not convenient enough for me.
Tortillas – I spent a lot of time looking for better tortillas. I even made my own tortillas – which honestly are super yummy and better than store bought ones. But they’re time consuming, and one of the places where laziness kicks in. I have found that Trader Joes has their own homemade tortillas (both white and whole wheat) and these are yummy. While they cost more than what we used to eat, they aren’t too expensive. We also use hard shells a lot and the Trader Joes brand of organic shells isn’t too bad ingredient or price wise.
Canned Tomatoes – Yes, I know that there is BPA in the lining of cans of tomatoes. But honestly, I don’t have the time to buy, blanch and freeze my own tomatoes. I also can’t afford the fancy organic tomatoes in the non-bpa containers. So I compromise on this one. I figure even with the BPA in the cans, by using the tomatoes to make my own sauces and chili, I’m avoiding some of the chemical ingredients that are placed directly into processed food rather than the chemical that might possibly leach into my tomatoes.
Flour – I try to use a lot of whole wheat flour in everything I bake, but there are some places where I do use at least partly plain old processed unbleached all purpose flour. One of these places is with pancakes. My oldest son really really doesn’t care for all whole wheat pancakes, so I use half and half whole wheat and white flour. I figure this is still healthier than what we used to eat with the boxed pancake mixes.
Cereal – I do still feed my kids cereal. Most days they eat toast, or bananas with peanut butter and honey. But they still do like cereal, so I compromise here. I do try to make it the lesser evil cereals. Aldi recently started selling organic cheerios, so we mainly eat these. I also still buy plain old shredded wheat (not the frosted kind). The boys only get sugary processed cereals at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, and it’s infrequent enough to not be a deal breaker. Which brings me to my biggest compromise place…
Family and friends – I do not expect everyone I and my family visit and eat with to prescribe to a less processed lifestyle. I do the best I can at home, and figure that is still far better.
The bottom line is that everyone should do what they can, it doesn’t have to be perfect, but any less processed food you and your family eat is a step in the right direction.