You may hear packaged foods referred to as "processed." They are, but let's go a little deeper and clarify between "processed" and "ultra-processed." The term "Processed Foods" is broad; technically every food that is altered from it's original state is considered processed to some degree.
Grilling, steaming, boiling, roasting is a cooking process. Grinding almonds into almond flour or oats into oat flour is a process. Extracting maple or coconut sap from the tree is a process. Blending a plant into powder is a process. These foods are considered "unprocessed or minimally processed", according to the NOVA classification system.
This is to say that yes, our healthy snack mixes have gone through a process, but what would be considered "minimally processing" or "processing of culinary ingredients", both of which are the lowest possible levels of processing. Neither includes ANY additives or preservatives....
Now there's Ultra-processed.
These foods take the process further by adding preservatives, fillers, stabilizers, added sugars or sugar alcohols, artificial flavors, and coloring. This is done to (1) extend the shelf life, or allow for the product to be stable at room temperature (2) to alter the brain chemistry to make the food more addicting so it's consumed more often. Sounds crazy, but it's true!
Why is ultra-processed food bad for you?
(1) These foods are often over-consumed. Have you ever had a bag of chips that you just can't stop eating? Yep, they were created with these additives and sugars so that you'd buy them over and over again!
(2) They are often full of sugar, ultra-processed vegetable oils, and excess sodium which can cause inflammation, brain fog, liver, gut, and heart health issues.
(3) They are not nutrient dense. Often, you're consuming empty calories, meaning they do not offer many macro (carbs, healthy fats, protein) or micro nutrients (fiber, vitamins, minerals).
How to make a shift away from ultra-processed foods and to a whole food or minimally processed diet? Start by reducing or cutting out packaged products that include:
- Palm Oil, Soybean Oil, Corn Oil, Safflower Oil, Canola Oil, Peanut Oil
- Artificial Flavors
- Refined sugars (high fructose corn syrup, invert sugar, sugar alcohols)
- Modified Starches
- Hydrogenated oils and hydrolyzed proteins
- Colorings, emulsifiers, bleaches
It's unfortunate that it's too easy to find packaged goods that included some or all of these ingredients. That's why we're on a mission to take on these ultra-processed brands and introduce an unprocessed or minimally processed way of enjoying your favorite foods, with nutrient dense ingredients PLUS the added benefits of ancient superfoods and adaptogens. So in sum, just stick with us, we've got you covered!