What is the difference between regular and organic processed foods?

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I shop in regular grocery stores and our local organic Co-op regularly, and can’t help but notice a few things. There isn’t much difference between regular and ‘organic’ grocery stores and their customers. The shelves of both are filled with processed dead 'food'. I watch people check out with mostly bags of chips, boxes of mac and cheese, cheese crackers, cereal, energy bars, cookies, flavored yogurt, peanut butter, meals in a box, processed meats, and lots of bottled water, but very few fresh or frozen fruits, vegetables, meats and seafood. The kind of whole foods you can actually identify as being a chicken, cow, fish, apple, potato or grain. The word 'organic' on the label simply means it costs 3x more. I hate to think what their grocery bill is for all this organic, processed ‘dead’ food, and how much 'more beneficial nutrition' they could afford if they switched to whole foods!

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Comparing processed foods:

Regular Mac & Cheese
Enriched macaroni product (wheat flour, niacin, ferrous sulfate (iron), thiamin mononitrate (vitamin B1), riboflavin (B2), folic acid, cheese sauce mix (whey, milk fat, milk protein concentrate, salt, sodium tripolyphosphate, contains less than 2% of citric acid, lactic acid, sodium phosphate, calcium phosphate, yellow 5, yellow 6, cheese culture, enzymes). CONTAINS: WHEAT, MILK.

Organic Mac & Cheese
Wheat Macaroni (enriched), Cheddar Cheese (Cultured Pasteurized Milk, Salt, Non-Animal Enzymes), Whey, Nonfat Milk, Butter, Salt, Cultured Whole Milk, Sodium Phosphate, Annatto Extract For Color.
CONTAINS: WHEAT, MILK.

Synthetic vitamins may cause nutritional deficiencies, and gastrointestinal distress; not adequately tested
FD&C Yellow 5 - may cause hay fever, gastrointestinal distress, skin rashes; avoid if aspirin sensitive; may be carcinogenic.
FD&C Yellow 6 - causes tumors in lab animals; contaminated with carcinogens.
Sodium Tripolyphosphate is a preservative, emulsifier and used to retain moisture in processed foods.
Sodium Phosphate is used as an emulsifier in processed cheese.

  • Salts of polyphosphate anions are moderately irritating to skin and mucous membranes because they are mildly alkaline. They can cause digestive distress.
  • Phosphates form deposits in joints and are linked to heel and joint pain. High phosphate foods include processed meats, carbonated beverages, processed grain products like cereals, breads and pastas. To eliminate phosphate, the body takes calcium from bones and magnesium to neutralize it. This dissolves bones. Unneutralized phosphate in the body is very acidic and can burn delicate kidneys. In this way, people get hardened arteries, joint disease, calcified tissues that no longer have flexibility and kidney crystals that become stones. This is aging. All of these deposits invite bacteria to live in and on them, setting the stage for pain.

Organic food may not have been grown with chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, or made to include artificial color, flavor and preservatives, but they do list chemicals on the label that are not friendly to the GI tract, like xanthin gum, maltodextrin, and others. Nutritionally speaking, processed organic food is fortified with synthetic vitamins and minerals, refined and nutritionally bankrupt empty calories, just like regular processed foods.

Processing plant

The FDA requires all food manufacturers to clean the food handling equipment with the same chemicals, whether making organic or non-organic products, so solvent residues end up in the food and we ingest them, which is cumulative.

  • Let me give you a real life example. I have to take my food with me when I travel and every evening I have half a grapefruit. I thought it would be easier for me to pack if I took a carton of grapefruit juice, instead of whole grapefruits. Weeks before the trip, I carefully selected 3 brands of organic grapefruit juice. Solvents give me nightmares that make a Steven King movie look like a comedy. I had an 8 oz serving each brand of grapefruit juice 3 days apart, and ate half a grapefruit the two evenings between them, so I could get very clear feedback from my body. Every one of them gave me such a terrible night sleep that I couldn't finish the juices, much less take them on my trip. I ended up packing whole, organic grapefruit. The same thing happens with 98% of the processed foods I have eaten. The exceptions, or that 2%, are items like - Pacific organic Cream of Mushroom soup, Farmer’s Market organic pumpkin in a paper carton, LePain des fliers organic quinoa crisp bread, Redwood Hills Farm goat milk, plain yogurt, plain kefir, Blue Bonnet supplements, and a few other things. Multiple Chemical Sensitivity has turned out to be a blessing, because if there is anything harmful in a product, my body will let me know without a doubt. I am a guinea-pig and like the canary in a cage to alert miners (people) of lethal, unseen hazards. Solvents attack the brain, so why do we keep exposing ourselves to these things?

When we separate whole food constituents, we separate the synergy and cofactors, making it dead food. When we eat food as close to the way God made it as we can get it, we benefit from the interaction of substances that produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects and substances whose presence is essential for the activity of enzymes. God built things into the food we are designed to grow, maintain and heal our bodies with, that we have yet to discover or understand, and we need those things that enable our bodies to use the nutrients they contain. Otherwise, it's dead food. In this respect, organic processed food and conventional processed food are identical. It's a false positive that gives people a false sense of security, because they think they are 'eating better,' when in reality they may, or may not be, just avoiding a few nasty chemicals. Also, parents are teaching their children by example, so they have no idea what real food looks like or how to cook it. What we don't know we don't know can hurt us in ways we can't begin to imagine.

I'm not saying it is bad to occasionally partake of processed foods. When I travel, about once or twice a year, I purchase some "survival food" for my husband to prepare in my absence. So, in that case you will see in my grocery cart the healthiest version of frozen pizza, mac & cheese, onion rings and yes, ice cream, but those are the exception, not a regular thing. People would benefit greatly from regularly consuming as much nutrition and hydration from natural sources as possible. For those who have immune issues and health challenges, eating organic whole foods, prepared with minimal heat to preserve nutrition and consumed in such a way as to obtain optimum nutritional value is essential to regaining health and maintaining it.

If you'd like some assistance transitioning to, planning and preparing meals from whole foods, I am here for you. Email johnna@wholefamilyhealthandnutrition.com to ask a question or schedule a free introductory phone consultation. I look forward to the opportunity to serve you.