Unprocessed: My City-Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food

by , posted on March 9th, 2015 in Cooking, The Reading Nook

How to eat better and more healthy. It's shocking how many of our foods are processed!

Do you think you and your family eat well, as in healthy? Some weeks for us are awesome and others, especially when I have deadlines, not so awesome.

We’ve talked about eating more veggies and while that’s definitely a step in the right direction, what about ditching processed foods altogether? Author Megan Kimble has a brand new book hitting stores June 23rd chronicling her year spent doing that very thing—reclaiming real food. She’s here to talk about what inspired her to eat real, offer tips for going unprocessed and, drum roll… reveal the cover of her book (pictured above). We’ve never done a cover reveal before. So exciting!

Why did you write this book? 

I stopped eating processed food three years ago for a lot of reasons—economic, environmental, heath. I’d read what many of us have read—how destructive factory farming is to our soils; how terrible industrial food is for our bodies; how corporations were concentrating our resources into the hands of a few. Not to mention, I’d been on on a diet on and off since I was 16 years old. I was tired of fighting to stay both full and healthy. Eating unprocessed seemed like a solution to all of these problems.

I’m also fascinated by processes—by networks, transformation, and how this becomes that. It’s why I got into journalism: to figure out how the world works, unseen and assumed. I love digging into the seemingly simple questions, How does a melon get from the soil in Sonora to a Safeway supermarket? How does muscle become meat? These are no longer simple questions with simple answers and I wrote Unprocessed to start to untangle these networks and to understand how I might sustain myself just a little closer to home.

What are some of the things I’ll take away from reading it?

I hope you’ll start to consider the processes that bring you your food. There are a few ways to think about process, but I focused on three: 1. how a food gets from a farm to your table 2. what happens to your body when you eat it, and 3. how the money we spend on food impacts the communities we live in. Think about the difference between a watermelon grown in a monoculture in Mexico and one grown in your backyard or a local farmer’s field. One has significantly more environmental cost than the other. Or the difference between corn on the cob, corn chips, and high fructose corn syrup; they come from the same source, but all three are very different foods with very different nutritional makeups because of their level of processing.

But this book is not what about we should do—it’s about what we can do, given limited resources of time, money, and taste. Indeed, one of my goals was to show that eating whole, unprocessed food would not cost significantly more than the alternative—and that it would not take significantly more time.

Any tips for families starting out on their journey to unprocessed foods? 

Read ingredient labels on every package, for every food you buy. The more you look, the more you’ll wonder, What is that? And why am I eating it? Check out the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s Chemical Cuisine App—you can download it for free on Android or iPhone. They also publish a print guide. Enter an ingredient and you’ll find out what it’s made of, where it comes from, and what it’s used for.

Even better, buy foods with no ingredient label (apples, corn, eggplant) or just one ingredient (oats, milk, honey).

Every cook and every family is going to have to make their own bargain with processed food; it’s up to you to decide what makes food too processed. Start slowly and simply by paying attention to process.

And of course, you can also visit my blog at megankimble.com for more tips and tricks!

Many, many thanks to Megan for being here today. You can pre-order Unprocessed: My City-Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food at Harpers Collins, Amazon, Barnes and Nobel and your independent book seller. I’m definitely picking up a copy!

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