You Are What You Eat

An increasingly large amount of the foods Americans eat are heavily processed - meaning that they have been modified from their natural form through the use of chemicals and advanced manufacturing techniques (if you find that unappetizing, that's a good sign). These foods include many lunch meats, hot dogs, most fast food nuggets, canned pastas, cheese spreads, frozen pizzas, frozen dinners and many, many more.

When foods are heavily processed, many of the vital nutrients are removed or destroyed, leaving little left to nourish the body. In their place, a selection of more than 5,000 additives - like artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners - are used to make food cheaper and longer lasting and to ensure consistency. But even though these foods sometimes look and taste good, eating them can take a toll on your body. Many heavily processed foods fail to provide key nutrients that are important to overall nutrition and, along with excessive portion sizes, are often related to the increased incidence of obesity and diabetes in America.

Processed foods are often marketed as being fast, convenient and inexpensive. But food that is fast and convenient does not need to be heavily processed. Take, for example, the food served at Chipotle. Seventeen years ago, Chipotle founder Steve Ells set out to prove that food served fast can actually be cooked from wholesome, real ingredients and still be convenient and reasonably priced. Steve started by selecting the finest raw ingredients and preparing them by hand, using classical cooking techniques. It was real, slow-cooked food served fast. Now, with more than 1,000 restaurants, Steve's vision has become known as 'Food with Integrity' and it is changing the way people think about and eat fast food. Just because food is served fast doesn't mean it has to be highly processed and full of additives. It can be healthful, not horrifying.