Unprocessed Foods - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 08-10-2008, 09:34 PM
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What qualified a food as unprocessed? Does it mean free of chemical additives and preservatives? Do potato chips count as unprocessed? To me, 'unprocessed' is a loose term. Does anyone have a good definition?

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#2 Old 08-10-2008, 10:45 PM
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My definition: a food in it's uncooked, unchanged state.



Well, a chopped apple wouldn't be considered "processed" but apple juice would be. I don't know. Potato chips are definately processed. Even natural ones. Imo.



Why do you ask?
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#3 Old 08-11-2008, 05:42 AM
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Just curious. I've heard the term thrown around here and just wanted to get a clear definition.

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#4 Old 08-12-2008, 04:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Sun View Post

My definition: a food in it's uncooked, unchanged state.



Well, a chopped apple wouldn't be considered "processed" but apple juice would be. I don't know. Potato chips are definately processed. Even natural ones. Imo.



Why do you ask?



To expand on that--a food that has not been cooked, been added to, or taken away from in an essential way.



So like, the reason apple juice is processed, even though it hasn't been cooked, is that much of the dietary fibre has been removed!



But I'm also curious about this sonic--I always wonder--does, for example, buckwheat count as unprocessed? It's been dried, hasn't it? Does that not count?
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#5 Old 08-13-2008, 07:49 AM
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FOR ME, it has to have fewer than 5 ingredients, and I have to be able to read them with ease, to start with. Like, Triscuits are whole wheat, salt, and oil. Easy, great!



Mostly, though, I'm having a "can I make it myself?" question before I buy something. I'm quite capable of making my own breads, crackers, and could make pasta if I had the right attachments for my mixer. I can make tofu, butters, whip, soy milk... simple donuts, muffins, sandwiches, chips.



I can not make goldfish crackers, honey nut cheerios, anything pressed into a particular shape, or anything with preservatives.



I personally choose to buy what I COULD make but don't have time to make. If I am incapable of making it myself, I don't buy it. Because if I can't make it myself, I probably don't NEED it.



Grains can be super processed, or virtually UNprocessed. It all depends on the state you purchase it in. For example, Oats! Steel cut oat groats are less processed than Steel cut oats. Those are better than Rolled oats, which are better than quick cook rolled oats, which are better than the pre-packaged packets. I get the steel cut oat groats, myself, and LOVE the taste and texture. I can not STAND the quicker cooking stuff anymore, though I'll admit I buy the rolled flakes to make granola with.
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#6 Old 08-13-2008, 12:09 PM
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The way I have seen it, it would be a "whole food." Something dry, like brown rice for example, I would consider unprocessed.



So, an unprocessed diet for me would be whole grains, beans, fruits, and veggies. So anything that doesn't get drastically changed from it's natural state.



For an example: Soy beans? Unprocessed. Soy milk? Processed. Tofu? Definitely processed.
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#7 Old 08-13-2008, 12:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FafaFrappy View Post

The way I have seen it, it would be a "whole food." Something dry, like brown rice for example, I would consider unprocessed.



So, an unprocessed diet for me would be whole grains, beans, fruits, and veggies. So anything that doesn't get drastically changed from it's natural state.



For an example: Soy beans? Unprocessed. Soy milk? Processed. Tofu? Definitely processed.



Therefore, refried beans = processed?



(I have refried beans on the brain today)
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#8 Old 08-13-2008, 12:45 PM
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Quote:
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Therefore, refried beans = processed?



(I have refried beans on the brain today)



Were the refried beans in a can? If so then I would say it's a processed food. Anything in a can would be processed in my book. I'm fairly certain that all canned food is heated or treated in some way to prevent contamination.



If you made the refried beans yourself then they wouldn't be considered processed. I think there is a bit of a scale here, though. I think canned peaches would be closer to not being considered processed than canned beans because canned beans are always cooked.



I do wonder what the real definition is.
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#9 Old 08-13-2008, 12:54 PM
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Were the refried beans in a can? If so then I would say it's a processed food. Anything in a can would be processed in my book. I'm fairly certain that all canned food is heated or treated in some way to prevent contamination.



If you made the refried beans yourself then they wouldn't be considered processed. I think there is a bit of a scale here, though. I think canned peaches would be closer to not being considered processed than canned beans because canned beans are always cooked.



I do wonder what the real definition is.



I don't think heating makes something processed, personally. It just makes it partially cooked.



I don't consider refried beans in a can to be materially any different than home-made if the ingredients are the same. Who refries them doesn't concern me, the end result is most usually the same right?



Do agree though about the peaches vs. the beans.
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#10 Old 08-13-2008, 01:37 PM
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Refried beans in a can usually have preservatives, so I would consider them processed...



However, if I mashed some whole, cooked pinto beans, I would consider it unprocessed. Now, adding vegetable oils, etc., I'd consider it processed :P Oils, even extra virgin, are still processed.... Though, extra virgin is much less so.
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#11 Old 08-13-2008, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FafaFrappy View Post

Refried beans in a can usually have preservatives, so I would consider them processed...



However, if I mashed some whole, cooked pinto beans, I would consider it unprocessed. Now, adding vegetable oils, etc., I'd consider it processed :P Oils, even extra virgin, are still processed.... Though, extra virgin is much less so.







(continuing the bean thing)



So, what about canned beans themselves? That's not processed food right?

Is cooking what constitutes the "processed" part or is it preservatives, artificial ingredients, etc?



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#12 Old 08-13-2008, 02:57 PM
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I generally consider something unprocessed if it doesn't have a lot of extra "stuff" in it. For example, bread should generally be wheat, water, salt and yeast. Anything else, and I consider it processed. Although, in my opinion, there are degrees of processed.

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#13 Old 08-13-2008, 04:07 PM
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For me, processed is anything thats been in a factory ... anything canned or packaged, anything with added preservatives.



I make exceptions for dried foods that are otherwise unaltered.



All packaged breakfast cereals are processed. But if I got the raw ingredients and mixed them myself, I could ensure that they were unprocessed.



In Australia, if any ingredient accounts for less than 5% of the weight of the product, it does not have to be listed on the label as an ingredient. Therefore, you can have preservatives in things and not know. I like to avoid that so I try to buy as little as possible which has been canned, tinned, chopped, bagged, shelled etc. However, its hard to avoid everything
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#14 Old 08-13-2008, 05:54 PM
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This was actually a good thread due to both the question being a rather 'unasked' question and the quality of the answers. To me proccessed food is food that has either been genetically altered (GMO is the term I believe), or has had anything that could be considered un-natural in it. Simply put, the comment about triscuits (I think that was this thread but maybe it was a different one ) having only three naturally occuring ingredients. While I believe triscuits are proccessed because of simply their overall substance, all the ingredients occur within nature (I.E. no M.S.G or splenda)... Though obviously not all things that occur naturally are good...
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#15 Old 08-13-2008, 07:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lostone44 View Post

Simply put, the comment about triscuits (I think that was this thread but maybe it was a different one ) having only three naturally occuring ingredients. While I believe triscuits are proccessed because of simply their overall substance, all the ingredients occur within nature (I.E. no M.S.G or splenda)... Though obviously not all things that occur naturally are good...



Triscuits are awesome. But they state on the package that "BHT is used in packaging to maintain freshness." Granted, Triscuit thin-crisps don't say this, but my last package of Triscuit crackers DEFINITELY listed BHT. I was amazed that they mentioned it at all, since if BHA or BHT are used in packaging, they don't have to divulge its use at all.
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#16 Old 08-14-2008, 06:53 AM
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Triscuits are awesome. But they state on the package that "BHT is used in packaging to maintain freshness." Granted, Triscuit thin-crisps don't say this, but my last package of Triscuit crackers DEFINITELY listed BHT. I was amazed that they mentioned it at all, since if BHA or BHT are used in packaging, they don't have to divulge its use at all.



The packages I use do not include BHT, and I read lables each and every time. The thin crisp styles (even Wheat Thins, cry) have a huge huge list of ingredients. This is exactly the opposite of what I want. If the list is that long, I don't want it. Half those things are flavorings and preservatives, not anything truly necessary.



My kids have behavioral issues linked to High Fructose Corn Syrup and Red Dye #40, so I have to read each and every label if I want a smoothly operating household.



Again, I'm not opposed to food preparation being made a little easier. I'm happy to buy kettle chips already made, to save me the hassle of actually making them myself. But I COULD make them myself. This is my personal line that I draw.



I AM opposed to imitation flavorings, flavor enhancers, excess salt, chemically derived super sweet "sugar", and 100 preservatives being put into everything. Most things that are unhealthy out there are in this list. They have something in this list to worry about.



Simply put, I prefer whole foods. Foods you can tell what is in it, where it has been. Food that is still FOOD not some food-like substance that is nutritionally void. If it is in a package this way, great. If I make it in my kitchen from scratch, great.
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#17 Old 08-14-2008, 07:07 AM
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I personally consider anything that has gone through a process to be a process food. I don't think processed needs to be seen as a negative thing. I've got a batch of pinto beans frozen in my freezer. When they were dried they were unprocessed, when they were soaked and cooked, I think they are technically processed (cooked), but this is a process all of us but raw foodists do on a regular basis. When we make those pintos into refried beans we are further processing those beans. I think these beans are much better and less "processed" then the beans that are coming in a can, because those were done on a different scale and were likely "processed" by a machine instead of by a personal touch.



That was my spiel about the beans, now my spiel about processed foods. I think the OP is referring to the types of processes that people look upon negatively in the food world. I try to eat processed foods as little as possible. There are these crackers at the food whole that I love. They are organic and handmade. These crackers are obviously processed...but I will eat them cause they are hand processed and the bad ingredients normally associated with processed foods aren't present.



I would consider these "more" processed

than these, strictly because of the ingreident lists. But consider both processed, where if bekajoi were to make me some "triscuits" in her kitchen, I would not consider those processed.



I think what is included with the "true" ingredients is what determines wether the item is "processed" or not.
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#18 Old 08-14-2008, 07:16 AM
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I really like this article: http://www.michaelpollan.com/article.php?id=87



It was put in the New York Times, is by Michael Pollan, and is titled Unhappy Meals: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
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#19 Old 08-14-2008, 07:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pandora9kry View Post

Triscuits are awesome. But they state on the package that "BHT is used in packaging to maintain freshness." Granted, Triscuit thin-crisps don't say this, but my last package of Triscuit crackers DEFINITELY listed BHT. I was amazed that they mentioned it at all, since if BHA or BHT are used in packaging, they don't have to divulge its use at all.



What is BHT? BHA?
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#20 Old 08-14-2008, 08:25 AM
 
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The preservatives/chemicals thing is the key for me too. There are lots of things I buy that may be cooked or heated, but I think that's different. Canned beans (without added gunk), spaghetti, locally baked bread, tofu, etc.

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#21 Old 08-14-2008, 01:18 PM
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Random Triscuit note. I peeked at lables today when shopping, but opted not to buy any.



I did not see it on the basic, name brand Triscuits (BHT), but I did see the BHT on the Target store brand ones. Both the regular and reduced sodium or fat or whatever it was. So check the name brand ones in your area.
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#22 Old 08-15-2008, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon View Post





(continuing the bean thing)



So, what about canned beans themselves? That's not processed food right?

Is cooking what constitutes the "processed" part or is it preservatives, artificial ingredients, etc?






I hope someone didn't answer this already, but about beans:



http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?t...odspice&dbid=2



Quote:
Canned black beans can be found in most markets. Unlike canned vegetables, which have lost much of their nutritional value, there is little difference in the nutritional value of canned black beans and those you cook yourself. Canning lowers vegetables' nutritional value since they are best lightly cooked for a short period of time, while their canning process requires a long cooking time at high temperatures. On the other hand, beans require a long time to cook whether they are canned or you cook them yourself. Therefore, if enjoying canned beans is more convenient for you, by all means go ahead and enjoy them. We would suggest looking for those that do not contain extra salt or additives. (One concern about canned foods is the potential for the can to include a liner made from bisphenol A/BPA. To learn more about reducing your exposure to this compound, please read our write-up on the subject)......



....If you are running short on time, you can always use canned beans in your recipes. If the black beans have been packaged with salt or other additives, simply rinse them after opening the can to remove these unnecessary additions. Canned beans need to only be heated briefly for hot recipes while they can be used as is for salads or prepared cold dishes like black bean salad.



Canned beans are quite fine to use in my opinion for the above reasons.



As for processed or not, technically, they are. Any food that goes through any process is processed, lol.



I think what matters is if the process removes nutritional value or includes the addition of ingredients you would never add at home. To me, then it is a processed food in that sense. I try to avoid those at least most of the time.
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#23 Old 08-16-2008, 10:46 PM
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Usually I call something the least processed when it still has most or much of its nutrients. Like, simple salted and safflower seed-oiled potato chips will have little actual potato nutrition, but it has LESS negative ingredients in it than a Sour Cream and Onion Wavy Lay or something.



You could call an inorganic corn on the cob more processed than an organic one, I suppose, but it's still basically about the same chemistry as an organic cob. *Shrug*



It's kind of complicated. I don't think one should need to have an uncooked lifestyle to be unprocessed- I mean, if you look at like, Chinese stirfries and how healthy they are genetically speaking...



On canned beans... Somehow I find that their consistency and texture and flavors are tastier and easier to swallow than dried, then cooked beans. *Shrug*
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#24 Old 08-16-2008, 10:55 PM
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Any food not in its natural state
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#25 Old 08-17-2008, 02:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PneumaticJawz78 View Post

On canned beans... Somehow I find that their consistency and texture and flavors are tastier and easier to swallow than dried, then cooked beans. *Shrug*



Same here, I use mostly canned beans for the ease and also because I hate when I go to all the trouble to cook beans and they won't get tender enough for me, etc.
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