The dangers of ultra-highly processed foods and how to avoid them- Ashley Poptodorova

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Living a vibrant, healthy and balanced life in today’s world is tough enough. Combine this with the over abundance of highly processed foods and it is a recipe for utter disaster and destruction. This is a battle that myself as well as countless other fitness and nutrition professionals struggle to educate on. I am on a mission to spread the word on how HIGHLY ULTRA PROCESSED FOODS are killing us.. and our children. I deem this “HIGHLY ULTRA PROCESSED” because it is much worse than ULTRA PROCESSED. The foods that we are being sold on daily are DEAD foods that offer little if not ANY nutritional substance at all.
Sadly, the food companies are aggressively marketing to our children more than the adults and this is causing a problem FAR worse than can be imagined as our babies are being raised while still in diapers to become addicted to these HIGHLY ULTRA PROCESSED FOODS therefore NEVER having been raised with an ounce of education on what nutrition is. We are breeding a new generation of children that will continue to be sucked into this downward spiral of mass NUTRITIONAL DESTRUCTION which will leave many future generations to come to pay the price. The more we allow the media, the food companies, and the government to dictate what is done to our food and how it is marketed to us.. the more this problem will spiral out of control and the harder it will be to fix.
Never in our history have we had such high incidence of disease and debilitation and never has it been so widely accepted. The combination of our nutrient depleted food supply and our lifestyle habits provide the recipe for disaster. Many of our problems are stemming not only from our poisoned food supply but from our lifestyle trends and habits. We live in a world where we are judged by our productivity in respect to time. Who can do MORE MORE MORE in less time? If we do not perform we are threatened with the loss of our job or worse our technological advances are replacing our need for “humans” to do the job – leaving many without a means to make money. What does all of this amount to? STRESS!

What does stress cause us to do?
Among the many things it causes here are the TOP TWO that are creating our biggest issues:
Stress causes us to NOT care.. we end up being so preoccupied with other things that the LAST thing we think of is how to properly fuel our hungry bodies, much less those of our children. This “daily grind” if you will, leaves us open and susceptible to the cheap, nutrient depleted, HIGHLY ULTRA PROCESSED foods which are so colorfully marketed to us and our children… and ALL for under $5 … and so the cycle begins.

Secondly, stress causes us to overeat and become addicted to these foods that offer no nutritional value to our bodies. This is where disease forms. A combination of stress and nutrient depleted foods form inflammation in our bodies which are beat down day in and day out. We wake each day to repeat the cycle and we are raising our children with these very same habits (and many of YOU do not even know you are doing so!) It is all a part of the clever plan. Feed more, on less and keep people sick. As much as I hate to say it…. SICK people bring lots and lots of money.

Our children have a higher incidence of learning disabilities, behavioral disorders and diseases than ever before…!! Children with diabetes? In today’s world – this is becoming accepted. It needs to STOP!
Is it their fault? NO!
It is however, up to YOU to put a stop to this massive horrendous destruction by taking the time to look at your life. Are you so stressed out and overworked that you just don’t care anymore? So much so, that your children are running the home and NOT you?
I know this is bold but sadly, BOLD is the only way this is going to get the point across enough to start making a dent in this thing.

We are allowing our children to pick what they want to eat for dinner because we are too tired to think of cooking. Here starts the problem. I can guarantee you that if you are relying on a neighborhood restaurant to provide your children proper nutrition that there are VERY few who are able to do so! Much less the local fast food chains which are poisoning our kids! Again, ALL for under $5 a meal.
Cheap. Easy. Convenient. Marketed to “today’s Parent” … AHHHH!!!
Do you see this cycle? Are you starting to see how everything is so much more interconnected than we are being told?

Well, now that you know the problem.. how do you fix it?
I can tell you this. IT IS GOING TO BE AMONG ONE OF THE TOUGHEST BATTLES that you will face. Fixing a problem that some do not even recognize as a problem. For others, the problem will be transitioning you and your families from HIGHLY ULTRA PROCESSED foods to a balanced daily meal plan.
Here are some practical ways to start TODAY:

1) You must start with seeking balance in your life. That starts with shutting off your phones and laptops after work. I do know and understand that for some this will be ultimately difficult. At the very least, shut off your technology long enough to think of what and how you will prepare dinner for your family.

2) Set a goal that you will make a home cooked meal every night for dinner. Choose a nice lean protein, a vegetable and a healthy complex carb (no flours, white breads, cheap pastas or hamburger help your whaaaa?)

3) Sit down with your family and explain your new decision. Remember, YOU are the parent and your child needs YOU and relies on YOU for the information. Explain that you care for your family and want them to be their healthiest possible self. Together, come up with ideas on favorite foods and healthy ways you can prepare them.
Possibly have a family calendar during which each member gets to decide on the Meal .. if you child for example chooses “Mac and Cheese” it then becomes your job to research how to make this in a healthy way. Mac and Cheese is highly processed! However, YOU can find wonderful cheese alternatives and BROWN RICE pastas. Make your own!
Then – educate your family on how you did it!
(This teaches them that they can still enjoy regular favorites in a healthy way)

4) Start packing YOUR lunch and your children’s lunch. Better yet, have them choose what they would like every day and arrive at an agreement. If they are old enough, have them prepare the next days lunch with you (after dinner) now you have replaced TWO meals and you are teaching your children invaluable habits. Not to mention, you are creatively spending more time with your family. This is a rarity in today’s world.

5) Start to realize your role. Not only as a parent (if you are one) but realize that you must discipline and coach YOURSELF!! If you do not buy junk it will not be in your home tempting you. For those of you with kids, YOU hold the purse strings my friend. It takes YOU putting a stop to this vicious cycle by not stocking your pantry with JUNK.

6) Start to research and look at all of the wonderful food options out there! Find your local Nutrition Store (they have specialty chains) that offer lots of great seminars and stock the shelves with food options for almost every liking!
Spend a day there browsing the products, taking notes and getting creative in your recipe modifications.

Remember, every change starts with one person and that one person could be YOU if you take the time to face the obvious (and at times uncomfortable) truth.
Take it ONE day at a time and commit to not giving up.
Once you have achieved success I would love to hear from you (and want you to share with someone else!) It takes ALL of us working together.

For more information on the offerings of A+A Wellness please visit us at
Thank you for reading this and please show support for us and our mission by sharing this blog with those you love!
In health,
Alex and Ashley Poptodorov

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  1. Janet L Arnold  October 12, 2013

    Great post! I am particularly impacted by the word “accepted”. This crossed my mind this morning in another mindful exercise and really…we are accepting things inappropriately, with no regard for future outcomes. Like it doesn’t matter. Like the responsibility is not ours to bear. Thank God for your passion and purpose to educate people and shine the light on the darkness that is being wholesale accepted as … Truth? We really are not that ignorant, are we? Keep on beating the drum. We hear you!!!

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