5 processed foods that aren’t really food at all

I’m pretty sick of watching TV and seeing commercials for the sugar-laden, man made, hyper-processed food that passes as “health food” these days. These things are not food. Normally I just ignore it but lately this crap has been getting to me. A rule of thumb I like to use, to quote Micheal Pollan, you should not eat any food that has a commercial! The more you look at these things as “not food” the easier it will be to avoid them. One of the first steps I took when I started eating a whole foods diet and ditching processed food was to just ignore things like white bread and think of them as “not food”. It took me almost a year to phase out almost all processed foods from my diet. When you dismiss them as inedible it’s easier to say no. That’s not to say I never eat ANYTHING processed, but it ticks me off that these things are promoted as health products.

1. Jiff Whipped Peanut Butter:

Whipped Creamy Peanut Butter


When I  looked at the ingredients list the second thing mentioned was SUGAR. Yup. Spread some sugar on your sugar (fruit, crackers, bread, etc). I could probably eat that whole container in one sitting. Which further proves its unfood-ness.

2. Special K Cereal


You know those commercials where the women are triumphantly fending off donuts and cupcakes because they had their “healthy” breakfast of protein cereal. How about some eggs?

3. Activia Yogurt


Give me a break….So sick of Jamie Lee Curtis slinging this sad excuse for a pro biotic supplement. Not to say pro biotics aren’t good, but I don’t suggest you take them in an vessel of sugar, dyes and stabilizers. Eat some raw sauerkraut or Kombucha. And this misses the whole point. I think it takes a little more than a yogurt every day to get your gut in check. If you’re eating processed food that increases gut permeability anyway, no yogurt in the whole can save you.

4.Jimmy Dean Delights

This one touts the fact that you can eat a whole breakfast sausage sandwich for under 300 calories. Why would you want your breakfast under 300 calories??? That’s insane. Things like this cause the out of control sugar cravings and energy spikes that plague the average American eater.

Not to mention when I clicked over to view the nutritional info I literally had to scroll down MULTIPLE TIMES to read the whole list. Again….eggs anyone?

5. Laughing Cow Cheese

Laughing Cow Exposed


I am guilty of buying these when I first started out trying to eat “healthy”! They are tempting. Each square is 30-50 calories. But if it is low cal and low fat….what else is in it? The answer is scary.

Laughing Cow Exposed 1


Ew! It’s not food! It’s a hyper processed cheese- like spreadable substance.

Currently I am embarking on a Whole 30 and am on Day 11. The Whole 30 isn’t about losing weight or staying thin. When you eat you should really be examining if the food you’re about to put in your mouth will benefit and nourish your body or have a negative effect. When you optimize the food you eat, your body will thank you.

P.S I’m not meaning to offend you if you eat these “foods”. I just feel like we need to be honest about processed foods- it’s not health food. If you choose to eat these types of foods, it’s important to understand that you aren’t making yourself any healthier!

What processed foods have you given up to make room for more nourishing foods?

Do you still eat processed foods even though there are questionable ingredients?




9 thoughts on “5 processed foods that aren’t really food at all

  1. Karey @ Nutty About Health

    Oh, don’t even get me started on these, especially the Jiff Whipped PB!!! That stuff is packed with not only sugar, but hydrogenated oils – that stuff is total crap!! I despise Jiff & will never buy anything Jiff. Ugh. It makes me sick when I see other nut butter lovers being like “hey, look at this Jiff product I found” – LOL.
    The Laughing Cow Wedges – I was guilty of those way back when too… but, now I embrace the fat & don’t look for the low-fat/fat-free products because like you said, if they’re taking out the fat, what else are they adding to make it taste good?? Lots of crazy chemicals. Ick.
    I’m w/ya on the real food! This stuff is frankenfood… lab experiments.
    Karey @ Nutty About Health recently posted…Paleo – Rated Worst Diet?My Profile

  2. Alex @ therunwithin

    I find it even more hilarious that people preach and hashtag the shit out of foods with these… #eatclean. Um… please tell me why wedges of fake cheese are all that great for you. I think people get so hung up on calories lately they forget about FOOD and the fact that it isn’t actual food.
    Alex @ therunwithin recently posted…And will you tell all your friends.My Profile

    1. Andrea @ PencilsandPancakes Post author

      That made me LOL. Haha I am loving all these comments! I was seriously afraid I was going to offend someone with this post!

  3. Giselle@myhealthyhappyhome

    Love this! You know how I feel about eating clean, whole foods. I too get so frustrated with companies promoting overly processed foods as healthy. That’s why I try to promote and push the Whole30 so much because it really does make you see how good whole foods can make you feel. If only more people would jump on board!
    Giselle@myhealthyhappyhome recently posted…Cherish the Groundhog DaysMy Profile

  4. Megan @ Meg Go Run

    I eat Special K protein plus. I loooove it. It’s the only cereal I eat besides Cheerios. I love eggs too, but it’s easier to just grab the cereal. I already do so much food prep, I have to draw the line somewhere! And that is where my own, personal line is drawn.
    Megan @ Meg Go Run recently posted…Signs You Are Old!My Profile

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