As I type this, I just started a batch of yogurt incubating so some of you may think I'm being hypocritical. I know I've been struggling with it for a while myself.
As many of you know, I strive to avoid processed foods whenever possible. My definition of processed is fairly lax or I'd never be able to eat cheese or chocolate and well, life isn't worth living if I can't have cheese and chocolate sometimes. Mainly I avoid prepared foods like any of those "_____ Helper" boxes, frozen dinners, canned vegetables, mass produced yogurt, cereal, chips, etc. It's actually fairly easy to avoid these foods when I shop for the foods I like to eat on a regular basis. For the most part, I follow the mantra of sticking to the perimeter of the store. (Thankfully, my grocery store's wine department is on the perimeter!)
Anyway, lately, I've been wondering if a compromise might be in order as the time I have available to planning and preparing healthy foods and snacks for myself is diminishing. My snacks actually take planning - I don't eat just an apple. I combine fruit with peanut butter or some form of fat/protein for balance. My appetite is dimishing (thanks metformin) and I want to take advantage of that - but it's hard to stay balanced when working with just a few calories. I've been thinking about substituting Kashi Go-Lean Roll bars sometimes. But that's caused me much inner turmoil - is that compromise worth it? Can I just eat 1/4 of an apple with a smear of peanut butter instead of 1/2 with 1 TBSP? How do I keep the rest of the apple? The Kashi Bar can be cut in half and easily preserved. But the apple? Ack.
Anway - the above paragraph shows how good I am at making myself crazy. Then along comes Mark Bittman who also advocates real food. He also advocates eating realistically. His latest blog entry suggests we strive for good wholesome food, rather than organic or local or whatever the trendiest marketing catch-phrase is. And you know - I do put Kashi and the Kashi Go-Lean Roll bars in the category of good and wholesome. A bit processed - but it's not a fried Snicker's bar either.