Does That Food Pass The 5-Finger Rule?
In a perfect world I would make everything from scratch -- my bread, my beans, my almond milk, etc. but I don't live in a perfect world. I'm not ashamed to admit I often rely on a few short-cuts like store-bought tortillas, wraps, breads, crackers and unsweetened almond milk to get by. I even buy canned beans from time to time and precooked grains (like brown rice) that takes a minute or two in the microwave.
I know it's not 'ideal,' but I'm all about progress, not perfection, and doing the best I can within my limits and circumstances.
Still, I want to make the best choice possible when it comes to purchasing these premade items which is where my finger rule comes from. If there's more ingredients than I have fingers, I probably shouldn't buy it.
Most of the items I buy that are commercially prepared (i.e. almond milk) easily meet this rule. If the item I'm considering has more than 5-ingredients, I ask myself how many ingredients I would need to make it from scratch at home. If the list on the store-bought product is substantially longer I look for another options.
For example, when I'm buying beans, the only ingredient should be beans (and water) because that's all I need to make beans at home. Similarly, when I'm buying bread, it should be flour, water, yeast, salt and perhaps a sweetener. If it has a list like this bread, something is very wrong!
Less is definitely more when it comes to store-bought foods!