Reading Labels and Eating Giant Snickers Bars

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Yahoo! posted an interesting article today about some of the most common food additives that we goofy Americans tend to consume on a daily basis without a thought.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  You need to learn what’s in your food!

This isn’t like learning calculus or the history of French poetry ( I TOLD those teachers I was never going to use it!).  This knowledge is actually useful and important!

Unless you build roller coasters or launch rockets for a living, you don't need to know this!(Image from oaklandcc.edu)

Unless you build roller coasters or launch rockets for a living, you don’t need to know this!
(Image from oaklandcc.edu)

If you feel like it is too much to go 100% “real” food (like me… the very idea totally overwhelms me) at least learn about which ingredients are the very worst and try your best to avoid them.

Often, you will find that simply switching from one brand of crackers or juice to another will eliminate some awful stuff! (See a few of our favorite “switches” at the end of this post.)

Maybe giving up your favorite Red Baron Supreme Deep Dish Pizza (Sigh. Lord help me, I could eat it every day and never get tired of it!) is a sad thought.  I understand.  Believe me! I understand.  But if it’s a “sometimes” food, interspersed with a very “clean” diet, toxins aren’t going to build up in your system as much.

Mmmmm...... I can smell them!

Mmmmm…… I can smell them!

McDonald’s french fries are salty, crispy, hot, golden bursts of heaven on your tongue.  But they really shouldn’t be the main “vegetable” in your diet.

As Ralph Nader once said, “If God hadn’t wanted us to eat sugar, He wouldn’t have invented dentists.”  Sugar is like childhood happiness you can eat.  But, again, I don’t think you can count “sugar cane” as a fruit serving.

Coffee may seem like a blessed gift from the gods, coursing through your veins with all the power and energy of a magnificent volcano but it isn’t going to help lengthen your life…. oh wait! I forgot! It will!  I’m going to drink some now.

Ahh.

(Image from fanpop.com)

(Image from fanpop.com)

Thank you, God, for inventing coffee!

But I digress.

Why bother switching brands and reading labels?

The ingredients listed in the Yahoo! article are ALSO used as weed killer, flame retardant and sunscreen.  They are directly linked to: breast tumors, thyroid disease, headaches, dizziness, memory loss, epileptic seizures, lead poisoning, learning disabilities, infertility, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease,  rheumatoid arthritis, intestinal tumors and more.

Many of them have been partially or completely banned in other countries.

Seriously, are you REALLY willing to take that chance with your life?  How about with the lives of your children?

I have never seen evidence linking pesticide-free fresh produce or humanely raised, cage free poultry to wide-spread, horrible, chronic illness.  Yes, you COULD get food poisoning if you don’t wash it or cook it properly…. so wash it and cook it.  Yes, there have been RARE cases when food produced in one person’s yard or farm was contaminated.  There will always be exceptions to every rule.

Now that I got that off my chest (again), I would like to take a moment to highlight my very most favorite part of the article:

Castoreum

WHAT IT IS: Beaver anal gland juice. Really. Beavers combine it with their urine to mark their territory.

FOUND IN: Vanilla or raspberry flavoring in processed foods, labeled only as “natural flavoring.”

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:It’s beaver anal gland juice.

HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!   As far as I could find, there is NO evidence that Castoreum is especially bad for you.   But, indeed, “it’s beaver anal gland juice.”  This is a good example of the use of the term “natural flavoring.”  Other “natural flavors” include insect exoskeletons, bones and genetically engineered bacteria.  Yum yum yum!

Image from scientopia.org

Image from scientopia.org

Take it from this food-loving often gluttonous chubby Hippie Mama!  You can find LOTS of “real” food that is totally delicious and 100% free of things than came from the anuses of rodents.  ew.

I’m a huge cheerleader for Meijer.  I have found a great selection of “real” food there, at very reasonable prices.   Some of the relatively painless switches we’ve made include :

(Please note: Not all of these are totally “natural” but they are better than their more common counterparts.)

We used to eat Nabisco Honey Maid Graham Crackers, which contain, among other things, enriched flour, sugar, partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, artificial flavors and, possibly, GMO wheat and soy.

Now we eat Meijer Organic Honey Graham Crackers, which have none of those (except organic evaporated cane juice, which is really only marginally “better” than white sugar).

We used to eat Aunt Millie’s Seeded Italian Bread, which contains, among other things, enriched bleached flour (possibly from GMO wheat), sugar, soybean oil (possibly from GMO beans), corn syrup (possibly from GMO corn), corn flour (possibly from GMO corn), azodicarbonamide (a product which must be used with a warning label in Europe), calcium peroxide (fertilizer and bleaching agent. Yum.)

Now we eat Meijer Organic Spelt Bread, which has none of those.

We used to eat Johnsonville Polish Kielbasa which contains salt, corn syrup, dextrose, sodium phosphate (a saline laxative), monosodium glutamate (MSG), sodium erythorbate (fermented corn sugar), and sodium nitrite (a known carnigen).

Now we eat Meijer Naturals Chicken Sausage, which has only chicken, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, cane juice (hey… nobody’s PERFECT), spices and natural casings.  I have to give special honors to this sausage because it is a new family favorite.  It is AMAZING!!!  It is SO flavorful and easy to prepare! And at only about $3 a package the price is definitely right!

We used to eat Cocoa Puffs, which contain corn (most likely GMO), “artificial” flavors, and BHT (rocket fuel stabilizer. Seriously.)

Now we eat Cascadian Farms Organic Chocolate O’s, which contain none of those.

As you can see, we aren’t starving or suffering in any way, and these products are very similar in price to what we were buying before.

Go! Shop! Eat! Enjoy! You may find some new products that you like much more than the old. Read labels!!! Don’t sacrifice your health just because you’re “used to” a certain brand of food or beverage!

Now I’ve officially made myself hungry so I’m off to find something delicious.  I’ll meet you back here soon!

Sweet Hippie Daughter on Christmas morning.  Proof that we have not yet gone over 100% to the "real food" side of the aisle!

Sweet Hippie Daughter on Christmas morning. Proof that we have not yet gone over 100% to the “real food” side of the aisle!

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2 responses »

  1. There must be another source for that stuff. I’ve never seen or heard of a beaver farm where all its residents must be really hacked off??!!!

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