Thursday, April 25, 2013

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid!

One of the things I really enjoy about Nourishing Traditions is a feature in which they have a sidebar that says "Know Your Ingredients. Guess This Product." It goes on to list the ingredients of an everyday product on the shelves of the grocery store, probably an item many of us have purchased in the past.

It's sort of horrifying, first of all, to read the ingredients, but somehow fun to go to the appendix and find out what the mystery product is. Many times I've been able to guess, but there are actually products out there with so many fake "foods" and convoluted-sounding additives that the actual item is really camouflaged. To think, we're eating this stuff!

A better headline to the sidebar might be: Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid! 

Recently I was on the road for a few hours with some of my family and we stopped at a popular fried chicken eatery. I just plain won't eat a lot of fast food, but I was hungry, and it smelled good, and we were far from get the idea. I don't eat biscuits, but might have been tempted if they'd had real butter--which, of course, was nowhere to be seen. Instead, there was a "buttery spread," full of hydrogenated oils and lots of other unhealthy things. What really got me, though, was the "honey" sauce. Check out the ingredients to what should be a fully natural and single ingredient item:

(Fried-Chicken Fast Food Place) Honey Sauce
High fructose corn syrup
Corn Syrup
Honey (hooray! There's some in there)
Caramel color
Citric Acid
Natural and Artificial Flavor
Malic Acid 

From what I've read, "natural and artificial flavor" could mean MSG--by another name, so even this ingredient is suspect.

Notice the first ingredient? I've been on a crusade of sorts to abolish high fructose corn syrup from my home since last year, and it's absolutely amazing how many items in the grocery store contain it. Once you start reading labels, you'll see what I mean. I have one daughter who loves soda, and, even though I've convinced her not to drink diet types, she still asks for the regular type, especially coke. I didn't realize until I started checking labels that not even soda is sweetened with real sugar, however. So, even if you avoid the artificial sweeteners, you can't avoid high fructose corn syrup if you buy most brands, even the big names.

I'm not saying that soda--or sugar--is good for you, mind you, but I'd get her soda with sugar on occasion (if it was readily available. Maybe it's good it isn't!) whereas I won't buy the diet or HFCS ones. Now and then I'd like a soda myself, and guess what--there's a solution! I drink ZEVIA--it's soda sweetened with all-natural, zero calorie stevia. SO glad they came out with this! But it's pricey, so having a can of soda only occasionally works out well. My daughter knows that if she wants a can of soda, she's got to earn it.

Before I go, here's an interesting article I read recently about this subject of what's in our foods. :
Do Healthy Processed Foods Exist?
(If you enjoy this article, click the link to high fructose corn syrup (above) and let Dr. Mercola explain how bad this stuff is.)

All of this reminds me why, when I go to a grocery store, my mantra could be: Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid! (Read labels!)
What about you? Have you taken any steps to put your family on a course towards better eating? I'm working on a free pdf called, "The Top Ten Easiest and Pain-Free Ways to Improve Your Family's Diet and Health."
Watch for it, coming soon. :)

And don't forget to enter this month's free giveaway by leaving a comment! 


chaplaindebbie said...

Yes, be very afraid. After my hubby had his stroke, I began making myself more aware of foods and their ingredients. I admit that we still slip on occasion, but we have both kept our weight and blood pressure down. Sharing!
(if you didn't check your last post, I received the tea in the mail. It is soooo cute! Displaying them in my red/black kitchen. I do need to get a tea strainer, though. Thanks again!)

Linore Burkard said...

Hey Deb, :) Glad to hear you and your hubby are keeping your weight and blood pressure down. Good going.
I thought I responded to your comment about the tea. If you have a fine mesh strainer (the kind that comes with a handle) you can use that in place of a tea strainer. Otherwise, they're only a few dollars at the store. And guess what--I just read that loose tea is healthier than tea bags--but you can't let this stuff make you crazy!