If eating healthier was on your list of things to aspire to for 2017, it helps to have a starting point and a foundation. Let’s start with the basics, your pantry and the ingredient list on the packages. If we are going to make any difference at all in selecting better choices we have to understand the choices we are already making.
For instance, if we are assuming that what we have been buying is “OK” (ok = healthy for many) then we will continue to buy it out of habit, having decided that it was OK regardless of how we got to that understanding.
Clearly understanding ingredient lists, what is required of them and the breadth of flexibility that is allowed by the processed food companies to manipulate the list, is of significant importance. In the most simple terms, food manufacturers are required to list ingredients in the order of predominance by weight, from the heaviest to the lightest ingredient. However there is little oversight as to whether or not they are named authentically for what they are. Getting yourself to the place of truly being able to make an educated decision about your choices will get you light years ahead in your quest for better health.
Because food has been taken over by major corporations, the only way to truly acquire food that you know exactly what it contains, is to grow your own and stick to fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately this option is not terribly conducive to families with jobs, kids, or social obligations. Although home gardens are always a lovely addition to any home and are a wonderful source of seasonal treasure and a beautiful teachable moment for any children that may be involved.
So we are going to start with what we can do! Today I want you to look in your fridge and pantry and read at least 10 product ingredient labels, hopefully you’ll be so interested you’ll keep going! Note the front of the package is marketing, regardless of what it says, it’s the sales pitch… NEVER to be trusted or considered when making purchasing decisions. The panel with nutrition facts and ingredients is more truthful, although still deceptive since companies are covering offensive ingredients with words like “flavoring,” etc.
Look specifically for the follow ingredients:
MSG (monosodium glutamate, yeast extract, autolyzed yeast or something prefaced with the word hydrolyzed.) This is what researchers use to fatten lab animals to then study obesity. In fact there are dozens of ingredients that contain MSG hidden within the foods you regularly eat and consuming them can lead to headaches, migraines, mood swings, heart irregularities, asthma, gastrointestinal distress and cancer. It is also linked to worsening learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease and more.
Aspartame and Saccharin, these are appetite enhancers (yes, really- even though they are in nearly all diet foods). They trigger weight gain and attack brain cells causing toxic cellular overstimulation similar to MSG and has been shown to trigger seizures. Note: in response to growing awareness about the dangers of artificial sweeteners, what does the manufacturer of one of the world’s most notable artificial sweeteners do? Why, rename it and begin marketing it as natural, of course. This is precisely the strategy of Ajinomoto, maker of aspartame, which hopes to pull the wool over the eyes of the public with its rebranded version of aspartame, called “AminoSweet.”
Hydrogenated anything, trans anything, Cancer, diabetes, heart disease, reproductive issues, depressed immune function, and, and, and, get rid of it.
High Fructose Corn Syrup or HFCS (and so many other names we can’t keep up). It gets stored in your fat cells, which leads to mitochondrial malfunction, inflammation, obesity and obesity-related diseases.
“Flavors,” Castoreum- beaver anal gland secretions used for raspberry, strawberry and vanilla “natural flavoring” or diacetyl, a form of butane (lighter fluid), which is often used as a butter flavoring in microwave popcorn. Research shows diacetyl has several concerning properties for brain health and may trigger Alzheimer’s disease, but most adversely, is resulting ‘popcorn lung’ disease. Specifically, it leads to otherwise rare and irreversible constrictive bronchiolitis obliterations and has resulted in lung transplants. Strawberry artificial flavor as a different type of example, can contain nearly 50 chemical ingredients to make that “flavoring.” They call it flavoring because they believe you won’t eat it if you know what it really is.
Artificial Colors. Food manufacturers pour 15 million pounds of innumerable different artificial food dyes into U.S. foods, some result in tumor growth and wide ranges of behavior problems in children.
Preservatives such as Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydrozyttoluene (BHT) are preservatives that affect the neurological system of your brain, alter behavior and have the potential to cause cancer. Tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) is a chemical preservative that is also used in perfumes to reduce evaporation and in varnishes, lacquers, resins and oil-field additives. Research has shown links to stomach tumors and damage to DNA.
Olestra, brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate (aka brominanted flour), Azodicarbonamide, BHA, BHT, rBGH, rBST and arsenic. Most of these are banned in the majority of countries around the world… but not in the U.S.
This is the short list of the worst of the worst. Getting these out of your pantry will give you a significant jump on making a clean start to 2017, while increasing your awareness of what to look out for. We can’t learn to make better choices until we learn what our choices are. Most basic rule, anything with a commercial should no longer be purchased, broccoli growers have no money for marketing. Knowing this, plan your meals ahead, focus on the produce department and make a habit of reading ingredient labels. Want more ideas and inspiration…? Follow Life with Moxie on Facebook and Instagram and check out www.LifewithMoxie.com
Have ideas you’d like to add? Need more suggestions? Let me know!
Julie Koester is CEO of Life with Moxie, a Lifestyle Revolution Company www.lifewithmoxie.com and Host of Life with Moxie Radio, Saturday’s at 1pm on 98.9 WGUF in Southwest Florida. You can reach her at Julie@lifewithmoxie.com
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