Growing up in the South (quick shout out to Sylvester, GA), I ate from Daddy Pait’s garden, I helped my mom can fruits and vegetables, we sealed and froze soups, jarred pickles and everyone spent significant time cooking food. Even though the green beans were cooked for so long they were no longer green, and the squash had the consistency of mashed potatoes, the quality of the food was still whole. Tomatoes were really tomatoes and not some genetically modified monster. Cucumbers were picked just a day or so before we ate them.
Fast forward a quarter century (or more) and our fast-paced lifestyle forces many of us to seek out food that requires little time to prepare. Manufacturers have cashed in on this, marketing every kind of foodstuff you can imagine that is easy and fast–microwave dinners, boxed snacks, and grab and go meals to be slurped, eaten from a stick, popped in a toaster.
Sounds like a dream come true. Not so fast. This convenience comes with a price. Think about it. Real food isn’t made to sit in a box or bag for long periods of time….so..chemicals, lots of them, are added to keep the food from going bad. Making them, well, bad. And they are filled with empty calories–void of any real nutritional value.
Look for these ingredients in the food labels and avoid them at all costs. Don’t panic, you can still find packaged options without a health risk, but you must read the labels and avoid the following:
- Artificial Colorings I was shocked to see that even Kraft Marshmallow Crème has food coloring in it. These are chemicals made from petroleum derivatives and have been linked to cancer, are known to cause allergic reactions, and are linked to ADD in children. AND, most of Europe has banned these in the same foods that have them here in the USA.
- Artificial Sweeteners Aspartame (NutraSweet) has been linked to brain tumors and about 90 other really unpleasant side effects. Your body is tricked into thinking it is getting sugar, so your insulin levels rise making your crave more sugar than before. It is is EVERY stick of gum you currently know. Diet drinks, ‘Lite’ Yogurts, ‘sugar-free’ junk should be tossed. NOW.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) It extends the shelf life of processed foods and is cheaper than sugar. The main issue now is that HFCS is that we ingest far too much of it, contributing to our obesity epidemic.
- Partially Hydrogenated Oil (Trans Fat) is an altered vegetable oil. It promotes heart disease. It’s not just in Crisco anymore. Goldfish and peanut butter and Mission tortillas just for starters.
- Sodium Nitrates enhance meat products like hot dogs, bacon, sausages, and lunchmeats. Nitrites break down into cancer-causing compounds. “Lunchables” should be re-named Box O’ Migraines.
These chemicals can have surprising side effects: depression (yes, I swear), fatigue, headaches, and skin irritations to just name a few. Not so convenient now, right?
For everyone trying to lose weight: Empty calories leave us hungry for real food. When we eat real, whole, organic and fresh foods, our bodies become satisfied and thank us accordingly.
Your best bet is to limit or better yet avoid things in packages, wrappers, and cans, and eat most of your food in its simple, natural state. It will make you feel SO much better, look SO much better, and LIVE SO MUCH BETTER. I GUARANTEE IT.
- Top 10 Toxic Food Ingredients (theafterburnsg.wordpress.com)