Now a days it seems when you read an ingredient list for a packaged food you need a chemistry degree, or at least a dictionary to help with pronunciation and definition of what exactly you are putting in to your mouth. What is Monocalcium Phosphate( spell check dose not even know what this word is) and why is it in my crackers? More important is my body able to break it down and use it properly or dose it just sit there and aggravate my white blood cells because they think it is a foreign contaminate? Research indicates that 75%-80% of cancers are caused in part by environmental factors, and about 30% of those are related to what you eat.* In 2005 Harvard published a study that showed a correlation of French fries and breast cancer. “…found that preschool girls who consumed French fries on a weekly basis raised future breast cancer risk by more than a quarter.”** Really 25% increase from French fries? I know that French fries are not by any means healthy but I had not idea that they were that detrimental to my boobies and overall health.
We have become a culture that is pressed for time and anything to make your life easier by taking less of your time is in great demand. Trust me I know there are some days that I am tired and over whelmed and a trip thru the local drive thru for burgers and fries or chicken is easier, convenient, and makes less work out of dinner and doing dishes later that night. We ate out twice last week. But we can not place all the blame on fast food either. Prepackaged convenience foods are everywhere. There is a newer commercial out for a prepackaged dinner mix convincing you that eating it is way better than drive thru food but truthfully I think it may be just as bad. Look at the ingredient list from the package Ingredients:Enriched Pasta (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Corn Starch, Sugar, Salt, Tomato (Dried), Maltodextrin, Monosodium Glutamate, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Paprika, Natural Flavor, Basil, Citric Acid, Yeast Extract, Parsley (Dried), Oregano, Color (Yellows 5&6, Yellow Lakes 5&6, Red 40 Lake), Silicon Dioxide (Anticaking Agent), Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate, Nonfat Milk When prepared and served there is over 1660 mg of sodium and that is if you have a small portion.
I recognize 9 ingredients of being a natural in origin even though “dried” is not its natural state. What is “natural flavor” you see it a lot on prepackaged foods. I could make this same dish and not use one unnatural ingredient or so much sodium. When prepackaged version is prepared and served there is over 1660 mg of sodium and that is if you have a small portion.
A few months ago in my year of self improvement I began to loose weight. My first step was to get an outline of what and how I should really eat. I have a pretty good idea but wanted to know what an expert would tell me. So I had an appointment with the Registered Dietitian at my healthcare clinic. She talked about all the fruits veggies grains and meats I should include. Portion control being my biggest lesson, I tend to be an overeater and suggested serving size some times seems to be a cruel joke. Then she talked about I what I call flavor enhancers sour cream, butter, coffee creamer salad dressings ECT. Of course in wanting to choose the items with less fat and calories a lot I was told to use mostly “reduced fat, no fat” versions of these things. I started to buy these things and learning to like that no fat aftertaste (not really). Then I really looked at the ingredient labels on these so called healthier options. What I saw bothered me there were so many chemical additives and very little real ones.
Later in the year I had two health scares both involving the possibilities of tumors. Thankful they were false alarms, one finding out that I have lumpy breast and the other learning that I have a sever vitamin B12 and vitamin D deficiency. A healthy b12 level should be between 800 and 1,000 ppm mine was closer to 100 ppm. Vitamin D should be 30ppm mine 10ppm. I wondered how I had developed these deficiencies I take multi vitamins. I found out that when I was taking prescription strength antacid medication and over the counter antacids I destroyed my bodies inability to breakdown and absorb these vitamins. They just pass thru my digestive system into waste. Even when I orally take a vitamin of 5,000mg of D very little if any stays in my system. I now have to have vitamin injections every month. I had been taking so many antacids in part to all the foods I was eating and the other to I do not handle stress well and internalize everything.
We really started to think about what we eat and how it affects us. Google food allergies, food and cancer or food and behavior problems and you will see hundreds if not thousands of articles and medical studies that are showing correlation to processed unnatural foods. French fries and breast cancer, diet soda and dementia, food dyes and behavior problems or allergic reaction.
We have turned down this road here in our farmhouse. Real and natural foods are what we are striving to eat. I would rather eat ¼ cup of regular vanilla yogurt in my parfait with more fruit to bulk up the snack than to have a ¾ cup of light yogurt which includes things like aspartame, acesulfame potassium and food dyes. I prefer to have 1 tablespoon of sour cream and spend and extra 10 min walking tonight than to have 2.5 tablespoons of fat free. We are trying to grow and buy more organic fruit and vegetables, free range organic chicken eggs, and grass fed beef. The fewer chemicals used to grow your food the less you eat yourself. Also more foods in their natural state are better they offer more nutrients and vitamins they are also easier for your body to process.
Will it be easy to shift our way of thinking about food and break so many habits? Probably not, I just had chicken salad with mayo for lunch and crackers with Monocalcium Phosphate in them. I will keep at it and try to make better and better decisions.
You should not fear nor hate food. Food is what sustains your life.
*“Foods that fight Cancer” Cat Vasko www.standup2cancer.org
** International Journal of Cancer Aug 2005 http://www.dole.com/LiveRight/WomensHealth/WomensHealthDetails/tabid/867/Default.aspx?contentid=4734