I regularly post articles about the scary chemicals in processed “food.” That phrase really is ironic, isn’t it? The word “processed” is the past tense of process which is defined as “to convert (an agricultural commodity) into marketable form by a special series of steps…“ According to Dictionary.com, “food” is defined as “any nourishing substance that is eaten, drunk, or otherwise taken into the body to sustain life, provide energy, promote growth, etc.”
The key word in the definition of process is, marketable. How could chemicals like CANTHAXANTHIN, POTASSIUM BROMATE or ASTAXANTHIN be marketed? They can’t, so manufacturers use words like “wholesome, low fat, healthy and sugar-free” along with brightly colored packaging to entice people to purchase their chemical-laden products. In case you are not familiar with the additives listed above, let me introduce you! Our friends as Phys.org created a more detailed list that you can visit here.
CANTHAXANTHIN is a pigment added to egg yolks to make them more visually appealing. Tests have shown that large amounts of this chemical can cause retinal damage
POTASSIUM BROMATE increases volume in white flour, breads and rolls. Most bromate rapidly breaks down to an innocuous form, but it’s known to cause cancer in animals _ and even small amounts in bread can create a risk for humans. California requires a cancer warning on the product label if potassium bromate is an ingredient.
ASTAXANTHIN – Almost 90-percent of salmon sold in supermarkets today come from farms. The diet of farmed salmon doesn’t include crustaceans, which contains a natural astaxanthin that causes pink flesh in wild salmon. As a result, producers add astaxanthin to farm-salmon diets for that fresh-from-the-water appearance. Astaxanthin is manufactured from coal tar.
Nothing like loading up your cart with some nice omega-3’s and topping it off with a bit of coal tar!
So what do we do? To begin, educate yourself! How often do you pick up a box or package off the supermarket shelf and throw it in the basket without even taking a look at the nutrition label or ingredients? I have been guilty of making a purchase simply based on the photo on the package knowing full well the photo isn’t even real food. It is a perfectly molded art project designed to draw my attention away from the actual package contents. Take a look at this quick video to see how they make chemicals look so tasty!
Read labels! This is key when making healthy choices for your family. While it will take some time to completely eliminate chemicals from your diet, this will get you started. A great tip is that if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it!
Another great tip is to stay in the outside perimeter of the grocery store isles. Most of the processed foods are located in the center isles. The perimeter is where you find dairy, produce and meat.
Start with small, attainable goals like reading labels and eliminating processed foods from one meal per day or from school lunches. You control what your children eat, so packing their lunch is key! School menus are atrocious! Check out this video of a talk by chef Jamie Oliver. He has made a campaign to educate children (and parents) about food and reform the school lunch programs in western culture.
Try cooking classes as a family. Many grocery store chains and local civic centers offer free or inexpensive cooking classes. Getting the kids involved will make the process smoother because they will have an opportunity to experience the food before they eat it! This also applies to getting the family involved in the grocery shopping. If the kids get to help choose the ingredients, they will be more likely to try new things.
Check out 100 Days of Real Food for some terrific resources to get you started on your journey to a real food lifestyle!
Applying all or some of these tips will help you begin your journey to a healthier lifestyle for your and your family!
If you have already begun, share some ideas to help others in the comment section below. You never know who you may inspire!