Are you familiar with the foods that you keep in your pantry or in the refrigerator? Looking at that last sentence made me giggle as I envisioned myself looking at a tomato and asking it, “Who are you?” Truth is, I’ve only just become quite aware of the foods that I buy for my family over the past few years. It all started with an article I read about high fructose corn syrup and how this extremely inexpensive man made sweetener is a culprit when trying to lose weight. I was obsessed with not feeding this chemical to my family, from throwing out boxes of cereal, pouring out juice boxes and calling my favorite food brands and letting them know that I wasn’t going to purchase their products until their ingredient labels were to my satisfaction. Even my kids started reading the labels as we made our way through the grocery aisles and sometimes lecturing me and my poor eyesight for not seeing the hidden evils written on a label. I taught them well!
With my new awareness that high fructose corn syrup is not a healthy choice for my family’s diet, it made me wonder if there were other ingredients in the foods that I buy that were just as bad. Wonder no longer as the more I deciphered what ingredients mean, the angrier I got that food companies would put so many chemicals and additives in a product that they would label “Natural.” How can any company claim “Natural” when words that I can’t even pronounce litter their label? I know there are some words like, ascorbic acid, that sound scary, but with a little bit of research we find that it is another way to say, vitamin C, but I don’t think everyone knows that.
My new words that I look for on food labels now is GMO Free or Non-GE. I’m sure you’ve seen or heard about Genetically Modified Organisms/Genetically Engineered foods, but just in case you need a refresher of what it is let me give you what I understand it to be. Foods that have been genetically changed or modified alters the structure or proteins of that food and because the proteins have now changed, your body no longer recognizes it and may not get the same nutritional value as what you thought it did. But that’s not all, the more I learn about GMOs the more I’m realizing that not only has the original food been changed, but the bioengineers have also modified these seeds to be pest resistant. Are you catching what I’m throwing at you? Pesticides in seeds, which grows into a plant that becomes food on our table. You can’t wash it off with soap, it is in the food source.
Think of all the different health problems that many of us are now dealing with, were these issues happening back when we were kids or is it something that is only recent in the last 10 to 15 years? How many times have we heard about the growing number of severe allergies, autism or even cancer at a very young age in the news or even chatting with a friend? Food manufacturers have been using GMO ingredients since the 1990’s… hmmm… makes me wonder if there is a connection. Only time will tell.
Reading labels is my new past time in the grocery store as the more I learn about what each ingredient really is the more I look for labels that are in plain English. Rule of thumb for me? If I can’t pronounce it or I don’t know what it means, I don’t buy it… period. I am not going to feed my family pesticides and other harmful ingredients when my job as the head nutritionist for my household is to fortify and tend to the garden known as my children.
Do your health a favor, familiarize yourself with labels and where your foods come from. Take time to explore more information about GMOs and other harmful food ingredients. I also encourage you to check out the GMO free Shopping Guide. Stay healthy, be informed and read your labels.
Powered by Facebook Comments