Feeding ourselves in the 21st century has become quite a confusing task. I have found that many people find it hard to believe that if it makes it onto the shelves at the supermarket it can actually be detrimental to our health. The truth is this: much of what we are eating is suspect and we need to pay attention, educate ourselves and make sure we are doing the right thing because, as much as we like to believe differently, no one has “got our back”. Our body struggles to maintain homeostasis every moment of lives. There are a few ingredients that are compromising our body’s ability to get the job done. So, if you are looking for Step One of a good Pantry Raid, this will give you a solid jumping off point.
Here we go…
1. Eliminate High Fructose Corn Syrup: Years ago when the attention started to build up on trans-fat, partially hydrogenated oil in particular, it was a slow go at first- then it started to pick up some speed, and many people began to take notice. The same course is now occurring with high fructose corn syrup. There is a lot of controversy surrounding high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). However, many people may be missing the point because of all the “Sugar is Sugar” conversation. Yes, sugar is sugar and should be limited; but high fructose corn syrup is a form of sugar that is made in a laboratory by creating a sugar that is not a “natural choice”. There are recent studies that link the consumption of HFCS to memory deficit and the rising rate of obesity in the country. I do not need to ingest anything that may compromise my brain’s ability to function optimally and I certainly choose not to negatively affect my child’s brain function by allowing this culprit in their diet. Kids love to douse their food with ketchup- which usually has HFCS in the recipe. Now, most major companies offer a HFCS – Free option. Why? Because people are starting to take notice and these food companies want to sell their product; so they are stepping into the arena and tossing this ingredient. Eventually, it will be easier and easier to find products sans HFCS. In the meantime, vote with your shopping cart and refuse to include any products that contain this ingredient.
Princeton study: This is Your Brain on Sugar: “Our findings illustrate that what you eat affects how you think,” said Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a professor of integrative biology and physiology in the UCLA College of Letters and Science. “Eating a high-fructose diet over the long term alters your brain’s ability to learn and remember information.”
2. Eliminate Partially Hydrogenated Oil: If it has partially hydrogenated oil in it- toss it! More and more companies have found a way to replace this ingredient in their product; if a company doesn’t feel the need to eliminate this ingredient then do not give them your business. Partially Hydrogenated Oil is banned in New York City restaurants since around 2006 and many others states in the U.S. have followed suit, as well as many countries overseas, after countless studies surfaced linking this ingredient to a long list of diseases and disorders. There are many options on our shelves so there is no need to struggle with this decision; just put your reading glasses on and make the right choice at the supermarket.
The Guide to Healthy Eating by M.D. David Brownstein: “The downside for consumers is the dangerous trans fats that are formed with hydrogenation. The ingestion of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and the trans fats that are formed with this process has been linked to increases in cancer, heart disease, and many other chronic degenerative disorders. What is wrong with trans fats? Trans fats, formed during hydrogenation are actually toxic substances for our cell membranes. When our cells contain an overabundance of trans fats, the cells become leaky and distorted. This can promote vitamin and mineral deficiencies.”–
3. Eliminate Artificial Coloring: There have been studies dating back 40 years regarding the dangerous side effects of artificial coloring. I will keep this even simpler: check out the FSA website. The FSA is Great Britain’s equivalent of the FDA. They dedicate many pages and links regarding the concerns of ingesting artificial food coloring and the link to hyperactivity. Their concerns revolve around many relevant studies; the main one being The Southampton Study, on the effects of certain food additives. This study conclusively and scientifically determined that FD&C Yellow and Red-40 (among other additives) may cause hyperactivity in a broad range of children and suggests that if you notice a problem after your child ingests these ingredients to simply eliminate them from your child’s diet. The FDA still does not feel we need to be informed. Most disturbing. I always share my own story, dating back 19 years ago, when one of my sons was exhibiting signs of hyperactivity. I kept a diary to try and determine if something in his diet was responsible. There was no Internet back then or global community and so I needed to do a little research of my own. I determined that FD& C Yellow was causing the problem and brought this to the attention of my pediatrician. He responded, “Mrs. Banks don’t become one of those paranoid parents; be a mom not a scientist.” Of course I didn’t listen. Years later when the study I mentioned was published in the Lancet, a very well respected medical journal, I was very proud of myself that I took my findings seriously and eliminated them immediately years earlier.. A few years ago, Pepperidge Farms took it upon themselves to remove the artificial food coloring from the Goldfish snacks that have become a “go to” food for so many of our children. I have great respect for Pepperidge Farms because of this and so I try to purchase their products as often as possible, even if they are not necessarily the best choice.
FSA website: “A European Union-wide mandatory warning must be put on any food and drink (except drinks with more than 1.2% alcohol) that contains any of the six colours. The label must carry the warning ‘may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children’. The Action on Additives website contains a list of some foods that contain the above colours. ”
Jim Stevenson, the Southampton study lead author and professor emeritus in the school of psychology at the University of Southampton. “While many factors can influence hyperactivity in children, including genes and environment, there is good evidence that artificial food colors can also increase levels of hyperactivity,”
4. Understand the need to buy Organic: A recent study out of Stanford University found that organic food is not more nutritious. Really? That is not and NEVER WAS the reason why we buy organic. Fact: It wasn’t that long ago that all the food we ate was organic. The last century took food as we know it and moved it into a whole new world. Did our ancestors have to deal with pesticides like atrazine , for example? Atrazine, banned in the European Union, is one of the most widely used pesticides in this country in spite of the fact that countless, significant studies have indicated it may be responsible for low sperm count in men, menstrual problems, low birth weight, birth defects, and an increased risk of ADHD and Parkinson’s disease. There was also a study out of Berkeley that found that exposure to atrazine was responsible for turning male frogs into female frogs. Ouch! Scary stuff , right? Well that is what we are faced with in the 21st century…
We choose organic because it does not have pesticides, HFCS, antibiotics, sewer sludge, pink slime, GMO’s or anything artificial or questionable in them. The Stanford study was most disturbing because it created so much of the “You see organic isn’t necessary” conversation, when in fact it did not really address the real reason most people choose to buy organic. This is not a joke, it is real; the food we eat can be harmful. Have you ever seen the gear the people wear when they are spraying crops with pesticides?
Straight from the USDA Consumer Brochure: Organic Food Standards and Labels: The Facts–“What is organic food? Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled ‘organic,’ a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified”
WASHINGTON-U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) today announced that his “Safe Chemicals Act” has been approved by the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee. The legislation is designed to protect Americans from dangerous toxic chemicals that are found in everyday consumer products.
“This vote is a major milestone in our effort to fix America’s broken system for regulating toxic chemicals,” said Senator Lautenberg. “Children and families could be in danger from everyday consumer products, and the U.S. Government is virtually powerless to do anything to make sure that the chemicals used in products are safe. For too long, the chemical industry has deceived the public and the government about the safety of their products. They have ripped a page out of the tobacco industry’s playbook. Today we are saying ‘game over’ – it’s time to protect the public health.”
5. Avoid Artificial Anything: I want to eat real food. Even if it isn’t the healthiest choice, I expect it to be real. Is that so much to ask for? It was not that long ago that we did not have to worry ourselves with this topic. Our ancestors did not have to worry themselves about eating artificial food. Unfortunately many of us have stopped scrutinizing the ingredient list; that needs to change. Ever wonder why that Devil Dog or Yankee Doodle just doesn’t taste the same as it did when you were a kid? It is because it was made of real ingredients like cream and cake. Read the ingredient list now; it has become a franken-food- not at all what it was originally. If the word artificial appears in the ingredient list- don’t let it find a home in your pantry. We are not meant to ingest ingredients that are not REAL. One hundred years ago if someone came up to you and said, “Listen, We are going to take your food and fill it with all kinds of fake ingredients that aren’t even food, so that it has a longer shelf life and costs us a lot less to produce”- what would your response have been? I doubt you would have said, “Go for it. Sounds like a great idea.” Even if I am eating “junk food” – I expect it to be real, because the word artificial means FAKE and I do not want to put fake “food” into my body and neither should you!
So the bottom line is we must pay attention to what we are putting in our body and make a decision not to be a test track dummy. Let’s stop compromising our health. There are so many choices on the shelves of our supermarket that are safe to eat. Vote yes for your health by taking a few extra minutes at the supermarket and making conscientious choices for yourself and for your children. The big food companies are starting to respond to this demand for real food because our voices are starting to be heard.
We Are Not Science Experiments.
We are Human and We Run on Real Food.
Links, References and Articles:
http://balanceyourlife.com/uncategorized/the-real-facts-about-the-organic-movement-repost-from-march-2012-The Real Facts About the Organic Movement
http://balanceyourlife.com/blog/disturbing-study-sparks-attention-male-frogs-shift-into-female-frogs-seriously– Disturbing Study Sparks Attention
http://balanceyourlife.com/blog/eating-healthy-without-breaking-the-bank– Eating Healthy Without Breaking the Banks
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120515150938.htm -This Is Your Brain On Sugar: Study Shows High-Fructose Diet Sabotages Learning, Memory UCLA Study
http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S26/91/22K07 A Sweet Problem: Princeton researchers find that high-fructose corn syrup prompts considerably more weight gain
http://www.food.gov.uk/policy-advice/additivesbranch/foodcolours – FSA website: Food colors and Hyperactivity
http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/ofp/ofp.shtml – USDA website- What is Organic Food?
http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/16/health/nyc-fat-ban-paying-off/index.html NYC’s fat ban paying off
http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140673607613063/abstract – Food additives and hyperactive behaviour in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the community: a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial
http://ase.tufts.edu/gdae/Pubs/rp/EconAtrazine.pdf The Economics of Atrazine
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16802290 Pesticide exposure and risk for Parkinson’s disease. Comment in Pesticide exposure might be a strong risk factor for Parkinson’s disease. [Ann Neurol. 2008
http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/news/20100517/common-pesticides-double-kids-adhd-risk Harvard Study Shows Food Is Likely Source of Pesticide Exposure Linked to ADHD
http://www.cima.org.es/archivos/Areas/salud_publica/19_saludpublica.pdf Pesticide Exposure and the Risk for Parkinson’s Disease
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100517132846.htm Pesticide Exposure May Contribute to ADHD, Harvard Study Finds
© 2012 InnerMom
Judy Banks, Chopra Certified Meditation Instructor, Holistic Health Coach
All right reserved- Reproduce with Permission only