Getting Healthy

Daddy Always Said, “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It”

Most likely whenever you look at the ingredients label for any typical packaged food, you won’t have a clue what many of the ingredients listed are, and probably won’t be able to pronounce many of them either.

Those ingredients are most likely artificial chemicals that have been added for various purposes—such as to make the foods hopefully taste, look, and have the texture of unprocessed or minimally processed foods. These ingredients are also used to disguise undesirable qualities of the final product, increase shelf life, disinfect and deodorize, hide odors, and sweeten our foods.

Big food companies must think that they are doing both ourselves and themselves a huge favor…by making our foods more palatable, while at the same time making a larger profit themselves.

In fact, as consumers get used to the taste of a certain food, even more and more of these additives are usually added to those food items by the “food engineers” of these big -brand food manufacturers in order to keep them or make them even more addictive.

And as if that list of ingredients shown on the package that you just looked at isn’t long enough already, most also contain even dozens more additional chemicals that aren’t even listed on the label.

However adding all these additives can affect the health of everyone who eats that manufacturer’s products…including their own workers.

Health problems that can result because of all these additives include allergies, heart issues, hyperactivity, diabetes, obesity, irregular menstrual cycles, acne, hair loss, and even cancer.

For example, the Coalition for Safer Food Processing & Packaging periodically conducts laboratory testing of foods. One study involved the testing of thirty different macaroni and cheese products.

One chemical in particular, that the Coalition was looking for was phthalates, a hormone-disrupting chemical that manufacturers use when making rubber, plastics, adhesives, sealants, and printing inks…and that also poses a serious threat to the health of pregnant women and children.

The Coalition found phthalates in 29 of these 30 items, including eight of the nine Kraft cheese product items tested.

Another study conducted by the University of Hawaii of almost 200,000 people found that those people who eat the most processed meats—such as hot dogs and bologna—have a 67% higher risk of getting pancreatic cancer. Sorry, Oscar Mayer, but my dad died from pancreatic cancer. Crossing hot dogs and bologna off my grocery list permanently.’

We should all learn how to avoid such additives.

One way is to refuse to buy products with ingredient lists that…

  • are longer than the Santa wish list of my “resident four year old”
  • contain the words “artificial flavor. “Artificial flavor” is not actually an ingredient. Who in the heck even knows what “artificial flavor” is?
  • have words that are too hard to pronounce
  • have words that have more than twenty syllables

What exactly do the words “artificial flavor” mean?

Just like we previously learned, when doing a previous “What Now” unit on taking the perfect cruelty-free shower…as far as health and beauty products are concerned, the word “fragrance” can be code-name for a whole slew of we-really-don’t-want-to-tell-you-because-if-we-did-tell-you-then-you-probably-wouldn’t-buy-this ingredients…and when it comes to food, the words “artificial flavor” are basically code-name for that exact same thing.

Any time that you see the words “artificial flavor” listed as an ingredient, you should realize that this is a proprietary blend of several different ingredients that are considered “trade secrets.” For “marketing” reasons, manufacturers can get by without listing exactly specific ingredients make up their “artificial flavor.”

 

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