The Bad, the Not-So-Good, and the Truly Awful

So its life as usual here at home, crazy busy with no end in sight! Because of this, a few processed foods that we had in the cupboard and freezer that we’d bought before Lent have made their way onto our table again and I do buy the occasional loaf or two of bread (usually sprouted grain now though). I did decide that the vast majority of the processed foods we got rid of will stay gone, mainly because I didn’t really miss them. But I know there are a few things my kids love and kind of missed, Golden Grahams and Cookies and Cream instant oatmeal to name a few! So I thought it isn’t right for me to unilaterally make the decision for everyone as to which foods they want to completely give up, have in moderation, or put back onto the table on a regular basis. I figured a better idea would be to let the kids decide what to add back into their daily diet after they read the ingredient label. If there are any ingredients they don’t know, like potassium sorbate, they need to look it up so they can make a truly informed decision about what they are putting in their bodies. So far they have mainly just decided to stay away from any foods with ingredients they don’t know, which is a fantastic step!

For those of you who don’t necessarily have the time to do the research on the additives in all your foods, here’s a cheat sheet to take shopping with you of the bad, the not-so-good, and the truly awful:

1. BHA and BHT – used to preserve foods, usually cereal, also is a human carcinogen and endocrine disruptor. Harmful to the liver and kidneys.
2. Propyl Gallate – used to stop fats going rancid, typically used with BHA/BHT. A suspected carcinogen.
3. Potassium Bromate – chemical found in breads and pizza doughs and is carcinogenic.
4. Sodium Nitrate – used to preserve meat, and is a carcinogenic. Linked to stomach, prostate and breast cancer.
5. Food Colorings – dyes like Blue 1 and 2, Red 3, Green 3 and Yellow 6, can cause behavioral problems in kids, as well studies show a link to cancer and thyroid problems.
6. MSG – monosodium glutamate is a flavor enhancer and is in a large variety of foods, even so called healthy foods like hydrolyzed vegetable protein or HVP. Can cause headaches and nausea and has even been linked to sudden cardiac arrest in athletes.
7. Artificial Sweeteners – aspartame is proving to be a neurotoxin and has a large list of common side effects from headaches to seizures. Sucralose and Acesulfame –K haven’t had as much study done on them but I’d rather not take the chance!
8. Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Oils – these are trans fats and are in a multitude of foods; even if the Nutrition Facts say there’s no trans fat in a serving, if hydrogenated oil is on the label then it contains trans fats, so don’t be fooled!

These are the ones that I’ve made the biggest effort to make sure they don’t find their way back into my home, there are others that cause some problems or are really unnecessary but that list could take more than a few blog posts! Good luck and happy grocery shopping!