One of my main goals for the new year was to really start eating all-natural, whole foods.
And it didn’t take too long for me to come to this conclusion: I think it’s sad that we have to put so much thought into eating foods that haven’t been tampered by chemicals, hormones, and dyes. I mean, if it were up to me, it’d be against the law to sell foods that contain ingredients not meant for human consumption. 😉 I can’t help but feel as though I should be able to walk into the grocery store and grab any food item and bring it home without worrying that there might be something harmful listed in its ingredients.
It’s just common sense. Food is for eating. Therefore, anything labeled as food should just contain… food.
Now I understand that it’s up to us to decide how much fat, salt, and sugar we want to consume. And it should be that way. We’re all big boys and girls and should be deciding what we do or don’t want to eat. But it shouldn’t be so complicated to find real food. I shouldn’t grab a boxed item off the shelf and struggle with pronouncing so many of its ingredients. I shouldn’t have to pay $10 for one pound of chicken, just because I want that pound to be free of hormones and cruelty to animals. (And honestly, I don’t pay that $10. I probably should, but I still go for the cheaper chicken… although I’ve begun to buy local, grass fed beef. I just haven’t been able to fit the more expensive chicken into my budget).
It’s frustrating that even when you try to eat healthy, you have to be concerned about what found its way into that 1% milk… or what was fed to the chicken that laid your eggs… or even what may have been slipped into your whole wheat bread. I mean, I know that I wasn’t the only one that was horrified to learn that Subway bread contained an ingredient found in rubber. Nate and I used to eat there every Tuesday night after church, since we didn’t get home until so late.
Considering the amount of sandwiches we consumed, we probably have a pair of cowboy boots sitting in our stomachs, between the two of us.
Granted, Subway has promised to remove that product from its bread, but – seriously – why was it in there to begin with??? I know that it’s supposed to improve the elasticity of the bread dough; but let me tell you, my Memere never put rubber in her bread… and her bread was a slice of heaven! Why is it suddenly okay to sneak non-food ingredients into our food?? I’m confused as to why the FDA approves products like this, claiming they’re safe… when studies are showing that some of these products have caused cancer in lab animals (in addition to possibly causing asthma and respiratory problems).
And don’t think that Subway alone is to blame. I was reading an article by the Huffington Post, and they claim that this same rubber ingredient (azodicarbonamide) is found in over 500 common foods! I researched a bit further, and according to the article ‘Over 500 Ways to Make a Yoga Mat Sandwich’ this rubber product is found in such foods as Fiber One hamburger buns, Sun Maid Cinnamon Raisin bread (I’m crying over that one), Freihofer’s white bread, Harvest Pride wheat bread, Manischewitz pumpernickel bread, Pillsbury toaster strudels, yeast donuts from Walmart, several Weight Watcher Smart One meals, and Wonder light wheat bread.
How is this okay?
I get that we live in a fast-paced culture and there is massive demand for quick, packaged foods. So really, it’s our fault at the end of the day. We chose to face a blind eye to what’s being served to us, because we don’t want to make it ourselves anymore than we want to pay a little bit more for a mom and pop store that would make it for us. And because of it, these non-food ingredients are being added to our meals more often than we care to admit. And to buy foods that promise to be free of such things can cost a lot more.
(Thank goodness for sales at Trader Joes)!
Now I’m not trying to encourage everyone to panic, give up food, or to live in fear. There’s a reason why I say a prayer before every meal! 😉 And at the end of the day, you just have to make the best decisions that you can (or that you can afford to) and then you have to make life count. That’s all any of us can do! But I’m learning that eating more natural foods can be challenging, because a lot of additives (like azodicarbonamide) are snuck into the ingredient list… and most people just aren’t aware of it!
For me, I’m trying to reach for foods that have ingredient lists that I can actually pronounce. Like milk… flour… eggs… and yeast. And I am trying to make the majority of meals at home from fresh ingredients, instead of reaching for the packaged meals.
It doesn’t mean that I don’t – or won’t – splurge sometimes. And it doesn’t mean that I’m too good for whatever food that’s put in front of me! My hubby is totally munching on a bag of Dorito’s right now, and I think I might steal a few. 🙂 At the end of the day, I’ll enjoy and appreciate any meal that’s sitting before me.
And I know that I shouldn’t be ranting about our food issues unless I have a solution for the problem… which I don’t.
But I really hope that change comes somehow, or else the next generation of kids will be saying things like, “Remember the good ol’ days when people ate food that was made out of just… food?”
And as a foodie, that totally breaks my heart!