Thursday, April 4, 2013

Eliminating Unhealthy Food

Eliminate Unhealthy Food
Recently in the grocery store, I ran into a friend I don't see very often. She was focused on reading a food label. Turns out she recently changed to a plant-based diet and found she felt so much better (and looked better I might add).

Influenced by such films as Forks Over KnivesHungry For Change and Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, many people are making the change to eat less processed food and eat a more plant-based cuisine.

For many, the change to a plant-based diet requires a process, which should begin by eliminating   unhealthy, processed foods.

Read Food Labels
Reading labels is the first step in getting healthy when changing to healthier eating habits. Become familiar with what's real food and what's not. Look for ingredients that you would not mindfully eat.

So let's look at what you can toss out or put back on the grocery shelf as not real food:

Here are 10 food additives to avoid:
  1. Artificial Sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose, etc.)
  2. High Fructose Corn Syrup
  3. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)oftentimes masked as "natural flavors"
  4. Trans Fats/Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Oils
  5. Food Dyes
  6. Sodium Sulfite
  7. Sodium Nitrate/Sodium Nitrite
  8. BHA and BHT
  9. Sulphur Dioxide
  10. Potassium Bromate
I would also add sugar to the list. Sugar should be consumed sparingly. It used to be that sugar was confined to dessert. But when you start reading labels, you'll find a majority of foods contain sugar. Food manufacturers realized that sugar makes everything taste better so they add it to everything. Bread, salad dressings, mixes, even canned kidney beans.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest publishes a comprehensive list of food additives to check out. Their list of Safe additives is a mixed bag. I would classify many as not safe. In addition, the Cut Back, Caution and Certain People Should Avoid category should be lumped into the Avoid category in my opinion.

If you really want to get steamed about all the stuff added to food that's making Americans sick and fat, read how food companies exploit Americans with additives banned in other countries by the Food Babe over at 100 Days of Real Food.

Okay, that's your homework for the week. Clean out those cabinets and avoid those grocery store aisles stocked with packaged items that only pretend to be food. We call it manufactured food. If an ingredient is something you can't pronounce or looks like a chemical, it's likely bad for you.

Read What is Real Food to find out what lurks in a simple condiment that most households use.

Report back: What food did you throw out or put back on the shelf when you read the ingredients?


  1. GREAT article, Chris! Especially appreciate your statement about the change to a healthier diet being a PROCESS. It has been about a 5 year process for our family, and is ongoing as we learn new info.

    Something I'm focusing on right now is GMO corn. Just yesterday at Costco I sampled a few bites of Rice Works Wild Rice Crackers. The sample lady said they were gluten free, and directed me to the end of the aisle where they were stocked. We still indulge occasionally in whole-grain crackers or chips, but it's hard to find crackers that meet our dietary restrictions and don't contain a bunch of cruddy ingredients. I scanned the ingredient list, and at first was gluten ingredients, no artificial ingredients, expeller pressed oil...but when I read "masa corn flour," a light-bulb went on. I remembered that "if it's not organic, it's GMO" applies to corn as well as soy. So, back on the shelf it went. It would have been easy to convince myself that "a little doesn't hurt," but whenever that thought pops up I remind myself that all those "little bits" add up...every little bit DOES count!

    This process isn't easy (or short!), and I'm by no means perfect at it, but I still believe it's well worth it!!

    Keep up the good work!

    1. You get a star, Nancy! I'd say you are well along in the process of change. It's all about conditioning your thinking to make those important decisions at the point of purchase.

      Thanks for your encouragement and answering my question.