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7 Foods to Avoid
Posted By Kresha Faber On January 24, 2013 @ 3:00 am In Baby Steps,Healthy kids,In the kitchen,Living healthy,Nutrition,Raising healthy eaters,Real Food,Real, whole food,Realfoodmadesimple | 31 Comments
Guest Post by Kresha of Nourishing Joy 
Are you working to ditch processed foods and put more real food on the table? This month we're running a series called Real Food Made Simple: A Beginner's Guide to Eating Better . Our goal is to answer the questions  you might have and make the transition a whole lot easier!
Up until a few years ago, I’d always been rather naive when it came to ingredients in packaged foods.
“Surely,” I thought, “they wouldn’t use anything that wasn’t actually an ingredient.”
It can be overwhelming to sort through the myriad dietary options we have, especially when life is busy, so here's a quick list of seven items to avoid on your own real food journey.
A word of grace here. This is just a list of information - guidelines, if you will. Know that all of us - yes, all of us - don't always follow them either . Don't feel frustrated if you don't keep this list "perfectly" - do what you can and at the end of each day, be joyful and satisfied that you are taking any steps at all toward healthier living .
And here's a shameless plug: because I was frustrated by all the hidden stuff in my food, especially my kids' favorite ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce, and salad dressings, I wrote a cookbook  to make all our favorite condiments at home - ones that look and taste like the store-bought versions! You can get free sample pages here .
In 1800, the average American ate about 4 pounds of sugar each year (source ). In 2011, the average per person was closer to 150 pounds. Obviously, something has changed.
The big deal with sugar is that most of the sugar we're exposed to is highly refined. In its purest forms (think honey and maple syrup), sugar also includes beneficial minerals, vitamins, and the enzymes necessary to digest the sugar.
But in our modern versions (yes, white table sugar and corn syrup, I'm looking at you), all those beneficial elements have been stripped away. Thus, our bodies get the load of sugar without receiving any benefits of the trace minerals.
Yes, we already mentioned sugar, but high fructose corn syrup is a particularly insipid refined sugar worth mentioning all on its own.
At first glance, HFCS may seem rather innocuous - after all, it's a natural sweetener because it's made of corn, right? Not so much.
Most corn grown in the US is genetically modified (nasty stuff). And along with that, HFCS helps you overeat , makes your liver pretend you're a raging alcoholic , causes memory loss, interrupts your ability to process emotion , and helps you gain fat , especially around the belly. Lovely.
Did you know that modern food dyes are made from petroleum ? They're known for causing hyperactivity and allergic reactions like welts and hives, and the only reason they're used in food is to mimic the vivid colors of nature - after all, typically the more colorful the food, the more nutrient-dense it is: think leafy greens, beets, and bell peppers.
It's ironic that preservatives – which are intended to preserve food – do anything but preserve your health.
Preservatives lurk in pretty much every boxed food out there. Even plain ingredients can be suspect, like most all-purpose flours, which have potassium bromate and chlorine bleach in order to keep them from oxidizing. The problem is, most industrial preservatives are known carcinogens and can cause a host of digestive issues .
Ah... MSG. We've all heard of it - but what is it, really?
Basically, monosodium glutamate is an amino acid, one of those "good guys" who help our bodies function. However, MSG's job is to trigger messages to the brain, which means that if you've got extra glutamate floating around, it's like an overactive two-year-old on sugar trying to get your attention. Total overstimulation of the brain, which is why over time exposure to MSG tends to cause things like migraines and hives.
MSG also tends to cover up non-ingredients and pass them off as real ingredients. The message that your brain receives when it tastes MSG is that it's getting protein and therefore food manufacturers can add in wood pulp  (no, I'm not kidding ), throw in some MSG, and our brains will still think we're getting a nutritious meal.
Now, the most slippery thing about MSG is that it has about 40 different names, so it's darn difficult to avoid. You can see the entire list at TruthInLabeling.org , but basically, if the words "hydrolyzed," "amino acid," "protein," "enzyme," "yeast extract," "flavoring," or any long, chemical name appear on the label, it's likely got MSG.
But what's so bad about GMOs? After all, we eat foods that have been cross-bred all the time.
The difference is that cross-breeding involves the same species - i.e. a hardy tomato and a juicy tomato cross-breed to create a hardy-juicy tomato. Genetic engineering injects genes from an entirely different species, say an arctic fish into a tomato , to create a new type of tomato (in that case, it was an experiment to see if it would make the tomato resistant to cold).
Now, none of us have purchased a fish-tomato, and most GMOs we encounter in our food supply are there just to make the plant resistant to certain pesticides and herbicides. But that also means that our food is extra-laden with those chemicals when we purchase them.
However, there has been almost NO testing done on the safety of GMOs. If no testing is allowed for food safety, then we're basically using ourselves as human guinea pigs, and I, for one, would prefer not to, thankyouverymuch.
Foods using GMO ingredients are also not required to be labeled in the U.S. or Canada, despite the fact that nearly every other developed nation in the world already requires labeling.
So, suffice it to say, GMOs lurk around nearly every corner, pose potentially numerous health risks , but there's no way to know whether they're safe or not. I, for one, would rather be safe than sorry.
Here's a scary thought: packages can legally emblazon "0 g of trans-fats!" on their packaging as long as it has less than 0.5 g per serving. So, by decreasing the size of the serving they list on their ingredient label, they can still include trans-fats AND tell you that there aren't any trans-fats.
No wonder we moms get headaches at the store. Sigh.
But what are they? Basically, any oil that should be liquid at room temperature but is chemically changed in order to be solid at room temperature is a trans-fat. Margarine and vegetable shortening are good examples, although anything with "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated" on the label is a trans-fat.
Article printed from Keeper of the Home: http://www.keeperofthehome.org
URL to article: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2013/01/7-foods-to-avoid.html
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/reading-labels-500.jpg
 Nourishing Joy: http://www.nourishingjoy.com/about/about-the-author/
 Real Food Made Simple: A Beginner's Guide to Eating Better: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/tag/real-food-made-simple
 to answer the questions: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2013/01/real-food-made-simple-a-beginners-guide-to-eating-better.html
 our real food journey: http://www.nourishingjoy.com/what-is-real-food-what-is-sustainable-living/
 reading labels: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2013/01/how-to-read-food-labels.html
 don't always follow them either: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2012/09/a-day-in-the-life-erin-adjusting-to-life-with-a-newborn-a-toddler-and-a-preschooler.html
 be joyful and satisfied that you are taking any steps at all toward healthier living: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2013/01/first-steps-to-real-food.html
 a cookbook: http://www.nourishingjoy.com/restocking-the-pantry/?ap_id=keeperhome
 Hadleygrass is asparagus: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hadleygrass/3331904744/
 source: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/05/02/is-sugar-toxic.aspx
 "21 Ways to Eat Less Sugar": http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2010/09/cutting-down-on-sugar-21-ways-to-eat-less-sugar.html
 "Sweeteners: How they Affect You, Which Ones are Best and How to Use Them.": http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2013/01/sweeteners-how-they-affect-you-which-ones-are-best-and-how-to-use-them.html
 helps you overeat: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/01/14/fructose-spurs-overeating.aspx
 makes your liver pretend you're a raging alcoholic: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/09/09/ethanol-alcohol-and-fructose.aspx
 causes memory loss, interrupts your ability to process emotion: http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/this-is-your-brain-on-sugar-ucla-233992.aspx
 helps you gain fat: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/01/02/highfructose-corn-syrup-alters-human-metabolism.aspx
 agave nectar: http://www.foodrenegade.com/agave-nectar-good-or-bad/
 DixieBelleCupcakeCafe: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dixiebellecupcakecafe/5456378943/
 modern food dyes are made from petroleum: http://www.cspinet.org/fooddyes/
 make your own dyes: http://www.nourishingjoy.com/naturally-dyed-easter-eggs/
 dark chocolate cupcakes with pretty pink buttercream: http://www.nourishingjoy.com/dark-chocolate-cupcakes-with-pretty-pink-buttercream/
 perfect yellow mustard: http://www.nourishingjoy.com/healthy-condiments-for-the-fourth-of-july/
 known carcinogens and can cause a host of digestive issues: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=george&dbid=107
 The Center for Science in the Public Interest: http://www.cspinet.org/reports/chemcuisine.htm
 Dominik Schwind: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dominik/1842248594/
 wood pulp: http://www.foodrenegade.com/would-like-some-wood-pulp-your-shredded-cheese/
 I'm not kidding: http://www.thestreet.com/story/11012915/1/cellulose-wood-pulp-never-tasted-so-good.html
 TruthInLabeling.org: http://www.truthinlabeling.org/hiddensources.html
 genetically modified ingredients: http://responsibletechnology.org/gmo-basics/gmos-in-food
 most of us are eating them and don't even know it: http://www.fastcoexist.com/1676104/the-genetically-modified-food-you-eat-every-day
 an arctic fish into a tomato: http://gmo-awareness.com/all-about-gmos/gmo-defined/
 potentially numerous health risks: http://www.responsibletechnology.org/gmo-dangers
 Keep this list: http://nongmoshoppingguide.com/
 tellumo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tellumo/238959941/
 butter, coconut oil, and lard: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2011/04/good-fats-bad-fats-and-why-i-eat-plenty-of-butter.html
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