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Ingredients – Where are yours coming from?

A little bit ago I wrote a post about what the U.S. could learn from other countries about staying slim and being healthy. One of the big points I brought up is the fact that so many other countries eat “farm to table.”

Local farms produce the food in natural ways and that food goes straight to people’s tables. In other countries, people don’t buy a whole lot of processed crap or get all their animal products from conventional farms. Even the grains consumed in countries such as France, are in the form of freshly baked bread – not bread that stays good for weeks because it is baked full of preservatives.

But that really isn’t how we operate here in the U.S. We rarely eat farm to table. And, in general, people don’t worry about our farming system.

But slowly, things are changing. (YAY!) And last night I watched a great movie about the importance of caring where your ingredients come from called “Ingredients.” 

A documentary film, “Ingredients” is all about eating local, naturally raised food. It talks about the dangers of our current food system with its monocrop production system and unnaturally raised animals.

Attention being paid to the local food movement comes at a time when the failings of our current industrialized food system are becoming all too clear. For the first time in history, our children’s generation is expected to have a shorter lifespan than our own.The quality, taste and nutritional value of the food we eat has dropped sharply over the last fifty years. Shipped from ever-greater distances, we have literally lost sight of where our food comes from and in the process we’ve lost a vital connection to our local community and to our health.

I don’t know about you, but this film made me really wish there were more farmers markets around. It also made me super excited about the fact that a client of mine knows a few farms in New Hampshire that ship products!

But even if that doesn’t workout out and I can’t get food straight from the farm, the least I can do is try to buy as locally as possible and get animals raised in the most natural way possible.

Watch the film. Do you care where your ingredients come from?

Nutrition Label vs. Ingredients

When I would diet in college, the first thing I would look at on any nutrition label is the calories and fat per serving.

Then the year I did low-fat, low carb, I started paying attention to not only the calories and fat, but also the number of carbs listed.

Since starting Primal, I rarely ever look at nutrition labels. Actually, most of the foods I eat don’t even have nutritional labels on them since they aren’t prepackaged.

And when I do eat a prepackaged food, the first thing I look at isn’t the nutrition label – it’s the ingredients.

If all the ingredients are natural, then I shouldn’t have to worry about what the nutrition label says. Plus, nutrition labels can be extremely misleading.

For example, let’s take two different diet sodas. Both have no calories and no sugar.

Diet Dr Pepper
Nutritional Facts

Size: 8 fl. oz.

Amount Per Serving % Daily Value *
Calories 0 0%
Total Fat 0g 0%
Sodium 35mg 1%
Total Carbohydrates 0g 0%
Sugars 0g 0%
Protein 0g 0%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Fresca
Nutritional Facts
Size: 20fl. oz
Amount Per Serving % Daily Value *
Calories 0 0%
Total Fat 0g 0%
Sodium 60mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 0g 0%
Sugars 0g 0%
Protein 0g 0%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Both sodas basically only have a little bit of sodium in them. And because both sodas don’t have calories, most people would pick the Fresca since it is a light soda, which is supposedly a bit better for you.BUT if people looked at the ingredients, they would realize that these sodas are FAR from the same.

Diet Dr. Pepper Ingredients

CARBONATED WATER, CARAMEL COLOR, ASPARTAME, PHOSPHORIC ACID, ARTIFICIAL AND NATURAL FLAVORS, SODIUM BENZOATE (PRESERVATIVE), CAFFEINE. PHENYLKETONURICS CONTAINS: PHENYLALANINE

Fresca Ingredients

Carbonated Water; Citric Acid; Concentrated Grapefruit Juice; Potassium Citrate; Potassium Sorbate; Potassium Benzoate and EDTA (to protect taste); Aspartame; Acesulfame Potassium; Acacia; Natural Flavors; Glycerol Ester of Rosin; Brominated Vegetable Oil;Carob Bean Gum PHENYLKETONURICS: CONTAINS PHENYLALANINE

There is one specific ingredient in Fresca that makes it a bazillion times worse despite the fact that the nutrition labels on both sodas look almost identical. That ingredient is Brominated Vegetable Oil.

Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO) is composed mainly of bromine, a poisonous chemical whose vapors are considered both corrosive and toxic. BVO has been banned in over 100 countries because it is a potential carcinogen and causes a number of disorders starting from simple headache, fatigue, weight-gain to cancer, heart and kidney diseases.

So what the nutrition label on Fresca doesn’t tell you is that it contains a chemical that is corrosive and toxic and has been banned in OVER 100 countries!

So if you only look at nutrition labels, you may want to start reading the ingredients to find out what you are really consuming.

OR best of all…just eat all whole, natural foods so  you don’t even have to worry about it! Check out this week’s Recipe Box Recipe for a great meal with a very simple list of ingredients!

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