Chances are that you choose your groceries with the best intentions for your family’s health. The scary thing is, unless you have studied nutrition, you might not fully understand what it is that you are putting into your grocery cart.
Grocery labels are now apparently “reader friendly”, but they can still be quite complicated for the average shopper. On a product label, it may say “carbohydrates”, but doesn’t that word give you mixed emotions? You have heard that carbs are the enemy, but are you aware that there are good carbs (complex) and bad carbs (simple or refined)? There is no separation between the two on a product label. It is much easier to read the list of ingredients instead. There is no need to get flustered trying to figure out the fat content and the calories and the fat from calories and the percentages and measurements and so on. Chances are, it will overwhelm you and you might end up ignoring it altogether, putting your health in jeopardy.
Scan for the following key words and if you see them, put the product down and move on!
*Hydrogenated (or partially hydrogenated) – this is where your trans fats come from. It is a processing term meaning oils have been heated to very high temperatures to convert something into a spread-able form (like margarine or some peanut butters), giving the product a longer shelf life. It changes the chemical components of the food and creates very ill effects to the precious cells in your body. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to remove this word from your grocery cart.
*Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) – A preservative and flavor enhancer. This nasty chemical encourages you to eat more, even if you are no longer hungry. Not to mention it has been known to cause migraines, blurred vision, behavioral problems in children and difficulty focusing. Yummy, can I have some?
*Nitrates – These toxic substances are added to meat products such as bacon, hot dogs, ham, sausages, and bologna to help keep their pinkish color. If it’s not added, the meat will turn gray. Danger occurs in the body when nitrates are consumed, such as cancer, dizziness, hyperactivity, and a lack of oxygen to the brain. Nitrates are forbidden in baby food. If it were not good for baby, why would it be good for a child? Parents are still serving hot dogs at birthday parties! A very frightening concept! There are alternatives.
*Aspartame – A sweetener, as well as a poison, it can cause seizures or death! Also, over time, aspartame builds up in the body causing severe damage to the nervous system. Watch out for “diet” products and “fat free” advertising.
*Colors or dyes – Not a natural substance and should be avoided. Color is usually added to cakes, snacks, drinks, in other words – fun foods. Coloring added to food has been known to cause asthma attacks and hyperactivity in children.
Another rule of thumb: If you can’t pronounce it, it’s not something you should be putting into your body in the first place.
Pesticides, unfortunately, are not labeled on produce. You can rest assured that if you choose certified organic produce you will notice a better quality of life from eating food free of pesticides and other drugs. The word pesticides translate to “pest killers”, which do have an adverse effect on a human body.
Fresh is best, frozen and canned are lower in nutrients and contain extra ingredients as preservatives, such as sugar and salt.
Of course, ALL toxic ingredients sitting on your grocer’s shelves have not been listed in this article but removing the above toxins is a definite start to a healthy grocery cart.
Being informed can help you better nurture your family nutritionally. Shop smart, shop well!