Raw Food and Reading Labels

by Susan on June 25, 2010

There is a lot of talk these days about making sure you read food labels so you can avoid many of the “substances” that we know harm us but are in every day food. I am suggesting that you take it one step further. Start eliminating “food” that has a label! If there is a label, there has been processing and processing usually means chemicals and artificial ingredients.

Let’s take a little trip through the pantry. I picked up a box of Aunt Jemima Original Complete Pancake Mix. It used to be a staple in my house on Sunday mornings. Just throw in some water and voila…pancakes! Instant gratification. Traditional pancakes have flour, eggs, milk and a little baking powder in them. Four ingredients. The Aunt Jemima box reads as follows:

Enriched bleached flour (bleached wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin, mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), sugar, leavening (sodium bicarbonate, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate), dextrose, nonfat dry milk, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, salt, wheat gluten, calcium carbonate, defatted soy flour, corn syrup solids, soy lecithin, sodium caseinate, mono and diglycerides, soybean oil, lactic acid. That’s 27 ingredients. 27.

I created a new raw food recipe for pancakes the other morning. Ingredients: Raw oats, agave, olive oil and an apple. What do you want to eat? What do you want your children to eat?

We are slowly waking up to the nutritional mess that the food industry has created. Over the last 50 years, how we eat has changed dramatically. We have gone from eating mostly fresh, unprocessed ingredients, using them making our meals, to the fast food society that we are. Obesity has increased by over 50% since 1980 and Heart Disease, Diabetes and Cancer are at epidemic levels. Our younger generation is now the first group that will most likely not live longer than their parents.

I find it so interesting to see how different generations eat. My mother’s friends still cook almost every night (If they are not going out). Their meals are simple. A vegetable, and a protein. Throw in a salad and some fruit and they are content. Then comes the next generation. We grew up on tv dinners and hamburger helper. Open a box, throw it in a pan and you have dinner. But to have this convenience, you had to give up the nutritiously fresh ingredients our bodies need to be healthy.

And now? Now it is even worse. Our fascination with fat free food (in the 80’s?) made us a nation addicted to sugar. It probably didn’t help that the surplus of corn lead to high fructose corn syrup being put in almost every prepared food. We need to retrain our taste-buds, which is entirely possible, and we need to do that by starting to eat more real food.

Reading labels is a start. Eating food with out labels is a huge step forward. Fresh, natural, preferably raw food that will help your body thrive!

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Diana @ frontyardfoodie June 25, 2010 at 4:18 pm

Yes! Love this post.

When I first started eating more raw foods I remember someone asked me “how can you count calories if there isn’t a label?” I was like, ummmm, seriously?

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Susan June 26, 2010 at 6:17 am

Diana…what a great story!

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Lynette June 26, 2010 at 10:43 am

Thank you!!Great article,I’m in the process of converting my family to a Raw diet and have been doing a lot of reading!

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Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty June 26, 2010 at 11:22 am

awesome!! I love this!

It’s so true, once you go back to the basics, you are so much healthier!! :)

Awesome blog post!!

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Elizabeth June 26, 2010 at 11:24 am

Yes! People ask me all the time if all the nuts I eat are fattening. I tell them I don’t worry about any of that stuff, I don’t gain a pound eating living foods!

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Kathleen June 26, 2010 at 4:22 pm

And now Kelloggs is recalling a huge bunch of cereals because of a smell in the lining of the box. We even need to watch what containers and chemicals are being used in the liners of boxes and cans.

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The Cooking Lady June 27, 2010 at 7:01 am

I teach raw food classes once a month at our local health food store. I am by no means an expert…yet. And one of the things I get preachy about is the fact that I no longer need to portion my food, weigh my food, measure (for recipes yes) my food, count calories, count carbs, count fat. I can eat as much as I want, when I want and not worry about one darn tootin’ thing.

People drop their jaws. They must think I am kidding. Nope, I am not. And I am nowhere near the raw food level I want to be. I am just a vegetarian on her way to being a raw vegan. I will get there one day. Small moves.

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Barbcam June 28, 2010 at 7:11 am

I am currently reading “The China Study” and am astounded with the data indicating one should eat a plant-based diet to avoid all of the major “Western” diseases. I’ve been raw (70%+) now for about 7 months, and am now ready to make more changes within my family’s diet. It’s easy to go raw myself but struggle with things the kids will eat :-)

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Kelley June 28, 2010 at 7:26 am

Where can I get that raw pancake recipe??

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Susan June 28, 2010 at 8:30 am

Kelley: You will have to wait until I publish it! :-)

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Sarah @ MyRawSecret June 28, 2010 at 11:27 am

Great post. I am currently eating about 90% raw and I am counting the calories/ tracking what I eat both because I am trying to lose a little weight and because I want to make sure I am getting enough nutrients. But once I am done transitioning from cooked vegan to raw vegan, I can’t wait to just eat with abandon. I love raw foods more every day. Can’t wait for the pancake recipe!

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elizabeth June 28, 2010 at 5:15 pm

Great article and so very true! Have been raw (75%) for justs about a year and have never felt more alive!! As a Registered Nurse I’m able to teach my patients a healthy alternative. I tell them, “If I can’t pronounce it, I don’t want it in my body.” At 55 years young, I’m running marathons, feeling fabulous! Should have started this years ago!!

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