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!