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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Taking off the blinders

Of late, I have become the 'master of repairs' in my house.  I used to have a pile of stuff that sat for years in a 'to be fixed pile'.  I am sure that some of you have the same kind of pile: clothes with buttons missing, clothes with holes in them, books with the binding coming apart, etc.  Today I actually got to the bottom of the pile and have officially fixed everything (that I was capable of fixing) in my house.  While not being able to buy anything new was certainly powerful motivation to put some of these items 'back in circulation', it was also just wonderful to have accomplished one of those tasks that just never seems to get done. 

On a completely unrelated topic, I have been attempting to decode the food labels of the products that are already in my house.  It is not good news.  I have unknowingly been poisoning myself and my family with some of those 'crazy additives' that I alluded to in an early post.  Included in these items are:
  • Salad dressings
  • Some crackers
  • Cans of soup
  • Cereal
Don't those items sound innocuous enough?  Not so my fine friends, not so.  The salad dressing contains BHA and BHT, some of the crackers contain MSG, cereal contains trisodium phosphate which is most commonly used as a cleaning agent and has the ability to corrode metal (!) and canned soup often contains MSG as well.  Gross right?  Luckily, I have come up with substitutions for all of them: I recently made a batch of homemade crackers which are delicous (and thank goodness the 'cracker man' of the house, aka Chephren, approves of them).  Salad dressings are also easy enough to make, I just have to get into the habit of making them on a more regular basis.  While I will definitely miss the convenience of canned soups, I am willing to give them up (assuming that I can't find a more suitable alternative to my current brands at the grocery store).  And cereal, well, Chephren is going to have to give up his Cheerios.  Thankfully he loves toast, oatmeal and eggs so we won't be strapped for breakfasts.  It looks like we are well on our way to eliminating some of those dreaded additives from our pantry. 

Sorry to burst your bubble if these were facts that you were happier just 'not knowing'.  I hear that.  Food additives are literally in almost everything and trying to eat foods without them is quite an arduous task these days.  However, it is not my intention to be the 'voice of doom' or to look down my nose at anyone else and the choices they make, I simply want to see whether or not I am able to eliminate these items from my pantry... and of course, I plan on sharing my strategies with you.  Take or leave the information as you like.

You see, in life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action.  - Tony Robbins

Here's to 'knowing' and doing something about it!

Marebare :)


  1. What luck! I happen to be enjoying an 'additive' free can of soup RIGHT NOW Maren! With the risk of sounding like a sales person (sorry) :P 'Amy's' Organic Soups in the can are often available by the mixed case at Costco even.. (so much nicer on the pocketbook, though not exactly in the living locally realm lol)...ingredients in todays selection...(Lentil)
    "Filtered Water, Organic Lentils, Organic Celery, Organic Carrots, Organic Onions, Organic Potatoes, Organic extra virgin olive oil, Sea Salt, Spices* (*100% Pure herbs and spices (does not contain additives)"

    (per cup)
    180 cal
    5g fat (no trans)
    0mg Cholesterol
    590 sodium (high I think..but cant per perfect I suppose)
    25g carbs
    6g Fibre
    3g sugar
    8g Protein (and VEGAN no less)not bad for a little cupo' soup.

    Pretty yummy stuff and all the flavors that I have tried in the moments where making lunch just isnt in the cards have been good. Might be worth a look-see at your costco the next time the family is stocking up.

    Loving the posts!

  2. I relate to your conundrum!
    My family and I have flirted with the idea of not eating anything that contains items we can't pronounce, or things we aren't sure of health-wise. It is tough eating "natural" foods, and generally it involves much planning and home cooking which we're all for. Time then becomes the only major issue.

    Good luck, I look forward to reading how you are managing (I'm sure you'll do fantastic!)


  3. You Go Girl!

    Food allergies forced me into giving up most processed foods years ago, and I'm also convinced that BPA in canned foods is a contributing factor to my migraine headaches. Here's the full story on that one if you're interested:

    I'm not 100% canned food free yet - but they're now considered "food of last resort" around here.

    This year's goal in the food department was giving up fake meat products... made easier by the fact that many of them have started adding an ingredient called inulin, which I am violently allergic to! sigh... I guess it's my body's way of encouraging me to be healthier.

    So while you've got me thinking of it, my favorite salad dressing recipe:

    Pepper Parmesean Dressing

    1 Cup non-fat plain yogurt
    1/2 cup Mayonayse
    1/4 cup finely grated parmesean cheese
    1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    salt, onion powder & garlic powder to taste

    Mix all the ingredients up and enjoy. If it's a little too thick you can add a little bit of milk.

  4. Yep... nasty shite is in pretty much every processed / packaged food a person buys these days! The worst part of it is, that these creepy food replicas are usually way cheaper and quicker to prepare than fresh, organic, REAL foods... and the combination of cost and time constraints drives many consumers to subsist on relative crap.
    Kudos to you for taking an interest in and taking the time to make better choices! It is a bit of work, but it is worth it!

  5. Thanks for all of the replies! I am very encouraged to hear that you are all already succeeding in this venture. Kudos to all of you for paving the way!

    Linds - thanks for the canned soup tip - I tend to rely on these when I am trying to get some food into Chephren and I am really short on time, so I will have to try those out.

    Rebecca - that dressing recipe sounds delicious and I will be sure to try it out. My family looked at me with raised eyebrows last night when I announced (why I feel the need to 'announce' is beyond me) that we will no longer be buying processed salad dressings... I am sure that they will all love this one (and others that I have already tried out on them) and it will soon just be 'normal' to them.

    Thanks to all of you for your words of encouragement!!!