With the craziness and fad of counting calories and having everything be “fat-free”, counting carbs, etc. The food industry has modified foods in such a way to make them comply with the latest fad out there. To do this they do not mind filling those foods with chemical additives, preservatives, or colorings to make us believe we’re eating the original… at the end of the day, these modified products are not even a shadow of their original counterparts.
I have adopted a philosophy, now for over 10 years, that I would like to pass on to you – I read the labels and I try not to buy anything that contains ingredients I can’t understand or even pronounce. Basically, I only buy products that have the least ingredients possible.
I was even once told – why even buy products that have labels you can read? For example, lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, apples, pears, etc. usually do not have a label we can read to see what they contain, right? Without going into the details of branding or organic vs. conventional, there’s some food for thought…
By choosing products with the least ingredients, I also avoid:
- Any chemical ingredient I can’t pronounce
- All artificial colorants such as FD Red #5, Yellow #10, etc.
- Any ingredient containing SULFITES or NITRITES – preservatives added to food to preserve their vibrant color and known carcinogens.
As a general rule:
|I do not Buy:||I Buy:|
|Cheeses or anything labeled Fat Free||Regular cheeses or those made with 2% milk
|Nothing that contains Nutrasweet, Splenda or artificial sweeteners – read the labels – my sister, the diabetic in my family, tells me that many regular chocolates/candies have less carbs than chocolates labeled sugar-free.||I look for products that do not contain added sugars or that are made with Brown sugar.I sweeten things with honey or agave nectar|
|Bottled Dressings||I make my own… here are a few ideas.|
|Bottled Sun-dried tomatoes or dried fruit – like dried pineapple, mangoes or apricots||Brands that specifically state they do not contain sulfites.|
I know it’s a challenge, but you just get used to reading the labels and be more conscious of the ingredients that go into the food you eat. And even though you might get familiar with the brands you prefer, you need to periodically read the labels because sometime companies change formulas and a product that was perfectly fine, now might have some added something it didn’t have before.
Now, you’ll be more aware of the brands that have the healthiest options… and little by little you’ll see how your health and palate gravitates to more natural flavors and ingredients.