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Ingredients: This is probably all junk. And full of CRAP.

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I sincerely believe the cleaner your diet, the better you feel. I’m already an avid label reader because of food allergies (thanks a lot, Trader Joes), but I feel like I already have a leg-up on healthy eating, considering I don’t eat frozen foods and rarely have fast food. Even more recently, the boyfriend and I decided to keep as close to natural as possible. We cook most of our meals from scratch; we’re now also growing our own herbs and vegetables (and some fruit); we make most of our own sauces and dressings; and he’s keeping me out of those tempting “middle aisles” at the grocery store (and that one awesome end aisle just past the frozen that holds a box of all the world’s awesome: BUTTERSCOTCH KRIMPETS).

This has spurred an almost-obsession with label reading of any packaged foods. Because as we’ve learned, I’m not the World’s Best Chef, and sometimes, I have to curb my voracious appetite IMMEDIATELY.

That’s called HANGRY, by the way.

Sadly, some of the foods that I crave or buy impulsively are terrible. Have you ever turned around a bottle of salad dressing and read the label?! Also: I’ll go out on a limb and guess that you’re probably eating one of those pie-flavored, fat free yogurts… IT’S CRAP! But that’s not the worst of what’s out there. Or sadly, what I enjoy. I have an extra tooth (seriously, true story) that craves cereal-and-only-cereal. I thought I was doing OK with honey nut Cheerios, but it is FACT that it’s one of the worst — or shall I say most misleading — cereals on the shelves. Here, I thought I was doing well giving up the multiple food dyes included in every bowl of Fruity Pebbles. Nope: CRAP.

I switched to a “healthy” brand (read: Kashi), but I can seriously polish off one of those small boxes in one sitting. Delicious? Yes. Good for my cereal budget? No. Eating disorder? Possibly.

CRAP? A resounding YES! I told you: essentially, EVERYTHING IN A BOX IS CRAP. Yes, even your Kashi. I’m actually pretty pissed that they duped me too.

So, I have some work to do on curbing my snacking addiction (yes, cereal eating is just snacking. I’ll have two bowls of cereal after having a full dinner… just because). But there were other predators in my pantry: peanut butter, jelly beans (OK, not a regular indulgence, but Easter just recently passed. also, a temporary stand-in for other sugary CRAP), frosting… a box of baking mix for carrot cake Whoopie pies (sounds delicious, right? IT’S NOT!).

Why so evil? CHEMICAL ADDITIVES. ARTIFICIAL INGREDIENTS… it’s all JUNK.

Here’s the Scary Seven, according to Naturally Savvy:

  • HFCS: High-Fructose Corn Syrup (AKA glucose-fructose in Canada)
  • TRANS-FATS: Anything listed as ‘partially hydrogenated’ or ‘hydrogenated’ (includes vegetable shortening)
  • MSG: Monosodium glutamate
  • ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS: Any artificial flavoring
  • ARTIFICIAL COLORS: Any type of artificial dyes
  • ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS: Chemical sweeteners including Aspartame, Splenda (sucralose), Ace-K (Acesulfame Potassium), Saccharine, etc.
  • PRESERVATIVES: Polysorbate 60, 65 & 80, TBHQ, Sodium Benzoate, BHA, BHT, Sulfur Dioxide (sulfites)

And this is where Andrea Donsky and Randy Boyer (and their love of junk food) come in. In writing “Unjunk Your Junk Food” they taste-tested a variety of salty-or-sweet snacky goodness — and were upfront and honest about the poor eating habits to which most of us can admit. Because WE ALL SNACK. We ALL have cravings. So, they’re not taking away your candy or potato chips or *gasp* ice cream — they’re helping you make better decisions in regards to your health.

The book is loaded with information, and if you have ADD like me, you’ll probably have a brain spasm over how much good and helpful info is included (a lot of fun history and company tidbits too).

Biggest take-away: there are no shortcuts to healthy eating. Yeah, that peanut butter discovery still shocks me a little bit. Thanks, JIF, but you can keep your corn syrup and strange protein “solids.” And no, natural peanut butter does NOT taste the same, but I know that it’s JUST PEANUTS. And I found how delicious it can be with a little dash of cinnamon. I dare you to go through your cupboard, freezer or pantry and read the labels of your favorite snacks (there’s an awesome tear-out checklist in the book on page 25 that identifies the “worst ingredients.” Pick up a copy at Barnes & Nobles or online at Amazon {Naturally Savvy’s affiliate link}.

Tell me in the comments the worst food products you have in your house (or crave, and purposely do NOT keep in the house).

Join the edible Revolution. Read Naturally Savvy’s four-step manifesto for alternative, healthy snacking options. Also, ‘Like’ Naturally Savvy on Facebook and ‘fan’ them on Twitter for your chance to win great prizes.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Naturally Savvy for review.

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  • Heather Pennington

    Apparently you’ve just killed JIF peanut butter for me.   Meh. 
    But I just finished my jar.  I’ll try to find an alternative.
    *******************
    My red light food, the one that enters the house maybe 1 x year now?  Wavy Lays potato chips.  Apparently they’re only potatoes, oil, salt.  I rarely eat them, but I love them. 

     

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