Thursday, April 1, 2010

My Growing Hatred For Processed Foods

Most of you know by now that I strive to eat mostly organic foods. Of course I don't like the idea of all those chemicals in my produce, and I don't like to think of all those steroids and antibiotics and all that in the meat that Jay eats. But probably the biggest reason has to do with processed foods. I'm not saying that I don't eat them, because I think most people do at one point or another during the day. However, its important to make these organic as well, and an article that I read yesterday proves my point..

I think most of you hear that High Fructose Corn Syrup is bad for you. No matter what those stupid commercials tell you, (you know the ones, "its nutritionally the same as sugar and fine in moderation," blah blah, and yes, those commercials come from the corn industry, big surprise..) its horrible and its in EVERYTHING. I heard today that Duke has confirmed a study that getting too much of this garbage can actually cause a type of hepatitis because when eaten, it goes right to your liver and since its an unnatural substance, your liver cannot metabolize it. So it almost instantly turns to fat, causing cirrhosis, scarring, fatty liver, hepatitis, and even cancer. And.. there are not always side effects. So this could be happening, and you would never know about it. I decided a long time ago to try to eliminate this from my diet as much as possible and that's when I realized just how widespread it it. For example, the Campbell's tomato soup that I used to eat all the time. Along with a laundry list of other ingredients, HFCS is right up there. I switched to a brand called Pacific Natural Foods, and got their creamy tomato. Ingredients, (all organic,) are: Reduced fat milk, filtered water, tomato paste, evaporated cane juice, sea salt, sodium citrate, rice flour, cheese flavor, garlic powder, onion powder, white pepper. And I know, could it be better? Probably. But there are no chemicals or HFCS in sight, and it tastes amazing.

As bad as HFCS is, this is still not the reason for writing this, since unless you work for the corn industry, you should already know this is bad for you. No, the reason is.... FOLIC ACID. Apparently eating too much of this greatly increases cancer risk as well. And this is something that most people think is a good thing, myself included. In the late 90's, food companies started fortifying a lot of foods with folic acid because it reduces birth defects in newborns. I guess they thought they would put it in everything, because you can't get too much of a good thing. What they neglected to do was study the long term risk of this, because now they are seeing that along with the jump in folic acid consumption came a 21% increased risk of cancer. And similiar to HFCS, its in everything.

So what can you do, since these things and God knows what else is running rampant in the American diet? The government makes these decisions without fully informing the public or testing the potential dangers, and we unknowingly eat foods containing these things every single day. My choice is to take the time to read labels and eat organic as often as possible. Who knows that they will come up with in a few years and say oops, we decided it would be good to put this in all processed foods and didn't realize that it made your eyes bleed after 3 years of consumption. This is also why I didn't get a swine flu shot. It wasn't tested enough IMO, and I was not going to put something in my body that no one was sure what would potentially happen after. (Major, MAJOR family rift after my parents heard that I wasn't getting one. HUGE.)

Sorry for such a long post, but it makes me so angry. I feel like for the vast majority of Americans, the FDA is treating them like guinea pigs. They come up with medicines to treat an illness, and a while later reveal that it causes something else equally as bad. They want to pepper our foods with new chemicals, minerals, even vitamins such as folic acid, and then decide afterwards that maybe it wasn't such a good idea. Eating is something we ALL do. There is no way around it, and I am a firm believer that food is the basis for health and well being. Please, try to be as informed as possible about what you are eating. Everyone makes mistakes, and I am still learning every day, but I do the best I can because not only do I want a long life, I want good quality of life. And that's becoming rarer and rarer every day.


Leiah said...

My dad has hemophilia and contracted was what then called Non A/Non B known as Hepatitis C. He did the Hep C cocktail and it has been in remission for the last 15 year. Until last month when it was discovered he had liver cancer...HCCA to be exact. The two causes of HCCA are alcoholism and hepatitis. Well, my dad maybe has 1/2 a glass of wine a year at Christmas so we know it is from the hepatitis. He's now on the transplant list because without a new liver, the doctors have given him 1 to 3 years. I guess the main point of my comment is to tell people do everything in your power to eat as clean as possible and reduce your risk of cancer as much as you can. Thanks for posting this and sharing the info. I wish more people would eat 'close to the ground'.

Will Burke said...

Sorry to hear about the family rift -- and thanks for all the info. What a difficult thing to try and re-learn!

Nikosmommy said...

HFCS is in everything, it's true!! And I hate to admit it, but growing up with foods that are so high in sodium and sugar has made me accustomed to the taste. When I've tried the newer versions of Campbells' soups with less sodium/sugar etc. they just don't taste right? How bad is that!!!

Rachel said...

Leiah: I am so sorry to hear all of this :( Its a sad but true fact that a lot of people look up to parents habits as a "what not to do" in terms of health. A lot of things we know now are things they didn't know back then, so its hard to even say where it all went wrong. My grandparents and my father all have had such extreme health issues and that's my motivation to be healthy NOW. I don't want the cancer, diabetes, or even gastric bypass that my relatives have needed. I want to be 80 years old and on no meds. That's the goal :)

Will: Its all good now, but at the time they were all, "What do you MEAN you aren't getting the flu shot? Are you stupid? And now your brother isn't getting either because of you..." and on and on. As if my 20 year old brother is not capable of making these decisions himself... and neither of us got the swine either BTW.

Nikosmommy: Its disgusting right? I had to play around with the healthier things in order to get the taste I liked. A lot of the tomato soups tased like tomato juice to me until I tried this brand. Amy's frozen meals and pizza's are To Die For. (And all organic and meat-free.) Its all about experimenting and baby steps. You will get there, all you have to do is start!

The Filiatrault Family said...

Just wanted to let you know that I finally found an organic food store in Victor! Super excited about this and I'm going to check it out soon! This is a great post and thanks for the info. As you know, I try to feed Nolan as healthy as I can and knowing the right kinds of things to feed him is helpful. He does love soup and I know they're filled with garbage. Hopefully I can find some organic soups. I'll let you know!