Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Eating Healthier or Eating Wiser?

Eating healthier does not always mean dieting to lose weight or eating salads and low fat.  What about the artificial stuff?  What about the petroleum?

How many of us have stopped and thought about that beautiful birthday cake we just ate with all those colors and realized that we just ingested or gave our kids petroleum?  Those food dyes are petroleum based. 

It is a pretty common belief that many kids get hyper when they have had a lot of sugar.  Is it really the sugar?  Could it be the petroleum?  Could it be the high fructose corn syrup? 

What about those preservatives that are often times not labeled on packages.  Or sometimes you see “BHT added to preserve freshness”  or “TBHQ added as a preservative” and this all seems good at first sight because we want our foods to be “fresh” and those labels make it sound like they did us a favor. 

I asked my husband how long it has been since he had a Mountain Dew (yellow dye).  He said it has been quite a while.  I reminded him that it’s been quite a while since he needed his inhaler too.  Coincidence?

Do you avoid the artificial sweetener aspartame for your kids such as is found in diet sodas?   Do you ever give your kids Wrigley gum?   Read the label next time. 

My teen daughter is allergic to aspartame.  It gives her headaches.  She noticed she kept getting headaches after chewing some Doublemint gum so she read the label and brought it too me to show me it had aspartame.  It’s not even sugar free gum.  I was beside myself.  We carefully avoid any diet drinks or foods because of the aspartame problem.  She had a diet drink for the first time a few years ago and passed out with a migraine.  In amounts as small as a stick of gum, she gets headaches. 

She cannot remember everything she is allergic to and sometimes will cheat to have some dairy, but she does not forget or cheat with aspartame, red #40 and Blue dyes.  These affect her so much worse than her dairy, egg, and many other allergies.  A few months ago she was complaining of shortness of breath for everything.  An inhaler didn’t help, tests were negative… she stopped drinking the blue drinks and all her breathing problems went away.  

Red #40 seriously makes her act intoxicated.  Even a small prescription capsule tinted to look barely pink will do this to her.  We thought the pills were white until she reacted. 

Of all the ingredients we are avoiding, corn is the hardest by far.   Take a peek at the corn ingredient list at http://www.livecornfree.com/2010/04/ingredients-derived-from-corn-what-to.html.  I do not think we are as sensitive as some folks are, but more than just anything with the word corn. 

In the past few months I have done things I never thought I’d do.  I bake most of our bread now and hope to get to the point of baking all of it.  Bread, hot dog and hamburger buns.  All I can say is yummy.  I made pizza from scratch.  Another yummy.  I have made gummy worms and marshmallows.  Gummies are gummies but whoa.. those marshmallows were wonderful.  The first batch tasted just like peeps.  No one complained.  The second batch I used organic powder sugar (regular powder sugar has corn starch).   Next time you see a bag of marshmallows, read the ingredients.  Many of them are made with blue dye not to mention corn syrup.   I must have missed it in art class that blue helps to make white.  I have never cooked 4 lbs. of meatballs at one time but did this recently so I could freeze a meal.  Did you know you can make meatloaf or meatballs without egg or milk and still have them turnout delicious? 

The second hardest part is not having the convenience of eating out or making something from a box.  Meals must be planned and prepared.  This takes time.  I only have one bread machine so it takes planning ahead to have bread or buns.  I bake it all in the oven but the bread machine makes a wonderful dough.   The hardest is the events that are planned around a meal.  Cookouts with others, snacks for kids’ activities, etc.  It not only can be challenging to anticipate when they will occur, but also to come up with alternatives or do without.  It is a big lifestyle change.  But it has all been worth it. 

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