It’s Wednesday and once again, I have the mid-week blahs. If you’re like me, work has been crazy and the last thing you want to do this evening is cook for the family!
Unfortunately, for me being an empty nester, it’s so easy to pull some kind of processed food out of the freezer and throw it in the micro-wave and VOLIA supper is ready. But yet, I have to wonder, when did process food become the norm?
Processed food is loaded with all sorts of chemicals and/or artificial flavorings that we can’t even pronounce or have a clue what they are. I suggest that you start looking at the ingredients on the labels and try to avoid foods that have the following ingredients.
- Partially hydrogenated oil. This product is used to increase shelf life and stabilize flavor. Unfortunately, this product can raise your LDL which is the bad cholesterol and it can also lower your HDL or good cholesterol which isn’t good if you have heart disease or diabetes. The foods that you need to look out for are margarines, vegetable shortening, crackers, cookies, baked goods, salad dressings, breads and chips
- High fructose corn syrup. This product has been debated for a long time, what it really boils down to is too much sugar is a bad thing. It leads to obesity and increases the risk for diabetes.
- MSG. Most processed food is loaded with this product. MSG has many other names which can fool you. If you see monosodium glutamate, maltodextrin, sodium caseinate, autolyzed yeast, autolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, yeast extract and even citric acid, beware. MSG is a preservative that is known to trigger migraines not to mention obesity and type II diabetes. MSG is found in canned soups, fast food, salad dressings. diet beverages, packaged sausages and hotdogs, beef stew and in some packaged vegetarian foods.
- BHA and BHT are another little favorite in processed foods. They are used as a preservative in cereals, potato chips, and chewing gum to keep them from going rancid. These additives can cause sleeplessness, and loss of appetite. They have been known to cause liver and kidney damage, hair loss, behavioral problems and even cancer.
- Sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite. These chemicals are used to preserve shelf life of meats like hot dogs, bacon, and sausage. These little guys are known to cause cancer.
- Proply gallate. This preservative is used to prevent fats and oils from spoiling. Watch for it in vegetable oil, potato sticks, chicken soup base, meat products chewing gum and even in cosmetic products. It could cause cancers.
- Sodium benzoate and benzoic acid. These little guys are ok for the most part. They are used in some fruit juices, carbonated drinks, and pickles. They are harmless unless you have an allergy to them. The only time they are dangerous is when mixed with beverages containing asorbic acid. When mixed with asorbic acid this chemical changes into benzene that causes leukemia and other cancers
- Potassium Bromate. This is an additive used in bread and rolls. This has been known to cause cancer in lab animals. Make sure you check your bread and crackers.
- Last but not least, Food Colorings, Red #3 used in baked goods and candy can cause chromosomal damage and thyroid tumors. Red #40 that is found in drinks, candy and pet food has caused lymph tumors in lab tests. Yellow #5 and 6 can also cause tumors.
With all these chemicals, it makes you think twice before reaching for that processed meat and canned food!! All I can tell you is to TRY to cook with fresh meats, fish, fruits and vegetables when you can. Your body will LOVE you for it!!