Monday, August 13, 2012

Day 3 of Turning Your Kitchen Upside Down: None of This! Part 1

There are many more comprehensive lists floating around on fellow bloggers' websites of what you shouldn't eat and why and I will not attempt to do justice to the lists in their entirety for two reasons: 1. It would not fit in one post and 2.  I am still learning so there is a lot I do not know.  I will tell you what I've learned so far though.  Consider my post the beginner version of those fantastic "what to strive for" lists. 
My goal is to not make your head explode or more realistically speaking, not to make you take one look and think, "forget it, this is too hard!"

Here are the things we do not want going in our bodies:  Food Additives.

What exactly is a food additive you ask?

Much of the following material is taken from the book mentioned on Day 2, Eating for Autism by Elizabeth Strickland, MS,RD,LD .  And I quote...
There are twenty-four different types of synthetic food additives found in the foods we eat.  Before a food additive is added to our foods, it must be deemed "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  This means that it's been proven safe for the general public and poses no significant health hazard, such as promoting cancer.  But the reality is that we are consuming human-made chemicals with virtually every bite of food, and no one really knows what effect they may be having on our immune, respiratory, endocrine, and nervous systems.   
Strickland goes on to say:
The autism community is particularly concerned about four of the synthetic food additives: artificial colors, artificial flavors, preservatives, and artificial sweeteners.
Like she said, there's twenty-four out there, but there's heavy focus on four.  We began our journey by starting with these four.  It's a manageable number to eliminate but I must warn's also not really true.  See, there are subgroups within these four.  Let's start with Artificial Colors because they're the easiest to spot.  If you can only do one thing a week, remove these four additive groups one at a time.

Artificial Colors

There are seven of these bad boys and they are pretty obvious: 
Blue No. 1
Blue No. 2
Green No. 3 (this is beginning to sound like a football game...)
Red No. 40
Red No. 3
Yellow No. 5
Yellow No. 6
Bottom line:  If it lists the name of one of your kids' crayons, don't eat it.

Why are they on the no list?
Generalization of claims: aggravate ADD and ADHD symptoms, increase hyperactivity, may result in behavioral changes such as irritability, restlessness, and sleep disturbance.

More quotes by Strickland to prove the point:
There's an additional issue that many parents are not aware of - most artificial colors are made from a mixture of phenols, polycyclic aromatic hydro-carbons, and heterocyclic compounds called coal tar.  Coal tar is the by-product of coal when it's carbonized to make coke (a fuel) or gasified to make coal gas.  Coal tar is also found in medicated shampoo, soap, and ointments, and is used as a treatment to kill head lice.  According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, any product with a certain percentage of crude coal tar is considered a Group 1 carcinogen.  Clearly, too much coal tar is a bad thing.
 Artificial Flavors

This is where it gets really overwhelming and I struggled with this one the most.  Not because I just can't bear to part with them, but because it's extremely difficult to find some of them.  The number approved by the FDA: approximately seventeen hundred.  That's right - 1700!  The most awful offender, however, is monosodium glutamate - you know it by the name MSG.

Bottom line: You've got to do the best you can and that might mean you don't weed out all 1700.

Why are they on the no list?
Generalization of claims: concern about unknown long-term neurodegenerative effects, people particularly sensitive experience headache, facial pressure, chest pain, nausea, difficulty breathing, drowsiness, weakness and aggravation of asthma symptoms.

More quotes by Strickland to prove a point:
MSG is a sodium salt of an amino acid called glutamic acid and the ionized form of glutamate.  It's used commercially as a flavor enhancer and found in many common food products such as canned soups, beef and chicken stocks, flavored potato chips, snack foods, frozen dinners, instant meals with seasoning mixtures, and foods from fast-food restaurants.  Some fermented products have naturally occurring glutamate, such as soy sauce, steak sauce and Worcestershire sauce.  Glutamate may also be present in a variety of other additives, such as hydrolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed soy protein, autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed yeast, yeast extract, soy extracts, and protein isolate.
She goes on to say...
MSG isn't always easy to spot on a food label.  Be on the lookout for the terms "spices" and "natural flavorings" on a food label.  They indicate that it may contain MSG.  The food additives "disodium inosinate" and "disodium guanylate" are used only with MSG, so if these additives are on a food label, there's a good chance that MSG is also in the food product. 
Are you beginning to see why I said it was easier to make my own food rather than have to decipher code? 

That's a lot of info to take in and apply which is why this is a two part post. Do not be disheartened if you're feeling overwhelmed.  Baby steps are the key.

What product will be hardest for you to ditch?
Check back soon, sign up for emails or subscribe to be sure you get Day4 of Turning Your Kitchen Upside Down: None of This! Part 2.

This post is part of a series. To catch up, read:
Day 1 of Turning Your Kitchen Upside a good way!
Day 2 of Turning Your Kitchen Upside Down: Getting the Crew On Board

Day 4 of Turning Your Kitchen Upside Down: None of This! Part 2
Great blogs I referenced earlier:

1 comment:

  1. so I did this last Saturday at the store I could not remember what additives were on the list. So since this was my first trip and I could not remember anything but eliminating color additives and words that are hard to pronounce I focused on that. Red 40 was the focus along with anything that had 10 ingredients or more. I figured that was a start and not to shocking to the family.