I mentioned recently that I've been attempting to modify our diet to eliminate harmful substances and be as healthy as we can stand to be. I've been thinking along these lines for awhile, but thanks to some posts by Laura over at HeavenlyHomemakers, I've been inspired to make more dramatic changes.
Some of her recommendations included avoiding the following: high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, artificial colors/dyes, MSG, and basically anything you read in the ingredient list that isn't real food. There are numerous websites out there with information about how these things are made and why they're destructive to your body.....needless to say, I'm convinced that she's right and that making good decisions about the food I put the bodies of myself and my family is imperative to our long term health.
Now, I've been pretty diligent about avoiding MSG for years, thanks to my mom, and in the past couple of years I've tried to avoid trans fats (except for needing Oreos for a cheesecake crust once in a great while), but those other things were completely off my radar.
Being aware makes food choices more complicated, I'm discovering. Nearly everything you buy in a box, bottle or package at the grocery store has one or more of those things in it. Almost all crackers, cookies, pre-packaged doughs, etc. have hydrogenated oils in them. Most cereals, peanut butter, ketchup, salad dressings, spaghetti sauces, and even ice cream have high fructose corn syrup polluting them. Many of those things have more than one bad ingredient.
My food shopping is taking a bit longer these days, as I scour ingredient lists for offending items and then look for reasonably priced alternatives. For all of those things I listed above, the only way you're gonna get them "pure" is to buy organic (or sometimes "all natural") or to make them yourself. No more canned spaghetti sauce for me. I can't make cereal, but I can at least make that!
My kids love cereal for breakfast, so I am continuing that for 1 day a week, but it must be a cereal with no junk.....so that leaves us with few choices. Corn Chex and Cherrios seem to be okay, and of course the Kashi whole grain stuff, but only Grant will eat that.
Kinda funny how life comes full circle.....I remember vividly as a child being upset that my mom refused to let us buy/eat sugary cereal (ahhh, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, how I adore thee!) and thinking that when I became a mom, I would let my kids eat whatever cereal their little hearts desired. Now look at me. I won't even buy them Raisin Bran anymore.
One thing I'm really not wanting to give up is regular peanut butter. I grew up eating the all- natural stuff, and I do have a jar of it in my fridge, but I just hate the thought of giving up my soft, easily spreadable and incredibly smooth peanut butter. I don't know if I can do it.
And what are you supposed to use for a crust for cheesecake if you can't use graham crackers or vanilla wafers? Don't even suggest leaving the crust out....not an option. I Love crust.
All that to say, we're on a journey here. We're not remotely close to being the most healthy eaters out there, but I'm taking steps to make positive changes and hopefully create lifelong habits of good quality eating for my family.