I picked up a very good habit back in January when my family started "Clean Eating": Label Reading. Before I became a faithful reader of 100 Days of Real Food I would haphazardly look at a label, maybe frown at it, then buy it anyways. I never completely understood the effect of putting all those synthetic, man-made ingredients into our bodies, not to mention the abundance of sugar. Some form of sugar is in nearly every processed food we eat! After reading Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food my eyes were WIDE open to it! Some of the physical/medical results after decades of ingesting these 'non-food' foods (chemicals, additives, preservatives) and excessive sugar include: **
The link between the highly processed foods in this country (aka, The Western Diet) and our declining health is truly astounding. If you haven't read In Defense of Food, I highly suggest you do! An easier read, with the same message is Food Rules. The science and research behind what we are eating is so complex. I don't know if I'll ever really know it all, but I'm still reading and learning every day!
One thing I have learned is to always ignore any labeling/advertising on the FRONT of a packaged product. Most of the time, it's just that: Advertising. Turn it over and read the ingredients on the back. Some basics about label-reading are:
Since label-reading is such a big part of how I shop I thought I would periodically share some common labels with you and offer a healthier alternative. Today I wanted to talk about marshmallows since we're smack in the middle of campfire season and s'mores. We're actually going camping this weekend and s'mores are a MUST! A few weeks ago we went on a hiking trip with friends and the kids wanted s'mores. Out of desperation and lack of time, I bought a bag of marshmallows from the grocery store. The kids didn't mind them, but I took one bite and I was overwhelmed by the pure sweetness of them (and not in a good way!) According to Fooducate, these marshmallows contain:
corn syrup, sugar, dextrose, modified food starch (corn), water, gelatin, natural and artificial flavor, tetrasodium pyrophosphate.
Basically we have sugar, more sugar, a thickener, gelatin (ok, that's fine), natural and artificial flavors and....hmm...tetra-something! These are definitely not ingredients I want to put into my body or the bodies of my little ones! I'm working very hard to teach my daughters that there are better options out there!
I've actually made my own marshmallows for years now but they, too, are laden with sugar and corn syrup. In an effort to "clean up the s'more" I looked for a marshmallow sweetened with something other than sugar. I finally found a recipe that is sweetened with honey instead of sugar! I just whipped up a batch yesterday and I'll be sure to put the recipe up on the blog very soon! Until then, take a peek at what we are packing for camping this weekend!
Pittsburgh area mom striving to provide clean, healthy, REAL food for her family!