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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Another pet peeve: the hunt for healthy food

The simple act of eating should be an enjoyable, relaxing experience for everyone.  We all work hard for the food we eat and in many instances food is the only reward we might get for our hard work.  It should not be necessary to have to worry about our hard earned reward being enhanced with modifications and chemical toxins.   But nothing is sacred it seems these days, and so, we do truly have to worry. If you wish to stay healthy, not only is it necessary to read labels before you buy food to take home to your family table, but there is a phenomenal chance that you cannot trust the food source itself.  So now we are forced to go out of our way to find sources of "safe" food, because eating many types of  food can have serious, long lasting, and even deadly consequences for many people.

Take for instance raisins, I stopped eating them a long time ago, and refused to buy them for my kids, because on several occasions, I could taste the herbicide or pesticide that was used to either grow, or process the raisins. That fact got my attention like nothing else could.  Just imagine what eating  these raisins could do to a small child's health. However, you cannot always taste the "additives" in foods.  Many companies make an effort to hide, or mask the taste through the addition of artificial flavors, or they quite simply neglect to inform their customers of these additives, and alterations, as is the case with genetically modified foods.

So what are we talking about here, well for one thing there is a problem with the wording on the packaging of food. It might for example say organic, but that can mean a lot of things.  To me "organic food" means that, bread for instance, should be one hundred percent natural ie.) grown without  pesticide or herbicide, watered with a non-toxic and unpolluted water source, grown  from seed  that  has not been  genetically altered, and produced  without bleaching, food color, vitamins, fillers, artificial flavors, additives or preservatives  included. When I buy rice I want  to know that before planting the seed was, well natural; not bonded to herbicides or pesticides, nor to another food group.  When I buy chicken, I want grain fed and range free chicken; not chicken that has been force fed food which the chicken naturally would not consume.


How I perceive the word organic,  however, may  not be the same as someone else; especially the producer of  food.  The bread I might buy, for example, could be completely  pesticide and herbicide free, but there is an excellent chance it can still contain an unnatural ingredient.  Then there is the fact that you need to literally decode the label on the product  you wish to buy.  The fact is, there are several different words for the same preservative or additive, for food colors and so on.  You almost need a manual to accomplish what should be the simple task of interpreting the label.  It is suspiciously like food producers are still attempting to keep us in the dark, only more subtly through the use of scientific and chemical terms. Not very many of us are scientists after all, but it is enough to put you off your food.

So what about  produce?  No produce that isn't packaged is labeled. Although fruit  might have a sticker that clearly tells you it's place of origin, or company name. That's only useful if you know the name of all the companies that produce genetically modified fruits and vegetables, and/ or utilize pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers during the growing process.  Good luck with that. Of the produce that is, the label simply describes the contents of the package as, say romaine lettuce, and the label might also describe it as organically grown.  Your best bet in avoiding  potentially contaminated produce, is to go to the local farmers market.  However, even here you have to make inquiries and to cap all that off, when you do make your inquiries, you also have to be able to trust the grower to be honest.

We are forced to put almost as much effort into finding a "safe" food source as we would be if we were still  living in the era of  the hunter and gatherer.

This should not be necessary.  All foods should be clearly labeled if they are genetically modified, and in plain language, such as "genetically modified", may contain genetically modified ingredient, or "grown with pesticide or herbicide".  None of these are safe to consume, and it truly doesn't matter which type of pesticide or herbicide is used in the end.  If chemical fertilizers were used to grow a certain food product this should also be clearly expressed on the label.  The same hold's true for unnatural fillers.  If food color is added, again it doesn't matter which kind, as long as it is clearly stated "food color added". In the case of chemicals added  to packaging of the product, or the product itself, to keep food fresh, this too should be stated on the label.  All of the above, and any other additions to our food should be stated in clear, plain and concise terms, not masked and hidden behind scientific code.

If you wish to learn more about food additives and the like please follow these links:



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