ONE CHANGE: Label Reading

Read them like your life depends on it, because it just might.

If you can’t pronounce it, think twice.

I read everything these days. Every label, of every thing, I buy.

Read the ingredients, not just the packaging. Find the part where they say the long list of ingredients. Don’t be fooled into thinking that because they say WHOLE GRAIN on the front of a box of cereal that it is healthy. There are now “nutritious” cookies and practically every bread is labeled as healthy and when you turn it over, it clearly isn’t.

You gotta read.

Stick to WHOLE GRAINS. WHOLE WHEAT. Just wheat isn’t good enough. It needs to say WHOLE WHEAT.

Enriched is only enriched because someone did something to screw it up in the first place and they are trying to put something back in. Good food doesn’t need enriching.

Stay away from chemicals.

Stay away from food dye.

Natural Flavors is a common ingredient in food. However, these can be anything but natural. There are no rules about what this can be. So common sense tells me to stay away from products with natural flavors. If it really is ok, I am thinking the food makers would have zero problem identifying it.

I can hear some people now even as I type. Chill out. Calm down. Everything is tested and on an on. In a world full of rising cancers, sickness, obesity, and childhood behavioral disorders? I just don’t want to be a science experiment. There is something easier.

It’s called food. Real food.

When you start to see ingredients that are used over and over, google them. MSG, natural flavors, food dyes, and Soy Lecithin are some of the big ones. Google them and understand what you are eating. Then decide if you want to eat it at all.

Back in January, I didn’t understand that it was possible that my food could not contain any actual food in it. I honestly didn’t ever think about that. I want my chicken to be chicken and my strawberries to be strawberries. I used to think it was. I am learning that is not the case. Watch this video. It is 14 minutes, but very interesting.

Make informed decisions. Know both sides.

I didn’t even really realize that there was two sides to know. We see and hear one side… the grocery store aisles.

Find the other side.

A recent conversation with a friend leads to a good example. She had come to me to hear what I have been learning, so despite the fact this looks like I was being a pushy dirtbag, she asked.

“I went to Chick Fil a, but I got a salad so it was fine,” she said.

“I guarantee you it wasn’t fine,” says I. 🙂

“It was just lettuce and vegetables. They chop it up in the store,” she continued.

Let’s look.

(taken from their website)

Chick-fil-A<span class='reg'>&reg;</span> Southwest Chargrilled Salad

Chick-fil-A® Southwest Chargrilled Salad

Spicy Chargrilled chicken (100% natural whole chicken breast filets, seasoning [salt, monosodium glutamate, sugar, spices, paprika], coated with: [spices, partially hydrogenated soybean and/or cottonseed oils, salt, ancho chili pepper, garlic powder, autolyzed yeast extract, tomato powder, disodium inosinate, citric acid, disodium guanylate, dehydrated parsley, no more than 2% calcium silicon dioxide {anti-caking agent}]), romaine lettuce, iceberg lettuce, corn and black bean blend (corn, black beans, poblano chilies, red bell peppers, soybean oil, green onion, water, lime juice concentrate [preserved with sulfites], red and green chili peppers, distilled vinegar, tomato paste, high fructose corn syrup, cilantro, tomatoes, onion [including dehydrated], salt, sugar, jalapeno peppers, spices, green bell peppers, chipotle peppers, dextrose, red bell peppers*, green pepper juice, garlic juice, wheat germ, maltodextrin, potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate added as preservatives, garlic*, xanthan gum, natural flavors [including smoke flavor], cocoa powder, citric acid, propylene glycol alginate, calcium disodium EDTA added to protect flavor, pimentos), grape tomatoes, red cabbage, carrots, Monterey/Jack cheddar cheese blend (cheddar cheese [cultured pasteurized milk, salt, enzymes, annatto {color}], Monterey Jack cheese [cultured pasteurized milk, salt, enzymes], potato starch and powdered cellulose added to prevent caking, natamycin [a natural mold inhibitor]). *deyhdrated

WOW! Right? A whole lot of stuff I don’t want. Not to mention that this produce is not organic {I’m going out on a limb to guess that} and therefore is likely full of chemicals, pesticides, and gmo’s that do not require labeling.

Read the label and then decide.

You may choose to change nothing, but at least read.

It seems like a good time to tell you my confession. I was pretty irritated when we first changed the way we eat. I was. I felt ruined. I felt like I had had a bubble popped that I couldn’t get back inside. I wanted the days back where I blissfully trusted that anything on the shelves was good for me (watching of course that we didn’t consume too much desserts and the like). Top Ramen was a healthy chicken soup to comfort the soul and feed the body. You know? Those days were gone and I was irritated. Ignorance is not always bliss.

That was not reality. This is and it is what it is. These days I am glad that I know.

We have a list of physical improvements in this house. The uptmost of importance has been with one of my children, specifically. The behavior has changed dramatically. Less anger, less stomach aches, better concentration, a twinkle in the eye, happiness and self proclaimed, “I feel like a fog has been lifted”. Living this truth out, there is no way I am going back.

The continued absence of this highly processed food is continuing to cement that this change is a done deal for my family. We continue to eat junk every so often (we shoot for the 90/10 rule) and then inevitably feel physically bad. Which that in and of itself can also be annoying. The “splurges” or “we can eat that today” is becoming less and less and less. It’s not worth it, quite frankly. When you see what it does to your body in stark contrast to how we feel now on a daily basis, it changes you.

Tree hugger? Yeah, I am becoming one. I am trying to be one that doesn’t preach it 24/7 from my billboard and my megaphone (just my blog). One that will tell you information un-judgingly when asked. One that will eat a meal at someone’s house when invited over, but then runs back home and resumes hugging. You know a peaceful, polite, and unobtrusive little tree hugger.

I know there is a lot of question out there. I have received SO much email regarding the real foods topic and the challenge we first did back in March.

Hot topic indeed.

Bottom line?

Tree hugging is hip.

Try it.





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6 Responses to ONE CHANGE: Label Reading
  1. Jen Dugas
    October 23, 2012 | 7:50 pm

    Well done sister. Now that you are determined to eat healthy, the new annoyance… “Are you kidding me? Does that really have to be in there???” Another hot topic… Fish! Wild, farmed, farmed in the wild….. ??? Sigh!

  2. Amy G
    October 23, 2012 | 8:21 pm

    I have to admit, because of you I have been reading a few more labels. 🙂 Thank you for your encouragement to be healthy and informed!
    Ps. Have you made a yummy hot chocolate mix? We drink a lot of hot chocolate in our neck of the woods. 🙂

  3. Ashley
    October 24, 2012 | 6:19 am


    Would you please give out a sample grocery list and weekly menu as I feel it woul be very beneficial – Thanks!

    • Ashley
      October 24, 2012 | 6:19 am

      Woops… Darcy!

  4. Jill
    October 24, 2012 | 4:42 pm

    Awesome! Loving that your addressing this topic! Also, you may have already seen it, but there are 2 great documentaries on our food industry…one is called Food, Inc and the other is called Forks Over Knives. Both are on netflix if anyone has that! When I first watched them I too had wished I hadn’t and could go back to my “ignorance is bliss.” 🙂

  5. Melanie Davis
    July 11, 2013 | 2:05 pm

    I am becoming more and more intrigued about this program. I have been attempting to convert to a real food eating plan with my family for a few years. Reading how it has gone with your family I am being more convinced it is worth doing. Pray for me as I bring this up to my husband. I want us to feel and act better for the glory of the Lord!

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