Cutting Back on Chemical Eats
-A loving note from Coach Noel
Do you know what Azodicarbonamide is? It’s an industrial chemical compound that is not meant for ingestion. And you are probable eating it, along with many other non-food chemicals. Let me help you change that, today.
Preservatives, emulsifiers, sweetening syrups and hydrogenated oils are all common food additives that have a questionable place in our daily diets. Many of these compounds are created from substances that are not considered edible at all, like Azodicarbonamide, which helps give that spongy effect to bread and baked goods. Outside of bread, the chemical is typically used in production of plastics and is “also found in yoga mats and shoe soles to add elasticity.” Read Subway to remove ‘dough conditioner’ chemical from bread) -YIKES! Of course, this is just one example.
The scary part is that we have become so accustomed to reading ingredients with lengthy names, which we don’t understand, that it seems normal. Once we are more aware and begin looking into these foods, it can be overwhelming (and somewhat devastating) to try to translate these additives into a language we understand, but why bother?
Well, it’s just that simple. You don’t have to, because you absolutely have a choice on whether to ingest this type of questionable chemical and it’s not too hard to avoid. Instead of trying to decode a long ingredients list, consider only buying foods with a short one! A good rule of thumb is to buy products with no more than five ingredients. Or as my close friend Michele says, “I like foods that don’t have an ingredients list because they ARE the only ingredient.” Smart girl.
So where to start? We’re not going to convert to a whole foods diet over night, so making small changes over time is the most effective approach. Consider some of the processed foods you can do without, the ones you can buy a more natural version of, or those you can try to recreate in your own kitchen. Examples of each are: Do without artificial sweeteners. Buy a burger patty that has only one ingredient. Throw together a simple salad dressing yourself.
If you’re buying a frozen stir-fry bag with veggies, meat and sauce included, try a less- processed version. The bag of frozen stir-fry veggies alone costs less, has limited added ingredients, AND is a great way to keep up your veggie intake on the cheap. Grab some fresh shrimp or chicken, throw in your leftover brown rice, and flavor it up with some soy sauce (or Bragg’s Aminos!), ginger, garlic, sesame oil and honey (or other unrefined sugar) and VOILA! Some things (like that crazy good hazelnut creamer) are chemical laden but cannot be forsaken, so what are some of the foods you ARE willing to do without, or to recreate yourself?
For me, quality natural peanut butter (or other nut butters, mmmm) was a start, followed by a zesty adventure with Coconut Bliss ice cream alternative. Need more ideas? Shred your own cheese. Eat the fruit instead of the juice. Nuts and fruit in place of granola bars. Use leftover meat on your sandwich instead of sliced deli meats. Ditch the pasta for some spaghetti squash or vegetti. Swap Hershey’s for some yummies from your local dark chocolatier. The sky is the limit, my friends. And these are just a few creative solutions to cutting back chemicals, right off the top of the old noggin. Need help with slimming down on processed carbs, meats, sugars, caffeine or any other sneaky craving? You know where to find me. They don’t call me Coach Noel for nothing.