Product labels are important to understand. Not everything that is labeled natural is safer. For example, when the label says “natural flavoring” what comes to your mind? Safer? Better? Non-toxic? Bio-available (able to be assimilated into the body quickly)?
The FDA does not require a definition for the term “natural flavorings” so you won’t always see what these flavorings consist of. Castoreum is a natural flavoring. It is used as a vanilla substitute, sometimes raspberry flavoring.
***I’m going to get gross here – just a warning… Proceed at your own risk. ******
Castoreum, according to Ruth Winter, author of “A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients” (Winter 2009), is a “creamy, orange-brown substance with a strong, penetrating odor or bitter taste that consists of the dried, perineal glands of the beaver and their secretions. The glands and secretions are taken from the area between the vulva and the anus in the female beaver and from the scrotum and the anus in the male beaver.”
It’s not listed on your food ingredients label because it doesn’t have to be. Foods labeled as “all-natural” may be injected with sodium to enhance flavor, or have a high volume of high fructose corn syrup.
It is important to understand this while you are reading labels because much of the foods you are purchasing contain chemicals that cause endocrine disruption. Let’s take a look at some of these labels.
When you see this word, it brings the image of pure health to mind, but in actuality it is a marketing term that means more than one grain are used in the processing of this highly processed food, which has been stripped of all its nutrients for better digestion, and then enhanced with synthetic vitamins and minerals and called “enriched.” Most are not even absorbed into the body.
No Sugar Added
This sounds like it is low in sugar, using only the sugar that only occurs naturally, however, sugar is hidden in other ingredients. While there is no sugar (focus on the word “sugar”) added, there are additional sugars added if the list contains the following:
- Corn syrup or high-fructose corn syrup
- Dextrose or crystal dextrose
- Evaporated cane juice or fruit juice
- Carob syrup
- Dextrin and maltodextrin
- Rice syrup
- Evaporated corn sweetener
- Confectioner’s powdered sugar
- Agave nectar
- Other fruit nectars (for example, pear nectar)
This does not mean healthier or lower in calories. It may be full of artificial sweeteners and often means a lot of bad fat has been added to enhance flavor. (Doesn’t fat taste yummy? **Note** Good fat is good but that is not what is added to enhance flavor).
Trans-fats are bad for your heart, clogging arteries and increasing insulin resistance, but when the label reads zero trans-fat, it is likely that .5 mg per serving of trans fat is included, which the FDA allows to count as zero-trans-fat. Marketers know that most who are eating chips are not necessarily into portion control so they will eat more than one serving and that’s what they bank on by adding the label. So, two servings yields 1 mg of trans fat, which would then have to be listed in the ingredients list, along with saturated, mono and polyunsaturated fat.
A term that claims animals are fed solely on a diet of grass or hay and have continuous outdoor access. Cattle are natural ruminants that eat grass, so they are healthier and learner this way. Grain fed cattle of ten become sickened an need antibiotics or growth ho0rmones. Grass-fed beef has been shown to have higher amounts of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. The labels should also include a certificate organic label to verify it was not eating grass that was exposed to or treated with synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.
There are various “organic” labels. Each mean something different. “Organic” produce means it has higher vitamin and mineral content because the soil has been worked and nourished to include minerals that may have been depleted from it due to overuse or poor quality. They are free of herbicides and pesticides as well. It also means that it must have an ingredients list, comprising 95% or more of certified organic ingredients, being free of synthetic additives like pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and dyes; and they must not be processed using industrial solvents, irradiation or genetic engineering, according to the USDA. The remaining 5% may only be foods processed with additives on an approved list. Water , for example, is not organic because it is a mineral.
100% organic means the food is completely organic and may display the USDA Organic Seal or “Certified organic labels”.
Choosing organic ingredients may be a little pricier at first, but take into consideration that as you begin to choose organic, keeping free of processed foods with synthetic additives and chemicals that attack your endocrine system, as well as produce that has been treated with harsh chemicals and pesticides, your body will be more energetic and healthy. That means less money at the doctor’s office, insurance costs and medications.
So, let’s get “clean”….. Understand that all ingredients are organic.
Start with a tablespoon of Cold Pressed Unrefined Coconut Oil
Add 4 cloves of fresh garlic, sliced or diced
Add one onion, thinly sliced
Add four larger sized Baby Bella mushrooms (pictured are button, but bella is more nutritious)
Add 1/4 inch of fresh ginger
Ginger is very pungent so if you are not sure about ginger, dice it finer than what I have here. I like ginger and I will get a healthy taste of it on every spoon if left this thick.
Add about 1/4-1/2 cup of finely chopped carrots
Add 2 stalks of celery, sliced down the middle and then across
Add a handful of at least 3 varieties of leafy greens – I chose escarole, spinach and cabbage.
Then add 4 ounce of organic, full-fat low sodium chicken or vegetable broth.
Add your spices about 5 minutes before soup is done. I chose basil, and oregano for their antiviral, and antibacterial effects, I chose cilantro because it is the number one herb to detox from heavy metals. If you aren’t wild about cilantro, use parsley instead. Feel free to get creative with other herbs.