So I have a slight rant today. This isn’t a typical post but I’m bothered and feel the need to share. I mentioned earlier this year that I wanted to focus on getting healthy, which involves a hard look at the foods that my family consumes. Yesterday I put together my grocery list based on the sales ad, planned my meals for the week and headed to the grocery store. I have been pretty good about not purchasing processed foods and checking out all of the labels for things that I do purchase.
When I was pregnant, I did a lot of research around what foods are safe to eat. I became quite brand loyal for things like milk and eggs, among others. I quickly fell into a routine for the things that I purchased regularly, especially once little man started eating regular food. It occurred to me though, that I haven’t been checking the labels on many of my staple items, especially the things that I am not quite as brand loyal to. This may sound silly, since I check labels on so many of my purchases but I realize now that I have been a little naïve to how tainted food actually is. I was shocked and angered by what I found.
Since I didn’t make it to my local farm this weekend, I picked up my typical fruits and veggies, trying to buy organic where I could. Then I moved on to the meat, which I only needed a little of and opted for organic and grass fed there as well. Yes, the price can add up quickly but after doing some research on the hormones and antibiotics that are often used, it is a non-negotiable for me. I have learned to watch the ads and purchase the organic versions on sale then freeze whatever I’m not using right away. This has been working well so far.
Then I ventured over to the dairy section. I am pretty good about checking out the labels for most things but cheese isn’t one that I have looked at recently. I mean, the ingredients should be pretty basic, right? Um…no. I spent some time googling the ingredients that were listed on a lot of the cheeses that I picked up and was horrified at what I found. There are a lot of unnecessary ingredients and a lot of preservatives. Thankfully, I found a couple of brands that only use the basics and opted to buy those (also on sale, whew!). I headed over to the bread section and felt a little overwhelmed by all of the ingredients on the packages there and actually decided not to even buy bread. I need to do some more research before committing to that. I also opted not to purchase chicken stock because there were so many ingredients listed on the carton. For something that seems like it should be relatively simple, I was scared of the long list. I left the grocery store feeling deflated, as there are so many things that I typically buy that contain a lot of junk.
You may be thinking, what’s your point? Having recently beaten breast cancer and wanting to live a long, healthy life with my family, I can’t help but wonder what impact how big of an impact the ingredients in the food that I consume actually has on having cancer at such a young age. For the majority of my life, I have blindly purchased foods that I assumed were the real thing. It was only a few years ago that I realized maple syrup wasn’t even real unless you buy real syrup. Same thing with ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise…the standard things that we have in our refrigerator are full of hidden preservatives, tons of sugar and frankly, crap. Go look, seriously. It’s scary.
If I want to purchase real food, not foods that are full of additives and fake ingredients, I have to spend time researching. And even then, I feel unsure about whether or not I am actually getting the whole story. There’s non-GMO, preservative free, no artificial sweeteners, organic and so many things in between that it’s hard to keep it all straight. As much as I want to get back to the basics, it’s hard to trust what the basics actually are now.
I just feel a little overwhelmed with keeping it all straight. So, I’m wondering what you all do to stick with the basics. Are you brand loyal to companies that you know you can trust? Do you avoid dairy entirely? What about meat? Are there blogs you follow that offer guidance or break it down in a way that it is easy to understand and remember? I’m anxious to hear what tips and tricks you all may have to help guide me on this path to food basics. Thanks for reading and putting up with my food frustration today!