Remember the comment that my husband made the other day about wanting to eat food without all the added preservatives?
He wasn't kidding.
Rather than brushing him off by saying, "That's too hard," or "We already eat healthy enough already," I decided to take it very seriously (once I got over my bad attitude, that is, and really thought about it). I have so much information at my fingertips, including plenty of blogs, websites, ebooks full of real food recipes (that I already purchased a few weeks ago), and the desire to eat and live well.
Instead of continuing to convince myself that buying items without High fructose corn syrup was enough, I decided to actually take a walk through my pantry, freezer, and refrigerator to see what I already and regularly buy that has unhealthy added preservatives.
The result wasn't as bad as I thought, but it wasn't very good either.
Here's a disclosure and breakdown on what I found in our house that has ingredients (as preservatives) that we are not ok with eating. (Keep in mind that this is our personal decision - we in no way think less of you for eating deliciously moist and yummy brownies from a box! But in case you are interested in our journey, or just want to laugh at our pain, here ya go.)
Ketchup, French style salad dressing, Dijon mustard, Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce, Hoisin Sauce, soy sauce, light Mayo (disclaimer: Eric and I hate mayo with a passion...my parents left theirs in my fridge. I read the ingredients label and turns out this low fat processed stuff is packed with ingredients that your body doesn't know how to handle.)
The processed meats we have all contain Sodium nitrites: Smoked polish sausages, Processed turkey meat (any lunch meats, really), pepperoni.
Flour tortillas, vanilla yogurt, chocolate frosting, can of whipped cream (love this on cake and pies, but the preservatives list is sooooo looooong!) all have preservatives that are intended to give the food a longer shelf and fridge life, while compromising your health at the same time.
Hamburger buns. Holy smokes. I am kind of in shock. Same goes for the long potato rolls (buns for the polish sausages). I don't know if I can ever buy those again with a clear conscious. You know something is wrong when the ingredients list is still going at item 20.
A really old store bought pecan pie was packed way back in there. I think this was left at our house and got stuffed into the freezer for later use. Let's not go into all the ingredients and preservatives in that one...I disposed of it anyway.
More flour tortillas, whole wheat bread (no high fructose corn syrup, but this bread has so many other preservatives to give it a longer shelf life, which is very unnatural for bread in the first place...).
I was very very happy to discover that my Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips made the cut, as well as my homemade chicken stock, frozen veggies, chicken breasts, ground turkey, and venison (my sister brought it back with her from Alabama).
This is where I have the most of my problems...
Cheerios, chips, can of iced tea powder (used for summer cook outs), tomato soup, dehydrated potato gnocchi, Pasta (still not completely sure about this, but am looking into it), sweetened coconut flakes (for baking), angel food cake mix, brownie mix, Wyler's instant beef bouillon granules, gel food colorings, sprinkles.
And then I started finding my archived food stuffs...real treasures here.
Mole, with a best by Oct 2009 date.
Thai curry simmer sauce, best by Aug 2010
Ranch dressing mix packet, best by June 2007. 2007!!! Really, Beth??!? 2007? sheesh. You would think that after five moves that thing would be long gone by now, but nope! Saving it for the zombies.
Old easter candy (which promptly went into the garbage)
Gravy packets (which I have never used, since I always make my own, but they have still definitely taken up residence in my pantry...)
Onion soup mix. The American girl's best friend. Not this girl. This packet also went promptly into the garbage can after reading ingredient number two.
Whole wheat bread (As you can see, we keep a lot of bread on hand). Looks like it's time to bake my own. I am currently scouring Craig's List for a machine to make it a little easier on myself.
In order to make this work for our family, we have to take it gradually. My plan is to eat what we already have in our home (minus the old stuff...and a few of the items that made it on my "from the devil" list) and then gradually introduce the healthy alternative when the supplies are diminished. For example, the packaged breads will be replaced with homemade breads, or with the fresh pita that comes from our local Middle Eastern bakery (and contains only the four essential ingredients, no preservatives or syrups). The lunch meat will be replaced with natural peanut butter (which we already eat regularly) or freshly cooked chicken. Salad dressings can be easily home made (and taste better too), and I already have a yogurt culture to begin making my own yogurt with. Breakfast cereals can be replaced with my granola (that I simply need to be more consistent about making) and other snack foods can be replaced with fresh fruits and vegetables.
I will be writing about the changes that we make as we go, but this will definitely not be something that happens overnight. You know what I am really looking forward to (more than giving up processed, preservative packed food)?
Getting fresh eggs from this chicken.