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As I walk down the isles of the supermarket I take note of the shelves, fully stocked neatly in rows, colorful boxes, bottles and packages all so well designed. Eye catching – using words like “diet”, “light”, “natural”, and “healthy”, yet when I pick up the items to read the ingredients I find a myriad multi syllabic words that I struggle to pronounce and would need a doctorate in biochemical engineering to decipher.

“Pretty poison” are the two words that pop into my head when staring at supermarket shelves these days. My perspective on grocery shopping has shifted drastically in the last few years.

Here in America, eating has become a war on health, obesity and our wallets. Most of us grew up with our parents cooking but also incorporating packaged foods into the mix to save time. They bought them at the local shop and we assumed, as they were approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), that they were safe and good for us. After all that was the purpose of the FDA – to keep us safe and healthy, right? We didn’t think all that much about what we ate, other than it was recommended to eat 3 meals a day – breakfast, lunch and dinner and that within those meals we should use the food pyramid as a guide as to how many servings of what we should consume. It was straightforward and easy.

These days, so many chemicals, preservatives, colors and additives have been added that a good portion of the “food” we eat, is not actually food. Added to that, even the actual food portion we consume and recognize and easily pronounce isn’t what it used to be. It is over processed and depleted of vitamins and nutrients. And with the introduction of genetically modified foods (GMO) on a base DNA level, even corn isn’t really corn any more. Our animals are fed mutated grains, hormones and antibiotics which when we consume their meat, milk or eggs are passed along to us. This has led to antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria as well as many health problems.

There is little doubt that the health of this country is going down hill at a rapid rate.

Some of the most common additives found in food these days:

HFCS – High fructose corn syrup. Much of the HFCS contains mercury, a deadly metal when consumed in high doses. It is added to everything from cereal bars, to ketchup to (surprisingly) even things like egg and chicken salad! Why on earth those would need to be “sweetened” is beyond me. HFCS limits your body’s ability to produce insulin making it difficult to metabolize food and hindering appetite control. It also increases the risk of diabetes, tooth decay, raises triglycerides, raises risk for heart attack, can contribute to anemia and poor immunity overall. It is now sometimes labeled as corn sugar, in a lame attempt to make you think it’s a different compound. *the same thing was done with Rape Seed Oil (which is toxic), when it was renamed as Canola oil.

Artificial sweeteners – Aspartame, NutraSweet, equal, and others are often labeled as “sugar free” or “diet”. They are known carcinogens. They can erode intelligence and effect short-term memory and can lead to a wide array of super fun ailments such as
brain tumors, diseases like lymphoma, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue, emotional disorders like depression and anxiety attacks, dizziness, headaches, nausea, mental confusion, migraines and seizures. It should also be noted that they do quite the opposite of what they advertise. These items may be low or no calorie, but your body still reads it as sugar, and it causes you to gain, not lose weight.

MSG (mono sodium glutamate) – is an amino acid/flavor enhancer. It is an endotoxin – which means it over excites the cells to the point of damage or death. Consumption results in adverse side effects, which include depression, disorientation, eye damage, fatigue, headaches, and obesity. MSG affects the neurological pathways of the brain and disengaged the “I’m full” function that explain the effects of weight gain.

Trans Fat – Trans fat is found in fried foods, processed foods, margarine and hydrogenated vegetable oils. It is used to extend the shelf life of food. It is among the most dangerous things you can eat. It can lead to increased LDL cholesterol levels contributing to heart attacks, heart disease, strokes, inflammation, diabetes and other health issues.

Sodium Sulfate/Sodium Nitrate – are used in coloring and flavoring bacon, ham, hotdogs, luncheon meats, and also in other processed foods. This ingredient, which sounds harmless, is actually highly carcinogenic once it enters the human digestive system. There, it forms a variety of nitrosamine compounds that enter the bloodstream and wreak havoc with a number of internal organs: the liver and pancreas in particular.

Food Dyes – Food dyes are found in everything from soda, candy, sports drinks to meats and salad dressings. They have been linked to behavioral problems in kids and a significant reduction in IQ. Animal studies have also linked them to cancer. It is interesting to note that the FDA allows a certain amount of mercury and arsenic in these dyes when at any level, they are toxic.

Blue #1 and Blue #2 (E133)
Banned in Norway, Finland and France. May cause chromosomal damage

Red dye #3 (also Red #40 – a more current dye) (E124)
Banned in 1990 after 8 years of debate from use in many foods and cosmetics. This dye continues to be on the market until supplies run out! Has been proven to cause thyroid cancer and chromosomal damage in laboratory animals, may also interfere with brain-nerve transmission.

Yellow #6 (E110) and Yellow Tartrazine (E102)
Banned in Norway and Sweden. Increases the number of kidney and adrenal gland tumors in laboratory animals, may cause chromosomal damage. This is derived from coal tar. Coal most definitely not edible.

Green #3
This dye is not permitted in the European Union due to animal studies showing Fast Green to be a possible carcinogen that can cause DNA level structural damage.
BHT and BHA – Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydrozyttoluene (BHT) are preservatives found in cereals, chewing gum, potato chips, and vegetable oils. This common preservative keeps foods from changing color, changing flavor or becoming rancid. Effects the neurological system of the brain, alters behavior and has potential to cause cancer. BHA and BHT are oxidants, which form cancer-causing reactive compounds in your body.

Potassium Bromate – An additive used to increase volume in some white flour, breads, and rolls, potassium bromate is known to cause cancer in animals. Even small amounts in bread can create problems for humans.

And one of my personal favorites

TBHQ – Tertiary Butylhydroquinone (there is a fun one to pronounce), As a food additive. Consuming TBHQ can cause variable toxicity and in high doses can be fatal. It can lead to a variety of negative symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), delirium and collapse. In toxicity studies, long-term, high-dose TBHQ administration in lab animals showed a tendency for them to develop cancerous precursors in the stomach, as well as causing DNA damage. I discovered this little beauty reading a Reeses’ Peanut butter Cup wrapper. It is also found in chicken nuggets and many other pre packaged foods.

The only solution is to stop eating pre-packaged foods. Or at the very least – limit the part they play in your diet. Preservatives are meant to extend the life of the food… ironically, they can drastically shorten yours.

Choose instead organic vegetables and fruits (which can be identified by the # on the sticker – if it starts with a 9 it is organic.) Nuts, seeds, berries – choose raw milk from a local store or farmer, where the animals are treated humanely and fed whole non-GMO grains, drink lots of clean pure water – spring water or reverse osmosis filtered to remove the chemicals, impurities and fluoride – a gallon a day is recommended. The more raw food the better as cooking actually kills the living enzymes your body needs to sustain itself. Meats ideally should be grass-fed and farm raised. Or if you are willing, give up meat all together. Juicing is another wonderful way to get healthy. Juicers are inexpensive and easy to use (though I will say very messy to clean up!). The amount of nutrients you can get from just one glass of juice is equal to 2 big salad bowls full of fruits and veggies without all the fibrous parts that fill you up. Stores like Whole Foods, Farmers markets, and local health food stores are wonderful sources. The best would be to grow your own garden, if you are able.

Health is a choice. The FDA along with companies like Monsanto who produce GMO crops have declared a war on the American people, and their weapon is food. Arm yourselves by being informed consumers. Take back your bodies, minds and health. It is your inalienable right to be healthy and happy.

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