This is a follow up to the article on Whole Foods Bans 54% of Walmart Foods. Many readers asked for some specific things to avoid and brands they can trust. Obviously this isn’t a comprehensive list but will at least give you a good place to start. Thanks so much to all of you who took the time to comment or write me personally. The safest, cheapest way to eat organic is to grow your own. I’m not saying we all need to buy acreage and farm, but even growing a few vegetables in a small, humble garden could help you eat healthy cheaper. Here’s a starter kit to grow indoors: Miracle-Gro AeroGarden
List of brands you can actually trust:
Bell & Evans Breaded Chicken Tenders
Natures Path Organic
Great Snacks that Really are Healthy: Crunchies Freeze Dried Fruit, Quinn Popcorn, Kind Bars, Sambazon Smoothie Packs and Dang Coconut Chips
Wildly Affordable Organic: Eat Fabulous Food, Get Healthy, and Save the Planet–All on $5 a Day or Less
Ingredients to Avoid:
1. Refined sugar and sweetened foods: Avoid foods with refined sugars as well as high fructose and regular corn syrups. Candy, soda, syrup, jelly, cookies and baked goods are on the avoid list unless you make them yourself with wholesome real ingredients. Instead, eat foods that are naturally sweet or sweetened with fruit or 100-percent fruit juice. You can also use natural sweeteners, such as real raw honey or agave nectar.
2. Packaged foods with ingredients you can’t pronounce: Many packaged foods that seem healthy often contain fillers, preservatives and other unhealthy ingredients. If you do choose something that is canned or packaged avoid those that contain ingredients you don‘t recognize.
3. Diet foods: Diet foods are advertised to be lower calorie versions of their high-calorie counterparts and are made by reducing the sugar or fat content. These are usually made with highly processed, chemically-derived sugar substitutes and you need to know that reduced fat foods usually still have a lot of added sugars.
4. Fried foods: Fried foods, especially pre-packaged or from fast food restaurants usually contain lots of saturated and trans fats. These fats have been linked to disease and other health problems.
5. Fast Foods: Fast foods are quite obviously the worst offenders. Most are mass produced, highly processed and filled with preservatives, artificial flavorings, colorings and other non-healthy additives. Fast food restaurants often use the cheapest, low quality ingredients combined with loads of unhealthy fats. And if you follow Natural News, many undesirable things have been found lurking in fast food items tested!
Top 10 added ingredients to avoid
1. Artificial Colors is a chemical compound made from coal-tar derivatives to enhance color. It is linked to allergic reactions, fatigue, asthma, skin rashes, hyperactivity and headaches.
2. Artificial Flavorings are cheap chemical mixtures that mimic natural flavors and are linked to allergic reactions, dermatitis, eczema, hyperactivity and asthma. They can also affect enzymes, RNA and thyroid.
3. Artificial Sweeteners include Acesulfame-K, As-partame, Equal®, NutraSweet®, Sac-charin, Sweet’n Low®, Sucralose, Splenda® & Sorbitol. These are highly-processed, chemically-derived, zero-calorie sweeteners found in diet foods and diet products to reduce calories per serving that can negatively impact metabolism. Some have been linked to cancer, headaches, dizziness and hallucinations.
4. Benzoate is a preservative and can also be listed as BHT, BHA, TBHQ. These are compounds that preserve fats and prevent them from becoming rancid and may result in hyperactivity, angiodema, asthma, rhinitis, dermatitis, tumors and urticarial. They can also affect estrogen balance and levels.
5. Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO) is a chemical that boosts flavor in many citric-based fruit and soft drinks that increases triglycerides and cholesterol. BVO can damage liver, testicles, thyroid, heart and kidneys.
6. High Fructose Corn (HFCS) is a cheap alternative to cane and beet sugar that is used to sustain freshness in baked goods. It mixes easily in beverages to keep them sweet. It can predispose the body to turn fructose into fat and it increases risk for type-2 diabetes, heart disease as well as stroke and cancer. Another problem with HFCS is that it isn’t easily metabolized by the liver.
7. MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) is a flavor enhancer used in lots of restaurant food, salad dressing, chips, frozen entrees, soups and many other processed foods. Eating food with MSG can actually stimulate appetite and cause headaches, nausea, weakness, wheezing, edema, change in heart rate, burning sensations and even difficulty breathing.
8. Olestra is an indigestible fat substitute used primarily in foods that are fried and baked which inhibits absorption of some nutrients. It has been linked to gastrointestinal disease, diarrhea, gas, cramps, bleeding and incontinence.
9. Shortening, Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Oils (Palm, Soybean and others) these are industrially created fats used in over 40,000 food products in the U.S. because they are cheaper than most other oils. They contain high levels of trans fats, which raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol, contributing to higher risk of heart disease.
10. Sodium Nitrite and Nitrate is used to preserve, color and flavor cured meats and fish and is also used to prevent botulism. Nitrates can combine with chemicals in your stomach to form nitrosamine which is a carcinogen.
Boycott Fake “Organic” Brands
The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) Top List to Boycott
These companies have been accused of having either non-organic, gmo or other unacceptable labeling practices and donated money to defeat Prop37.
PepsiCo (Donated $2.5M): Naked Juice, Tostito’s Organic, Tropicana Organic
Kraft (Donated $2M): Boca Burgers and Back to Nature
Safeway (Member of Grocery Manufacturers Association, which donated $2M):“O” Organics
Coca-Cola (Donated $1.7M): Honest Tea, Odwalla
General Mills (Donated $1.2M): Muir Glen, Cascadian Farm, Larabar
Con-Agra (Donated $1.2M): Orville Redenbacher’s Organic, Hunt’s Organic, Lightlife, Alexia
Kellogg’s (Donated $791k): Kashi, Bear Naked, Morningstar Farms, Gardenburger
Smucker’s (Donated $555k ): R.W. Knudsen, Santa Cruz Organic
Unilever (Donated $467k): Ben & Jerry’s
Dean Foods (Donated $254k): Horizon, Silk, White Wave
This list can be overwhelming if you are just getting on board with cleaner eating habits. Start out by cutting out 1-3 of these ingredients at a time. Read labels until you get familiar with specific brands you can trust to find items that don’t contain the ingredients you are avoiding. It will get easier over time and you will reap the benefits of a healthier life. You can’t put a price tag on that!