Wildly Affordable Organics, Brands You Can Trust and Those You Should Boycott

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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:

Amy’s Kitchen

Annies Homegrown

Bell & Evans Breaded Chicken Tenders

Late July

Natures Path Organic

Organic Valley

Wholesome Sweeteners

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!

Healthy Living Blog

 

  • Tealover

    I think tea is one of the most important things to make sure are organic, the fertilizers and pesticides aren't always rinsed off fully during processing. I like Divinitea, all their stuff is certified organic: http://www.divinitea.com

  • Elizabeth

    This list of organic producers is very disheartening. I can't believe the companies behind some of my favorite products. Who knew Coke owned Honest Tea? Or Kelloggs owning Bear Naked?!? I'll keep trying to buy locally… It's our only hope.

  • Holly

    I'm pretty sure Eden Organics should be on the trustworthy list.

  • Danielle

    What about store brand organics? Like.. Whole Foods' '365 Organics', Krogers 'Simple Truth Organics', & Meijer Organics. TIA!

    • Stephen

      I really find WF's "365" line to be consistently inferior in quality. My two-cents worth…

    • CJ hoff

      I was one of the hundreds of people who gathered signatures for the mandate to label GMO foods in California. Whole Foods was not helpful. I had to jump through a lot of hoops to pass out flyers outside of their store in Tustin. However, Mother's Market (every location) welcomed us with open arms, and even set up a table for us inside the store, anytime we wanted. Mother's really wanted this bill to pass. Just thought you should know.

      • Dee

        Mother's is one of my favorite stores ever. I wish they had more locations.

  • drugfreepharmacist

    Annie's homegrown has organic cheese crackers with Yeast Extract (MSG!)

  • Joy

    I learned sometime ago, don't get sucked into the 'organic' label. Since the FDA does not enforce honesty in labeling, nor do they care! Corrupt! Buy local as much as possible.

  • Mary

    Annie's, in my opinion, is garbage food in the disguised as health food!!! Over processed, over priced – just gotten worse and worse over the years. She may have started out pure in the beginning, but I wouldn't feed any of it to my family – she sold out!!! Makes me question the whole list of brands to trust!

  • Barb

    What is your criteria for determining which brands to trust and which to boycott?

  • Barb

    (Clarification on previous comment: was it based on what the companies have done with other products and their donations against Prop37, or are the products labeled as organic suspect?)

  • Em Ily

    What is wrong with Larabars? The ingredients in many of them are only nuts, dates and coconut oil. I thought these were a new find for something portable to eat with a little bit of a shelf life.

    • Holly

      It wasn't about the actual ingredients, its because their parent company is a major corporation that gave funds to oppose the GMO labeling bills. For what its worth, though, my son and I have a corn allergy, and we can't do Larabars or pretty much any organics owned by a major corporation because we have mystery reactions when there is nothing on the label that's suspect. So, I've come to wonder if these companies are so used to knowing the loopholes in labeling regulations that they've found ways to use junky ingredients in small enough amounts or in ways that they can get away with not labeling them.

      • Em Ily

        Holly,_You have a great point. I do believe if the ingredient is below a certain percentage it is not required to be liste. Thanks.

    • sammy

      Em lly,

      I am with you. I love Larabars for the fact they have so few ingredients. This list to boycott was based on the companies behind the making of the products fighting against GMO labeling requirements which is really admitting they are fine with using GMO products. It's totally an individual chose and I know it is so confusing to know what is good for you and what is politically not a good thing to support. The list is such a short one anymore of products that are made by the "good guys" and truly good for you. Here's a great supporting link: This list shows the companies fighting against GMO labeling requirements on Prop 37.
      Here's a great link: http://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/how-to-help-s
      Thanks for reading!

      • Em Ily

        Sammy….You are right and yes it is confusing. It's probably best to buy organic & locally grown foods with single ingredient foods. I would not buy something from someone that was trying to harm me. It is a trust issue too. Thanks.

  • Get REAL

    Agave nectar has the same effects as high fructose corn syrup. Disturbing that you don't know this and are recommending this as an alternative, Makes me question the whole list. Also, there is the fact that Eden Organics is the ONLY brand in the US that does not line their cans with BPA. So, are we really w=talking safe here? How about getting REAL? And yes, to the above comment – Eden Organics should be at the top of the safe list. This list is by no means a Bible. A very basic guideline for those eating Coco Puffs, perhaps, but beyond that? Annie's uses dyes… I mean. I can't even get into all of it.

  • Adri

    If you don't buy packaged foods, you will find it very easy to go organic.

    It is best to just stop buying processed foods and make your own with organic ingredients, then you will know what is in it. I live on stew, soups, casseroles, spagetti, chili and stir fried foods made of organic grass fed beef, organic chicken, organic vegetables, beans, rice, barley. Organic fruits and home made coconut milk ice cream make great deserts and nuts and raisins make terrific snacks.

  • Meggie Sophia

    What about Trader Joe's? I feel great when I eat exclusively at Trader Joe's. But arrrgh! I've been away for two years and I'm really feeling it. Meijer's so-called "organic" just doesn't cut it, not the quality I'm used to. (Meijers is like super Walmart out here in the midwest) I'm getting out of this tiny town as soon as I can — I miss my Trader Joes!! It sucks trying to find genuinely good food when you're living in nowheresville.

    I know they're all hush-hush about where they get their stuff, after all, they have to guard their sources from wanna-be stores. FoodBabe says she's had trouble getting them to talk to her about validation of non-GMO products under the TJ label. But the people who work there say that everything under the Trader Joe's label is non-GMO. And I've noticed only one product with corn syrup, no hydrogenated fats. The sprouted bread there is incredible. The raw nuts don't smell like they've handled by dirty people like at Meijers.

    And you can't beat their prices. Please say yes! I love Trader Joe's

    • Scott

      Be careful with Trader Joes. Their website states they don't sell anything with HFCS, Trans fats or GMO. But a quick look at ingredients shows otherwise. Don't get me wrong, TJs is my favourite place to shop, you just need to always read labels and be aware, albeit not as much as most other stores.