Cleaning Up!

Liz Fogle

Spring has not sprung in South Central Kentucky. The past 2 days, have been cold, windy, and snowy!!! I will have to admit that I am cranky. I soooo need warm weather and flip flops! I hate having to wear shoes!

The return of winter weather has put a huge damper on our gardening efforts this year. Usually, my husband (Ben) has the garden tilled; several “cold-weather” plants in the ground and is plotting out the rest of the planting! The delay has forced me to visit our local farmers market more (which is not a bad thing). I love fresh produce, meat, and bakery items; especially when I know where they are coming from! It is even better when the items come from your own garden!!

Over the last year, I’ve become more conscience of what is in my family’s food. At the grocery, I find myself reading a few more food labels and shopping the outskirts of the store. This isn’t to say that everything we eat is 100% healthy, but I am definitely trying to clean up some of our eating. I don’t want my family eating a bunch of chemicals (don’t get me started on Easy Mac). There are several items that I look for on labels: dyes and preservatives, nitrates, MSG, anything ending in “ose”, and hydrogenated oils.

I don’t know about you, but navigating food labels is next to impossible. So many of our food labels contain items that I can’t even pronounce!!! My understanding is if you don’t know what it is, you probably shouldn’t be eating it!

Recently, an article came across my Facebook feed, “Eight Ingredients You Never Want to See on Your Nutrition Label”. This article was published by Men’s Magazine and I thought I would share a few of the writer’s thoughts.

1. BHA- a preservative that prevents rancidity in foods that contain oil. This preservative has caused cancer in rodents, but hasn’t been banned by the Food and Drug Administration.
2. Parabens- Synthetic preservative that prevents mold/yeast in food. Can possibly disrupt your hormone imbalance
3. Partially Hydrogenated Oil- this “fat” can pack on the pounds
4. Sodium Nitrite- Inhibits botulism-causing bacteria. Can fuse with other amino acids in the body and cause a carcinogenic compound
5. Carmel Coloring- (this is not the old-fashion way of making it).The process usually involves ammonia (think sodas).
6. Castoreum- used to flavor food. Isn’t harmful, just unsettling. It is made up of beaver castor sacs or anal scent glands.
7. Food Dyes- these are artificial and have been known to cause behavior issues in children
8. Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein- vegetable protein, used as a flavor enhancer. Can actually break down in the body into MSG (which can cause numerous health issues).

I really like this list because it was simple and straight forward. I can’t read every label in the grocery store, but I can look for these 8 items and clean up our eating.

In the Spring/Summer we eat so much better! We eat out of the garden, which means fresh vegetables and fruits (that I know are preservative free). Personally, I know I feel much better when we make this switch. Bug (my daughter) also loves the fresh veggies too! One of her favorites out of the garden: zucchini and squash! The child would eat squash until she turned yellow!

Come on Spring….this momma needs her garden back. I am almost to the point of begging! Winter get out of here now!!!

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