One look around the grocery store, and you might notice that our food system has become less focused on health and more on convenience. With shiny waxed apples, plastic-wrapped produce, and packaged foods with ingredients, most people don't recognize we are moving further away from real food.
The foods we consume regularly can have the biggest impact on how we look and feel. Trusting food manufacturers with our health can be quite scary, especially as you learn more about how many of our foods are made and the sneaky tactics food companies get away with.
After working in grocery stores for over a decade I learned quite a lot about food. I worked as a supervisor, produce buyer, cashier, stocker, supplement sales, and customer service.
At nineteen years old I was a supervisor at a grocery store. I managed the produce section and I loved every minute of it. I learned a lot about food and it provided me with a deep respect for how fruits and vegetables are grown, transported, and end up on our shelves in our supermarkets.
I currently have a full organic garden in my backyard and I credit my days of being a produce supervisor for helping me develop a love for real food.
I am passionate about teaching people that food is medicine and knowing what goes in our bodies is essential. We can't leave it up to food companies to tell us what is healthy or we will become sick and unhealthy. Knowledge is power and I am here to share some food secrets you might not know.
Let's dive right in.
# - 1 Baby Carrots Are Washed In A Chlorine Solution
Have you ever wondered how the cute baby carrots in the supermarket look perfect and free from mold and bacteria after being sliced and packaged? Well, my friend, they are washed in a chlorine solution. After being cut and peeled by machines to be a perfect size, they are then washed in a chlorine solution to prevent food-borne illness.
Supposedly the amount of chlorine used is approved by the FDA to be considered "safe." However, the last time I checked, chlorine is not a healthy chemical we need in our diets regardless of the amount.
When was the last time you saw chlorine suggested as a healthy ingredient? Sure, it may be a small amount of chlorine, but the accumulation of toxins in the body from chronic exposure is what can create health issues. It is called "toxic load". Baby carrots may have a small amount of chlorine deemed safe by the FDA but regular consumption adds to the body's toxic load.
You might be surprised to know that if you are rinsing your fruits and vegetables in tap water, you are consuming chlorine. If you are showering without a filter, you are also absorbing chlorine. Chronic exposure to harmful chemicals can lead to serious health issues, so limiting our exposure is essential for optimal health.
It is not the dose that makes the poison but rather the body's accumulation of the toxins.
Buy large carrots.
Rinse them well at home using a water filter.
Slice carrots into mini pieces.
Store in glass food storage.
To extend the life of the carrots you can thinly slice them and add them to a mason jar filled with water. The carrots can last for about a month when stored this way.
Your best option is a water filter that hooks up to the sink. It makes it easier to remember to rinse your produce and to use the water for cooking. You can also use your counter water filter to fill up a large basin to soak your produce.
Sure, baby carrots are convenient, but it does not take much time to rinse them and chop them into small pieces. The trade-off is that you will be minimizing your toxin intake and supporting your health in the process.
Related Article: "5 Holistic Nutrition Tips for Healthier Eating."
# - 2 Natural Flavors Are a Mystery Ingredient - Are they really natural?
What are natural flavors?
Who knows! The term "natural flavors" could mean anything. Like the perfume industry that can hide hundreds of ingredients under the labeling of "fragrance," we as consumers have absolutely no way of knowing what we are consuming when we purchase food products with "natural flavorings."
Many people assume that natural flavors are healthier than artificial flavors, but the verdict is still out. The FDA defines natural flavors as those that get their flavor from natural sources such as fruit, vegetables, dairy, spices, etc. However, food additives, solvents, and preservatives can still make their way into the final product and do not have to be listed.
Flavor manufacturers aren't held to the same standard as food processors, which have to list all of their ingredients.
What does this mean? Flavors can be manipulated in a lab, and you have no way of knowing the actual ingredients that make up the "natural flavoring."
You purchase sparkling lemon water that contains "natural flavors" and assume that it was made with real lemon juice. The lemon flavoring may have been derived from lemons, but it also could have gone through a process that adds unknown chemicals to your drink.
At the end of the day, if it were just lemon juice, wouldn't they tell you what it was instead of calling it "natural flavors." Food companies that have nothing to hide will disclose all of their ingredients. Plain and simple.
Should we blindly trust the deceptive marketing of food manufacturers? Absolutely not. The only way to protect our health is to know what we are putting into our bodies.
Natural flavors are found in a wide variety of foods these days. They are literally everywhere. Don't believe me? Go to your kitchen right now and read the ingredient label of your foods and you will find this unhealthy "ingredient" in a large majority