3 Sources of Food Additives that May Surprise You!

(Originally published on NaturalNews.com. Written by Christy Pooschke.)

“It is commonly known that fast food, frozen pizzas and candy bars are filled with taste enhancers and other food additives. But did you know that  food additives are also lurking in products that would seem at a glance to contain just one ingredient? Ironically, some of these items may even be things you are using to prepare foods from scratch at home in an effort to avoid the dangerous additives in pre-packaged meals. Following are some food items that seem so self-explanatory that you may be purchasing them without even checking the ingredients list.

Tomato Paste

Many varieties of tomato paste contain a surprising number of ingredients. Be especially wary of flavored or seasoned varieties of tomato paste. For example, one popular brand’s “Italian Herb” variety contains all of the following ingredients: “tomato puree (tomato  paste and water), high fructose corn syrup, salt, dried onions, partially  hydrogenated vegetable oil (soybean and/or cottonseed), spices, hydrolyzed corn  gluten, soy & wheat gluten proteins, grated Romano cheese made from cow’s  milk (cultured milk, salt, enzymes), garlic, citric acid, yeast, soy  flour.”

Of course, varieties that are not flavored or seasoned  often contain food additives, as well. “Natural flavor” is one additive that is commonly added to tomato paste, and it can disguise dangerous ingredients like MSG. Manufacturers are not required to reveal the components of their “natural  flavorings” on food labels, so be sure to read carefully and select a brand of tomato paste that contains only, “tomatoes.” (Note: If you prefer to purchase tomato paste contained  in a glass jar, instead of a can, visit a natural food store or shop online for jarred options.)

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is another food that you may logically assume contains just one ingredient – peanuts. Unfortunately, most common  commercial brands also contain health-depleting ingredients like sugar, corn syrup and hydrogenated vegetable oils (i.e., trans fat). Ideally, purchase brands that are unsalted and contain only, “dry roasted peanuts.” Many regular grocers may not carry plain, unsalted peanut butter, so you may need to shop at a natural food  store or shop online for this item. Many regular grocers do carry at least one brand that contains only “peanuts and salt,” though, if you don’t mind the salt but prefer to avoid the corn syrup, trans fat, etc.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar offers an array of health benefits. It eases heartburn, joint pain and joint stiffness, improves skin complexion and bowel function, breaks down fat to aid in weight loss, etc. To  reap these benefits, purchase raw (unpasteurized), organic and unfiltered varieties only. You may need to visit a natural food store or the health section  of your regular grocer because this type of vinegar is usually not sold in the  regular vinegar section. Read apple cider vinegar labels very carefully, as there are varieties that contain additives like coloring and flavoring agents. If you look closely, these  imposters are actually labeled on the front of the bottle as “apple cider flavored vinegar” because they are actually comprised of white vinegar (made from corn, not apples) with artificial flavors and colors added to make them look and taste like apple cider vinegar.”

Sources for this article include:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/trans-fat/CL00032 http://www.naturalnews.com/036308_natural_flavors_MSG_aspartame.html http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S26/91/22K07/ http://www.globalhealingcenter.com

About the  author:

Christy Pooschke is author of “Eating  Additive-Free” and founder of CompletelyNourishedCommunity.com – a holistic health community featuring hundreds of delicious, natural recipes suited to a variety of dietary restrictions (gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, vegetarian, soy-free, MSPI, etc.). Christy was inspired to help others reduce their reliance on processed foods after resolving her own Fibromyalgia symptoms through diet and lifestyle changes. Want more great tips and recipes for eating an additive-free diet? Subscribe to her natural  foods blog, join her online community of 1,600+ members, and get yourself a copy of her book – “Eating  Additive-Free: Natural Cookbook & Shopping Guide“.

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How to find REAL FOOD at the supermarket!

I don’t necessarily agree with every little arrow in this flowchart below from SummerTomato.com, but I definitely thought it was a cute and entertaining way to depict some tips on finding real food at the grocery store. LOL!

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A Bit About Me (…and Why I Care What YOU Eat)

As you may have noticed by now, I am passionate about helping others discover the health benefits of additive-free foods. I am not a doctor. I am not a nutritionist. I am not a chef. I am just a person – a person who was blessed four years ago to discover some very simple, yet profound, health information that changed my life forever. Since then, I’ve been reading every book and watching every documentary about health, nutrition and the food industry that I can get my hands on. I’ve learned so much and experienced such extraordinary health benefits that I feel a moral obligation to share the information (and my personal story) with as many people as possible.

I am married to the best man in the world – a man who stood by my side, even when doctors informed him that the “in sickness and in health” part of his vows was going to be challenged much sooner than we’d imagined. Thanks to my dear husband, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to pursue my passion on a full-time basis. (See? I told you he was awesome!)

For those of you who haven’t read my Founder’s Story or who don’t have time to read it in it’s entirety, here’s the abbreviated version….

Fibromyalgia stole several years of my life. In 2002 (at age 25), my health began to deteriorate. After more than 15 different prescription medications, never-ending appointments with various specialists and more than a handful of diagnostic procedures, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2005. I was in constant pain; many days it was too painful even to hug my own husband. On good days, I felt 90 years old; on bad days, I felt like I should be in the hospital. I was in pure misery, suffering from an “invisible illness” for which there was no treatment, no cure and no known cause. I had just completed graduate school and was beginning my career when the rug was pulled out from under me. After much consideration, I resigned – I resigned from my job, and I resigned myself to the medical “fact” that I would suffer with chronic, untreatable pain for the rest of my life.

Fortunately, in 2007, I stumbled upon some books that changed my life forever. Among other things, I learned that there are ingredients in processed foods that are making people sick. This information made such an impact on my husband and me that we immediately purged our kitchen of convenience foods and mystery ingredients. In just a couple of months, ALL of my Fibromyalgia symptoms were gone. Completely gone! In fact, I now feel better and have more energy than most people I know!

In the past four years, I have witnessed first-hand the havoc that these ingredients also wreak in others’ lives; and I feel a moral obligation to share what I have learned with as many people as possible and to inspire them to take an active role in maximizing their own health.

It sounds so silly, but I never realized before just how good we should all feel. We should sleep well, feel great and have all of the energy we need to do all of the things we want to do. Each of us deserves that! People need a wake-up call – we truly are what we eat, and we need to make a conscious decision about what we are putting into our bodies. I’m not saying we need to spend half of our paychecks on obscure berries from distant lands; but we do need to stop eating FAKE food and return to eating things that are grown in nature rather than invented in a lab.

There’s no sense in sugar coating it (pun intended), the Standard American diet is destroying our health! The way I see it, healthy eating falls along a continuum – fast food and donuts are at one end…and whole, raw foods in their natural (unprocessed) state are at the other end. The closer we come to the whole foods end, the better off we will be. I assure folks that perfection is not expected; if we all just eat really well even 80% of the time, we’ll start to see massive changes! I KNOW that once we get back to eating REAL foods, the health benefits will be extraordinary!

The problem is that people need help and information; basically, they need someone to give them the tools they need to re-invent their diets. That’s where I come in; I teach people how to read ingredients labels, how to shop for and prepare REAL  foods, how to use various kitchen equipment, etc. And from time to time, I offer folks “sneak peeks” into my real foods lifestyle, as well.

We are bombarded with unhealthy messages everyday; and “dieting” has been turned into such a “rocket science” that it’s no wonder folks feel defeated before they even get to the grocery store. Low fat? Low calories? High protein? Biggest meal at night? Biggest meal at breakfast? It’s enough to drive a person insane! Unfortunately, what most experts fail to advise is that what matters most is what’s in the ingredients list!

I understand that it’s easy for people to feel overwhelmed and defeated – like these problems are too huge to do anything about. However, as consumers, we are actually the ones with all of the power over this situation. We need to rally together to create the consumer demand for the products that will improve our health. To turn our health around, we need to flip our current food system on its head. At an individual level there are things that each of us can do, such as:

1. Grow as much of our own food as possible
2. Support local farmers and producers
3. Avoid mysterious and lab-invented ingredients

Four years ago, I was eating fast food, candy, diet pop and frozen dinners. If I can make these changes, anyone can. There is nothing special about ME that somehow makes it easier or more natural for me to live this way. It’s just a conscious decision that each of us must make.

In closing, I’m genuinely concerned that when I’m 80 years old, there won’t be any real food available at the grocery store. I welcome any opportunity to rally folks together to increase consumer demand for REAL foods. This may sound cliché, but I know that everything happens for a reason. While suffering with Fibromyalgia, it was really hard to see any purpose in the pain. Now, I realize that I suffered for those years so that I could educate and inspire others to take charge of their health. So many people are so apathetic about what goes into their bodies (I was, too!), and I must do all that I can to change that! Please join me! 🙂