A Fresh Start Changing the Way You and Your Family Eat
Changing the Way You and Your Family Eat
Many people make New Years Resolutions; some keep them, but many do not. Perhaps, it is finally time to adjust your diet and change your grocery shopping habits and make a fresh start!
When you compare a typical grocery store to a healthier choice store such as Trader Joe’s, Wegman’s, Whole Foods or Sprouts, you will notice a huge difference in the labels that you read. Not only are there less items on the shelves at these stores, the choices are almost all healthy options. The majority of the foods in these stores are lacking chemicals, preservatives, artificial colors/artificial flavors, certain fats and oils and high levels of sodium that are unhealthy. You will find words listed that you cannot read and ingredients that are best left untouched. Check out this site to get some help reading labels and making better choices: https://www.fda.gov/food/food-labeling-nutrition
Why the difference? Supply and demand! As long as people continue to buy the products filled with additives that no human should touch, the stores and companies will continue to profit. People should realize that Big Pharma, medical personnel and insurance companies are often thriving because of the food that many Americans put into their bodies.
It is time to make a change and feel the benefits of eating well! You have no idea how awful food really tastes (when it has chemicals and ingredients that are harmful to your body) until you erase them all from your body and focus on REAL food! Yes, you CAN taste the difference!
How can you start, you might ask? First off, for one week give up the typical grocery stores and shop ONLY at the above mentioned stores, or those with similar products in your neighborhood. Read the labels. You will see only real food listed, words you know and can pronounce! Compare prices. Look for sales. It does not have to cost you a fortune. Notice the reduced amount of cookies, breads, frozen and boxed foods by comparison to a typical grocery store. Why must the typical grocery stores sell hundreds of brands and types of cookies? Even better, buy your own ingredients and bake your own! You will save a lot of money if you bake and cook from scratch.
Clean out your pantry, refrigerator and freezer. Read the labels of the foods that are in your house, compared to your new-way-of-shopping stores. Notice the fat, cholesterol and sodium content, too. You will be shocked and amazed.
If you are on a special diet and/or if you have allergies or intolerances, then making appropriate food choices is imperative. In January, 2006, food companies were mandated by the FDA to label the top eight allergens on products if the ingredients were in the product. They have to be disclosed either in the ingredient list or somewhere on the label. This law, called, Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) of 2004 was passed by Congress to save lives. Allergy deaths have, sadly, never been higher. Something is wrong with our food and/or the way it is grown or prepared.
You will also notice on food labels that many food manufacturers also post if the food has been manufactured on equipment that also uses the top eight allergens. Here is a detailed page explaining all of your FAQ’s regarding this act. Link: https://www.fda.gov/food/food-allergensgluten-free-guidance-documents-regulatory-information/food-allergen-labeling-and-consumer-protection-act-2004-questions-and-answers
There are over 160 food allergens that people have reactions to. This causes serious consequences, even death. These are the top eight allergens that have been defined by the FDA. 90% of all allergic food reactions occur within these 8 allergens:
- Fish (e.g., bass, flounder, cod)
- Crustacean shellfish (e.g. crab, lobster, shrimp)
- Tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans)
For more information on allergens see:
Because it has been estimated that over 3 million people have Celiac Disease (being intolerant to gluten) the FDA issued a final ruling to have companies voluntarily label appropriate foods “gluten-free” as of August 2, 2013. In addition to these people, there are many others who have decided to become gluten free for health reasons or because they exhibit an intolerance to gluten. This gluten-free ruling applies to packaged foods, but also the FDA has stated that restaurants making a gluten-free claim on their menus should be consistent with the FDA’s definition. The FDA’s legal definition of foods that are considered gluten free must have 20 parts per million (ppm) or less gluten in the food. Even foods that are brought into the United States must meet these requirements to be able to state that the product is indeed gluten-free. For more information on this rule see: http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/Allergens/ucm362880.htm
Whether you (or family member) have an allergy or intolerance or not, it is the time to start to realize how much food plays a part in your life, your well-being and your over-all health. It is time to shop differently, read labels, and care about the products that “fill your family’s belly”.
Barrie Silberberg is the author of The Autism & ADHD Diet: A Step-by-Step Guide To Hope and Healing by Living Gluten Free and Casein Free (GFCF) And Others Interventions. Her web site is: www.puttingyourkidsfirst.com
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This post originally appeared on our January/February 2015 Magazine