Sometimes to eat healthily, you have to become a detective.
Food nowadays is processed to the point that G-d only knows what’s in them. The further down the ingredient list you go, the harder it becomes to pronounce the words: Soy lecithin, calcium peroxide, sodium stearoyl lactylate, azodicarbonamide, potassium bromate, ethoxylated mono- and diglycerides… Is this a bakery or a chemistry lab?
From a historical point of view, bad things happen when experimental science mixes with food, for instance, aspartame, margarine, preservatives, and genetic modification. Thanks a lot, Monsanto!
Perhaps science should research cures for coeliac disease, IBS, IBD, leaky gut syndrome, food allergies, and other chronic ailments that are often overlooked, probably because in most cases the disease is not fatal with proper care and treatment. However, those patients must live in discomfort the rest of their lives while scientists use their resources to create new methods of food processing that will further disrupt society’s health. If the manufacturing companies pay, the researchers have got to do it; after all, they have families of their own to feed, even if they are feeding them food so processed it is hardly food.
For this reason, you have to become your own health advocate. Like I said before, you must become a detective.
Speaking of detectives, I have recently become absorbed in the writings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the adventures of Sherlock Holmes. If you haven’t read them yet, go do that now. This recipe will still be here when you finish. Off you go.
If you are still reading this you have already read Sherlock Holmes, or you haven’t and you are continuing on anyway. You know who you are. In any event, I will give you an example of how you must fine tune your detective skills while grocery shopping, and how easy it can be. For stylistic purposes, I will use the example of Sherlock Holmes, as if he was interested in health, which he wasn’t, but you don’t know that because you haven’t read the books yet, hmm? In the instance he was health-savvy, here is how his shopping might go with his flatmate, John Watson:
“How about this brand Mr. Holmes?” asks Watson displaying a packaged loaf of bread.
“I should think not,” Sherlock Holmes replied, with his usual air of nonchalance. “Unless you have no protest to preservatives, hydrogenated oils, and high fructose corn sugar.”
“You must be joking,” said Watson defensively. “How on earth could you deduce all that?”
“I used the power of observation, doctor.”
“Really now?” said Watson, returning the package to its shelf. “What is it this time, the font of the brand name, the twist tie around the bag, or the color of the bread?”
“None of those.” Holmes began to walk down the aisle. “I simply read the ingredients. Shall we move on to the coffee section?”
(Yes, I did just put Sherlock Holmes fanfiction onto this blog. Don’t judge me.)
In any event, avoiding toxic ingredients can be a simple matter of being aware. Here are few things to look out for while you grocery shop:
- Don’t trust labels that scream: Gluten-free! Sugar-free! Fat-free! Dairy-free! They may seem healthy, but they can be loaded with other types of toxins that are often worse than the ingredients they have proudly not included.
- If you can’t pronounce an ingredient, it has no business in your digestive system. End of story.
- Notice the order of ingredients. If sugar is the eighth ingredient out of ten, there’s not must glucose in the product. If it’s ingredient number one, you might want to put that back.
- Keep in mind that corn syrup is the same thing as high fructose corn syrup. It has many other names including:
- Maize syrup
- Fruit fructose
- Glucose syrup
- Dahlia syrup
- Glucose/fructose syrup
- Tapioca syrup
- Crystalline fructose
- Homemade foods are usually healthier because you know exactly what is in them. After all, I don’t remember the last time I used sodium stearoyl lactylate or azodicarbonamide when I baked bread at home.
Keep food simple, easy, and delicious. It doesn’t take a Sherlock Holmes to find out which products are good, a good Watson will do. In any event, if you haven’t read their books yet, whip up this dip, grab some carefully selected sweet potato chips or crackers, and for heaven’s sake, READ!
Roasted Eggplant Dip
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 red peppers
- 2 small eggplants
- 2 onions
- salt and pepper to taste
Saute onions, peppers, and eggplants in the oil for a few hours until soft and spreadable.