Thursday, December 20th, 2012
This post is sponsored by Little Remedies — makers of children’s medication without artificial colors, artificial flavors, or alcohol.
2 years, 1 month.
I often wonder what you will think of all the seemingly obscure limitations that Mommy and I put on our family’s food choices.
There’s actually a decent chance you will think our lifestyle of avoiding processed foods is normal, since it’s mainly what you’ve been exposed to your entire life.
To avoid all processed foods completely would mean to only eat from the food we grow and prepare ourselves. Right now as at stands, Mommy and I still have full-time jobs on top of taking care of you, so I don’t see a full family garden happening anytime soon.
So for us, we make a highly concentrated effort to avoid foods with fillers, which largely refers to processed foods.
This is both extremely easy and extremely difficult to do, but Mommy and I have some pointers to help keep us on track.
1. If we can’t recognize (or pronounce) the name of any ingredient on the back of the package, it doesn’t earn the right to enter our bodies. How do we know it’s not some harmful chemical or strange animal by-product? Mystery ingredients are fillers.
2. If the food contains artificial flavors or colors, that’s a dead giveaway the product contains “non-food” ingredients. Artificial flavors and colors are often derived from petroleum (like in Red 40 dye) or random animal by-products (like in Crimson Lake dye, which is made from the powdered and boiled bodies of insects including the cochineal scale and the Polish cochineal).
3. Food in the form of nuggets, patties, and sticks is highly likely to contain fillers. These foods by their very nature (or should I say lack of nature?) must contain fillers, otherwise they would be actual slices of meat.
4. High-fructose corn syrup is a bad influence on food. It can turn a normally healthy food into a junk food. Typically, high-fructose corn syrup, as opposed to actual sugar or evaporated cane juice, has a way of associating itself with other cheap and processed ingredients. It’s like a magnet for other mystery fillers.
5. Drinks other than water and whole milk are typically filled with unnecessary extras. The name whole milk itself should be a clue that low-fat milks have been processed and replaced with extra ingredients to a higher degree than whole milk. Even 100% juice removes the fiber from the fruit, and therefore from our diets, yet gives us 100% of the sugar. It only gets worse from there in the beverage world, like with regular soda and diet soda.
I know at times these dietary restrictions on you may seem extreme, but they are restrictions that we as your parents abide by alongside you.
After all, Mommy and I drank skim milk our entire lives until I agreed to participate in an experiment where I switched to whole milk for a month. Despite doubling my intake of milk that month, I didn’t even gain one pound. So we switched to whole milk.
As for the “no juice rule,” we’ve learned to incorporate more actual fresh fruits and vegetables into our daily diets.
I can’t always promise that you can have the “fun” food the other kids at school have, but I can promise you that we will make sure you are well fed…with healthy food without fillers.
P.S. I invite any other readers of this letter to share your additional pointers, personal stories and struggles regarding the avoidance of fillers in foods, or even voice your disagreements; feel free to leave a comment.
Photo credit: Photostock, Little Boy Biting Big Carrot.