Chemicals, Food Additives and Your Health

by Laura

They are everywhere. They are in everything. Not only packaged , frozen, and refrigerated food, but cosmetics, household cleaners and more. What are they? CHEMICALS. Recently my doctor took me off ALL chemicals. You may think this is easy, you may not.

I have had Fibromyalgia (which is really a collection of chronic pain and fatigue symptoms doctors can’t explain) since the mid-80’s. I was first told it was Multiple Sclerosis in the early 90’s because the symptoms were so bizarre. I was drinking Diet Pepsi with Aspartame very heavily when I was first diagnosed. Coincidence?  It was worse than a drug addiction to give up. Drinking the best alkaline water made a huge difference in its place!

Eliminating all chemicals from my diet is helping my chronic pain. So many foods come in a package. As you see with the label on the left, the list can be mind boggling! I am working on it and doing the best I can to eat fresh food at every meal. I am feeling better every day! In fact when you really think about it, were our bodies designed to house and process chemicals in the first place?

It may not be very pleasant to think about, but has it ever occured to you that back in our grandparents era the incidents of cancer, heart disease and diabetes were far lower in the United States? It was even lower in their grandparents time, around the  turn of the Century. Why was this? Food was primarily fresh and NATURAL or “put up” (canned) by hand! Everything they ate came from the ground primarily, which was rich with minerals in the topsoil. The vitamins and minerals in one serving of spinach from the 1900’s was so nutritious, that it would take more than ten or more servings now to get the same amount of natural iron and other nutrients, because our soils are so depleted. Large growing companies have compensated by adding chemicals to the soil and additives to our food to “boost” the nutrition.

Back then, Animals were fed grains and hays that were from healthy, rich soil, so they were fattened naturally. Milk was rich and abundant as were farm fresh eggs. Children were taught to be active and to eat a balanced diet. There was no childhood obesity back then!! There were no chemical additives or hormones in food, no pesticides, herbicides, dyes or flavor enhancers.  There were no artificial sweeteners until the early 60’s with saccharin, followed by an explosion of alternatives in the 80’s and 90’s.

I remember my grandmother’s pantry having a relatively small number of “processed” foods on the shelf. She had mostly cans, jars and baking ingredients. All of their other food was fresh from their garden in California or purchased from small local market. Meats and poultry were free of hormones and dies. Veggies were larger, more nutritious, pesticide free, and to be enjoyed by the bounty.My point is that when chemicals, preservatives, and/or food additives were introduced into foods, the health in America took a serious turn for the worse.

What are Food Additives?

Additives range from anything that preserves the freshness, appearance, colors and taste of food, like MSG, Phosphates,  BHA, BHT, Citric Acid, Humectant, Propyl Gallate, Sodium Caseinate, Sodium Nitrites,  Hydrolyzed Protein and fillers that plump up the volume like Modified Food Starch, Carregeenan and Guar Gum, Just to name a few! Oh and don’t forget the old standby “High Fructose Corn Syrup” for which there is great controversy these day to its contribution to obesity and Type II  diabetes.

All of these chemicals are in food that come in a package, that are on a shelf in a store for the most part. If you were to shop the “perimeter” of the supermarket, and only buy fresh food, meaning fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, fish and poultry (organic) and limited dairy products, your cart would be virtually free of these chemicals.

What about Sugar vs Sweeteners?

Diets high in refined carbohydrates and especially white sugar or high fructose corn syrup are extremely bad for us. Sweets in moderation are fine. It’s when we get out of control and dominate our diets with these foods. When artificial sweeteners gained popularity beginning with Saccharin in the 60’s, the sweetener Nutrasweet was in everything as a “healthy” sugar-free alternative by the 80’s. It’s no secret that alleged reports surfaced online in the mid to late 90’s about the scary dangers associated with Aspartame. Some said it was the sugar lobbyists in Washington trying to scare people from drinking Diet Coke. Who knows. All I know is that Nutrasweet is a CHEMICAL, which cannot be good for you. Then Sucralose (Splenda) came along, another CHEMICAL. Similar dangerous warnings are coming out now about it. Whether these have merit I don’t know, but I would rather be safe than sorry.

To sum things up, if you are healthy, you can determine whether you want to ingest chemicals, put them on your skin, or use them in your home to clean with. If you have a chronic health condition, ask your doctor about chemicals, and whether they could be contributing to any of your symptoms.

Ask yourself:

Were our bodies designed to house and process chemicals?

Think about it.

 

 

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