Archive for the ‘healthy eating’ Category

That’s Soy? Step 1:Learning about what we put in our mouths.

February 5, 2010

Soy beans and corn.  Even here in the suburbs, I can’t drive more than 10 min. from home without seeing a field of either corn or soy beans.  It is no wonder that they are popular crops to grow, they are in everything we eat.

So, let’s look at Soy.  What is it in and what are some of the alternative names for it?  First of all, soy is in things like Soy Sauce and Edamame (baby soy beans in the pod), but it is also in things like baked goods and chocolate.  It is another one of those things that you don’t want to be allergic to because it is in “everything.”

How about the names of things that contain soy.

Edamame (soybeans in pods)
Hydrolyzed soy protein
Kinnoko flour
Kyodofu (freeze dried tofu)
Okara (soy pulp)
Shoyu sauce
Soy albumin
Soy bran
Soy concentrate
Soy fiber
Soy flour
Soy formula
Soy grits
Soy milk
Soy miso
Soy nuts
Soy nut butter

Soy protein, soy protein concentrate, soy protein isolate
Soy sauce
Soy sprouts
Soya Flour
Soybean granules
Soybean curd
Soybean flour
Soy lecithin
Soybean paste
Teriyaki sauce
Textured soy flour (TSF)
Textured soy protein (TSP)
Textured vegetable protein (TVP)
Yuba (bean curd)

Check out this website for even more things to watch out for:

Soy is on our list of foods to watch out for, but because it is usually in chocolate in the form of Soy Lecithin I have not been able to totally get rid of it.  (I’m addicted to chocolate, I admit it.) 

We eat a lot of vegetarian meals, but because of the problems that the kids have with processed soy (They have eaten plain soy beans straight from the field before with no problems.) we can’t do any of the fake meats or cheeses.  Thats okay with us, if we want meat or cheese we just eat the real thing, but we also often have meals where beans or nuts are the main protein.

Soy is a great food, but why do we have to add it to so many different kinds of foods?

Coming next week…  My very favorite food topic (read heavy sarcasm here): MSG.


The down side of eating healthy.

January 29, 2010

Yep!  There is a down side to everything, even eating healthy.  I’m feeling a little down myself today, so I thought that I would share the down sides of eating healthy.

(Sorry for missing last week.  Next week, I will go back to talking about what is in our food.)

1. When you start eating healthy, your body gets used to it.  The up side to this is that you get to where you LIKE the foods you eat, but the down side is that non-healthy foods don’t taste so great and they can make you feel not-so-great.

2. Eating healthy takes time.  When you start cutting out all the junk that is part of the SAD (Standard American Diet), it takes a lot more time to fix foods.  We had hamburgers the other night.  Nice easy meal, right?  Well, not if you have to bake the buns from scratch, and peel the potatoes and chop them up for french fries.  We have many meals that take DAYS to make.

3. It is hard to go anywhere.  If restaurant food makes you feel bad, and food from a box makes you feel bad, it is hard to go anywhere for any length of time and not feel bad. 

4.  People in your family will want to eat at least three times a day, everyday.  That means that you will have to fix them something three times a day, everyday.  If some of your meals take DAYS to prepare, you had better be planning ahead.

OK, I’m done with my rant.  Sometimes though, I wish that we could just eat the same way that everyone else does.

That’s Corn? Step 1; learning about what we put in our mouths.

January 15, 2010

The answer to last week’s puzzle?  Quaker Chewy Granola Bars – Chocolate Chip 

You were right on the money Jen.  You spend too much time reading labels!

Now on to this week’s topic.  Corn.  Corn is in everything.  Well, everything processed anyway.  And to top it all off, unless it says organic, it is probably genetically modified (GMO) corn.  I’m sure that there are good points to GMO corn, but since our country routinely uses us as guinea pigs, I plan to give it 20 years or so before I make a decision as to how safe it is.  (Remember how safe NutraSweet was supposed to be?  It was NutraSweet that started us down the path of allergies and food sensitivities, but that is another story for another day.)

So what are the names for corn?

  • Acetic acid
  • Alcohol
  • Alpha tocopherol
  • Artificial flavorings
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Ascorbates
  • Ascorbic acid
  • Astaxanthin
  • Baking powder
  • Barley malt* (generally OK, but can be contaminated)
  • Bleached flour*
  • Blended sugar (sugaridextrose)
  • Brown sugar* (generally OK if no caramel color)
  • Calcium citrate
  • Calcium fumarate
  • Calcium gluconate
  • Calcium lactate
  • Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA)
  • Calcium stearate
  • Calcium stearoyl lactylate
  • Caramel and caramel color
  • Carbonmethylcellulose sodium
  • Cellulose microcrystalline
  • Cellulose, methyl
  • Cellulose, powdered
  • Cetearyl glucoside
  • Choline chloride
  • Citric acid*
  • Citrus cloud emulsion (CCS)
  • Coco glycerides (cocoglycerides)
  • Confectioners sugar
  • Corn alcohol, corn gluten
  • Corn extract
  • Corn flour
  • Corn oil, corn oil margarine
  • Corn starch
  • Corn sweetener, corn sugar
  • Corn syrup, corn syrup solids
  • Corn, popcorn, cornmeal
  • Cornstarch, cornflour
  • Crosscarmellose sodium
  • Crystalline dextrose
  • Crystalline fructose
  • Cyclodextrin
  • DATUM (a dough conditioner)
  • Decyl glucoside
  • Decyl polyglucose
  • Dextrin
  • Dextrose (also found in IV solutions)
  • Dextrose anything (such as monohydrate or anhydrous)
  • d-Gluconic acid
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Drying agent
  • Erythorbic acid
  • Erythritol
  • Ethanol
  • Ethocel 20
  • Ethylcellulose
  • Ethylene
  • Ethyl acetate
  • Ethyl alcohol
  • Ethyl lactate
  • Ethyl maltol
  • Fibersol-2
  • Flavorings*
  • Food starch
  • Fructose*
  • Fruit juice concentrate*
  • Fumaric acid
  • Germ/germ meal
  • Gluconate
  • Gluconic acid
  • Glucono delta-lactone
  • Gluconolactone
  • Glucosamine
  • Glucose*
  • Glucose syrup* (also found in IV solutions)
  • Glutamate
  • Gluten
  • Gluten feed/meal
  • Glycerides
  • Glycerin*
  • Glycerol
  • Golden syrup
  • Grits
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Hominy
  • Honey*
  • Hydrolyzed corn
  • Hydrolyzed corn protein
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose
  • Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose pthalate (HPMCP)
  • Inositol
  • Invert syrup or sugar
  • Iodized salt
  • Lactate
  • Lactic acid*
  • Lauryl glucoside
  • Lecithin
  • Linoleic acid
  • Lysine
  • Magnesium fumarate
  • Maize
  • Malic acid
  • Malonic acid
  • Malt syrup from corn
  • Malt, malt extract
  • Maltitol
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maltol
  • Maltose
  • Mannitol
  • Methyl gluceth
  • Methyl glucose
  • Methyl glucoside
  • Methylcellulose
  • Microcrystaline cellulose
  • Modified cellulose gum
  • Modified corn starch
  • Modified food starch
  • Molasses* (corn syrup may be present; know your product)
  • Mono and di glycerides
  • Monosodium glutamate
  • MSG
  • Natural flavorings*
  • Olestra/Olean
  • Polenta
  • Polydextrose
  • Polylactic acid (PLA)
  • Polysorbates* (e.g. Polysorbate 80)
  • Polyvinyl acetate
  • Potassium citrate
  • Potassium fumarate
  • Potassium gluconate
  • Powdered sugar
  • Pregelatinized starch
  • Propionic acid
  • Propylene glycol*
  • Propylene glycol monostearate*
  • Saccharin
  • Salt (iodized salt)
  • Semolina (unless from wheat)
  • Simethicone
  • Sodium carboxymethylcellulose
  • Sodium citrate
  • Sodium erythorbate
  • Sodium fumarate
  • Sodium lactate
  • Sodium starch glycolate
  • Sodium stearoyl fumarate
  • Sorbate
  • Sorbic acid
  • Sorbitan
  • Sorbitan monooleate
  • Sorbitan tri-oleate
  • Sorbitol
  • Sorghum* (not all is bad; the syrup and/or grain CAN be mixed with corn)
  • Starch (any kind that’s not specified)
  • Stearic acid
  • Stearoyls
  • Sucrose
  • Sugar* (not identified as cane or beet)
  • Threonine
  • Tocopherol (vitamin E)
  • Treacle (aka golden syrup)
  • Triethyl citrate
  • Unmodified starch
  • Vanilla, natural flavoring
  • Vanilla, pure or extract
  • Vanillin
  • Vegetable anything that’s not specific*
  • Vinegar, distilled white
  • Vinyl acetate
  • Vitamin C* and Vitamin E*
  • Vitamins*
  • Xanthan gum
  • Xylitol
  • Yeast*
  • Zea mays
  • Zein

List taken from

OK, to be fair, not everything on this list always contains corn because some of these things can be made in different ways.  But corn is cheap and these things are often made from corn.  I know some people with corn allergies, and they have a really hard time finding stuff to eat.  People with MSG allergies also have to avoid these things because corn is high in glutamates and when you process it, it breaks down into MSG.  Although some are worse than others, and they can get away with eating some of them.  They CAN eat whole corn  (because it is not processed), how ironic is that?

That’s Milk? Step 1; learning about what we put in our mouths.

January 8, 2010

Last Friday I talked about my three steps for healthier eating.  Today I am going to talk about what it is that we are eating.  Most of those strange things that you see on the label of the foods you buy actually come from something you recognize.  Take milk for instance, it is in a lot more things than you would expect.  Here is a list of things that come from or contain milk:

Artificial butter flavor, butter fat, and butter oil
Casein and caseinates (in all forms)
Cheese flavor
Hydrolysates (casein, milk protein, protein, whey, whey protein)
Lactalbumin, lactalbumin phosphate, lactoglobulin, lactoferrin, lactulose
Rennet, rennet casein
Recaldent™, used in tooth-whitening chewing gums
Whey (in all forms)

Did you know that when you read Lactabumin on the label it means that there is some milk in the product? 

Let’s look at a list of ingredients.  Can you guess what this is?

Modified Food Starch, Sugar, Salt, Onion, Mushrooms, Garlic Powder Spices (Including Paprika and Parsley), Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Whey (From Milk), Natural Flavors (Contains Beef and Pork), Cheddar Cheese (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Torula Yeast, Citric Acid, Buttermilk, Non Fat Milk.

This is the list of ingredients from “Lawry’s Spaghetti Sauce Spice & Seasonings, Original Style, 1.5-Ounce Packets.”  Spaghetti sauce!  I don’t put milk in my spaghetti sauce, but I suppose that some people do, but do they use Whey?  Of course not, they would use real milk. (I will save how there are at least 6 forms of MSG in this packet for a later post.)  Hmmm, I make spaghetti sauce from tomatoes.  I don’t see any tomatoes on the list, maybe it is  in Natural Flavors?  Now this is a list from a powdered packet that you need to add water to, what about a jar of spaghetti sauce is it any better?

Ragu ingredients: tomato puree (water, tomato paste); soybean oil; high-fructose corn syrup; salt; dried onions; extra virgin olive oil; Romano cheese; spices; natural flavor. 

I think that this is better, it lists cheese and not just some component of milk.  It has real tomatoes (or at least tomato paste) in it.   This seems more like what you would make at home, but I bet that you wouldn’t use HFCS in your spaghetti sauce. 

How about a puzzle?  I will list some ingredients and you tell me what the product is.

granola (whole grain rolled oats, brown sugar, crisp rice [rice flour, sugar, salt, malted barley extract], whole grain rolled wheat, partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oils with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness and/or sunflower oil with natural tocopherol added to preserve freshness, dried coconut, whole wheat flour, sodium bicarbonate, soy lecithin, caramel color, nonfat dry milk), semisweet chocolate chips (sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla extract), crisp rice (rice, sugar, salt, barley malt), high fructose corn syrup, sugar, corn syrup solids, glycerin, partially hydrogenated soybean and/or cottonseed oil, sorbitol, calcium carbonate, salt, water, soy lecithin, molasses, natural and artificial flavors, BHT (a preservative), citric acid.

 I will post the answer next Friday.

3 Steps to Healthier Eating

January 1, 2010

This is the time of year when people think about making changes.  I have made a lot of changes in the way we eat in the last 10 years.  Some by choice, some because the kids just can’t handle some foods.  I’ve talked about these before but never posted them, so here are my 3 steps to eating healthier.

1. Read every label of every thing you buy.

This is an easy thing to do, just read what you are eating.  If the label takes too long to read, then don’t buy it.  Doing this will cut out the things with the most additives, but mostly it just gets you in the habit of being aware of what you are actually eating.  This step should last at least a month.

2. Don’t buy anything that contains High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) or Hydrogenated Oils.

This gives you a starting place.   It does not cut out every bad additive, but it will definitely reduce the additives in your diet.  Most prepared foods contain either HFCS or some kind of Hydrogenated Oil.   Sometimes all you have to do is change brands to get away from the HFCS or Hydrogenated Oils, but sometimes you have to learn to cook it yourself or do without.  This is a hard step and can take a long time to adjust to. 

3.  Don’t buy anything that contains any additive or preservative.

This step is a lot harder to define than the others, because it is almost impossible to get rid of all the additives and preservatives in our lives.    If you can reduce your additives and preservatives by 80%-90% you will be doing a great job.   The best way to complete this step is to focus on what you can eat and not on what you can’t.  You can eat any whole or fresh food.  The produce department just became your best friend.   The less processed foods, the better.

These are very broad steps, but they will help you reach a goal of eating a healthier diet based on whole foods.  Over the next few weeks, I will post more information about each step.  Look for healthy eating posts on Fridays.