Know What's in Your Food

Promoting awareness and change about the food we eat, and where it comes from.

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What Does “Natural” And “All Natural” Mean On A Food Label

Red Angus Cow

Photo credit: kmitschke

From the FDA webiste:

“From a food science perspective, it is difficult to define a food product that is ‘natural’ because the food has probably been processed and is no longer the product of the earth. That said, FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives. However, the agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.”

According to the USDA beef can be labeled as “All Natural” as long as it doesn’t contain artificial flavors, added colors or synthetic substances….after slaughter.  This means that the beef can be from cloned cows, or factory farm cows fed a diet of GMO’s, animal by-products, living in their own waste, and pumped full of antibiotics and hormones can still be considered, “All Natural” as long as it doesn’t take place after slaughter. They don’t have any requirements for the, “All Natural” claim prior to beef being slaughtered. That just doesn’t seem right, now does it?

PepsiCo just settled a class action lawsuit for its product, Naked Juice. Apparently, the product wasn’t so natural after all. In some cases it contained synthetic vitamins. Synthetic vitamins are made in chemical plants right along with plastics and other non-foods.  You can read about my post on synthetic vitamins here Not only did the juice contain synthetic vitamins, it also contained synthetic fiber. There is also the claim that  GMO’s were made to use the product. GMO’s are anything but natural.

nake juice protein zone mango juice all natural nake juice side panel naked juice ingredients

The label says “All Natural Fruit + Boost.” This label is  deceptive. It would be easy to believe it is an all natural product. The side panel shows what is in the boost artificial ingredients including synthetic vitamins.

Kashi (Parent company Kellogg’s) is also under fire for its claim of “all natural”  on its products. The lawsuit against Kashi is still in process.

I found these two questionable products on a quick trip the grocery store this evening.

Kraft sharp cheddar cheese natural ingredients for kraft sharp natural cheese

After seeing what you might expect to see in cheese there is also:

Added color from Annatto, potato starch, cellulose powder, calcium sulfate, natamycin.

Why is starch in any form in cheese? Cellulose powder is made from wood pulp, natamycin is an antifungal agent possibly coming from GMO’s. Calcium sulfate is a coagulant it can be from natural or synthetic sources.

promise land milk promise land milk ingredient

Contains: Milk, Sugar, Cocoa Processed with alkali. They used the word processed right on the ingredient label.

Corn starch another form of possible  GMO’s.

Carrageenan: has been linked to cancer.

Salt : Yuck…just what you want in chocolate milk, salt.

Dextrose: Another form of sugar derived from corn. Another possible form of GMO’s. 88% of all corn in the U.S. is genetically modified, according to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications report.

All natural doesn’t always mean what we think it should. The FDA is apparently soft when it comes to enforcing the weak guidelines it has put into place. It is up to us to read the labels and Know what’s in our food.

Sources : Natural Grocers, FDA, USDA, Live Strong, Organic Consumers Association


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How To Know What Produce Is In Season

When you are shopping at the store, take a look around and see how many fruits and vegetables are there for sale that are not in season. Most of the time these unseasonal fruits and vegetables are shipped in from far away places. Vitamins get lost in the process and the shipping is taxing on the environment.

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The Truth About Food Additives

It is amazing how much extra “stuff” food makers will put into “food” just to make it taste good. What’s wrong with just real food?


Synthetic Vitamins, Do You Really Need Them?

Viatmins on store shelf

I grew up on the carcinogen coast line around Freeport, Texas. The area was filled (and still is) with miles and miles of chemical plants. The air was often foul-smelling,  and you could often see controlled flames burning high in the sky from chemical plants. Many times when I would get ready to go to school in the morning, my parents would have to take a vinegar and water solution to wash off a relentless sticky film from the car windshield. I often wondered what they made in these chemical plants. I had heard rumors of things like napalm, agent orange and other dangerous chemicals. The chemical plants were, unfortunately, a way of life. They were like a giant elephant in the town that nobody wanted to talk about. Their vast metal drums and smoke-filled towers stretched over several towns. Most people didn’t talk about what was made in the chemical plants, and if they did, they would just complain that Dow or BASF was up to something again as they scrubbed their car windshields.  As a kid, I never felt comfortable about the chemical plants. I saw them as an environmental danger, even though I didn’t know to what extent. Several times hundreds of fish would wash up on the shores of the beach. Fish would wash up on the shore, the EPA would come out and test, and claim that everything was fine. I wasn’t buying it…..

English: Dow_Chemical_(Terneuzen), seen from t...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently I read the book, Pandora’s Lunch Box. My heart skipped a beat when I read about vitamins being made a chemical plant in Freeport, Texas. Vitamins? Really? Fortunately, I have never been a big synthetic vitamin consumer. I was glad after doing a little research. I was amazed to see how many vitamins are made from chemical basis.  Here are a few of the most common vitamins.

Vitamin A-  Made from benezene, menthanol, petroleum esters, refined oils. 

Synthetic form of vitamin A- Acetate or Palmitate

Vitamin B-1 -Made from coal-tar derivatives, acetonitrole with ammonia, hydrochloric acid

Synthetic form of vitamin B-1 – Thiamine mononitrate,  Thiamine Hydrochloride

Vitamin B-6- Made from Petroleum ester and hydrochloric acid with formaldehyde

Synthetic form of vitamin B-6- Pyridoxine Hydrochloride

Vitamin B-12 cobalamins reacted with cyanide

Synthetic form of vitamin B-12- Cobalamin

Vitamin C – Hydrogenated sugar processed with acetone

Synthetic form of vitamin C- Ascobric Acid

Vitamin D- Irradiated animal fat/ cattle brains

Synthetic form of vitamin D- Irradiated Ergoesteral, Calciferol

Vitamin E- Trimethylhydroquinone with isophytol

Synthetic form of vitamin E- dl-alpha tocopherol, dl-alpha tocopherol acetate or succinate

Some of these chemicals are made from chemical companies like BASF and Dow. I reviewed the BASF website here to see how they portray the vitamins they make. I think their heading says it all,” BASF- The Chemical Company”. In addition to vitamins here are some of the things, according to the BASF website, that they make in addition to vitamins:

“• Acrylic monomers: Acrylic acid and acrylic acid esters are used to produce surface coating raw materials and plastics such as paints and coatings, textiles, adhesives, nonwoven materials, polishes and waxes, caulks and sealant. Acrylic acid is also a key raw
material in the production of super absorbent polymers, which are used in diapers and
made in Freeport.
• Caprolactam: Cyclohexanone and hydroxylamine are produced as raw materials for
caprolactam, a precursor for Nylon-6. Some cyclohexanone is sold for use in such areas
as solvents in producing magnetic recording media and for use in industrial coatings. Most
of the Freeport production is used by the polycaprolactam plant to produce Nylon-6.
Ammonium sulfate is produced as a by-product and is sold for use in fertilizer.
• Polycaprolactam: The group produces Nylon-6 polymer resins, which are used in many
products such as carpet, apparel, food wrap and automotive products. Polycaprolactam is
also used in the plastics industry in film and monofilaments.
• Oxo Alcohol/Polyalcohols Group: Butanols, 2-Ethylhexanol, neopentyl-glycol,
caprolactone and 1,6 hexanediol (HDO®) are produced by this group. The products are
used as solvents and as intermediate chemicals by other companies in products such as
wood finishes, PVC siding, oils, plastic coatings and herbicides. Diols are used as an
intermediate for a variety of polymeric systems, such as producing polyesters for
polyurethane elastomers, surface coatings adhesives and plasticizers.”

This is just gross  “healthy vitamins” are made right along side the chemical products. On their website they portray a lot of modern technology and healthy pictures, but they don’t show you the chemical plants as they really are. They are vile, repulsive, mega polluters.  Vitamins that BASF doesn’t produce , usually come from China. ..even more questionable. 😦

I found these in the store today. Most of the vitamins I looked at were from a synthetic source.

synthetic vitamin c Synthetic vitamin C side pannel

This is one of many bottles of synthetic vitamin C that I found today. Ascorbic Acid is the synthetic source of the vitamin C in this product.

This is what Dr. Mercola says about the origin of vitamins. The Seattle Times June 3, 2007 :

“Dr. Mercola’s Comment:

Almost all vitamin C sold in the United States is from China. They also produce 50 percent of the world’s aspirin and 35 percent of all Tylenol. Since the United States does not require country-of-origin labels for any of our drugs, foods or supplements, there is no telling where that vitamin you are taking came from.

The industry in China appears to be split between top-notch operations and bottom-of-the-barrel producers, with no way for a consumer to easily tell which produced a given product. China also suffers from the same regulatory conflict of interest that we are seeing here in the United States.

Remember that while supplements can sometimes be helpful, your best bet will always be to try to get the majority of your vitamins and minerals from the food you eat. You can’t “make up” for a poor diet by simply adding vitamin supplements.

Remember it is your total lifestyle, not a “magic” supplement, that will help you achieve optimal health. Relying exclusively on supplements is a typical allopathic approach. If you don’t understand that then please watch the video I created, The Town of Allopath.

Processed foods are sorely lacking in nutrients, but eating plenty of raw organic foods, farmed locally (or as nearby as possible), can supply you with most of the vital nutrients that you need.”

From the book :Vitamin Myth Exposed
By: Brian Clement, Ph.D., N.M.D.

“Most vitamin companies compete for customers with identical synthetic vitamin products made from compounds produced by the same few drug manufacturers. The vitamin companies differentiate their products with different names and fancy labels, each making claims of “high potency”. But the higher the potency of the synthetic vitamin or nutrient, the more likely it is to exhibit drug-like, toxic effects, the stress of which can actually lead to disease.

The majority of vitamin companies also purposely mislead the consumer by taking advantage of loopholes in labeling laws. The truth is that the vitamin potencies for most supplements are derived from synthetic vitamins.

Consumers are fooled by the vitamin label claims and believe that the vitamin and nutrient potencies are derived from a natural source. You can avoid this trap by carefully examining the label. Look for the phrase “naturally occurring.” If the label does not say “naturally occurring” and also name the food source of the potency, then be aware that the supplement may contain synthetic vitamins or nutrients.”

I found these as well. Although they do not say, ” naturally occurring” they are the only ones I found in the store that were organic, non gmo, and from “100% Whole food complex.”  The box says it  derives the entire vitamin C from Mother Nature. This product looks convincing, however, I am still not convinced about its safety and origin. According to the Natural News, foods that come from China can contain the USDA organic seal. When it comes to organic foods grown in China, there is very little regulation on organics. The farmer must not use herbicides or pesticides, but it is acceptable if they use water from polluted rivers. There is no testing or limitations on how much heavy metals or PCB’s, BPA, or other synthetic chemicals can be contained in organic foods that carry the USDA organic seal.

Alive vitamins Alive Vitamins side pannel Alive Vitamins other side pannel Alive Vitamins Back Pannel

I think I will  play it safe and skip the synthetic cesspool. I will be obtaining my vitamins from natural whole foods.

Sources: Doctors Research, Pandora’s Lunch Box, Organic Consumers Association, Dr. Mercola, Natural News

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Seeds of Death Documentary

English: Brown Flax Seeds. Français : Graines ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Watch the intense and informative documentary Seeds of Death

You will see leading scientist and activist talk about the dangers of GMO.

Some include:

Vandana Shiva Ph.D physicist

Shiv Chopra Ph.D Microbiology, Human Rights Activist

Andrew Kimbril- Environmental Attorney

Jeffery Smith- Author

Mike Adams- Food Activist

Don Lotter Ph.D. Agroecology

You will hear author, Jeffery Smith, tell how Monsanto found a bacteria surviving in a chemical waste dump that contained their product Round Up. Monsanto used the genes from the bacteria that were able to survive Round Up in to seeds.  You will learn about how biotech companies cover their tracks. You will understand how GMO consumption can affect fertility, and how new research is out to show that GMO’s can cause large tumors in rats that would equate to breast cancer for women and kidney cancer for men.

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Sweetly Savory Tarragon Chicken Salad With Dried Cranberries

Sweetly Savory Tarragon Chicken Salad with Dried Cranberries

My husband modified this recipe a little from the cozy apron.


2 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked, cooled and diced small.

1/4 cup real mayonnaise

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1 1/2 Tbs of fresh tarragon leaves

1 tsp honey

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp lemon juice

1/4 tsp salt

pinch of black pepper

pinch of cinnamon

2 cups of baby arugula

4 bread buns of your choice


Combine the cooked and cooled, diced chicken breasts with the remainder of the ingredients through the ground cinnamon in a large bowl, and mix thoroughly to incorporate well.  spread baby arugula leaves to the bottom half of each bread bun. Add  the Chicken Salad over the greens and serve cold.

This is a favorite in our home. We always try to use organic ingredients whenever possible.