Take a moment to think with me about how life is right now. We walk around daily with this “extra caution” about the spread of COVID-19, especially after seeing so many friends and loved ones suffer and even die from this terrible virus; but what about those who also catch COVID, yet end up asymptomatic or experience only minor symptoms?

Some think it’s because of the drastic caution people take entering all stores and hospitals with a high-grade mask, gloves on, and antimicrobial in hand, but others think it goes deeper than that. 

Are you familiar with the germ theory vs. the terrain theory? The germ theory is the belief bad germs cause illness and disease and they must be eliminated to stay healthy, while the terrain theory revolves around the body’s immune system. It is the belief that bad germs can’t cause any harm unless the body is in a poor health state making it susceptible to harm.

Although staying healthy may require a combination of both, I think we can agree a strong immune system alone, will help ward off a significant number of illnesses and diseases. With that said, what if I told you ingredients in common foods, beauty products, and household items may be taking a toll on your digestive system, immunity, and overall health, increasing your susceptibility to falling ill to nasty germs headed your way?

Your food and/or product choices may be exacerbating skin issues, creating hormone imbalances, autoimmunity and inducing GI issues like bloating, inflammation, and even IBS. There are a variety of ingredients and products that are irritants, disruptors of normal bodily functions, and are cancer-promoting that truly warrant the same fear and actions of caution that steering clear of the virus does. Fortunately, doing so is rather simple – do your research, read your labels and ingredient lists, and choose organic and clean foods and products whenever possible! In light of the virus and uncertainty of life, you can take control over what you put into your body and it is never too late to start making healthier and safer choices for your health. 

So, let’s break this down: Food. Skin Care Products. Household Products. This blog is just focused on food, but don’t worry – stay tuned for the other 2!   

Food choices: we know in general which types of foods aren’t the healthiest and shopping the perimeter typically provides the healthiest options, but we still get pulled into the middle aisles for something – bread, cereal, processed boxed, canned, or frozen foods, etc. 

While you shop, you may compare labels by looking at the calorie, carbohydrate, or fiber content, but are you also spending a minute to look at the ingredient list? If so, have you wondered what the ingredients really are that you can’t pronounce or sound weird? Have you taken a step further to whip out your phone and look them up? … Most likely not – we are busy-bees and typically run around the store to grab what we need and get out! So, here’s a few to catch your attention. This list is nowhere near complete and it’s important to check every food label! You will notice I highlighted ingredients to avoid even in healthier food options, but choosing those healthier (although not THE BEST) convenience foods still makes a difference to your health!

 Sodium Nitrates and Nitrites

  • What they are/used for: chemical compounds used to preserve color, flavor, and extend shelf-life.
  • Can be found in: processed meats (deli meats, hot dogs, bacon, etc.)
  • Health concerns: are linked to almost 15,000 cancer cases annually per Consumer Reports, particularly esophageal and stomach cancers according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
  • Safer alternatives: “preservative-free” and “uncured” are your safer options, but may still contain nitrates that naturally occur in celery powder. Fresh meats are your safest option as nitrates and nitrites are not allowed to be added, but some meats still naturally contain a small amount.

Instead of these…

Archer Farms Applewood Thick Cut Bacon

Ingredients: Water, Salt, Sugar, Sodium Phosphates, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite.

Oscar Mayer Turkey Bacon

Ingredients: Turkey, Sugar, Salt, Contains Less Than 2% Of Potassium Lactate, Water, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Diacetate, Sodium Phosphates, Smoke Flavor, Sodium Ascorbate, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Sodium Nitrite, Soy Lecithin.

Hillshire Farm Beef Smoked Sausage Links

Ingredients: Beef, Water, Corn Syrup, Contains 2% or less: Dextrose, Dried Beef Broth, Natural Flavor, Salt, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite, Sodium Phosphates, Spice. Made with Beef Collagen Casing.

Sam’s Club Brand Beef Franks

Ingredients: Beef, Water, With 2% Or Less Of The Following: Salt, Sugar, Spices Including Paprika, Corn Syrup, Hydrolyzed Corn Protein, Safflower Oil, Dextrose, Natural Flavorings, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Phosphates, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrate.

Try these better alternatives…

Naked Bacon

Ingredients: Pork, Water, Sea Salt, Spices.

Applegate Uncured Turkey Bacon

Ingredients: Turkey, Water. Contains Less Than 2% Of The Following: Sea Salt, Celery Powder, Onion Powder, Spices [Cayenne Pepper].

Grass Roots Farmers’ Cooperative Italian Sausage Links

Ingredients: Salt, sugar, pepper (black, red, white), fennel seed, anise seed, garlic, onion powder, oregano, rosemary, dill, and sage.

Bilinski’s Mild Italian Chicken Sausage

Ingredients: Skinless chicken*, water, red and green dried peppers*, sea salt, paprika*, fennel seed*, black pepper*, onions*  … * Organic.

*ANYTHING Artificial: this should be a red flag right off the bat because “artificial” definitely means not made from any food source!

– Artificial Flavoring & Coloring

  • What are they/used for: synthetically made chemicals used to enhance or improve the flavor and color of foods.
  • Identifying artificial ingredients on a label is typically obvious like artificial flavors, blue, red, and yellow dyes, caramel color, but ingredients like annatto may pass your radar, so do a quick check with EWG to look up ingredients you’re not familiar with to be on the safe side!
  • Can be found in: processed box or canned foods, processed meats, pre-made baked goods, frosting, pie fillings, candy, popsicles, ice cream, yogurt, gum, soft drinks, sports drinks, flavored coffee drinks, and powder or liquid drink mixes (alcoholic & non-alcoholic).
  • Health concerns: have been linked to GI sensitivities and hyperactivity in children, may increase your risk of developing certain kinds of tumors, and can also dampen your normal functioning immune system in a variety of ways. Read more about artificial flavoring, coloring, and sweeteners here.

 

Instead of these…

 

Dannon Light & Fit Vanilla Flavored Greek Yogurt

Ingredients: Cultured Grade A Nonfat Milk, Water, Fructose, Contains Less Than 1% Of Modified Corn Starch, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Sucralose, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate (To Maintain Freshness), Acesulfame Potassium, Sodium Citrate.

 

Coffee mate Coconut Créme Coffee Creamer

Ingredients: Water, Sugar, Vegetable Oil (High Oleic Soybean and/or High Oleic Canola), and Less than 2% of Micellar Casein (a Milk Derivative)**, Mono- and Diglycerides, Dipotassium Phosphate, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Cellulose Gel, Cellulose Gum, Carrageenan. **Not a source of lactose.

 

Popsicle Orange Cherry Grape Variety

Ingredients: Orange Pop [Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Sugar, Less Than 1% Of: Malic Acid, Citric Acid, Guar Gum, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Gum Arabic, Locust Bean Gum, Yellow 6, Natural Flavor], Cherry Pop [Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Sugar, Less Than 1% Of: Malic Acid, Citric Acid, Guar Gum, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Red 40, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Locust Bean Gum, Cherry Juice Concentrate], Grape Pop [Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Sugar, Less Than 1% Of: Beet Juice Concentrate, Malic Acid, Citric Acid, Guar Gum, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Grape Juice Concentrate, Natural Flavor, Locust Bean Gum, Red 3, Blue 1, Yellow 6].

 

Coca-Cola Zero

Ingredients: Carbonated Water, Caramel Color, Phosphoric Acid, Aspartame, Potassium Benzoate (To Protect Taste), Natural Flavors, Potassium Citrate, Acesulfame Potassium, Caffeine.

 

Try these better alternatives…

 

Two Good Vanilla Greek Yogurt

Ingredients: Cultured Reduced Fat Milk, Water, Less Than 1%: of Tapioca Starch, Natural Flavors, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Gellan Gum, Stevia Leaf Reb M, Fruit and Vegetable Juice Concentrate (For Color), Sea Salt, Active Yogurt Cultures L. bulgaricus & S. thermophilus.

 

Native Forest Unsweetened Organic Coconut Cream

Ingredients: Organic Coconut Cream (Organic Coconut, Filtered Water, Organic Guar Gum).

 

DeeBees Organic Superfruit Freezies

Ingredients: 

Blueberry Pomegranate: Organic apple juice (water, apple juice concentrate), Organic white grape juice (water, white grape juice concentrate), Organic blueberry puree, Organic pomegranate juice (water, pomegranate juice concentrate), Organic guar gum, Organic berry flavor.

Mango Orange: Organic apple juice (water, apple juice concentrate), Organic white grape juice (water, white grape juice concentrate), Organic orange juice (water, orange juice concentrate), Organic mango puree, Organic guar gum, Organic mango flavor.

Strawberry Lemon: Organic white grape juice (water, white grape juice concentrate), Organic apple juice (water, apple juice concentrate), Organic strawberry puree, Organic lemon juice (water, lemon juice concentrate), Organic guar gum, Organic strawberry flavor.

 

Zevia Cola

Ingredients: Carbonated Water, Stevia Leaf Extract, Tartaric Acid, Natural Flavors, Caffeine, Citric Acid.

 

– Artificial Sweeteners

  • What are they/used for: synthetically made chemicals used to sweeten foods without added calories such as aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, saccharin, sucralose, etc.
  • Can be found in: soft drinks, powder or liquid drink mixes, jams/jellies, pudding, desserts, baked goods, candy, some dairy products, and any types of foods or beverages labeled “sugar-free” or “reduced sugar.” 
  • Health concerns: have been found to increase cravings for sweet/sugary foods, alter good bacteria in the gut, promote weight gain, induce migraines, and increase the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, Type 2 Diabetes, and even heart disease.

 

Some Options To Try (that are also Erythritol-free)…

 

NatriSweet Monk Fruit Extract

Ingredients: Lo Han Guo (Monk Fruit) Extract.

 

Smart 138 Monk Drops

Ingredients: Monk Fruit Extract.

 

Microingredients Organic Stevia Powder

Ingredients: Organic Stevia Powder.

 

now Organic Maple Syrup (Grade A)

Ingredients: Organic Maple Syrup (Grade A Dark Color, Robust Taste).

 

Zint Organic Yacon Syrup Prebiotic Sweetener

Ingredients: Organic Yacon Syrup – Certified Organic by CCOF.

 

Thrive Market Organic Coconut Sugar

Ingredients: Organic Coconut Sugar.

 

Nature Nate’s Organic, Raw, & Unfiltered Honey

Ingredients: Organic Honey.

*Side note: raw & unfiltered local honey is best if you can find a source in your area! Local honey contains trace amounts of pollen from plants in your area that are the same plants which cause seasonal allergies. The common thought is consuming local honey helps desensitize you from those allergy-promoting plants.

Carrageenan 

 

  • What it is/used for: a component extracted from Irish moss (red seaweed) used as a thickener, emulsifier, and preservative.
  • Can be found in: a variety of dairy and dairy-free products, vegan-friendly processed foods, processed meats, supplements. Unfortunately, this is a sneaky ingredient! According to the Institute of Cornucopia, products may still contain carrageenan, but not be listed on the ingredients label if it was used as a ‘processing aid.’ 
  • Health concerns: you would think a plant-based additive would do harm, but this particular one has the potential to cause bloating and inflammation in the gut, cause GI disorders, and has been linked to colon cancer in animal studies.

 

Instead of these…

*if you can’t pronounce it, don’t put it in your body

Olympic Organic Sour Cream

Ingredients: Organic milk from grassfed cows, Organic cream, Skim milk powder, Milk proteins, Organic tapioca starch, Active bacterial culture, Carrageenan, Guar gum, Locust bean gum.

 

Almond Dream Unsweetened Almond Drink

Ingredients: Almond Base (Filtered Water, Almonds), Sunflower Lecithin, Tapioca Starch, Tricalcium phosphate, Carrageenan, Sea Salt, Gellan Gum, Natural Flavors, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin E (D-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate), Vitamin D2, Vitamin B12.

 

Fudgsicle No Sugar Added Original Fudge Pops

Ingredients: Nonfat Milk, Maltodextrin, Sorbitol, Polydextrose, Cocoa Processed With Alkali, Whey, Palm Oil, Less Than 1% Of: Tricalcium Phosphate, Cellulose Gel, Mono And Diglycerides, Cellulose Gum, Malted Barley Extract, Salt, Guar Gum, Aspartame*, Polysorbate 80, Acesulfame Potassium, Polysorbate 65, Citric Acid, Carrageenan, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Locust Bean Gum, Caramel Color. 

 

Try these better alternatives…

 

Horizon Organic Sour Cream

Ingredients: Cultured Pasteurized Organic Cream, Microbial Enzymes.

 

Malk

Ingredients: Filtered Water, Organic Sprouted Almonds, Himalayan Salt.

 

Laird Superfood Creamer

Ingredients: Coconut Milk Powder, Organic Coconut Sugar, Aquamin (Calcium From Marine Algae), Mushroom Extracts (Chaga, Lion’s Mane, Maitake, Cordyceps), Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil.

 

Alden’s Organic Fudge Bar

Ingredients: Milk*, Cream*, Cane Sugar*, Cocoa* (Processed With Alkali), Guar Gum*, Vanilla Extract*, Locust Bean Gum* … *Organic.

 

BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole)

  • What it is/used for: an antioxidant used to preserve fat-containing foods. When fatty or oily foods are treated with BHA, BHA attacks free radicals (created by oxygen coming in contact with the fat content) to keep the food from going rancid too quickly.
  • Can be found in: pizza, processed meats like pepperoni or sausage, baked goods, soups, desserts, snack foods like chips and nut mixes, vegetable oils, lard, butter, dehydrated potatoes, cereals.
  • Health concerns: although believed to be safe and anticarcinogenic in the low doses used in foods, the National Institutes of Health think it’s reasonable to suspect otherwise. In animal studies, BHA was found to cause cancer in a particular organ called the forestomach. Since we don’t have that organ, it’s considered safe… yet the European Union has labeled BHA as an “endocrine disruptor” because animal study results are consistently showing BHA is harmful. With that said, it’s not far-fetched to believe BHA has the potential to cause thyroid issues, interfere with healthy reproduction, or even alter normal immune and nervous system function in humans.

 

Instead of these…

*if you can’t pronounce it, don’t put it in your body

Freschetta Pepperoni Pizza

Ingredients: Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Low Moisture Part Skim Mozzarella And Parmesan Cheeses (Cultured Pasteurized Part Skim Milk, Salt, Enzymes), Tomato Paste, Pepperoni Made With Pork, Chicken And Beef (Pork, Mechanically Separated Chicken, Beef, Salt, Contains 2% Or Less Of: Water, Dextrose, Spices, Smoke Flavoring, Lactic Acid Starter Culture, Sodium Ascorbate, Flavoring, Garlic Powder, Sodium Nitrite, Bha, Bht, Citric Acid, Contains One Or More Of: Paprika, Oleoresin Of Paprika), Provolone Cheese (Cultured Pasteurized Milk, Salt, Enzymes), Yeast, Contains 2% Or Less Of: Vegetable Oil (Palm, Soybean, Olive And/Or Canola Oil), Yellow Cornmeal, Sugar, Salt, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Sea Salt, Spice, Datem, Wheat Gluten, Dextrose, Guar Gum, Dried Garlic, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavor, Ascorbic Acid (Dough Conditioner), Wheat Starch, Enzymes.

 

Campbell’s Chunky Minestrone Italian Sausage Soup

Ingredients: Chicken Stock, Water, Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), Carrots, Italian Sausage (Pork, Salt, Spice, Bha/Bht And Citric Acid To Preserve Flavor), Potatoes, Italian Sausage (Pork, Seasoning [Spice, Salt, Garlic Powder], Water, Salt), Diced Tomatoes In Tomato Juice, Pasta (Wheat Flour, Egg Whites), Kidney Beans, Celery, Green Beans, Peas, Contains Less Than 2% Of: Potato Starch, Spinach, Dehydrated Onions, Salt, Sugar, Dehydrated Garlic, Spices, Dehydrated Chicken Broth, Potato Flour, Flavoring, Yeast Extract, Onions, Chicken Fat, Carrot Powder.

 

Essential Everyday Butter Instant Grits

Ingredients: White Corn Grits, Maltodextrin, Dried Margarine (vegetable Oil, Nonfat Milk, Artificial Color, Whey, Sodium Silicoaluminate, Sodium Caseinate, Mono- And Diglycerides, Artificial Flavor, Soy Lecithin), Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Silicon Dioxide, Soy Lecithin, Color Added (turmeric And Beta Carotene), Ferric Phosphate, Niacinamide, Bha (as A Preservative), Riboflavin, Thiamin Mononitrate, Natural Flavor, Folic Acid.

 

Try these better alternatives…

Some are better but not best.  Try making your own instead!

 

Caulipower Italian Sausage & Vegetable

Ingredients: Crust (Cauliflower, Brown Rice Flour, Corn Starch, Water, Tapioca Starch, Sunflower Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Yeast, Xanthan Gum,Egg Powder, Baking Powder [Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Corn Starch, Monocalcium Phosphate], Sea Salt, Red Wine Vinegar, Sugar), Sauce (Tomatoes [Tomatoes, Tomato Juice, Citric Acid], Salt, Dried Oregano), Low Moisture Part Skim Mozzarella Cheese (Pasteurized Part Skim Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), All Natural Cooked Spicy Italian Sausage With Garlic (Pork, Spices, Salt, Water, Sugar, Paprika, Dried Garlic, Natural Flavoring), Red Bell Pepper, Red Onion.

 

Sprague Organic Tuscany-Style Minestrone Soup

Ingredients: Water, Tomatoes*, Tomato paste*, Carrots*, Onions*, Potatoes*, Red peppers*, Green peas*, Green beans*, Brown rice*, Chickpeas*, Celery*, Zucchini*, Romano beans*, White kidney beans*, Red lentils*, Amaranth*, Brown sugar*, Olive oil*, Sea salt, Onion powder*, Spinach*, Kale*, Concentrated lemon juice*, Spices*, Basil*, Yeast extract, Granulated garlic* … *Organic Certified Organic by Pro-Cert.

 

Bob’s Red Mill Yellow Corn Grits

 

Ingredients: Corn.

 

– BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene)

  • What it is/used for: an antioxidant cousin to BHA that also attacks free radicals (created by oxygen coming in contact with the fat content) in fat-containing foods to keep them from going rancid too quickly. Thankfully BHT doesn’t have as bad of a reputation as BHA, but it’s still not good. 
  • Can be found in: cereal, baked goods, processed meats, chips, dehydrated foods, snack foods, gum.
  • Health concerns: The harmful effects of BHT are much less conclusive, but because there is a small amount of research linking it to cancer in animal studies, the World Health Organization doesn’t recognize it as safe. BHT still has the potential to be an “endocrine disruptor” and some research has also found it to cause allergic skin reactions. Furthermore, BHT may also interfere with gut-brain signaling for appetite, promoting overeating.

 

Instead of these…

*if you can’t pronounce it, don’t put it in your body

Kellogg’s Original Frosted Mini Wheats

Ingredients: Whole Grain Wheat, Sugar, Contains 2% Or Less Of Brown Rice Syrup, Gelatin, Bht For Freshness, Vitamins And Minerals: Reduced Iron, Folic Acid.

 

Town House Flatbread Crisps

Ingredients: Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Vitamin B1 [Thiamin Mononitrate], Vitamin B2 [Riboflavin], Folic Acid), Soybean Oil (With Tbhq For Freshness), Rice Flour, Whole Wheat Flour, Whole Wheat, Sugar, Contains 2% Or Less Of Salt, Honey, Sea Salt, Yeast, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Olive Oil, Whey, Bht For Freshness, Natural Flavor, Soy Lecithin.

 

Traditional Chex Mix

Ingredients: Whole Wheat, Degermed Yellow Corn Meal, Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Vegetable Oil (Soybean, Rice Bran And/Or Canola), Sugar, Rye Flour. Contains 2 % Or Less Of: Salt, Maltodextrin, Yeast, Spices, Color Added, Dextrose, Distilled Monoglycerides, Baking Soda, Yellow Corn Flour, Trisodium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Autolyzed Yeast, Dried Onion, Dried Garlic, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Barley Malt Syrup, Fumaric Acid, Citric Acid, Caraway, Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate, Natural Flavor, Sodium Diacetate, Freshness Preserved By Bht.

 

Original Trident Gum

Ingredients: Sorbitol, Gum Base, Xylitol, Glycerin, Natural And Artificial Flavor; Less Than 2% Of: Acesulfame Potassium, Aspartame, Bht (To Maintain Freshness), Mannitol, Soy Lecithin, Sucralose.

 

Try these better alternatives…

 

Kashi Whole Wheat Cinnamon Harvest

Ingredients: Whole Grain Wheat*, Cane Sugar*, Cinnamon*, Natural Flavor … *Organic.

 

Simple Mills Sea Salt Crackers

Ingredients: Nut & Seed Flour Blend (Almonds, Sunflower Seeds, Flax Seeds) Tapioca Starch, Cassava Flour, Organic Sunflower Oil, Sea Salt, Organic Onion, Organic Garlic, Rosemary Extract (For Freshness).

 

Thrive Market Savory Paleo Snack Mix

Ingredients: Banana Chips (Bananas, Coconut Oil), Cashews, Pecans, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Organic Coconut Aminos (Organic Coconut Nectar, Organic Coconut Sap, Sea Salt), Sea Salt, Olive Oil, Paprika, Turmeric, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder.

 

PUR Peppermint Gum

Ingredients: Xylitol, Gum Base, Gum Arabic, Natural Flavors, Carnauba Wax, Tocopherols.

*side note: chewing gum activates your digestive juices and can mess with the resting state of digestion so it is good to give your digestion a break and not always have a piece of gum in your mouth. 

 

Sodium & Potassium Benzoate

  • What they are/used for: common antimicrobial preservatives used to prevent mold, bacteria, and yeast growth in mainly acidic carbonated beverages, foods, and condiments.
  • Can be found in: fermented foods like olives, pickles, vinegar, and wine, fruit juices, apple cider, soft drinks, salad dressings, sauces, syrups, jams.
  • Health concerns: when either type of benzoate is combined with erythorbic acid/d-ascorbic acid OR Vitamin C/ascorbic acid + light + heat, it produces benzene (a volatile, carcinogenic liquid = 100% causes cancer). If you click the benzene link, you’ll find the FDA is well aware of the harmful combination… yet the combo is not banned. Although it may be very unlikely for the exact conditions to occur to create benzene, the fact that it can, warrants significant concern. 
  • Safer alternatives: avoid all beverages that contain the combinations mentioned above – you never know if the products were previously exposed to light and heat between manufacturing and transportation. 

 

Enriched Flour & Bleached Flour

  • What it is/used for: whole wheat flour that’s highly processed, stripped of its true nutritional value (phytochemicals, antioxidants, B Vitamins, fiber), and is usually treated with a variety of chemicals (including bleach – yes “bleached flour” is termed that for a reason) that you won’t know about. Although these types of flour provide a mild flavor, smoother texture, and a longer shelf-life compared to whole wheat flour, is it truly worth your health using?
  • Can be found in: white refined grains like the standard all-purpose flour, white & most multi-grain breads and rolls, cereals, cake, pretzels, donuts, brownies, pie crust, pasta, pizza.
  • Health concerns: spikes blood sugar and blood pressure, can promote weight gain and insulin resistance leading to Type 2 Diabetes, and may increase the risk of developing cancer.
  • I only list flour choices below because when it comes to reading the food label, it’s simple – limit or avoid foods that contain enriched and/or bleached flour.

 

Some options to try…

 

King Arthur Organic Whole Wheat Flour

Ingredients: Certified 100% Organic Hard Red Whole Wheat Flour.

 

Great River Organic Dark Rye Flour

Ingredients: Organic Whole Grain Rye.

 

Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free Flour

Ingredients: Sweet White Rice Flour, Whole Grain Brown Rice Flour, Potato Starch, Whole Grain Sorghum Flour, Tapioca Flour, and Xanthan Gum.

 

King Arthur Grain-Free Paleo Baking Flour

Ingredients: Blanched Almonds, Cassava Flour, Organic Coconut Flour.

 

Thrive Market Super Fine Almond Flour

Ingredients: Almond Flour.

 

Bob’s Red Mill Chickpea Flour

Ingredients: Garbanzo Beans.

 

– Gums (Guar, Gellan, Locust Bean, Xanthan)

  • What it is/used for: thickeners either produced by bacterial fermentation or derived from a bean or seed.
  • Can be found in: dairy and dairy-free products, sugar-free products, gluten-free and vegan-friendly canned and processed foods.
  • Health concerns: GI discomfort, bloating, gas, diarrhea – although these symptoms are on the mild side compared to the health concerns for other ingredients I discuss, they’re still not desirable to experience and changing up some food choices could make a huge impact! Unfortunately, gums are a common thickener in foods, even organic ones.

 

Instead of these…

*if you can’t pronounce it, don’t put it in your body

Halo Top Oatmeal Cookie

Ingredients: Skim Milk, Eggs, Milk Protein Concentrate, Cream, Erythritol, Organic Cane Sugar, Soluble Corn Fiber, Vegetable Glycerin, Whey Protein Concentrate, Rolled Oats, Acacia Gum, Sea Salt, Natural Flavor, Cinnamon, Organic Carob Gum, Organic Guar Gum, Organic Stevia Leaf Extract.

 

Good & Gather Low Fat Cottage Cheese

Ingredients: Cultured Pasteurized Grade A Nonfat Milk, Cream, Whey, Salt, Maltodextrin, Citric Acid, Lactic Acid, Phosphoric Acid, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Modified Corn Starch, Carob Bean Gum, Vitamin A Palmitate, Enzyme.

 

Thomas Plain Bagels

Ingredients: Enriched Wheat Flour [Flour Malted Barley Flour, Reduce Iron, Niacin, Thiamin Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid], Water, Sugar, Yeast, Wheat Gluten, Salt, Cornmeal, Calcium Propionate And Sorbic Acid (To Preserve Freshness), Monoglycerides, Cellulose Gum, Citric Acid, Xanthan Gum, Soy Lecithin.

 

Guerrero Gluten-Free White Corn Tortillas

Ingredients: Corn Masa Flour, Water, Cellulose Gum, Propionic Acid (To Preserve Freshness), Benzoic Acid ( To Preserve Freshness), Phosphoric Acid (Preservative), Guar Gum, Amylase.

 

Try these better alternatives…

 

Fronen Frozen Desserts – Peanut Butter Fudge

Ingredients: Peanut Butter, Water, Honey, Coconut Cream, Pink Himalayan Salt.

 

Good Culture Low Fat Cottage Cheese

Ingredients: Good Ingredients: Skim Milk, Whole Milk, Cream, Celtic Sea Salt, Live And Active Cultures (Lactobacillus Paracasei).

 

Silver Hills Organic Sprouted Plain Bagels

Ingredients: Water, Organic Sprouted Whole Wheat Flour, Organic Wheat Flour, Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Vital Wheat Gluten, Organic Corn Meal, Yeast, Sea Salt, Cultured Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Bacterial Culture), Organic Sunflower Oil, Enzyme, Ascorbic Acid.

 

NUCO Organic Coconut Wraps

Ingredients: Organic Coconut Meat, Organic Coconut Water, Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil.

 

Maltodextrin 

  • What it is/used for: processed starchy powder food additive typically derived from GMO corn (but can be made from any starch like potatoes, rice, etc.)  that is used as a stabilizer, thickener, flavor booster, and preservative.
  • Can be found in: canned, boxed, and frozen foods/meals, chips, pastries, candy, pudding.
  • Health concerns: may promote skin irritations and may induce stomach cramping and diarrhea; spikes blood sugar; can alter good bacteria in the gut by suppressing good bacterial growth and overall immune health in the gut; and if made from GMO corn, it may increase your risk of developing cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, and reproductive disorders.

 

Instead of these…

*if you can’t pronounce it, don’t put it in your body

Honey Teddy Grahams

Ingredients: Graham Flour (Whole Grain Wheat Flour), Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate {Vitamin B1}, Riboflavin {Vitamin B2}, Folic Acid), Sugar, Soybean and/or Canola Oil, Dextrose, Honey, Calcium Carbonate (Source of Calcium), Maltodextrin, Baking Soda, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavor.

 

Ken’s Steakhouse Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

.

Ingredients: Soybean Oil, Cultured Buttermilk, Water, Distilled Vinegar, Sugar, Egg Yolk, Salt, Contains Less Than 2% Of Garlic Juice, Monosodium Glutamate, Onion Juice Powder, Whey, Polysorbate 60, Xanthan Gum, Natural Flavor, Phosphoric Acid, Vinegar Powder, Spice, Sorbic Acid (Preservative), Lemon Juice Concentrate, Maltodextrin, Sour Cream Powder, Lactic Acid, Propylene Glycol Alginate, Milk, Citric Acid, Calcium Disodium Edta (To Protect Flavor).

 

Good & Gather Spanish Style Rice

Ingredients: Water, Parboiled Long Grain Rice, Diced Tomatoes (Diced Tomatoes, Citric Acid), Poblano Pepper, Canola Oil And/Or Sunflower Oil, Tomato Powder, Salt, Sugar, Garlic Powder, Cumin, Onion Powder, Maltodextrin, Chicken Broth Powder, Paprika Extract (Color).

 

Kellogg’s Eggo Blueberry Frozen Waffles

Ingredients: Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Vitamin B1 [Thiamin Mononitrate], Vitamin B2 [Riboflavin], Folic Acid), Water, Vegetable Oil (Soybean, Palm, And/Or Canola Oil), Dextrose, Eggs, Sugar, Contains 2% Or Less Of Leavening (Baking Soda, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Monocalcium Phosphate), Wheat Flour, Modified Corn Starch, Salt, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Blueberries, Cellulose Gum, Citric Acid, Whey, Soy Lecithin, Maltodextrin, Blue 2 Lake, Red 40 Lake. Vitamins And Minerals: Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Reduced Iron, Niacinamide, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine Hydrochloride), Vitamin B1 (Thiamin Hydrochloride), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin).

 

Organic White Cheddar Doritos

Ingredients: Organic Corn, Organic Expeller-Pressed Sunflower Oil, Organic Cheddar Cheese (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Organic Maltodextrin (Made From Corn), Sea Salt, Organic Sweet Cream Buttermilk, Organic Tomato Powder, Natural Flavors, Organic Onion Powder, Organic Romano Cheese (Cow’s Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Organic Butter (Cream, Salt), Organic Skim Milk, Organic Spices, Citric Acid, Organic Garlic Powder, Organic Cream, And Lactic Acid.

 

Try these better alternatives…

 

Artisan Tropic Cassava Strips

Ingredients: Cassava, *Non-Hydrogenated Palm Oil, Sea Salt… *Sustainably Sourced.

 

Tessemae’s Organic Creamy Ranch Dressing

Ingredients: *High Oleic Sunflower Oil, Water, *Lemon Juice, *Mustard (*Vinegar, Water, *Mustard Seeds, Salt, *Spices), *Cage Free Salted Egg Yolks (*Cage Free Egg Yolks, Salt), *Distilled Vinegar, Sea Salt, *Black Pepper, *Onion Powder, *Dill, *Garlic Powder, *Parsley, *Whole Egg … *Organic Ingredients.

 

Seeds of Change Organic Spanish Rice

Ingredients: Water, Whole Grain Brown Rice (Organic), Corn (Organic), Red Bell Pepper (Organic), Less Than 2% Of: Whole Grain Quinoa (Organic), Sunflower Oil (Organic), Sea Salt, Tomato Powder (Organic), Soy Lecithin (Organic), Onion Powder (Organic), Dried Red Bell Pepper (Organic), Garlic Powder (Organic), Paprika (Organic) Color, Red Chili Powder (Organic), Parsley (Organic), Dried Cilantro (Organic), Flavor (Organic).

 

Sprout Organic Blueberry Apple Wafflez

Ingredients: European Stone Ground Organic Wheat Flour, Organic Sustainable Palm Oil, Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Blueberry Puree, Organic Apple Puree, Organic Whole Eggs, Organic Chickpea Flour, Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Sea Salt, Non GMO Sunflower Lecithin, Organic Lemon Oil, Baking Soda.

 

Terra Sweets Medley Vegetable Chips

Ingredients: A blend of Sweet Potatoes (Sweet Potato, Purple Sweet Potato, Batata), Avocado Oil, Sea Salt.

 

Like I mentioned above, this list is certainly NOWHERE near a complete one. For example, Acesulfame Potassium, Hydrogenated Oil/Partially Hydrogenated Oil, Bisphenol A, aka BPA, Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), Citric Acid, Titanium Dioxide, even Natural Flavoring, are just a few more you should familiarize yourself with. 

 

There are so many additives used in our foods and beverages that are considered “safe” by the FDA, yet current research is showing otherwise. There are also a variety of additives that may be safe in terms of not promoting severe health issues, but may be causing you to experience symptoms you never thought could be linked to products you consume. 

 

To top it all off, how foods are grown and treated are a whole different level of controversy and concern… I introduce to you: Glyphosate, the most common herbicide used to treat pretty much everything as the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) points out:

 

Agricultural uses include corn, cotton, canola, soybean, sugar beet, alfalfa, berry crops, brassica vegetables, bulb vegetables, fruiting vegetables, leafy vegetables, legume vegetables, cucurbit vegetables, root tuber vegetables, cereal grains, grain sorghum, citrus crops, fallow, herbs and spices, orchards, tropical and subtropical fruits, stone fruits, pome fruits, nuts, vine crops, oilseed crops, and sugarcane. Nonagricultural uses include conservation land, pastures, rangeland, aquatic areas, forests, turf grass, residential areas, non-food tree crops (e.g., pine, poplar, christmas trees), rights of way, commercial areas, paved areas, spot treatments, ornamentals, parks, and wildlife management areas.” 

 

The main debate is whether or not it causes cancer, but other concerns include interference with endocrine, reproductive, and GI systems. Per the EPA, the trace amount of glyphosate residue found on foods is safe, but some organizations and research say otherwise. Unless you’re growing your own produce and making typical packaged foods like pasta, cereal, hummus, etc. from scratch, glyphosate is difficult to avoid as it’s even found on organic foods due to the unintentional spread of it through the air. However, levels tend to be much lower on organic foods than inorganic foods. 

 

All in all, you deserve to know what’s actually in your packaged food and beverage choices and on your produce, but the only way to truly know is by using that same “extra caution” when choosing your products as you practice caution with the virus – by guarding your body, read EVERY SINGLE INGREDIENT and do your research! You may be appalled by the products you thought were healthy and you may also find it difficult to track down certain things you want that don’t list any harmful ingredients… With that said, my recommendations are to keep it real and grow what you can from home if you can like certain fruits, vegetables, legumes, spices, and herbs and buy what you can from local farmers and natural food stores like dairy, eggs, meat products, and produce. So basically, make everything you possibly can from scratch, choose organic products and produce whenever possible, wash your produce well, and if you must eat from a box or can – be smart and read. Don’t overwhelm and stress yourself out, but every healthier step you make will result in positive short-term and long-term differences in your health!

 

If you’re interested in digging further into food additives:

  1. The Center for Science in the Public Interest offers a comprehensive summary ranked by safety (safe, caution, cut back, certain people should avoid, and avoid)! 
  1. Check out EWG’s Food Scoring Database or EWG’s Healthy Living App of over 80,000 foods to learn more about what’s in your pantry! EWG scores food on a scale of 1 (Best) to 10 (Worst) based on 3 Food Scoring Factors: Nutrition, Ingredient, and Processing concerns. This Database can put you on the right path of choosing safer food brands of the foods you enjoy!

If you’re interested in browsing specialty stores to find overall healthier food and beverage options, here’s a few I recommend: Whole Foods, Sprouts, Trader Joes, Thrive Market (for wholesale pantry items), Natures Corner Market (or any local market/co-op), The Fresh Market, Earth Fare, and Farmers Markets in your area.

 

Knowledge of what you are fueling your body with is power over your health. If you want help figuring out where to start or personal guidance with your food, digestion and health goals, connect with me here. 

 

Add an Optin Title Here

Join our mailing list to download your freebie now!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Add an Optin #2 Title Here

Join our mailing list to download your freebie now!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Add an Optin #3 Title Here

Join our mailing list to download your freebie now!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Add an Optin #4 Title Here

Join our mailing list to download your freebie now!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Landing Page Popup Headline

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Webinar Landing Page Popup Headline

Register today to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have successfully registered!

Immune supporting ingredients

Get the Full Scoop on Immune Health

Sign up to get your free guide on optimizing your immune health today

You have Successfully Subscribed!