I've been researching how to get closer to the natural state of our food and how the food I eat is being raised, etc. when I gathered some information from a friend, who has a child with food sensitivities, and how foods - certain brands of food - contribute to behavior problems. She saw my interest and brought me a great deal of information to read about a program from the Feingold Association . One of the first things that caught my eye was the heading: "Many learning and behavior problems begin in your grocery cart." As I began reading and learning about this program, I was appalled at what I learned about our USA food manufacturers and what EXACTLY goes into our food. Let me share just a bit of info from their program with you:
I'm sure you've seen them..."Yellow No.5," "Red 40," Blue#1," etc. Do you know where these food dyes come from? Those pretty colors that make the "fruit punch" red, the Jell-O green and the oatmeal blue are made from (are you sitting down?) petroleum - crude oil - which is also the source for gasoline!!!! If you go look in your pantry or in your kitchen cupboards and look at all the nutrition labels on your items, I think you will be shocked at how much crude oil appears in your food.
The colorings and flavorings in foods are combinations of many chemicals, both natural and synthetic. An artificial flavoring is synthetic and may be composed of hundreds of separate chemicals and there is no restriction on what a company can use to flavor food. One source for imitation vanilla flavoring (called "vanillin" and probably is in your cereal) is the waste product of paper mills!!! Some companies built factories next to the pulp mills to turn the undesirable by-product into imitation flavoring, widely used in many cookies, candies, and other foods (as I found on my Wheaties Fuel cereal).
Artificial preservatives (synthetic) are found in many foods (especially in the US) and like the food dyes, are made from petroleum (crude oil). Often they are NOT LISTED in the ingredients, but most of the time you see them as "BHT", "BHA", and "TBHQ." These chemicals may be listed as "anti-oxidants" because they prevent the fats in foods from "oxidizing" or becoming rancid (spoiling). There are many natural beneficial anti-oxidants, but they are much more expensive than the synthetic versions! I've heard some people say that "it's a conspiracy" from the food manufacturers...I'm not going to go there, but I do find it amazing that families on fixed/tight budgets can only afford the food with crude oil in them! There was a time when JT and I could barely afford to eat dirt (due to job losses from Sept. 11) and we could only afford the Wal-Mart brand white bread that was 50 cents (and full of chemicals) and cereals full of HFCS and artificial everything!! We are now in a different season of life and God has blessed us 100-fold. We are able to afford the "healthier" and more natural foods, but we will go broke doing it!! It costs more to eat well, no doubt about that, and I think it's a shame that more manufacturers can't help give our families better food for a more affordable price.