Over the last couple of years I’ve rabbited on and on about not eating processed foods and low and behold I’ve been ingesting chemical garbage without even realizing it until now!
I saw a link to an article in the Guardian, a UK paper, on Facebook the other day called Inside the food industry: the surprising truth about what you eat and was completely horrified by what I read.
The article explains how many of the ingredients in processed foods have names that might seem as if they are not engineered or synthetic. I wasn’t really worried about what I eat until I thought about restaurant food. There’s really no way to know what’s in it.
Then I read about Rosemary extract. This is an ingredient in my Omega 3 capsules. I’d seen it listed but thought little about it, thinking it was a natural ingredient. From the article:
Imagine you are standing in the supermarket. Maybe you usually buy some cured meat for an antipasti. Picking up a salami, even the most guarded shopper might relax when they see rosemary extract on the ingredients list – but rosemary extracts are actually “clean-label” substitutes for the old guard of techie-sounding antioxidants (E300-21), such as butylhydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylhydroxytoluene (BHT). Food manufacturers use them to slow down the rate at which foods go rancid, so extending their shelf life.
Rosemary extracts don’t always have to carry an E number (E392), but the more poetic addition of “extract of rosemary” makes it sound like a lovingly made ingredient – especially if that salami is also labelled as natural or organic. And the extract does have something to do with the herb, usually in its dried form. The herb’s antioxidant chemicals are isolated in an extraction procedure that “deodorises” them, removing any rosemary taste and smell. Extraction is done by using either carbon dioxide or chemical solvents – hexane (derived from the fractional distillation of petroleum), ethanol and acetone. Neutral-tasting rosemary extract is then sold to manufacturers, usually in the form of a brownish powder. Its connection with the freshly cut, green and pungent herb we know and love is fairly remote.
If that’s not enough to scare you, take a look at the twenty nine page abstract about Rosemary extract from the European Food Safety Authority detailing the studies, including animal testing studies on rats and mice.
It doesn’t even sound like they’re talking about food anymore!
Let’s do an animal study on carrots. Get a bunny. Get some carrots. Feed the bunny carrots. Did he drop dead or hop away happy? There. Done.
The problem with being enlightened is what you do with the information now that you have it. I was never someone who took supplements before my histamine issue became unbearable. And I still feel I need some, but I am rethinking all of them now. If I can’t make it myself, I probably won’t take it anymore.
Before you think this could be an overreaction, just think about it for a minute. When you take a supplement every day, you might be ingesting a little something bad every day. I make my own ginger capsules by dehydrating and grinding fresh ginger. I stuff vegetarian capsules with the ginger powder. This is what the capsules are made of:
Hypromellose (INN), short for hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC), is a semisynthetic, inert, viscoelastic polymer used as an ophthalmic lubricant, as well as an excipient and controlled-delivery component in oral medicaments, found in a variety of commercial products.
So what’s a person to do? I’ve set out on a new journey. As much as I can control what goes into by body in my own home, I want it all to be completely real. This calls into question many of the supplements I’ve taken and what do I really think I need to take. This brings me to a new thinking about Omega 3.
I want to go into detail about what I’m thinking but I’m going to leave it for my next post. I am someone who has benefited greatly from taking supplements to get my body back into balance and don’t want to be rash about my decisions or what I write about them. I don’t want to go back on what I think people need to bring their bodies back into balance. Omega 3, the B vitamins, and olive oil are all major players in my healing. So I don’t want someone to come along and think they shouldn’t now try them based on this article.
But knowledge is power. And because so many of us react to even healthy foods, knowing what’s in your not-so-healthy food choices and even your supplements is a must. At least knowing helps you make informed decisions. I’ll never eat pre-washed lettuce again!
So I will be back in a few days with a new post on Omega 3 and some other things on my mind. In the meantime take a look at the article. It might change your perspective on what you put into your body. Next time you see natural flavors you’ll know there’s nothing natural about them!