Are you a label reader? I have been for awhile now but what I now read on labels today has changed over the years. I never paid any attention to the ingredient list…ever. Mainly just the nutritional numbers and percentages. I now, rarely read those numbers at all….now I concentrate on the ingredient list almost exclusively.
Yes, time consuming it is. Yes, tedious it is. Yes, discouraging it can be. Yes, you will be completely blown away by what you are putting into your body on a daily basis….that is if you can even pronounce it . However, I also believe it can be life changing since it has been here for us. Now, before you all stop reading, let me assure you….it is not more expensive to eat cleaner food. It just takes a bit of effort on your part. I find it absolutely astounding at what companies can and will put in our food and consider it good enough for us all to consume.
Notice these few food labels we have here at our home.
Honey Roasted Peanuts: short/basic ingredients we all recognize and can pronounce for that matter.
Crackers: three ingredients/ all things we know what they are/ and nothing fake
Iced tea mix- nothing fake/easy to read/short list
Snack bar– nothing fake, easy to read/short list/and everything is food
Yogurt– clear label/ short ingredient list/ all real ingredients/no fillers/ all food
This is how we eat today. Simple, easy to read products with clear labels.
You will find yourself getting very creative at times, especially when something you find you have eaten forever you no longer can have or want to have. For us here, there have been a few products that have really been hard to replace by making this change. Let me tell you about a few swaps we have made.
For instance, snack crackers. So many have ingredients in them that we can’t even begin to know what it is without looking it up. So one of the things we have found takes the place of crackers is cucumber slices. They can be used for dipping, layering homemade salad mixtures on (like here) or simply snacking on when hunger strikes. They are healthy, full of water, and are a great healthy option with only one ingredient….cucumber.
Lunch meat is another big one that was hard to replace. I searched for awhile and did find a few brands that did not contain any artificial sweeteners. However, they are twice as much as all the others and you get half as much in the package. So to replace lunch meat for my family I now buy canned chicken breast. I then make up a fast and easy chicken salad and this is what we make sandwiches with for days we need a meal on the go. It has worked out great, takes very little effort and I know we are eating something without a ton of fillers in it. A bonus is that Costco carries this product in bulk which is a win.
The one other thing we have really struggled to find without anything artificial in it is pepperonis. We love pizza…who doesn’t right? Trying to find pepperonis with no artificial sweeteners in them was very difficult. Every single one we could locate in our local grocery had sucralose as the sweetener…frustrating I tell you…very frustrating. That is until I happen to find these at our new grocery store here in town where we now buy all our meat products.
For $3.99 a package we can have pepperoni pizza once again and enjoy every bite.
Eating for your health and well being is not that hard to do. It is also not as expensive as most people think. Does it take more work? Honestly, yes. However, I feel we owe it to ourselves to live the best life we can since we all only have one life to live. To me this work is minimal when you look at the big picture.
Here is a list of some items we were surprised had artificial sweeteners in them:
some brands of cottage cheese
some sour creams
almost all freezer potato products(ex.tater tots)
many cold medicines/cough drops
almost all gum
breads….so many breads
sauces (ex BBQ)
anything breaded or with a crunchy coating
frozen spicy black bean burgers
and the list goes on and on….even foods in the organic isles (like the black bean burgers above)
Don’t take for granted when you see natural or organic on the package….this does not mean they did not use something that was made in a lab/test tube.
Read your labels!!!!!