When we adopted a new dog this year, the woman running the pet
adoption agency suggested that I switch all of our dogs to holistic,
natural and organic foods. I scoffed and continued feeding them Nutro
since we never had a problem with it, especially during the pet food
recall in 2007.
But something this woman said nagged me weeks later: “Don’t you want
your dogs to live full and healthy lives?” I went on the Internet and
discovered that our dog food contained toxins that could lead to
terrible health issues like cancer, liver and kidney failure. After days
of research, I switched our dogs to Blue Buffalo — a natural and
holistic pet food that does not contain harmful ingredients.
I put all this effort into what our dogs eat, but what about my kids,
my husband, my mother-in-law and me? I went through the stuff in our
pantry and was shocked by what I discovered: high fructose corn syrup,
refined grains and preservatives. I was potentially killing my family
through food. This had to stop immediately.
I was on a mission to make all of us healthy. You can do the same.
Here’s a list of ingredients to avoid and why:
Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated Hydroxtoluene (BHT)
BHA and BHT are preservatives that run rampant in everyday foods. From
hot dogs, processed meats and poultry to cereals and crackers. Since BHA
and BHT are antioxidants, they prevent foods from spoiling and prevent
oils in cosmetics from spoiling. Unfortunately, both preservatives have
been linked to liver and kidney dysfunctions. Whole Foods Markets have a
variety of hot dogs (chicken, turkey and beef), cold cuts and cheese
from Applegate Farms that do not contain these potentially harmful ingredients.
A preservative used in spices like paprika to preserve color,
Ethoxyquin has been linked to allergic reactions and kidney and skin
problems in high doses. Food manufacturers have lessened their
dependence on Ethoxyquin in the past few years.
Of course, it is important to note that although many studies support
correlations between various cancers and these preservatives, most
experiments used high dosages of the preservatives. Nonetheless, it’s
easy to avoid BHA, BHT and Ethoxyquin by simply reading food labels.
Debates have existed for years whether or not consumption of these
preservatives over long periods of time hava any lasting effects. There
are vocal supporters for both sides. What should be taken away from this
is that these dangers exist and BHA, BHT and Ethoxyquin are synthetic,
man-made preservatives. When synthetics are introduced into our bodies,
our organs have difficulty processing them.
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
As the name implies, HFCS contains a high percentage of fructose.
Many food manufacturers replaced sugar with HFCS because it’s cheaper.
HFCS is found in many foods that have low fiber content like canned
pasta foods, cereals, cough medicine, soda, ice cream, syrup and sauces.
You’ll be surprised to see where HFCS shows up.
Instead of Mrs. Buttersworth, use agave nectar which is sweeter than
sugar. Agave also has a high fructose level, but a little bit goes a
long way. Agave nectar also has a low glycemic level and allows your
body to slowly digest it. To avoid HFCS, look for natural and organic
food products with natural sugars.
Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) and Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin (rBST)
We drink soy milk in our house because cow’s milk contains rBGH/rBST
growth hormones injected into cows so they can produce up to 20% more
milk than normal. Although Canada and Europe have banned these hormones, the FDA continues to allow farmers to inject their livestock with it. rBGH and rBST are artificial growth hormones that can find its way into cow’s milk and other dairy products like cheese and yogurt.
The Center For Food Safety has consistently asked the FDA to ban the use of these hormones with little luck.
According to a press release from Samuel S. Epstein, a leading expert on cancer prevention, M.D.,
Professor Environmental Medicine, University of Illinois Chicago, School
of Public health:
Most critically, rBGH milk is supercharged with high
levels of abnormally potent IGF-1 [insulin-like growth factor], up to 10
times the levels in natural milk and over 10 times more potent. IGF-1
resists pasteurization and digestion by stomach enzymes and is well
absorbed across the intestinal wall. Still unpublished Monsanto tests,
disclosed by FDA un summary form in 1990, showed that statistically
significant growth stimulating effects were induced in organs of adult
rats by feeding IGF-1 at the lowest does levels for only two weeks.
Drinking rBGH milk would thus be expected to increase blood IGF-1 levels
and to increase risks of developing prostate cancer and promoting its
invasiveness. Apart from prostate cancer, multiple lines of evidence
have also incrimated the role of IGF-1 as risk factors for breast,
colon, and childhood cancers.
Faced with escalating rates of prostate and other avoidable cancers,
FDA should withdraw its approval of rBGH milk, whose sale benefits only
Monsanto while posing major public health risks for the entire U.S.
population. Failing early FDA action, consumers should demand explicit
labeling and only buy rBGH-free milk. 
It is impossible to have hormone-free milk due to the natural
hormones that occur during lactation, but it is possible to have milk
without rBGH and rBST. Since organic milk is labeled as organic, it
should be milk from cows not injected with synthetic hormones.As
Epstien stated, buy milk specifically labeled rBGH-free or switch to soy
milk –- you’d be surprised how good it tastes. Soy milk also contains
isoflavones which reduces the risk of cancer and heart disease.
Saturated and Trans Fats
Eating too many of these fats can raise your LDL cholesterol (bad
cholesterol) levels, cause heart disease and may raise your risk of
Alzheimer’s disease. These fats can be found in meats, cheese, baked
goods, oils and creamers.
Choose foods that have no or little saturated and trans fats. Instead
of regular cheese, choose low-fat cheese. Instead of regular beef,
choose low-fat beef. Fats from fish and nuts are better for you also.
(refined cane sugar, table sugar)
A disaccharide made up of two monosaccharides, glucose and fructose,
sucrose is found everywhere in pantries and grocery stores across
Most foods that have high sugar levels have low fiber content. Since
our bodies metabolize these sugary foods quickly, our bodies have little
chance of burning the food as fuel. If it’s not immediately needed for
energy, fructose, when consumed, stores as fat in our bodies.
We don’t have fruit juice in our house because of the high
carbohydrates and sugar content. Juice is a treat that the kids seem to
live without. Fruit juice also has very high concentrations of sugar
(fructose) which factors into the high caloric level. Through
processing, fruit juice loses most of the fiber and nutrients usually
found in raw, whole fruits. Lower your children’s consumption of fruit
juice or nix the drink all together and replace it with valuable
antioxidants, fiber, minerals and vitamins found in apples, blueberries,
bananas, oranges and other whole fruits.
White Flour, Enriched Flour, and Refined Grains
Processed white flour and refined grains do not give the human body
enough nutrients and fiber it needs. Enriched flours have lost key
nutrients during processing (bran and germ are removed) and are later
“enriched” with a some nutrients, but not enough to make a difference.
Again, since essential nutrients and vitamins are lacking the body is
not able to process these foods properly and are absorbed too quickly
Look for breads that are labeled “whole wheat.” Even if the packaging
says “multi-grain” or “wheat” these breads have been heavily processed
and vitamins have been stripped away.
Living a healthy lifestyle can be difficult, especially when you have
constant cravings for soda and Ding Dongs. You don’t need to eliminate
every single item from your pantry and refrigerator. Be smart about the
foods you bring home, read food labels and learn about the foods and
ingredients you consume every day. Teach your family that there are
delicious, healthier alternatives to the foods they love. The rewards