There are a lot of things you can do to keep your children and family healthy, safe, and happy but none are likely to have a greater impact on a daily basis than the careful selection of the food they eat. While it remains bizarre how it became common place to consume processed, chemical laden foods with a list of ingredients that reads like a high school chemistry test, it takes little more than common sense to decide that they may not be the best choice when it comes to eating healthy foods.
Informed Shoppers Are Healthier Shoppers
Choosing to eat and live in a healthier more natural way is as simple as learning to read labels and see past advertising hype to get to the truth. If there was an accurate description of the way foods were grown, processed, and delivered to the grocery store or your table. There is little doubt most would choose the natural and organic methods automatically. Unfortunately, after years of overlooking labelling requirements people have learnt to not ask questions about foods. Now we simply consume them without thought. Healthier living starts with learning to ask questions again.
It is interesting that the average shopper is more interested in the details of the history of a used car than in the history of the food they will be giving their children to consume. When shopping for a used car we always ask: who owned it last, was it ever in an accident, do you have maintenance records to verity that all was as it was supposed to be before, and even check 3rd party sites for history reports. Yet many people pick up a can of baby formula with a label that reads –
Water, Non-fat Milk, Lactose, High Oleic Safflower Oil, Soy Oil, Coconut Oil, Galactooligosaccharides, Whey Protein Concentrate. Less than 0.5% of the Following: C. Cohnii Oil, M. Alpina Oil, Beta-Carotene, Lutein, Lycopene, Ascorbic Acid, Soy Lecithin, Monoglycerides, Potassium Citrate, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, Carrageenan, Ferrous Sulfate, Magnesium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Choline Bitartrate, Taurine, m-Inositol, Calcium Phosphate, Zinc Sulfate, Potassium Phosphate, d-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate, Niacinamide, Calcium Pantothenate, L-Carnitine, Vitamin A Palmitate, Cupric Sulfate, Thiamine Chloride Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Manganese Sulfate, Phylloquinone, Biotin, Sodium Selenate, Vitamin D3, Cyanocobalamin, Salt, Potassium Hydroxide, and Nucleotides (Adenosine 5’-Monophosphate, Cytidine 5’-Monophosphate, Disodium Guanosine 5’-Monophosphate, Disodium Uridine 5’-Monophosphate).
(Similac advance nutrition formula)
Without as much as a question of why this formula contains so many ingredients and what exactly they are.
There are two things everybody can do to make healthier choices. Begin to read the labels and ask why is that in my food? If you do not have time to read every label every time then to consider shopping at places that do that for you and only carry organic food products. The immediate argument you will hear is that the quantities are so small that the ingredient does not matter (as the label points out less than .5% or ½ of 1%. So yes, it is a small amount, however in this case the label lists 42 separate ingredients in that area so in total even though it is a small amount of each by labelling, it could legally be over 20% in total.
Choosing to ask questions and shopping in places that ask questions for you is the key to finding healthier food products for your family. If stores that specialize in organic and natural food products are rare in your area then the internet is an excellent place to shop for organic and natural foods.
Another excellent resource for healthier safer foods are the locally produced organic farmers markets that are common in some areas. To decide whether to purchase local produce, look for certified organic producers. Simply choosing to buy fresh fruits and vegetables locally is not an indication of whether pesticides or chemical fertilizers were used unless they are certified as an organic grower.
About the Author:
Peter Young graduated from Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) with a degree in journalism and has made sustainability and eco-conscious living mainstays of both his professional and personal life. It was during his time at PLU that he began his journey with sustainability and it’s what has led him to writing for Green Living Ideas. He currently resides in Honolulu and works for Pono Home, an energy efficiency company focused on reducing carbon emissions and promoting a healthier, greener lifestyle.