Food for Thought: Bizarre Ingredients We Eat

The Bizarre & Nasty Ingredients We Eat!

My weekly grocery shopping happens in one of two forms: The Mad Dash or The Turtle Pace

  • The Mad Dash is when I grab  tried and true foods and run. 
  • The Turtle Pace is when I have a lot of label reading to do (and am kid-free #canigetanamen). 

Obviously The Turtle Pace is a must when you are reading labels and comparing products. Label reading gets tricky and frustrating about 10 seconds in. That's one reason I started posting Try This, Not That food product comparisons. My intention is that it will alleviate some of the stress associated with label reading. While most of the Try This, Not That posts focus on the calorie copntent and nutrient breakdown (carbs, fat and protein), they do not breakdown the ingredients. 

There are some ingredients that are commonly used that might make your stomach hurt! I'm a visual person and when I came across this graphic my eyes nearly popped out of my head --> human hair and anit-freeze! 
No Sir. 

It's time we get educated on what these "mystery" ingredients really are.

Despite the fact that there are certain regulations on what a food label should contain, the labels often give us only partial information. Have you ever wondered about the meaning of L-cysteine, an ingredient that can be found on labels on some types of breads? This weird-name ingredient is an amino acid used in the baking industry as dough conditioner, and the cheapest and most common way to synthesize it is from human hair

Or were you aware that cellulose, an ingredient found in different kinds of food, is actually wood pulp processed and manufactured for food supply?

Take a close look at the infographic below and learn the origins and meaning of 14 bizarre food ingredients.

14 Bizarre Ingredients Hidden in Your Food Labels
A special thank you to Dana for providing the graphic details!

A Girl and Her Baggage

I loathe stored, plastic shopping bags.

I don't know exactly why I hate collected plastic bags (especially in a kitchen). It stems back to my childhood and the 900 plastic Wal-Mart bags that my mom stored on the side of our refrigerator for safe keeping. I hate those things but man were they a necessary evil. We used them for everything but my two favorite uses were: 
  1. gift bags (and you better hope the old receipts were removed). 
  2. travel luggage. Yes, you read that right. I'm pretty sure one of my brothers still uses a plastic bag instead of actual luggage. #truthbomb
I also hate grocery shopping-- another story for another post. And what do you get 900 of when you finish grocery shopping? Plastic-freaking bags. So after 15 years of vowing to bring my own bags to the grocery store, I. FINALLY. REMEMBERED. 

I was feeling all puffed up with pride and even snapped this picture to text Sweet Stuff when I realized the sad truth. Where my bags came from...

Yea, that's right, I brought all the bags I had been collecting on the side of my refrigerator.

I have officially turned into my mother.

Now they will be stored in my trunk. Cycle broken. I'm a fighter.

#acceptanceisthefirststep #thestruggleisreal #breakthecycle #baglady #greenliving #gogreen

Summer Hydration in School-Age Children

To wrap up the school year, a local elementary had a health fair and I was asked to teach a class. My assignment was to teach the kids the importance of staying hydrated. I decided addressing second graders would be best if I used the Go, Slow and Whoa approach used by the We Can! campaign.

Here is a breakdown of the lesson, feel free to use it!

Lesson Plan: Summer Hydration in School-Age Children

Objectives and Goals: 
To introduce the concept of making wise beverage choices using the Go, Slow and Whoa approach.

The basic idea is to designate a variety of beverages into four categories (Go, Slow, Whoa and STOP) based on nutritional content. This is  a very basic list and numerous beverages can be discussed and added.

It is important to discuss that beverages in these categories are not "bad" just that sometimes we need to make choices based on what we are doing.

What to Create:
  • a poster board of a traffic signal with black foam board and construction paper
  • search google images and collected, printed and laminated all the drinks listed on the image above
  • large Stop sign
    • I got a large Stop sign poster from my local teacher supply store and taped a paint stick to the bottom for a handle. {picture below}
References to Read:

Class Discussion:
Go: healthiest option and appropriate for everyday consumption.
Slow: occasional drinks, not everyday choices. These beverages usually contain added sugar.
Whoa: least healthy options. These beverages contain added sugar, fat and in some cases caffeine. They provide excess calories and should be chosen on special occasions and not weekly.
STOP: The STOP category lists 2 beverages that are not appropriate for school-age children to consume: coffee (cold or hot) and energy drinks. 


*Sports drinks are listed in both the Go and Whoa groups. Sports drinks are a GO when a child is actively participating in prolonged play or sports (at least 45 minutes of active play and when there is excessive heat and perspiration). It is a WHOA drink if chosen in place of water or during casual activities (watching TV or leisure activities like bowling, etc.). 

Food Fun: Ice Cream {in a Bag}

It ain't Blue Bell but it's fun, fast and fresh! 

Make single servings of ice cream {in a bag} in just a few simple steps.

This is a simple recipe that is easy to prepare and simple to create. I do this with my kids to kick-off summer. We pick fresh berries (strawberry, blueberry or blackberry- depending on the farm and season) and then come home and make our ice cream. It's fun but I also spin it off as a science project and a sweet treat for their hard work after "picking" all day.

#foodfun #nutritionwithnat #summertime

So Let Me Get This Straight...

Everyone has their passions. Some are passionate about animals while others are passionate about cars. I have many passions and obviously nutrition and wellness are pretty high on my list. I don't know it all but I know I learn something new everyday and I try to keep an open mind.

The health field is a mean beast. Why? Because everyone has an opinion and the "quick fix" to virtually any health concern. People will believe ANYONE as long as the information tells them what they want to hear.

"But Dr. Oz said fill in the blank." 

"Yesterday on Fox News they said they found the right way to do fill in the blank." 

The honest answer is that people will believe those that SHOUT the loudest. Whoever has the best marketing campaign will win. When it comes to health and wellness, I try to look for alternative treatments before jumping on the pharmaceutical bandwagon. Alternative therapies have no voice... no SHOUT factor. Simply put, these therapies do not provide great wealth like a new pharmaceutical drug can. 

For instance, why take red yeast rice, reduce the amount of animal products from your diet and start walking 20 minutes 3 days a week to lower your cholesterol; when all you have to do is take a single pill (Lipitor) daily and not make a single lifestyle change? 
(side note: some of the side effects of Lipitor: muscle aches, joint pain, upper belly pain, dark-amber colored urine, and my personal favorite-- yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes)

I believe in medicine but I also believe in alternative treatments. I think it all boils down to common sense. If something sounds to good to be true, it is. If something sounds too far fetched, it is. But if an idea or treatment offers a new approach to healing and has minimal risks, give it a try. 

Alternative Therapy: Essential Oils
I was introduced to Essential Oils (EO's) about 6 months ago and was a real skeptic. Why was I a cynic? Because I was arrogant, I just couldn't wrap my mind around the idea that something as simple as peppermint oil could help my boys breathing better than the $200.00 prescription inhalers that their pediatrician ordered. And I didn't want to take the time to learn. I was taking the easy road and buying right into the "quick fix" ... like most moms, I was too busy.

image source: someecards

All thanks to the encouragement of my best friend, one thing lead to another and I bit the bullet and dove in. I started out with just one roll-on called Breathe Away in an effort to help my boys with their seasonal asthma attacks. 

After 6 months I am completely sold on EO's! I have been using them daily on myself and several family members and have really put them to the test. From issues of joint pain to hot flash relief to trouble sleeping, these oils have really done the job! I feel that EO's are a natural pharmacy that is poorly understood and in-turn under utilized. Their SHOUT factor is poor.

In just a short time, I have become a "user" and an oily snob. I only use one brand, Young Living Essential Oils. I trust where they are sourced from and the purity of the oils. 

If you have ever been curious- give it a try! If you have ailments and want to try a natural, affordable approach- give it a try! If you just want a good, clean smell in your home- give it a try!

And if your a "user" whats your favorite and why?