Have you ever taken the time to read the ingredient labels on food? Recently I started to read the labels before I buy any food. Consequently, I am increasingly becoming more and more frustrated. In some respects, I am angered and fearful? Why do you ask? The simplest of foods contain practically any and every complicated ingredient. This post will explore why you should read food ingredient labels before you buy.
Let’s take french fries, just recently, I was looking to buy sweet potato french fries. So I opened the cold freezer door, reached for the package and read an overly complicated ingredient list that left me feeling perplexed and confused. I instantly became plagued with so many questions. For one, why in the hell does sweet potato fries contain three different types of starch, sugar, oils, an acidifier, and xantham gum.
When I think of organic sweet potato fries, I think of potatoes and spices. But when it comes to pre-packaged food it simply isn’t that simple. Truth is fresh ingredients are not meant to last for months on end. Convenient foods must be coated with some form of preservatives to preserve its taste. Once a food leaves the plant it must take a long extended journey before it’s placed in your local grocer. Convenience comes at a cost. Regardless of the actual price, consuming fast food on a regular basis has the potential to compromise your health.
I have never really had a love of cooking. But I have had to quickly adapt, and make home cooking a necessity. I now make it a priority to seek out recipes with ingredients and pictures that inspire me. Make no mistake, I have not yet developed a love of cooking. I just choose to take a more active role in my family’s health and nutrition.
Ever since I started reading ingredient labels before I buy, it has increasingly become apparent that I need to forgo convenience and cook more nature made foods. Healthy foods trump convenience. This can be a challenge because life is often so hectic and fast paced that it is more time effective to cut corners with pre-packaged food. Bottom-line, you can’t trust ingredients that are so complicated. In fact, you practically need an advanced science degree to decipher it.
The only logical way out of this dilemma is to steer clear of convent foods, and flock to quick, and easy simplistic recipes. Truth is, I’d rather sacrifice my time and invest more time in healthy natural foods that contain simple ingredients that are easy to understand. I needed to start treating ingredients the same way I carefully select foods at the office potluck. You need to treat brands the same way you carefully survey your co-workers to learn who exactly cooked each dish. We should apply this same logic to shopping for food.
Instead of purchasing based on brand loyalty, we should heavily rely on the quality of the ingredients. More importantly, don’t buy if you can’t understand it. Google is a wonderful tool. But if you have to google every single ingredient it’s not worthy of your money. In actuality, brand loyalty is not a valid reason to trust food manufacturers. As consumers, we must blindly trust that manufacturers are being transparent by divulging all of the ingredients. In essence, this is a hope more than an obligation. Just because the manufacturing plants lists the name and address of the faculty doesn’t tell me anything about the cleanliness or use of potentially toxic food additives. My knowledge is no more enhanced by knowing this information. In fact, reading ingredient labels infuriates me.