I love to eat. There, I’ve said it. I have a love affair with food which, unfortunately, has led me to make unwise choices at times. But recently, my family has buckled down and is trying to eat healthier. But the junk food! Nothing tastes quite the same, does it? I’m beginning to discover that fresh food tastes best, but it doesn’t hurt to have a treat tucked away. Or does it? In their book, Unjunk Your Junk Food, authors Andrea Donsky, Randy Boyer, and Lisa Tsakos explain the different type of food additives, referred to as The Scary Seven. Andrea and Randy, founders of NaturallySavvy.com, team with Lisa, a nutritionist, in providing a comprehensive book on the ingredients in today’s packaged foods. They offer alternatives to our favorite snacks from cookies to soda, without all the artificial ingredients.
I was challenged by the authors to search my own kitchen for members of The Scary Seven. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, The Scary Seven is comprised of:
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Artificial Sweeteners
- Artificial Flavors
- Trans Fats
- Artificial Colors
So my search began. We had gotten rid of a lot of processed food lately, so I thought that we might be safe. But I did find some culprits; take a look at the ingredient lists on the labels:
I’m sure you can find a few of The Scary Seven on those labels. Let me break it down by item; items in bold are ones you should avoid altogether.
- Cola (red) high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, caffeine I really need to cut sodas out of my diet.
- Sandwich Spread (teal) high fructose corn syrup, propylene glycol, polysorbate sorbate 60, potassium sorbate,sodium benzoate,FD&C Red No. 40, calcium disodium EDTA My husband really loves this sandwich spread; maybe this ingredient list will convince him to ditch.
- Bacon (grey) sodium nitrate Who doesn’t love bacon? There are non processed version available that I need to try.
- Stock (green) disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate, caramel color I usually make my own stock, but received this to try.
Mind you, I know none of these foods are healthy. These are all foods that we would buy and say, “Well a little won’t hurt us.” But all together, they make a dangerous combination. Aren’t some of those labels frightening? I see some suspicious ingredients in there as well. What exactly is a corn sweetener, anyway? When you can’t pronounce an ingredient, it’s time to run!
When we first started thinking about dropping artificial ingredients, I have to say I was a bit sad. I have an enormous sweet and it was a bit hard reconciling with the fact that I may not ever eat sweets again. Thanks to Unjunk Your Junk Food, I now know better. Two of my favorite store-bought cookies, Fig Newtons and Oreos, have many of these bad ingredients; but they have alternatives that have been Naturally Savvy approved! And there are healthier versions of candy bars, ice cream, potato chips… Sorry, I am drooling over this book!
We know that children especially are drawn to junk food. Now with this book, I am able to offer them alternatives that aren’t full of carcinogens. One product, YummyEarth Organic Lollipops is already a favorite of my children. They sell them in the bulk section or Whole Foods; this Mommy has been known to eat one or two herself. I may even keep my copy of the book in my purse for long shopping trips so that I don’t make any hasty decisions. As a mother struggling to make the right choices for my children, it’s a relief to finally have one less thing to stress about.
If you love to indulge in an occasional treat, then pick up a copy of Unjunk Your Junk Food. There are many products I’m going to try and I know you will want to try some as well. For more information, visit NaturallySavvy.com or the Naturally Savvy Facebook Page.
Disclosure: I received a copy of the book for free as a Naturally Savvy Blogger.