I like eating food, making food and reading about food. Recently I read a book called, “The Gospel of Food.” It was a pretty good book that had a different outlook on the food industry than many of the other food books that I read. It made me start re-looking at food labels, and noticing how much marketing tries to make us feel good about the food that we eat. You see the words, natural, whole-grain, farm fresh, family owned. All of these words make us feel somewhat better about what we eat. The funny thing is, we truthfully still don’t really know what that means.
Natural can still mean that it is a petroleum derivative. Check out this article about natural flavoring. In the article they state… “the definition of “natural flavor” under the Code of Federal Regulations is: “the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional” (21CFR101.22). Any other added flavor therefore is artificial. (For the record, any monosodium glutamate, or MSG, used to flavor food must be declared on the label as such).”
Do you know what a protein hydrolysate is? I don’t. Have you ever thought about flavor essence? Not until now. Natural flavoring is the proprietary part of the product so that we can’t just easily replicate it at home. So what does this make me want to do? Well, first thoughts are to hide out in my house under my covers and try not to think about all of the awful crap in our foods. Then I realize, that I like eating too much, so my second thought is to go make something that I know the ingredients for and is not only nutritious, but tastes really good.
I have a lot of friends that are on restrictive diets for different reasons. Some to help their children because they are breastfeeding (I’m doing that with milk right now, because Nick seems fussy when I drink it), others do it because they believe that their bodies do better without it. I read about some people lately that have given up all grains. I can’t imagine doing that right now. I like grains and so far, I don’t feel that my body needs me to do that. However, I think that if it works for you, then great, go for it.
I had another friend write in a recent blog post about her husband’s grandfather. It’s made me think about the concept of moderation when eating. If I want to eat a piece of cake, well, then I’m going to do it, but I’m going to eat a reasonable portion. If I want to eat a rich garlic, lime shrimp dish on a bed of pasta that has a ton of butter in it, then I’m going to do so, but I will just serve it up on my smaller plates giving the illusion that I’m eating a lot.
I do have things that I don’t want in my food though. I don’t like HCFS. It is a cheap alternative to sugar and if I want something sweet, I want it to have sugar in it. I also don’t really want a bunch of pesticides in my food, so I’m going to try to buy local and buy organic if I can find it, my CSA. We are purchasing a half a cow with our friends so that we know what the cow was fed and where it was raised. But we will eat cheesecake (well, Damon will, since I’m still going on the no milk thing for a little while.) We will eat cookies occasionally, preferably homemade, we will eat peach cobbler and creme brulee, and we will drink wine (organic when I can find it, we don’t get as bad of headaches with it) and we will drink beer.
I love food a lot, and I will try to be a conscious consumer without being a fanatical consumer. Hopefully by doing so it will reduce my stress level too.