Starting The Journey
Over the past year or so I've taken a deeper look at what preservatives are in the foods that we eat and what chemicals are in the products around my home. I have to say, I had several freak out moments in my research.
One of which was when I realized BHT and BHA (closely related synthetic antioxidants) that are present as a preservative in MANY foods (as well as cosmetics) are linked to causing cancer, contributing to tumor growth, affecting reproductive health, oh, and inducing allergic reactions in your skin. Nevermind the fact that certain people have a difficult time metabolizing this chemical which affects their health and behavior more severly than the average person. Though, why the average person even needs to be exposed to it at all, I just cannot understand. There are safer options for food preservation available. After reading multiple disturbing articles I couldn't help but compare experiences we've had with one of our children and wonder if this chemical was a contributing factor.
Not to pick on my little boy but picture this:
Mom finds sweet little 4 1/2 year old hiding in the pantry with a pile of fruit snack wrappers... the new bulk box. Nearly gone. And not the organic Annie's brand but the standard stuff with every food coloring dye on the planet. (BHT is a closely related chemical to that of dyes Red 40, Red 3, Blue 1, Blue 2, Yellow 5, Yellow 6 and Green 3.) Too much sugar can be bad enough. Too much of this synthetic chemical... this kid...
Sweet innocent sad face with head down because he got caught doing something he shouldn't have. He makes you want to hug him instead of discipline. A short time out should be sufficient.
Fast forward about 12 minutes later, where said 4 yo is running completely naked for the front door while screaming for (insert any random object) with a blood smeared all over his face and hands. Blood from bloody nose incurred during "the fit" somewhere around 7 min post pantry incident... just from the intense level of screaming. He is refusing to let mom hold a towel to his face let alone hold him. To be honest, I can't even recall how he got naked. Trying to clean the blood off?? And now I'VE completely lost it out of frustration and am screaming as well. Not only is this tragic for a child, believe me, it's tragic for the parent. Thank God for good friends that live close and come immediately when they hear sobs and screams. Fortunately, only I have this painful picture in my head so I can't share, but I'm sure your imagination does the situation justice. Too many of these incidents to count and you would be desperate for a change as well.
We have over the last year rid our home of BHT completely. No food dyes for us. We splurge for organic suckers and candies (which are a rare treat anyway) and purchase cereals that use mixed tocopherols (vitamin e) for freshness. When my kids have a friend over and they ask why we don't have oreos or cheetos, I shrug while handing them a plate of carrots with hummus and gluten free crackers. "Because we like to eat healthy most of the time." The kids eat that healthy snack and go outside to play. That's how we roll. Don't get me wrong, we still hit up the McD's drive thru on rare occasion and enjoy our fair share of girl scout cookies. And my middle child doesn't always behave like an angel even with this diet change... but it HAS made a difference. So, on the typical trip to the grocery store my cart will carry exactly zero products with BHT, BHA, or Red 40 in the ingredient list.
For a list and description of food additives and their uses click here:
The world is full of danger. I think we all know that. The part that gets me so worked up is that we are expected to believe that "we" are safe. "We" are in the US and certainly our superior first world country protects us from all known threats. Right? Well, no. And whether is has to do with power or money, our government has not yet demanded that these companies stop poisoning us. And what's worse, we as a society haven't done anything to fight it! We need to start paying attention to what goes in and on our bodies because no one else is going to do that for us. Okay, I'll stop before this turns into a full blown rant. This is just how passionate I am about this subject.
I want to live a long and healthy life. To grow old with my grouchy husband and adore my children's children. I want to experience this world and all that God has created for us. And I want that for my friends and family as well. I encourage you to take this article to heart. I'm not telling you to fill your garbage bin with every unhealthy food you find in your home at this exact moment, but read the ingredients of a few of your favorite items. Consider some of the things you can do without or find a healthier version for your next shopping trip. Maybe the kids won't even notice the homemade taco seasoning but you will. And you'll feel good about it!