I have noticed that I am writing about food a lot lately. Hopefully I’m still interesting!
I spend a lot of time learning about natural alternatives to medicine, natural foods, natural this, natural that. I wash my hair without shampoo and I wash my face with olive oil. I had to learn that somewhere! I credit a lot of my natural knowledge to a Facebook community of people who want to heal themselves and live as naturally as possible. Obviously, many articles are posted about the dangers lurking in many common foods. Things like hydrogenated oils, vegetable oils, fructose, soy, grains, gluten, lectins, beans, nightshades, and carrageenan. You can learn a million new things each day.
It is hella overwhelming.
Since I began learning all this new food knowledge, I have stopped eating margarine, wheat, and high fructose corn syrup. I no longer cook with canola oil. I have also cut out soda (so difficult… I miss you, Virgil’s Cream Soda!). I make these decisions for my health. I know that other foods have risks. Soy, for instance, is very controversial as it may contribute to endocrine disruption. I avoid soy mostly but do eat fermented soy products such as soy sauce and tempeh, on occasion.
Soy is a really, really hard thing to avoid. It is in pretty much everything. Restaurants cook with soybean oil. Soy lecithin is in most packaged/processed foods. Mayonnaise, even organic, usually contains soybean or canola oil.
Most soy, canola, and corn is GMO. GMO is bad news. More on that later, in another food post. I’ll break it up with something not food. Promise. Food is just so central to our lives, it’s hard not to talk about it. Food is everything!
And food must be cultivated and served with integrity.
This brings me to my next point: Chipotle now labels GMOs and has switched from GMO soybean oil to non-GMO sunflower oil in their fryers. This is HUGE.
Chipotle still uses GM soy and corn in other food products, such as corn tortillas and soybean oil used for rice, meat, and fajita veggies.
However – we must support baby steps. Baby steps become bigger steps. Baby steps become game changers. Baby steps are everything.
This baby step – labeling GMOs in products and switching a huge portion of the GM soybean oil to a safer source – is an immeasurable success for those of us against GMOs.
I will continue to support Chipotle, because they are supporting me. Even though they are not perfect, they listen, and they care.
Now… remember when I mentioned carrageenan, earlier? Carrageenan is a thickening agent refined from seaweed. Sounds innocent enough, but it is becoming increasingly controversial. It’s linked with inflammation and immune response. Not good news for carrageenan.
However, like with all things, moderation is key. I do not believe that occasionally eating some coconut milk ice cream with carageenan in it is going to drastically harm me. So many foods are inflammatory, and I consider it a success that I managed to get gluten out of my diet! Once again, baby steps are to be celebrated.
The carrageenan debate comes up a lot in the natural health community I am part of on Facebook, when people start discussing non-dairy milks. Every brand of coconut milk, it seems, has carrageenan… except Silk. Silk coconut milk is free of carrageenan, rejoice! Except that Silk’s parent company, Dean Foods, contributed over a quarter of a million dollars to defeat the recent GMO labeling bill in California, Prop 37.
So Delicious, another brand of non-dairy goodness, has a coconut milk that does contain carrageenan. But So Delicious supported Prop 37 and your right to know what is in your food. Furthermore, while they could hide behind the fact that the FDA considers carrageenan a safe food additive, So Delicious is reformulating their products to remove the controversial ingredient. They are listening to customers.
Guess who gets my money?
To me, the overall message and promise of progress is more important than being perfect right now.
Even though Chipotle uses some GMO ingredients, I will continue to eat there, because they support my right to know what I am eating, and they listen.
Even though So Delicious has carrageenan, I will continue to meet my dairy free needs with their company’s offerings, because they support my right to know what I am eating, and they listen.
That is food with integrity.