Why is it that we (consumers) have to search so hard for truly healthy food and products? Shouldn't we be able to trust that if a product is on the market, it is safe for us? I think so...but unfortunately this is not our reality. I spend more time reading endless ingredient lists and researching companies than I care to calculate. I joke this is why I don't belong to a book club- there's not enough time or brain capacity left in me! It's so frustrating that store shelves are stocked-full of products with misleading labels, known carcinogenic (cancer-causing) ingredients made by negligent manufacturers. And even when you weed your way to the back of that shelf, there's not much left that we should actually feel comfortable putting on or in our bodies. So what's the good news? Three things: 1) There are safe brands and products available; 2) We can make sure we understand what to avoid; and 3) We can even make some of our own products- safely and cost effectively. And as we become more informed consumers and demand more of our "trusted brands", I hope shopping soon requires less expertise in chemistry and detective work! Below are some basic things to look out for (note: this is certainly not an exhaustive list; it's simply a place to start), some good brands to check out, and a few DIY recipes.
Ingredients to AVOID in food (eating a clean diet/ cutting back on processed foods will allow you to avoid these without even having to read labels):
- partially hydrogenated oil (trans fat)
- artificial dyes
- artificial sweeteners
- high fructose corn syrup
- sodium nitrates and sodium nitrites
- BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) and BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)
- sodium benzoate and benzoic acid
- potassium bromate
**Also be aware of the dangers of some food packaging- for example BPA in tuna & bean can liners, and styrofoam, which can leach styrene into meats, cheeses, liquids, etc.
Ingredients to AVOID in skincare products (cosmetics, shampoos, soap, body wash, deodorant, moisturizer)
- propylene glycol (petroleum derived)
- sodium laureth/lauryl sulfate
- sodium benzoate, benzoic acid
- artificial colors
- BHA, BHT
- ammonium glycolate
A few easy recipes: we prefer to make our own. Fun, easy, gratifying and we always know exactly what is going on our bodies.
A few examples of more responsible companies