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Is It Time for a Pantry Detox?

Time for a pantry check, dear Perriconistas. We've talked before about the dangers of chemicals in our foods, but do you know which ingredients are the worst offenders? Keep your diet as simple as possible with fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, grass-fed only meats, seafood that's both safe and sustainable, healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil (above all other oils), legumes such as chickpeas and lentils, and beverages like green, white or black tea. If your pantry has foods—a term we're using loosely here—that contain any of the ingredients below, it may be time to for a little pantry "spring cleaning."

Food Additives to Avoid

Hidden Sugars Chronically high levels of sugar in the blood lead to the creation of the sugar bonds known as AGEs. It's extremely important to learn to recognize that there are many, many forms of sugar; in fact, the word "sugar" may or may not appear on the label at all. Be sure to look out for any of these ingredients: white sugar, cane sugar, brown sugar, confectioner's sugar, invert sugar, raw sugar, beet sugar, turbinado sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, dextrin, honey, maple, evaporated cane juice, malt, molasses, dextrose, fructose, sucrose, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, maltose. Artificial Coloring Synthetic food dyes are unnecessary and are either toxic or possible carcinogens, meaning that they may promote cancer. Aspartame and Artificial Sweeteners These are dangerous excitotoxins with many negative effects on both body and skin. BHA Used to preserve fats and oils, studies indicate BHA may be carcinogenic. Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO) Used in citrus-flavored sodas and banned in more than 100 countries, brominated vegetable oil has been linked to damage in the major organ systems. The FDA does not require that it be listed on labels, so it's a good idea to avoid any citrus flavored sodas (such as lemon or lime) since there's a strong likelihood that BVO is included. Carrageenan This is a stabilizer and thickening agent found in everything from ice cream to yogurt. Carrageenan may be a carcinogen and is linked to toxic hazards, including ulcers and cancer. In addition to suppressing immune function, it causes intestinal ulcers and inflammatory bowel disease in animals (some research indicates that carrageenan is associated with causing cancer in humans). Partially-Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils These are the infamous trans fats directly linked to heart disease, breast and colon cancer, atherosclerosis, elevated cholesterol, depressed immune systems and allergies. Nitrates Nitrates form powerful cancer-causing agents in the stomach and are found in smoked foods such as deli foods, cured meats, bacon, hot dogs, pepperoni, sausage, etc. MSG This is a dangerous excitotoxin that may cause headaches, nervous system and reproductive disorders, itching, nausea and high blood pressure. It is strongly recommended that pregnant, lactating mothers, infants and small children avoid MSG. Allergic reactions are a common side effect of consuming MSG, and it may be hidden in infant formula, low-fat milk, candy, chewing gum, drinks and over-the-counter medications. Look for the following ingredients that contain MSG:
  • Monosodium Glutamate
  • Calcium Caseinate
  • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
  • Sodium Caseinate
  • Hydrolyzed Protein
  • Yeast Extract
  • Hydrolyzed Plant Protein
  • Textured Protein (Including TVP)
  • Plant Protein Extract
  • Autolyzed Yeast
  • Hydrolyzed Oat Flour
  • Corn Oil
Neotame While neotame is related to aspartame, it is allegedly more toxic. Olestra This fat substitute causes gastrointestinal distress and lowers the absorption of carotenoids—nutrients that lower our risk of cancer—and other fat-soluble nutrients. Potassium Bromate Point blake, bromate causes cancer (potassium bromate is used in bread making). Sulfites Sulfites can cause dangerous allergic reactions. Does your pantry pass this ingredient test with flying colors?