I find it disturbing that there are people who are working really hard to prevent the truth about the dairy industry from getting out. There are people who say there is no difference between conventional dairy and organic dairy. There are people who say that drinking milk does a body good, no matter what kind you buy. And there are people who say there’s no difference if the cow ate GMOs, grass or grain. I personally like to know the truth about what I am eating. That is why I spend so much time researching the facts about our food system and why I have dedicated my life sharing the information I uncover. I know many of you are buying dairy products (billions of gallons are sold every year), and feel it is crucial you know the main reasons why to only choose organic milk if you do choose to consume dairy. These guidelines apply to all dairy products, like butter, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and whey protein. It is shoved into our minds since infancy that “Milk Does A Body Good” and that we need 3 big glasses a day for calcium and strong bones. But, is that really the case?
Earlier this month on my Facebook page, I asked you to share your biggest “ah-ha” moment when you started to read ingredient lists. I asked this question because I’m curious about what opened your eyes to the processed chemicals the food industry is dumping in our food.
There were over 1,500 responses on Facebook to my question, and I tried to read every single one of them. I found your comments insightful, really encouraging, and some were really funny! I’m glad to see that so many of you are changing your eating habits and reading ingredient lists! I saw several recurring ah-ha moments (the same ones I had when I started my journey), so I am summarizing the top 10 most popular ones here for you to share with your friends and family, just in case they haven’t had these “ah-ha” moments yet. You might even see your own ah-ha moment quoted below! If you didn’t already know about any of these major offenses at the grocery store, this will also give you tips for what to look out for next time you’re shopping.
10 Grocery Store Items You Should Never Buy Again:
1. Pickles & Relish That Contain Artificial Food Dye
- “WHY do they need to add artificial chemical coloring? Same with everything that adds chemical for coloring. It’s just WRONG” ~ Sara
- “Pickles started a food change in my house when I realized my children couldn’t even eat a pickle without eating yellow #4 & #5. Totally changed how we eat!” ~ Tracy
- “Yellow #5 in my Pickles…huh?? Why on God’s green earth is that in there?!!” ~ Carrin
- “There’s Yellow-5 in Mt Olive dill pickles!!” ~ Josh and Erika
- “Food dyes. It’s even in pickles! Really?!?! Couldn’t understand that one. Grandmas pickles were always green and she never used yellow #6” ~ Becky
- “This week it was Vlasic dill pickles, which we usually keep a giant jar of. Why do pickles need food coloring?” ~ Julie
- “Dyes. Especially items like food coloring in pickles. Um, WHY?” ~ Heather
- “Pickles have yellow #6! WTH?? Why??” ~ Amber
- “Why do we insist on putting artificial colors in everything?!! Pickles aren’t supposed to be fluorescent!!! Nature colors things beautifully on its own!” ~ ChelsLyn
- “Food dye in pickles..idk why but it pissed me off” ~ Tina
- “Relish…would never have thought there would be food coloring in relish. Blech!!!” ~ Kim
- “Omg pickles?” ~ Vanessa
Recently I looked at every single jar of pickles in a conventional grocery store, and only found one brand that didn’t contain artificial yellow food dye. Of course, there is no real reason to add dye to pickles, as it’s just used to make them look prettier and gives us no other benefits. Artificial colors are linked to health issues and have been banned or require a warning labels in several other countries – so food manufacturers often take them out of their products in other countries. Most pickles contain Yellow #5 or #6, which have been shown to contribute to childhood behavioral problems. Better Store-Bought Alternative: Real Pickles (brand) organic pickles, Woodstock organic pickles.
This week headlines about GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) splashed all over major media outlets across the country. This media firestorm was in response to a new report released by Consumer Reports regarding GMOs in American food products. This report finally shared what I have thought all along: Non-labeled food products most likely contain GMOs if the ingredients include a corn or soy byproduct.
Before I get into the shocking results of the report, I want to share with you why I personally try to avoid GMOs in my diet:
- There are no mandatory safety assessments required before GMOs are introduced into our food system.
- GMOs have contributed to more toxic pesticide usage since their inception. I want the pollution of our earth to stop. The types of environmental chemicals we are being exposed to are what the President’s Cancer Panel says will destine 41% of us to get cancer in our lifetime.
- There are no long term human studies to prove GMOs are safe.
- GMOs are responsible for killing bee colonies. Without bees, we are in big trouble.
- I could go on with more reasons, but one in particular is very personal. I used to suffer from some of the worst allergies. I have been hospitalized multiple times because of them. I used to be on several prescription drugs to control them too. When I removed GMOs from my diet, eating a majority of organic whole, unprocessed foods, my allergies vanished and was able to stop taking all my prescription medications. I feel like I have ten times more energy now and feel incredible. For this reason alone, I take avoiding GMOs very seriously.
GMOs are running rampant in our food supply
Earlier this year, the Consumer Reports Food Safety and Sustainability Center sent out secret shoppers to purchase more than 80 processed food products in New York and Seattle, which included a wide range of products all containing corn or soy ingredients: breakfast cereals, bars, corn chips, corn tortillas, baking mixes and flours, baby formulas, meat substitutes, soy “dairy” products, and tofu/tempeh products. Then, they tested these products to see if they contained any GMO ingredients, and if so, how much. This is important because the overwhelming majority of processed food in America contains corn or soy ingredients, which are also the most prevalent genetically modified crops, yet most major food manufacturers are strongly against labeling GMO ingredients. We are being left in the dark in this country, and virtually the only way to know whether a product contains GMOs is to have it tested – and that’s exactly what Consumer Reports did.
What I love about their report is that Consumer Reports essentially just slapped a big fat GMO label on a few dozen everyday food products here in America, including many that are considered “Natural” and healthy. The manufacturers of these foods do not want you to know that their products contain GMOs and have collectively spent millions of dollars to fight against labeling laws, depriving us of our right to know. This is outrageous considering that 92% of American consumers want GMO labels on food and are becoming increasingly aware of how prevalent GMOs have become in our food supply.
This post is written by Birke Baehr, a 14 year-old organic farming advocate and author. I am thrilled Birke is a regular contributor here on Food Babe, inspiring other children and adults across the nation to eat local, Non-GMO and organic.
Hey everyone! I am so thankful to Vani & the Food Babe blog for having me on as a guest blogger.
As some of you may know I am a youth advocate for sustainable food & farming. I am very concerned about the production of genetically engineered food and crops. I’m also a large supporter of getting to know your farmer. I believe everyone should buy “local” and that it is important to be able to shake hands with the person that grew your food. I’m always visiting farms and getting to see how the farmers raise their animals and/or produce.
When talking to the majority of my local “pasture” based dairy or meat farmers, I always ask if they use any type of supplemental feed usually made from corn or soy. If they do use any, I ask them if it contains any genetically engineered ingredients. I usually hear from them that it does contain genetically modified (GMO) products and this fact upsets me.