What's In Our Food? Food Additives and Giveaway

I've been eating all raw lately, but that obviously wasn't always the case. Not even all raw will completely protect you for those "harmfuls" that are out there. Did you know that those little labels on our fresh produce tell you a lot more than what code to push in at the cash register? Here's what I found out:

~If there are only 4 digits in the number, then it is conventionally grown

~If there are 5 digits in the number, and the first number is 8 then it is genetically modified

~If there are 5 digits in the number, and the first number is 9, then it is organic

That's such great information! I wish I had that info years ago. Being an educated consumer is our first step to taking charge of our health.

Many of us are still transitioning, or just looking into the health benefits of raw, so we are still eating prepackaged foods. My first weapon against food additives is that if the list of ingredients seems too long, then I don't buy it.
My second weapon of defense is a book titled Food Additives: A Shoppers Guide To What's Safe and What's Not! by Christine Hoza Farlow, D.C. It's a small book, so it fits in your pocket book easily. I bought mine at my local natural food store just last night, but you can get it on Amazon for $7.95. It is a wonderful resource that I am so happy to have! I honestly want to buy one for everyone that I know.

So yes, I do buy some prepacked foods because my daughter is not 100% raw. She still eats stuff like Cheerios, Uncle Ben's rice, rice milk, etc. So I have been wondering, what's so bad with Uncle Ben's wild rice? Or whatever she happens to be eating for lunch that day.

The ingredient list for Uncle Ben's Wild Rice Original Recipe:

Long grain parboiled rice enriched with iron, thiamin, and folate; whole grain wild rice; vegetables; hydrolyzed corn/soy/wheat protein; sugar; autolyzed yeast extract; salt; spices; smoked yeast; sunflower oil; natural flavors; tumeric

Most of these ingredients I pretty much understand, but just for the purposes of this experiment I looked up a few things. The first one was autolyzed yeast extract. According to the book, autolyzed yeast extract says "see MSG". So I looked up MSG, and this is what it said;

"causes obesity, addictive, makes you eat more, may cause diabetes, migraines, headaches, itching, nausea, brain, nervous system, reproductive disorders, high blood pressure, Autism, ADHD, Alzheimer's, retina damage, blindness; pregnant, lactating mothers, infants, small children should avoid; allergic reactions common; generally produced using GMO bacteria; May be hidden in infant formula, baby food, low fat and no fat milk, candy, chewing gum, drinks, kosher food, protein bars, protein powder, protein drinks recommended for seniors, most processed foods, wine, waxes applied to fresh fruits and vegetables, over the counter medications, especially children's, binders and fillers for nutritional supplement's, prescription and non prescription drugs, IV fluids given in hospitals, chicken pox vaccine, live virus vaccines, nasal spray flu vaccine, used in pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers; being sprayed on growing fruits and vegetables as a growth enhancer (AuxiGro); proposed for use on organic crops."

Okay, so I always knew that MSG was bad, but I didn't realise how much stuff is was in! Not only is it in Uncle Ben's rice but I can't believe that it was proposed to be used on organic crops!

So I looked up the hydrolyzed corn/soy/wheat protein; "may cause brain and nervous system damage in infants; high salt content; contains free glutamates; MSG; may be genetically modified." So I looked up free glutamates; "may cause brain damage, especially in children".

So that was enough to make me not buy the rice anymore. Should I go on to another food? I shall. As a snack, I bought her Pete's Tofu2Go, Thai Tango flavor. Made with organic tofu and no preservatives. Sounds good to me.

The tofu itself contains calcium sulfate, which isn't that bad, when you compare it to MSG. The book says, "may constipate; can kill rodents". I'm not really sure what "can kill rodents" means in relation to humans, but I know it can't be good, and constipation is never good.

But what really concerned me was the sauce packet, used for dipping the tofu. It tastes wonderful, but it has xanthan gum, which "may cause gastrointestinal distress; extracted from Xanthomonas campestris by solvent extraction which may leave a toxic residue; may contain allowable amounts of lead, arsenic, and heavy metals; may be GMO". So if the amounts of metals are "allowable", how much do you need to eat of this product, and other products with xantham gum before it becomes unallowable???

So what can we do? A raw food diet is the most effective way to reduce and almost completely wipe out these foods from our lives. If you are not at that point, or you have children, like mine, who are not 100% raw, then my best advice is pay attention. Read the labels and become familiar with these additives so that you know what to look for. Decide where you will draw the line. For example, I may buy the Pete's Tofu2Go again, but I won't allow my daughter to use the sauce packet (she loves it just the same without the sauce). When I told her about the additives, she was completely interested in wiping these out of her diet as well. It's a great educational tool.
We don't have a lot of processed foods in our house to experiment with, but I would love to take this book to a friend's house, or someone else's and go through their cabinets! Or I could even go to the super market and look at the stuff I used to eat. I urge you to pick up this book. I only touched the surface of the information it contains.

In fact, I have an idea. So many people are doing giveaways lately, and I did say I wanted to buy this book for everyone I know. I can't get one for everyone, but I can get one for one person. So, everyone that wants a copy, just comment below and say so, and I will pull a name from a bowl and send you a copy. I would love to send you a copy! Today is Valentine's Day, and I love you ALL, so this will be my gift to you. I will wait about 5 days; on Feb. 18th at 11:59pm, I will pull a name and the winner will win the book Food Additives: A Shoppers Guide To What's Safe and What's Not! by Christine Hoza Farlow, D.C. Good Luck!

In the meantime, if you have an ingredient in your food that you really want to know about, just send me an email and I can look it up for you.

Happy Valentine's Day!


  1. i am new to the "raw food way" and am learning so much about more than food. it's opening my eyes and brain to what i use to clean with, what i put on my skin, what do i feed my animals, etc. etc. i am also learning why do we "humans" have to make everything so difficult when it can all be so simple?

  2. Amanda, this is a fascinating topic and your post touches on a vital part of everyday life. I have already ordered a copy of the book so please overlook my name for the 'give away' (wouldn't expect you to send it to France :0) )
    But I just wanted to thank you for showing us the way with this crucial information....It is incredible the level of deception our govenments allow to be put upon us isn't it!!!?!
    Loulou x

  3. amanda ... my granddaughter has food sensitivities, so i've been reading a lot of packaged food labels lately ... it's AMAZING what is labeled food ...

    yes, enter me in you giveaway!!! ... i could use that book! ... xoxo

  4. Anonymous, I completely agree that everything is made much too complicated. After making this post, I took a look at my daughter's whole wheat bread and was astonished! Now I am looking into making her bread myself, and finding that it really only takes a few ingredients.

    Loulou, I'm so glad that you bought the book! I would have sent it to you if you won though :) I hope you're having a great time at your family get tegether!

    Lisa, consider yourself entered! I agree, it is amazing, and it makes me sad too. Sad that someone out there says it's ok to feed this stuff to our children.

  5. Hi! I'm glad I found your blog. I'm currently on my 12th day of a raw food juice fast. I have stage III Sarcoidosis and will not take any cortico-steriods for my treatment. I'm following my intuition and learning all about raw foodism as a step toward a cure. I will be making the change to raw immediately after I have completed the 33rd day of my fast. I've seen incredible improvement in my health in just a few weeks, and am excited to experience what a new life with healthy foods can do for me. (The toughest battle I have to fight is convincing my wife that healthy is good.She loves the Golden Arches)
    Thanks for the great blog!

  6. I'd reeeeeeeeally like to discourage you from purchasing Pete's Tofu2Go or any other soy products again for your beautiful daughter.

    I was weaned on soy formula and shared a bit of my "soy story" here on In The Raw.

    Processed soy contains chemical toxins that have been linked to thyroid cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and a host of other life-threatening diseases.

    Imagine drugs that are known, by years of scientific documentation, to be both carcinogenic and to also cause DNA and chromosome damage being prescribed and administered through the food supply to populations of many countries around the world without the knowledge or consent of the individuals consuming these foods ... with no way to track dosage, individual reactions, or harmful side-effects ... and without any concern for some people’s increased vulnerability to these drugs, such as cancer patients. It sounds crazy, but that is exactly what is happening around the world when Soy is added to our food supply. Soy contains the scientifically documented carcinogenic and DNA damaging and chromosome damaging natural chemicals genistein and daidzein. - True Health magazine, May/June 2004

    That little book looks like a valuable resource for folks who purchase/consume processed foods.

  7. That's interesting earthmother. I have always heard that processed soy is bad for you, but fermented soy, like tofu, isn't. I do not give her anything with processed soy, but I do sometimes give her tofu. Maybe I will cut that out of her diet as well. Thanks!

  8. thanks for all the info. i found it very i found it very usefull. http://www.rawpeople.com/?utm_source=A&utm_medium=B&utm_campaign=C

  9. This book would be a great tool for me to use to educate people at my produce co-op about why eating fresh plant foods is better than macaroni and cheese out of a box. I'm having a community gathering next month, and it would be awesome to have one of the activities be a quiz show about what additives are in food!

  10. {I tried to post a comment already, didn't go thru, so I'm tryin' again!}
    Love this post, people need to know this!!!
    I would love to have this book for educating Hannah (My homeschooled 13 year old) & myself
    so when we think all we can afford is cheap, processed food, we'll know WHY it's NOT cheap, & the price is too high! Knowledge is POWER & gives strength to resist! I'd love to share the book with my family members who think they eat healthy, but think the Govt. would never allow things in food that could hurt us!
    Thanks for the contest, so generous of you!
    (From RawFu)

  11. tofu is not the type of soy that is ok. only tempeh and miso.

    why not get some lundeberg farms rice dishes instead? they are healthier than uncle bens.

  12. Thanks chris, for clearing that up! I've never heard of lindeberg farms rice, but I give my daughter mostly raw food anyway. I just exchanged those meals with even more raw food meals. The only cooked food that she eats now on a regular basis is peanut butter. lol