Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Reading Labels is a lot trickier than you think.

I have always known that the information can be misleading at times. Now I see how true that is.

FDA has regulations that ensures products list what is in the prepared or processed food. Knowing that a lot of ingredients and preservatives are used at times there are "guidelines and general rules" to follow. Here are some interesting Facts.

• Ingredients are listed in order of predominance of weight.
• Value and Percentages are showing how much of the daily recommended value is in that serving. This can be difficult to know if you’re getting too much or not enough from a specific nutrient. Most do not walk around knowing the FDA has said that 1000 RE are recommended for Vitamin A. This serving of Juice has 25% Vitamin A. So that means I just had 250 RE of my daily 1000 RE recommendation for Vitamin A. It also will not list if that is a pure source of Vitamin A or synthetic.
• Sometime they will list an ingredient like Mayonnaise. It will not itemize the oil, eggs, vinegar, and if that oil was vegetable, hydrogenated form, and/or another.

Sodium is even more disturbing. Considering how much sodium, excluding plant based forms, plays a part in most health issues. Look at these facts.

Mini glossary of terms on food labels

• Sodium free: less than 5 mg/serving

• Very low sodium: 35 mg or less per serving

• Low sodium: 140 mg or less per serving

• Reduced sodium: processed to reduce the usual level of sodium by 75%

• Unsalted: processed to without the normally used salt ( may still contain sodium present in the food originally)

When I read Unsalted I would think that there is NO salt. Not that salt was in the food and then they processed to reduce it. And then they have no true value of what the original amounts were and how much is left behind. No wonder people trying to watch their cholesterol get too confused with their blood work when they have been trying so hard to watch the salt. Not to mention, “Low Sodium” can be anything from 140 to 36 mg per serving. Think about it. If a bag of chips has Low Sodium on there, and it has 5 servings in the bag. You could have 700mg to 175 mg. These numbers are too broad for those watching their sodium intake, and be honest most do not take the time to do math and conversions to know how much is really in this handful of chips I am holding.

We should be reading labels. My point here is that even when reading labels things can still be misleading. What can we do? Stick with labels that have whole ingredients, 100% whole wheat. I am looking at a box of Spaghetti Noodles I bought because I wanted to show an example.

In this box of dried noodles it has ingredients whole wheat flour, that is it. Then allergy warning says, may contain traces of eggs, that should have been listed in ingredients correct? Then I look under Nutrition facts. Vitamin A 0%, Vitamin C 0%, Calcium 2%, and Iron 10%. In my mind why would you list it if the Value is 0? If it is not in there do not list it, if it is, then LIST it, but it does say it MAY contain. For those of you that are sensitive to gluten products you want to know whether or not there is gluten. Not....May contain Gluten.

In my mind stay away from foods that are processed. Stick to fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes, and add the others in as needed. When we take the time to prepare our food we know what is in it.

We are doing the Challenge to Eat in, inspired from auther Cathy Erway.  Here is a recipe from Melissa Adams.  It is short and easy, ideal for those that want to eat healthy in thirty minutes or less.


Zucchini Spaghetti
Who doesn't love classic spaghetti? For less carbs, try zucchini instead of pasta. Simply julienne the zucchini and steam with fresh garlic and salt/pepper. I use Gia Russa marinara sauce (publix). You can add ground beef if you choose. And just a touch of Parmesan cheese. Easy, cheap, and quick. :-)

 Thank you Melissa for your recipe! I had another recipe come in today that I wanted to share. I love black bean burgers and here is a recipe from Kari Hendrick. You are getting two for one today!

Black Bean Burgers
1 cup cooked or 1 can of black beans (if canned uncooked is fine) if using a can save the liquid:)
Dice up 1 small onion, a few tbsp.
Dice up celery, you could also add peppers instead.
A few tablespoons of flax seed or chia seed.
Bread crumbs, I always toast some bread and chop it up finely- maybe 2 pieces.
Some olive or walnut oil for drizzling.
Season with salt , pepper, I also use some hot sauce.
Add some of the liquid from the canned beans or some broth or even some almond milk, as I sometimes do
Mix and add just until the mixture is very sticky, not to dry and not to wet.
You may need to add a little flour at this point.
Put some oil on your hands and form small patties in your hands.
Place in a hot skillet with oil and cook until hot and a little crunchy. If you like then flip and continue the same. You can top with onions, olives, cheese or whatever you choose. We eat them with some sautéed veggies and some rice or almond pilaf!

Thank you Kari!! We love Black bean burgers, one nice thing you can toss whatever you like in there, even some hot peppers for added Kick!

Have a Blessed and Healthy Day!

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