It’s one thing to say that you’re going to eliminate all additives from your diet. It may be quite another to actually do it. If your idea of good eating is to pop a frozen dinner in the microwave, you’re going to have to make some significant adjustments. Going completely additive free is going mean eliminating a lot of the foods you enjoy, and finding alternatives.
That said, there are many good reasons to adopt an additive free diet. You’re going to be eliminating lot of foods that really don’t have a lot of nutritional value, and you’ll probably feel better once you start eating in a healthier fashion.
Food additives include artificial flavorings and colourings, and chemical preservatives. Many food dyes have been connected to health problems both major and minor – some have even been linked to cancer. Preservatives can cause allergic reactions in some people. Artificial sweeteners have been linked to various health conditions, and are suspected of being connected with some types of cancer.
To avoid consuming undesirable additives, read food labels carefully. A good rule of thumb is that if you see anything on the label that you have trouble pronouncing, you shouldn’t buy the product. You’ll find additives in most commercial bakery products, and also in baking mixes. Other offenders are frozen waffles and pancakes, and also dry mixes. If it’s in a can or a jar at the grocery store, it contains additives. Virtually any kind of soda or drink mix will be loaded with additives. Condiments like ketchup Worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, tartar sauce, and mayonnaise are offenders. Any processed meat (hot dogs, bologna, lunch-meats, etc.) will be absolutely loaded with additives.
What fast foods should you avoid? All of them.
Even your beloved dairy products, like cottage cheese, cream cheese, sour cream and yogurt contain several additives.
If you want something to drink other than plain old water, you can have one hundred percent fruit juices, herbal tea, and plain tomato or V8 juice.
As to what you can eat on an additive free diet, you can have all the fresh fruits and vegetables you want. Pure grain cereals are excellent, but not the instant, flavored type. Brown rice is good, most granolas are fine, and pasta of any sort is permissible. Any flour-based product, provided it’s made with unbleached flour. Eggs and nuts are good for you.
Actually, almost any pure food is permissible on an additive free diet. If you make meals at home from pure foods, you’ll be consuming little or nothing in the way of additives.
I love to encourage little ones to be creative and teaching them to cook is a great way to express their creative side. I’ve already been in the kitchen cooking with my two-year-old granddaughter, we made my Muesli Slice from book 3 which she loves as a snack. One of the benefits of teaching kids to cook is that as they get older they can help out when you are busy; and who doesn’t want dinner cooked for them.
Here are some tips with kids in the kitchen:
- Have a stool handy so little ones can reach the bench easily.
- Provide an apron to avoid extra mess.
- Let them pick recipes that they like and help them to write a shopping list. In the supermarket they can be the shopper; this is a great opportunity to encourage learning about weights and measures. For example, show them how to locate sizes on products, e.g. 500g of mince or a 420g can of tomatoes.
- Don’t make cooking too hard as this can lead to frustration and spoil the experience. Choose recipes according to level of difficulty that suit the age group, so they can be in charge as much as possible.
- Never criticise or be angry with them, even if they drop an egg on the floor forget about the mess and have fun.
- Make sure the tasks are age appropriate, safety first! Provide proper oven gloves to protect their hands when removing food from the oven or microwave. Talk about knife safety.
- Explain hygiene – chopping on different boards i.e. chicken on one, vegetables on another. Show how to avoid cross contamination and encourage washing of hands.
- Make a reason for the children to cook such as a visit from Grandma or for snacks to take to school or a gift such as cookies, muffins or a fruit cake. Praise is a mighty strong way for cooking to become a fun and pleasant experience.
- Fill the sink with warm soapy water and clean up as you go so it’s not a big chore at the end.
- Spending time together cooking gives parents an opportunity to teach fractions and other measurements and also educate about food and nutrition. I’m sure some kids think milk comes from a carton.
Cooking with kids is a perfect opportunity to share knowledge with your children or grandchildren and then enjoy eating the food you cook. Fond memories are made when spending time together and who knows, you might find you have a budding chef on your hands.
Article submitted by Annette Sym of Symply Too Good
FODMAPs are short chains of carbohydrates disaccharides, monosaccharides and related alcohols that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. The restriction of these FODMAPs from the diet has been found to have a beneficial effect for sufferers of irritable bowel syndrome and other functional gastrointestinal disorders.
Poor absorption of most FODMAP carbohydrates is common to everyone. Any FODMAPs that are not absorbed in the small intestine pass into the large intestine, where bacteria ferment them. Below are two lists of FODMAP unfriendly and FODMAP friendly foods. Generally abstinence of these inflammatory foods is advisable but if you really need certain items try and keep the usage down to a minimum.
High FODMAP food (things to avoid / reduce)
Vegetables and Legumes
Garlic and onions – avoid entirely if possible, artichoke, asparagus, baked beans, beetroot, black eyed peas, broad beans, butter beans, cauliflower, celery – greater than 5cm of stalk, kidney beans, leeks, mange tout, mushrooms, peas, savoy cabbage, soy beans, split peas, scallions / spring onions (bulb / white part), shallots
Fruits that contain high fructose
Apples, apricots, avocado, blackberries, cherries, currants, dates, grapefruit, lychee, mango
Beer – if drinking more than one bottle, dandelion tea, fruit and herbal teas with apple added, orange juice in quantities over 100ml, rum, sugar free fizzy drinks – such as diet coke, sports drinks, wine – if drinking more than one glass.
Banana, blueberries, boysenberry, cantaloupe, star fruit, cranberry, durian, grapes, grapefruit, honeydew melon, kiwi, lemon, lime mandarin, orange, passion fruit, pineapple, raspberry, rhubarb, strawberry, tangelo.
Suitable vegetables and legumes
Alfalfa, bean sprouts, bok choy / pak choi, broccoli – avoid large servings, brussel sprouts, butternut squash – 1/4 cup, cabbage, carrots, celery – less than 5cm of stalk, corn / sweet corn, courgette, chick peas, chives, cucumber, eggplant, fennel, green beans,green pepper, ginger, kale, Leek leaves, lentils, lettuce, okra, olives, parsnip, parsley, radish, red peppers, potato, pumpkin, scallions, spinach, baby squash, sweet potato, tomato, turnip, zucchini.
This article focuses on the foods to be avoided and taken on a FODMAP diet. When considering a diet that involves avoiding a long list of foods, it is beneficial to look at foods that are acceptable on the diet.
You might think that adopting a corn-free diet is easy – you know what corn looks like, so just eliminate those bright yellow kernels, right? Wrong. It’s surprising how many common food products contain corn. It’s in almost everything.
There can be a number of reasons to eliminate corn, or at least some types of corn products from your diet. For instance, if you have an allergy to corn, it’s probably to the corn protein, so corn byproducts like corn starch and clean corn oil won’t cause you any distress. In a few cases, people are allergic to the entire kernel, and anything and everything corn-related has to be eliminated.
Occasionally, it becomes necessary to temporarily eliminate corn products that are abrasive to the digestive tract. People with inflammatory bowel problems, for instance, should stay away from corn, cornmeal, and popcorn when they’re having a flare-up.
As major concern these days is genetically modified food. The debate continues as to whether these foods are harmful, so if that’s something that worries you, you need to know that more than eighty percent of our corn products are genetically modified, and that food producers are not required to let you know when this is the case. Don’t expect to see a label on your corn or corn products stating “GMO.” In order to be sure, you’re going to have to look for labelling that says “non-GMO,” or “GMO-free.” Even organically grown corn could be cross-contaminated.
As previously stated, practically anything can contain corn. This includes the obvious, like corn oil, corn syrup, corn meal and cornstarch. Less obvious are baking powder, citric acid, and MSG. If the label states that the product contains maltodextrin, that’s a corn product. Even “natural flavors” on the label can indicate the presence of corn. Look for baking powder that doesn’t contain cornstarch, and make sure to use pure cooking oils like olive, peanut or safflower.
Corn is an ingredient in most processed foods, so if you are planning to follow a corn-free diet, eliminating processed foods is the best way to start. Rediscover your kitchen, and make meals from scratch using whole foods. You can create delicious meals using whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean cuts of meat, poultry or fish. You’ll eliminate most of the corn from your diet, and you’ll never miss those over-processed foods.
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More and more people are adopting grain free diets these days. Many people have no choice – they’re forced to forego many grain products because of celiac disease. The gluten in wheat, rye, barley and some other grains can cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, and damage to the lining of the small intestine in people who have celiac disease.
Others perceive benefits in a grain free lifestyle that have nothing to do with a medical condition. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Paleo diet. This means simply eating only foods that our Paleolithic (cave man) ancestors consumed. Until man learned how to process foods, grains were not eaten. Advocates of the Paleo diet believe that a grain free diet is conducive to weight loss – cave men weren’t fat. One could argue the point that cave men didn’t carry around excess weight because they got a good deal more exercise just going about the business of staying alive than we do today, but the fact remains that many people do lose weight on a Paleo diet.
If you have celiac disease, you have to give up not just grains, but grain-related foods like spelt, faro, bulgur, kamut and spelt. You’ll also have to be very careful with processed foods that could contain gluten-based additives, and anything that could have been cross-contaminated due to gluten exposure.
If you want to try a grain free diet as a means of achieving weight loss or other health benefits, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t. However, you will need to eat a variety of other foods that contain B vitamins, iron, fibre, and various minerals. These are compounds that are credited with lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even some forms of cancer. Choose dark green, leafy vegetables and a variety of other vegetables and fruits. Also, include low fat dairy products and lean meats, fish and poultry.
Because there are so many essential nutrients in grain products, you will have to be vigilant in choosing foods that replace the missing nutrients. You might also want to add a good multivitamin to your daily regimen, and perhaps a tablespoon of fish oil. A nutritionist can also advise you on which foods are best. If you are in doubt as to whether following a grain free diet is right for you, seek the advice of your family doctor.
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