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.
It can be difficult to go Chemical Free with your food. Although it may not be realistic to eliminate all chemicals from your diet (after all, there are even chemicals in our drinking water), chemical exposure can be minimized.
Dietary chemicals fall into three broad categories. First, we have contaminants – these are substances that end up in our food by accident. The mercury found in some types of fish would be one example. Second, there are residues – substances that are in our food due to deliberate action, like spraying pesticides on vegetables. Finally, there are ingredients, which are chemicals that are added to our food to preserve them, or to add to their appearance.
Pesticides can be avoided by eating organic food. Again, you may not entirely eliminate pesticides, but the level of exposure will be considerably reduced. If going wholly organic isn’t practical, due to cost or availability, make sure to thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables before consuming them. If you plan on peeling your produce, you don’t need to go organic. Keep in mind that eliminating fruits and vegetables from your diet really isn’t a good idea – the health benefits from eating fresh produce will generally outweigh the minimal chemical exposure you’ll get from washed produce.
Contaminants are harder to avoid, since they make their way onto your table because of environmental conditions. The mercury in fish, for example, is caused by emissions from coal-fired power plants. Another source of contaminants is food processing and packing plants. If you avoid eating processed foods, you can eliminate many contaminants from your diet. Also, make sure that you keep foods in glass storage containers, and avoid using plastic containers for microwaving. This reduces your exposure to BPA, which is believed to be a factor in some types of cancer.
Foods that are heavily processed also contain artificial flavours, preservatives and dyes. These substances are known to cause allergic reactions in some people, and some research suggests that they may be responsible for more serious health problems.
So, what can you eat on a chemical free diet?
Basically, avoid processed foods. Read the label, and if you don’t understand what you’re reading, the food has likely been heavily processed. Select fresh fruits and vegetables along with whole grains, and limit dairy and animal products. Note, however, that cutting back on dairy products is not recommended for growing children and nursing mothers.
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Foods that Symbolizes Easter from around the world
Originally a celebration of spring and fertility, Easter originated from a Northern hemisphere pagan celebration known as Eastre. For Christians around the world Easter has primarily become known as the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, for many people Easter takes its origins from pagan customs, focusing on specific foods and enjoying the holiday that accompany this period.
Traditional Easter food varies from country to country, with Australia celebrating a diversity of different foods including:
Good Friday is often described as the day of “greatest grief” for Christians. Many traditions and superstitions are associated with this day but perhaps the most widespread custom is the eating of fish, said to be an alternative for meat out of respect to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
The Legend Of John Dory
The John Dory fish (which is also known as St Peter’s fish in Europe) is a mild and delicate white flesh fish best when grilled whole or roasted in the oven. The delicacy of the Dory also lends itself to poaching and steaming and serving with subtle South-East Asian flavours. It is a popular choice for Good Friday feasts.
The Dory’s alternate name ‘St Peters Fish’ refers to the “thumbprint” on the fish’s side. This mark is said to have resulted from Christ instructing St Peter to go fishing, correctly predicting he would catch a fish containing a silver coin in its mouth, for him to give to the tax collector. The skin of the John Dory marked by two dark “thumbprints” is said to be where Peter held the fish to retrieve the coin.
Of all the symbols associated with Easter, the egg (symbol of fertility and new life) is the most identifiable.
Traditionally, Easter eggs were painted with bright colours to represent spring and were used in Easter-egg rolling contests or given as gifts. After they were coloured and etched with various designs, lovers and romantic admirers, much the same as valentines, exchanged the eggs.
Different cultures have developed their own ways of using eggs in their traditional Easter foods. In Greece, crimson eggs (to honour the blood of Christ) are exchanged; Slavic peoples decorate their eggs in special patterns of gold and silver; In Italy eggs are found in soups such as Brodetto Pasquale (a broth-based Easter soup thickened with eggs) and in many different breads, such as in Calabria where a whole egg is inserted into the holes in the braid.
The easter bunny also has its origin in pre-Christian fertility lore. The hare and the rabbit were well known for their fertility and served as symbols of the new life during spring. The first edible easter bunnies (made of pastry and sugar) were made in Germany during the early 1800s. The Germans were also responsible for bringing the symbol of the easter rabbit to America.
Hot Cross Buns
Hot Cross Buns have a mixed history. Some attribute them right back to the pagan spring festival and say only later where monks, wanting to give a Christian meaning to the tradition, gave them the cross. Other accounts are entirely Christian in their origin, explaining the cross as a reminder of the cross Jesus was killed on.
Hot cross buns were traditionally eaten at breakfast time on Good Friday with buns baked on Good Friday supposedly having magical powers. Other superstitions include:
• Hardened old hot cross buns protect the house from fire.
• You could keep a hot cross bun that had been made on Good Friday for at least a year without it going mouldy.
• Sailors took hot cross buns to sea with them to prevent shipwreck.
• A bun baked on Good Friday and left to get hard could be grated up and put in warm milk to stop an upset tummy.
However, whatever their origin, the delicious combination of spicy, sweet and fruity flavours continues to be a traditional Easter favourite.
The dove (symbol of peace and resurrection) plays a popular part in Italian Easter celebrations. In northern Italy, specialty bread baked in the shape of a dove and studded with orange peel, raisins and almonds is eaten on Easter Sunday.
The Lamb, signifier of birth and new life, is a major component of many Italian and Greek Easter feasts. Historically, whole baby lamb, was roasted or grilled over open air spits and while this tradition still persists, many today opt for the more convenient option of lamb roast for Sunday lunches and dinners.
Like many other European holidays, Pancake Day was originally a pagan holiday. The eating of pancakes was an important part of Shrovetide week. The word shrove is a form of the English word shrive, which means to obtain absolution for one’s sins and celebrated the beginning of Spring. Later adopted by the Christian’s it is now know as “Shrove Tuesday”, the last day of celebration and feasting before the period of fasting required during the Lenten season. Lent is a period of time leading up to Easter where Christians, who traditionally follow the English tradition of eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday came about as a way to use as much milk, fats, and eggs before Ash Wednesday and the fasting period began.
Capirotada Bread Pudding
Is a kind of spiced Mexican bread pudding filled with raisins, cinnamon, cloves and cheese that is popular during the Easter period. It’s said that each ingredients carries a reminder of the suffering of Christ – the cloves being the nails on the cross, the cinnamon sticks the wooden cross and the bread the Body of Christ himself.
Families in many Orthodox Christian countries, including Bulgaria, Georgia and Russia, will bake a Kulich cake at Easter. The cakes are baked in tall tins, and decorated with white icing and colourful sprinkles or flowers. A priest often blesses the cake after Easter service.
Maundy Thursday is known as “Green Thursday” in Germany, when Germans traditionally eat green-coloured foods.
Paçoca de Amendoim
A delicious treat made from peanuts, sugar and cassava flour. This Brazilian tradition is often served in honour of the Easter festival.
Is a pyramid-shaped dessert made from cheese is traditionally served at Easter in Russia. The dish is often decorated with religious symbols, such as the letters XB, from “Christos Voskres”, which means “Christ is Risen”.
Colomba di Pasqua
Similar in taste to the Italian Christmas bread panettone, Colomba di Pasqua is a candied peel-stuffed cake that is often shaped like a dove.
Is a brioche-like bread, flavoured with an essence drawn from the seed of wild cherries, is often decorated with hard-boiled eggs that have been dyed red, to symbolise the blood of Christ.
Rather like a large hot cross bun, pinca is a sweet bread marked with the sign of the cross that is commonly eaten to celebrate the end of Lent in Slovenia and Croatia. It’s also enjoyed in some areas of Italy
Mona de Pascua
A popular Easter cake traditionally cooked in several regions of Spain during Semana Santa (holy week). Traditionally, it resembles a large doughnut topped with a hardboiled egg.
The roast lamb dinner that many eat on Easter Sunday goes back earlier than Easter to the first Passover of the Jewish people. The sacrificial lamb was roasted and eaten, together with unleavened bread and bitter herbs in hopes that the angel of God would pass over their homes and bring no harm. As Hebrews converted to Christianity, they naturally brought along their traditions with them. The Christians often refer to Jesus as The Lamb of God. Thus, the traditions merged.
His a traditional Easter food in the United States, . In the early days, meat was slaughtered in the fall. There was no refrigeration, and the fresh pork that wasn’t consumed during the winter months before Lent was cured for spring. The curing process took a long time, and the first hams were ready around the time Easter rolled around. Thus, ham was a natural choice for the celebratory Easter dinner.
Were first shaped to indicate the torso of a person with arms folded, praying.
Easter Biscuits are sometimes called “Cakes”, and are eaten on Easter Sunday. They contain spices, currants and sometimes grated lemon rind and are often made into shapes such as eggs or bunnies.
Resources: wikipedia.org, ww.telegraph.co.uk, www.paddys.com.au, http://homecooking.about.com/
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It’s natural to find colourful food appealing – as humans, we’re visual creatures. Think about what draws you, for example, to produce in the supermarket – you like bright red strawberries, yellow bananas, blueberries, dark purple grapes, cherry red tomatoes, brilliant green peppers, and so on. You wouldn’t want to eat, for example, a grey carrot or a beige peach. So going colour free can be difficult.
Following a colour free diet doesn’t mean that you give up the natural foods you love; it means eliminating dangerous dyes that are added to your food. Did you know, for example, that a bowl of rainbow-colored cereal can contain compounds that can cause allergic reactions, and have even been implicated in neurological illnesses?
Red 40, Blue 1, and Yellows 5 and 6 have been linked to allergic reactions. Granted, this isn’t common, but it’s reason enough to avoid dyed foods whenever possible. Studies have also indicated that these dyes could cause hyperactivity in some children. Additionally, these dyes along with Blue 2 and Green 3 have been shown to cause cancer in lab animals. Yellow 5 was also linked to mutations.
Food dyes are a relatively new additive. They came into common use when food processors decided to capitalize on our visual nature. At one time, food dyes were natural – beet juice, for example, was used to create red coloring. Of course, food processors are always looking for ways to lower their costs, and artificial dyes are considerably cheaper than natural ones.
In the States, FDA standards for approving food colorings are fairly low. If the risk isn’t actually proven beyond any doubt, the dye gets FDA approval. The laws are similar in Australia. This doesn’t mean that the dye isn’t harmful, just that cause and effect can’t be inextricably linked.
So, how can you follow a colour free diet? Hard as it may be, you should start by eliminating most types of candy. Pure chocolate is dye-free, but colorful marshmallow candies, coated chocolate, jelly candies and waxy candies, to name just a few, all contain dyes.
Read the labels on anything that’s processed. Many cereals are huge offenders when it comes to food dyes. You’ll also find dyes in soups, snack cakes, and even some meats. Yogurt is usually thought to be a healthy food, but read the labels on the fruit varieties – many of them contain little fruit and rely on dye to give the appearance of higher fruit content.
Generally speaking, if a food looks really colorful, and it’s not a fresh fruit or vegetable, it could contain dye. When in doubt, give it a pass.
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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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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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