What Can I Eat if I am Following a Preservatives Free Diet?

What Can I Eat if I am Following a Preservatives Free Diet?

Eliminating preservatives from your diet can be difficult. They’re present in virtually every type of processed food. The purpose of preservatives is, obviously, to prevent food from spoiling and to reduce the risk of illness due to spoilage. As a secondary benefit, they allow food to retain its flavor for longer.

You may be thinking of following a preservatives free diet because you’ve developed a sensitivity to sulfites, or you could be concerned about recent studies that suggest that some preservatives, like sodium benzoate, may aggravate hyperactivity in children.

By law, preservatives have to be listed on food labels, so your best protection against preservatives is to become a good label reader. Phrases to watch out for are any that include the word “nitrate.” Also watch for sodium ascorbate, ascorbic acid, sorbates or sorbic acid, tocepherols, sulfites and sulfur dioxide. Acronyms are a red flag as well – BHT, BHA, EDTA, etc.

If you buy organic food, that’s one way to avoid preservatives. Also, anything that’s fresh will be preservative-free. Fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, eggs, and meats that aren’t processed are all preservative-free. Virtually any convenience foods will contain preservatives, so if you’ve gotten out of the habit of making meals from scratch, think about starting again.

Not all ways of preserving foods require chemical preservatives. If you enjoy working with food, you can make preserved foods at home that don’t contain anything harmful. You can, for example, pickle almost any vegetable – it’s not just cucumbers. Some recipes require salt, but if you’re concerned about consuming too much sodium, there are other recipes that rely on just a solution of vinegar, water, and spices. You can find recipes in books or online.

If you love beef jerky, but you worry about preservatives in the store-bought kind, you can make your own. All you need is a food dehydrator. You’re not limited to beef, either – try turkey!

A food dehydrator can also be great for drying vegetables, and you’ll find that when you reconstitute them in a delicious stew, they’ll have the same flavor as fresh. Some veggies require blanching, but others, like tomatoes and mushrooms, can just be sliced up or even dried whole.

Following a preservative free diet offers many health benefits. If you’re willing to forego processed foods, you can easily eliminate preservatives from your diet.

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Sources:

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/foods-preservatives-3459.html

http://www.weightlossforall.com/benefits-and-problems-of-food-preservatives.htm

What Can I Eat if I am Following a Vegan Diet?

What Can I Eat if I am Following a Vegan Diet?

If you’re considering following a vegan diet, chances are you’re doing it for ethical reasons. Vegans don’t just avoid eating meat, poultry or fish – they also avoid any animal products and by-products like honey, eggs and dairy. They also don’t wear fur, leather, wool or silk, and they don’t use personal care products that are made from substances obtained from animals.

Vegans object on principle to exploiting animals, and believe that animals that are raised to provide foods and other commodities to mankind are not well treated. They consider the production methods to be inhumane.

It is possible to obtain proper nutrition on a vegan diet, and it needn’t be boring. A varied and healthy vegan diet includes vegetables, fruits, leafy greens, seeds, nuts, legumes and whole grain products.

On a vegan diet, contrary to popular belief, one isn’t typically deprived of protein. Vegans can consume chickpeas, peas, tofu, lentils, soymilk, peanut butter, rice, spinach, almonds, kale, broccoli, and any number of other foods that contain enough protein to allow for a well-rounded diet.

In order to get enough healthy fat in a vegan diet, nut and seed butters, coconut, and avocado as well as most oils can be consumed.

One thing that isn’t present in a vegan diet is vitamin D. However, the body manufactures its own vitamin D when exposed to sunlight.

Calcium doesn’t have to come from milk – it can be found in tofu, dark green vegetables, and fortified soy or rice milk. Blackstrap molasses is also a good source of calcium.

Iron is, of course, another important nutrient. For most people, iron comes from meat. Vegans obtain iron in dark green vegetables, dried beans, chickpeas, blackstrap molasses, lentils, prune juice, bok choi, watermelon, and tahini, to name just a few delicious foods.

We could go on and on, but you get the idea – vegans can obtain their essential nutrients from non-animal foods. If you think a vegan diet has to be boring, consider some of these delicious suggestions: stir fried veggies, three bean salad, popcorn, baked beans, orange juice, guacamole, peanut butter on whole grain bread, soy yogurt, rice pudding, corn chowder, banana muffins, vegetable curries… again, we could go on and on.

It’s very possible to obtain all your essential nutrients on a vegan diet. There’s no need to sacrifice variety, and your conscience won’t be troubled either.

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Sources:

http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/vegan.htm

What Can I Eat if I am Avoiding MSG?

What Can I Eat if I am Avoiding MSG?

MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is a flavour enhancer based on the amino acid, glutamate. It’s found in a good many common food products, and many people don’t tolerate it well. The most common complaints are nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and headaches, and these symptoms motivate many to restrict or attempt to eliminate its presence in their diets. Research also indicates that long-term use of MSG can contribute to memory loss, disruptions in the endocrine system, psychological and neural disorders, and diseases of the pancreas.

MSG is FDA approved, but it’s understandable that you might want to avoid it. If you are considering following an MSG free diet, don’t make the mistake of equating it just with Chinese restaurants. Certainly, it’s long been associated with Chinese cuisine, but you’ll find it in all kinds of foods. The worst offenders are any type of flavored potato chips, Doritos, sun chips, vegetable dips, salad dressings (ranch in particular), bouillon cubes (even those that purport to be MSG free), sauce mixes, and baby foods.

If you’re trying to reduce your consumption of MSG, you’ll need to read food labels carefully. MSG is manufactured by using the process of bacterial fermentation or protein hydrolysis, so if the label uses the term “hydrolyzed protein,” or if the product contains yeast, that means there is MSG in the product. Other terms for MSG are monopotassium glutamate, vegetable protein extract, glutamic acid, hydrolyzed plant protein, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed soy protein, textured protein, calcium caseinate, sodium caseinate, whey protein concentrate, autolyzed yeast, yeast extract, and senomyx.

Sometimes, food processors use vague terminology to supposedly disclose the presence of MSG, when really, they’re obfuscating. If you see phrases like “vegetable flavouring” or “natural flavour,” you can bet its code speak for “MSG.” Even labelling that says “no added MSG” doesn’t mean much.

You’ll find MSG in virtually every prepackaged food product. Frozen dinners, processed meats, marinated food, broths, stocks and canned soups all contain MSG.

The best way to reduce your consumption of MSG is to cook your own meals instead of eating out or buying processed foods. Choose fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, pasta, eggs, and unprocessed meat, fish and poultry. Most beverages are MSG free, although you may find small amounts in some vegetable juice cocktails. Again, the best course of action is to read the label carefully.

If you find that you miss MSG’s flavour enhancing properties, try using chili pepper, ginger, turmeric, cumin and other spices to add a burst of flavor to your meals. In time, your taste buds will adjust, and you won’t miss MSG.

Sources:

http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/how-to-avoid-foods-with-msg.html

http://www.saynotomsg.com/basics_list.php

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What Can I Eat if I am Following a Salicylates Free Diet?

What Can I Eat if I am Following a Salicylates Free Diet?

Salicylates are naturally occurring chemicals that are found in various plants. Their function is to protect plants from diseases and insects, but they can have an adverse effect on people to varying degrees. People who are sensitive to salicylates may experience the following symptoms:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Flatulence
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Acid reflux
  • Rashes
  • Cystitis
  • Sleep disturbances (sleep apnea, insomnia, night terrors)
  • Nasal congestion
  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Irritability
  • Joint pain

Salicylates are also believed to worsen the symptoms of asthma and ADHD. They may also have an adverse effect on people who suffer from clinical depression.

If you suspect that you’re sensitive to salicylates, you should avoid tomato products, citrus fruits, most berries, dried herbs and spices, tea and mint. Obviously, this means that you won’t be consuming several foods that are considered good for you, so you’re going to have to be sure that you consume other foods that will provide you with proper nutrition.

Lentils and beans are low in salicylates. Approach fresh vegetables and non-citric fruits with caution – choose only produce that has fully ripened. Pears, apples, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, pumpkin and leeks are all low-salicylate. Peel fruits and vegetables before eating – there is more salicylate in the skin.

If you must have a hot drink, coffee is better for you than tea. If you feel that you can do without the caffeine, decaffeinated coffee is much lower in salicylates than regular coffee.

It should be noted that salicylates don’t occur just in food. Acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) is present in many medications – you probably know it best under the name aspirin. For most pain-related conditions, you can substitute acetaminophen or ibuprofen, or see your doctor for a prescription medication that doesn’t contain salicylates.

Salicylates are also found in many personal care products. You might, for example, find it in shampoo, toothpaste or mouthwash.

People are sensitive to salicylates to varying degrees. Quantities that could cause extreme discomfort in one person might produce only mild symptoms in another. Given the presence of salicylates in so many of the foods we consume and in the other products we use daily, a totally salicylate-free diet may not be practical. However, avoiding foods that haven’t fully ripened and removing heavily processed foods from your diet is a very good start.

Sources:

http://fedup.com.au/factsheets/additive-and-natural-chemical-factsheets/salicylates

https://www.feingold.org/salicylate.php

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What Can I Eat if I am Following a Colour Free Diet?

What Can I Eat if I am Following a Colour Free Diet?

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.

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.

Sources:

http://blog.fooducate.com/2010/06/30/articial-colors-in-food-a-poison-rainbow/

http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2012/02/20/monday-mission-avoid-artificial-food-dyes-and-colorings/

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What Can I Eat If I’m Following an Organic Diet?

What Can I Eat If I’m Following an Organic Diet?

What Can I Eat if I am Following an Organic Diet?

If you’re thinking of adopting an organic diet, it could be because of ecological concerns or because you’re worried about food safety. Maybe you just want to eat healthier and believe that this would be a good way to go about doing it. Whatever your reasons, there’s little doubt that eating organic foods is better for you. Many people who have chemical sensitivities and allergies report feeling better when they go organic.

When you’re looking for organic foods, don’t be confused by terms like “natural,” “free range,” or “hormone free.” These terms actually aren’t regulated by law, and can be fairly meaningless – particularly the term “natural.” There are many things that occur in nature that sensible people don’t want in their bodies.

When you’re looking at labels, 100% organic means that the food contains no synthetic ingredients. Organic refers to foods that contain at least 95% organic ingredients. For a product to be labelled as made with organic ingredients, it has to have a minimum of 70% organic ingredients.

Organic food can’t be treated with synthetic pesticides. Biological pesticides are permitted. Sewage sludge can’t be used, and the food can’t be bioengineered. Because growing pesticide-free food is more labor-intensive, you’ll end up spending more for organic food than you would for other produce, and you may have to live with some imperfections in the appearance. However, if you can afford to go organic, and you don’t mind some spots here and there, you probably will feel better about your health.

The problem with pesticides is the residue, and some foods are worse than others. If you’re on a budget, you might want to spend your money on organic produce when the variety is one that’s particularly susceptible to residue. The vegetables and fruits that are most susceptible to residue are as follows:

  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Nectarines
  • Pears
  • Cherries
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Celery
  • Bell peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach

The vegetables and fruits that you can expect to have the least residue are as follows:

  • Kiwi
  • Bananas
  • Pineapple
  • Mango
  • Papaya
  • Onions
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Avocado
  • Frozen peas
  • Frozen corn
  • Asparagus

By choosing organic varieties of the fruits and vegetables most likely to have pesticide residue, you can go organic on a budget. Of course, if you want to adopt a true organic diet, you will have to incur some expense, but your peace of mind may be worth it.

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Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/how-to-eat-organic-foods-on-a-budget

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/organic-food/art-20043880

 

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