Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Label Reading

I was talking to someone recently and was rather embarrassed when they asked me if I knew what a certain item on a food label was.  I could have probably answered them a year or 2 ago.  But I realized any knowledge I had on the subject was pretty much gone.

Being the nutrition freak that I am, I was a bit taken back by the whole thing.  I used to be really good at labels.  I used to read them all the time.  It matters what I put into our bodies.  And I still read labels now and then.  So what happened to my knowledge of chemicals that go into foods?  How could I lose this important skill?

After some more thinking, I finally realized what it was. And I was quite relieved.  Ok, so that shows my pride.  But, it also shows how far we've come.

The reason I can't read labels smartly anymore is because I buy so few things with labels these days.  Really and truly.  Now, I do manage to have waaay more recycle then I wish I had.  But it tends to be things like vinegar containers, olive oil and tomato sauce and canned fish containers.  Basically, one item things with nothing else in them, instead of highly processed multi-ingredient foods.

I remember when I first started reading labels I was appalled!  My expensive 'all natural whole wheat' bread cost $4 a loaf-and had 15 ingredients. All natural my ear!  It was truly eye opening to start reading labels.  So I did the research, trying to figure out what was what.  And after awhile, I got so that pretty much everything with a list of ingredients more then 5 items long, I just put back without even checking the actual ingredients.  Now things like salsa I would actually read to see, but otherwise, I wouldn't bother.  And from there, I found it easier to just make my own of most things.

And the few things that I do buy with labels, I buy regularly and know what to look for (I do occasionally read them to make sure they have not changed since the last time I bought them).

And for 'treats' that we are going to eat anyway, I don't let myself even read the ingredients, because otherwise I couldn't enjoy them. 

So while making almost everything from it's original ingredients is somewhat time consuming. I must say, it does beat reading every label and trying to remember what is what in the 'fake food' world.  :)

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