Wednesday Wisdom - Do you know what's in that? / by Erin Holland

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How many times have you heard that in order to begin your journey of health you should "read labels?"

Okay great, so you read labels. What are you looking for?  What are you avoiding?

When it comes to food, you want real ingredients, void of sugar and modified additives. In essence, you want to stock your fridge and cupboards with whole food that don't need an ingredients list. My grass-fed beef shouldn't have anything other than beef, my broccoli should be pure, 100% vegetable. Unfortunately it's not that simple. Breads, almond butter, tomato sauces, pickles, meat, even your beloved Kashi Go Lean, might be hiding sugar - in various forms, high fructose corn syrup, unpronounceable ingredients, pesticides, unhealthy oils, and therefore some unwanted "food" substances your body does not need nor want in order to thrive. 

Okay, so you've given up gluten and sugar, you shop the perimeter of the store, you're a food label reading ninja. What about your personal care products? Your shampoo, your toothpaste, your mascara, and deodorant? Do you know how to read those labels? Do you know that you're as susceptible to the chemicals in those products as you are to what you're ingesting? 

I love the Environmental Working Group (EWG) app to help me decipher labels, especially for personal beauty products. They take the guesswork out of the equation and allow me to make informed decisions. The EWG rates products from 0-10; ideally you're looking for products in a safe range, under 3. I also love Beautycounter for skincare and makeup due to their transparency, rigorous testing, and commitment to their NEVER LIST  - a list as comprehensive as the EU, which bans 1,400 toxic chemical from their cosmetics.

Beautycounter's NEVER List

Beautycounter's NEVER List

But if you want to be even more informed, what should you avoid? This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but take a look:

Formaldehyde

Propyl Paraben

Mercury

Bisphenol A (BPA) and Phthalates

Nitrates

Potassium Bromate

Pesticides

Lead

Perchlorate

Blue #1 and Blue #2

Yellow #5

Red #40

Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)

rBGH and rBST

Aluminum

"Natural" Flavors

Educate yourself and start making more informed choices - for your health, for the environment, for your children and grandchildren. What can you do today?

For reference:

http://www.ewg.org/research/ewg-s-dirty-dozen-guide-food-additives

http://www.parents.com/health/injuries/safety/harmful-chemicals-to-avoid/

http://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/Food/11-foods-banned-us/story?id=19457237#9