Food Additives? Subtract
Them From Your Diet!
The dangers of common
food additives are increasingly revealed by science.
Dangerous additives lurk in our food supply and cause havoc with
our bodies. The effects of these nasty toxins are most obvious in young
children. But make no mistake: They’re harmful to us all. These chemical
compounds not only alter our moods and behavior or cause headaches and
other symptoms, but can even cause life-threatening illnesses like
Food additives are chemical substances that manufacturers use to color,
preserve, flavor and modify commercially sold food in order to make it
look better and last longer. Fake food colors, flavors and preservatives
are added to foods for the convenience and profit of the manufacturer
and retailer but at the expense of your health.
new study funded by Britain’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) and
conducted by the University of Southampton show that artificial
additives, such as colorings and preservatives, can significantly increase
hyperactive behavior in children.
Researchers found that when children aged 6 to 9 were given fruit
drinks containing artificial additives, including sodium benzoate (a
very common preservative
recently linked to cancer) they showed a sharp
rise in hyperactivity. According to the researchers, the effects of these
artificial chemicals can be seen not only in children diagnosed with
ADHD — attention deficit hyperactivity disorder — but also in otherwise
All the food additives tested in the study, with the exception
of quinoline yellow and carmoisine, are deemed as safe to eat by the
Food and Drug Administration. But some additives approved as safe in the
U.S. are banned in Britain.
The researchers did not name specific foods containing these additives.
But most commercially sold foods and beverages, especially those
targeted at children, are loaded with these toxic substances.
The findings raise
disturbing questions. Among them:
Are children being diagnosed with (and prescribed drugs for) learning
and hyperactivity disorders as a result of behavior caused by food
What is additive-induced hyperactivity doing to early learning?
What is hyperactivity doing to kids' self awareness and esteem?
While this study shows the immediate impact chemical additives have on
children, it’s important to understand that teenagers and adults are
affected as well, but with
less obvious symptoms.
Food additives are found in cookies, cakes, breads, candies, canned
foods, cured meats, frozen meals, convenience foods, chilled foods,
fruit yogurts, sodas, health bars, flavored dairy products, alcoholic
beverages and sports drinks, to name a few.
A previous study in Britain found that people ingest about 20 different
food additives each day, and some people as many as 50. The study found
that most people don't know which foods contain chemical additives. Many
believe, for example, that frozen foods contain more preservatives than
refrigerated convenience foods when in fact the opposite is generally
true. Chilled foods contain on
average six times more preservatives than frozen.
What about foods labeled with the word "Natural"? Watch out. This can be
an old form of "greenwashing." Natural additives might be OK, and they
might not be. I'll cover this in greater depth in a future issue.
Some argue that food additives taken in small amounts are harmless. But
as research increasingly shows, our health is affected not just by a
single "approved" additive in a single meal, but by the cumulative
impact of a diverse range of daily additives multiplied by years of
consumption and compounded by other toxins in our food, homes and
The best and most effective way to protect against additives is
shockingly simple: Feed your family and yourself homemade meals made
from scratch using whole, unadulterated organic ingredients as close as
possible to their natural state. Buy fresh produce as local as possible,
and avoid buying packaged food or commercial foods of any kind. If you
do buy prepared or packaged foods, read the labels and don’t buy
anything that lists additives and other non-food ingredients.
It couldn't be simpler: Eat real food, and eat SLOW (seasonal,
local, organic, whole).. Don't eat substances that
are not food. The bounty that nature provides is perfect, and cannot be
improved with additives.
New Blog! New Store!
I'm very excited to announce
that I have renamed, redesigned
and relaunched the blog associated with this newsletter. The new
blog is called Vegetarian
Blog. You can now find it
The new look and feel --
which I designed with Sekimori Design
-- is simple, beautiful and easy to navigate. It's also really fast.
I invite you to check out
the blog every day -- I'd love to hear your comments on each posting
(just click on the "Comments" link at the bottom right of each
The blog covers vegetarian
and organic news, with an emphasis on new health
Check it out!
I've also opened a
new store on Cafe
Press. The store offers shirts, hats, bags, accessories and other
goodies adorned with the "Zen Heart" logo of my
health counseling business
-- as well as Vegetarian Organic Life, Vegetarian Organic Blog branding.
love to hear from you. Click here to send e-mail!
Navigating a Sea of
Uninformed Doctors and Unhealthy Foods
I've been reading your site for almost a year now and am so happy to see
someone who sees the entire big picture of the nutritional dangers out
there for unsuspecting foodies.
I embraced vegetarianism on September 1, 2006 because my cholesterol
level (for a 29 year old) was excessive and my first time visit with a
new internist I wanted to try out, turned out to be a total nightmare--
she indicated she did not have much experience at all with nutritional
alternatives instead pushing a lifetime of pills on me because my
supposed cholesterol issue was congenital? How do you figure that a
cholesterol issue is congenital if you only take a lipid panel, I will
never know. In general, at that time, I was very sensitive to my
irritable bowel disorder, and I really needed a healthy lifestyle
I took soda, junk food, and milk out of the equation about four years
ago, because of the gastric issue, so it was just a matter of taking the
next step from pescatarian and sometime filet-mignon-atarian to complete
vegetarian. I felt very, very lucky when the doctor (she did do
something good in the end!) got me a nutritionist referral to a
vegetarian nutritionist out of pure luck. We had great discussions about
protein sources and cholesterol lowering spreads... but I do not use any
corn syrup (it's a personal choice) and she was impressed at how much I
read labels. She gave me her home number (!) should I have any questions
after our meeting.
If I miss anything from the olden days it might be fish and seafood, and
slowly, my mom and dad have accepted the fact that those are no nos, and
that eventually, I'm going to outlive everybody on my new healthier
On the super rare, and hopefully never to be repeated again, occasion
that my (Italian, native born) family has forced a shrimp down my throat
I really don't enjoy the taste and texture at all! This coming holiday
season I plan to have a little animal protein for my family members and
then pure vegetarian options for those of us who want them. This brings
me to my husband.
My husband is Hindu and is a non-vegetarian eater when we go out to
restaurants on the weekends, but will not touch beef or pork. It is not
as hard for me to cook for him as I had thought, I just make sure there
is enough veggi protein, some chile spice, and that the serving size is
a little larger for him... he makes it easy for me: if there's rice he's
I'm also moving away as much as possible from any residual dairy that
sneaks in every now and again such as cheese and ice cream. I will
however continue to eat fat free organic Stonyfield farm plain yogurt
because it helps my gastric issue A LOT, and I truly believe that is a
conscious and sustainable company that deserves my patronage. I am not
overly thrilled with some of the soy cheese options, but I found a
chilied version that wasn't half bad at my local health food store. I
can keep trying different types until I find one that I like.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my story and to learn A LOT about
vegetarianism and the propaganda machine going on in today's consumer
goods marketplace. Thank you even more for the excellent public service
you do by educating people about the need to be a thoughtful consumer in
today's stormy seas of consumer packaged poison/goods.
All the best for your continued success!
Keep getting this
newsletter. Place Vegetarian Organic Life on your whitelist.
WORDS OF WISDOM
Live and Learn
"Live as if you were to die
tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever."
TO THE NEXT LEVEL
Your Wholesome Life
This newsletter and blog are
free, but I make my living providing
one-on-one holistic health counseling, either in person or by
I invite you to
contact me and let me help you make the changes you always
wanted to make, one step at a time. The first one-hour
consultation is free.
When it comes to overall health and happiness, it’s all connected: your
food, your relationships, your lifestyle and you career. I’d love to help you find your solution.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Added Sugar, But Not
Natural Sugar, Increases Diabetes Risk - Study
new study suggests that added sugar in a diet -- but not the
natural sugar found in fruit and 100 percent fruit juice -- can cause
insulin resistance, which may lead to Type 2 diabetes. Researchers warn
that despite findings, increasing intake of 100 percent fruit juice is
not advisable because, “while 100 percent fruit juice can be a healthful
beverage, too much fruit juice can add excess calories and sugar to the
diet. Whole fruit is often a better choice.”
Stay motivated - Read health-related research
news, events and commentary every day. Check out Amira's
Vegetarian Organic Blog.
Flax Seeds: The Super
Seed Super Food
Flax seeds, one of my top 15
super foods, are a wonder food with super nutritional powers. These
unassuming little seeds, not much bigger than sesame seeds, have been
shown, by mounting research, to have substantial protective effects on
Flax seeds have been known for millennia, and their culinary use dates
back at least to ancient Greece. According to some sources, even Hippocrates
wrote about the soothing effects of flax seeds on gastrointestinal
conditions. Flax seeds not only
offer healing properties but with their sweet and nutty flavor also add
great flavor and texture to any meal.
Flax seeds vary from golden to deep brown in color. They need to be
ground before eating for proper digestion and optimal nutrient
Ground flax seeds contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the precursor to
the form of omega-3 fatty acids or EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) found in
cold-water fish such
salmon, herring, sardines and mackerel fish (though it’s important to
stick to wild fish and be aware of mercury contaminated fish). The body
synthesizes ALA to omega-3s.
Omega-3s are unsaturated essential fatty acids that help protect against
cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, PMS, ADHD and depression
to name a few. Ground flax seeds are also rich in fiber and lignans, a
type of phytoestrogens that help fight off breast, prostate and colon
Omega-3 fat also helps inhibit inflammatory reactions associated with
various conditions including lupus, migraine headaches, osteoporosis,
osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and gout.
Flax seeds are also rich in magnesium and help lower the severity of asthma.
Flax seeds are the richest source of omega-3s in the plant kingdom, and
essential as part of a healthy diet for vegetarians and non-vegetarians
Many studies have shown the significant benefits of dietary intake of
flax seeds. For example, research has shown that omega-3s from plant
sources such as flax seeds offer protection against bone loss.
Other studies linked higher blood levels of omega-3s with positive mood,
decreased risk of depression and a reduction in the symptoms of Alzheimer’s
Many other clinical studies, using control groups, also show that
Omega-3s have cholesterol lowering properties, decreasing overall
cholesterol as much as statin drugs.
Omega-3s also reduce the risk of cancer in men and women. According to a
study conducted at Duke University, “the omega-3s in flax seed alter how
cancer cells lump together or cling to other cells, while flax seed's
anti-angiogenic lignans choke off the tumor's blood supply, thus helping
to halt the cellular activity that leads to cancer growth.”
To promote good health and healthy aging, it’s beneficial to eat
flax seeds daily—not in the form of supplements but in their unprocessed
It is best to eat foods as close as possible to their natural state and
flax seeds are no exception. While flax seed oil is a more concentrated
form of ALA than the seeds themselves, it lacks the whole nutritional
value that the seeds contain, including valuable disease fighting fiber,
which also provides laxative effects.
Eating ground flax seeds is more beneficial than taking oil but using
flax seed oil in place of less nutritional oils in raw foods, smoothies
or already cooked meals, for instance, it’s a great way to nutritionally
spike your diet.
It’s important to select the right flax seed oil, however. It should
contain lignans and should be organic, unrefined and cold-pressed.
flax seed oil should be kept refrigerated, as it can get rancid with air
and light. It’s highly unstable at high temperatures and should never
be used as a cooking oil. You can find it in the refrigerated supplement
section of most health food stores.
Flax seeds can be found prepackaged or at the bulk or bin section of many
health food stores. Buy whole flax seeds and grind them at home. Grind
about a cup of it at a time in a clean coffee grinder (one not used
to grind anything else). Store ground flax seeds in a dark glass jar that
closes tightly or in a black plastic container that doesn’t react to
Whole flax seeds can be stored in a cool dark place, but freshly ground
flax seeds should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer, as they are
highly susceptible to oxidation. Once they go bad they’ll smell rancid
and must be discarded.
Eat 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds daily by adding them to cold
or hot cereal, dressings, salads, soups, smoothies, home-baked goods or
any other already cooked meal. They add good flavor and high nutrients
Take up to one tablespoon of flax seed oil daily straight up or in
smoothies or drizzled over a cooked meal or salad.
ENJOY VEGETARIAN ORGANIC LIFE?
SHARE THE JOY - FORWARD TO A FRIEND!
VEGETARIAN ORGANIC RECIPE OF THE WEEK
Click on the picture for a closer look!
This fresh harvest
ratatouille makes a wonderfully nutritious and flavorful accompaniment
-- and also a complete meal on its own. This versatile dish constitutes the
epitome of eating SLOW (seasonal, local, organic, whole). It can be made
into a more complex but complete protein meal by adding sautéed tempeh
or diced baked tofu. Make it even more appealing and nutritious by
serving it over
My fresh harvest ratatouille is made using fresh tomatoes instead of
stewed canned tomatoes to bring out fresher flavor. Fresh herbs make it
not only more beautiful and aromatic but also richer in powerful
antioxidants for a healthy body and strong immune system.
Chill leftovers to last up to 5 days. Combine with any white beans (such
as garbanzo beans), add to soups, make sandwiches with
it or eat over salad.
Get organic ingredients ready:
1 tablespoon safflower oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
1 medium white onion, chopped, cut in ½–inch pieces
1 dried bay leaf
2 cups diced eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup diced zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup diced yellow squash, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup red bell pepper, seeded, deribbed and cut into 1-inch squares
1 cup yellow bell pepper, seeded, deribbed and cut into 1-inch squares
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon finely chopped sage
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh marjoram
½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
3 cups heirloom or regular cherry tomatoes, cut in half
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt to taste
1. In a heavy large skillet or pot heat oil over medium heat and add 3
cloves of pressed or minced garlic, onion and bay leaf sautéing and
stirring for 5 minutes.
2. Add eggplant, zucchini, squash and dried herbs sautéing for 20
minutes over low to medium heat. Cover lightly and continue to stir
3. Add bell peppers and sauté for 10 more minutes keeping it lightly
covered. Add all the fresh herbs, cherry tomatoes, remaining pressed
garlic, black pepper and sea salt. Cover with lid and let it simmer for
5 more minutes over low heat. Taste for correct seasoning, remove from
heat and serve over quinoa or as a side dish.
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This newsletter is not intended to provide and replace medical advice. The author and editor expressly disclaim all responsibility for any adverse effects resulting from any information, diet or exercise suggestions. It is imperative that the advice of a physician is sought before any diet or exercise programs are adopted.
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Copyright© 2003 - 2009 Amira Elgan. All Rights Reserved.