Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Share the Love: The Unhealthy Truth

**THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. The winner chosen by random.org is Michelle.**

We're not eating the same food that graced our grandparents' plates.

Heck, we Americans aren't even eating the same food as our European and Asian counterparts.


Take macaroni and cheese for example. Kraft actually sells a cleaner, healthier {if mac and cheese could be considered healthy} version of macaroni and cheese without the added food dyes and made with whole food ingredients other countries that have deemed dyes and artificial growth hormones and genetically engineered crops too risky for human consumption; after all, no human studies have been conducted on the safety of such practices or consumption.

Just compare the list of ingredients*:
U.S. Kraft Macaroni and Cheese
Enriched Macaroni Product (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate [Iron], Thiamin Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Riboflavin [Vitamin B2], Folic Acid), Cheese Sauce Mix (Whey, Modified Food Starch, Whey Protein Concentrate, Cheddar Cheese [Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes], Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, Contains Less Than 2% of Parmesan Cheese [Part-Skim Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes, Dried Buttermilk, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Blue Cheese [Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes], Sodium Phosphate, Medium Chain Triglycerides, Cream, Citric Acid, Lactic Acid, Enzymes, Yellow 5, Yellow 6) 

U.K. Kraft Macaroni and Cheese
Macaroni (Durum Wheat Semolina), Cheese (10%), Whey Powder (from milk), Lactose, Salt, Emulsifying Salts (E339, E341), Colours (Paprika Extract, Beta-Carotene) 
I was first introduced to this little tidbit of information during a luncheon with Robyn O'Brien, sponsored by Stonyfield.

While I wasn't shocked, the facts fueled the fires in my heart to continue to talk about what we are feeding our bodies, working together with people like Robyn to educate and motivate. Robyn herself is an advocate for food safety having penned the book The Unhealthy Truth, which details her experiences and findings about the relationships between food allergies and illness in relationship to the way the U.S. allows its food to be grown, raised, handled, enriched and genetically modified.

Robyn shared with a group of Chicago bloggers how she was initiated into her food advocacy role by fire when her youngest suffered a violent allergic reaction to eggs, spurring her to create the Allergy Kids Foundation as a resource and education group to increase awareness about what we are consuming.

The whole foods advocate in me mostly believes that if we simply moved away from consuming processed foods like macaroni and cheese, we would have much less with which to be concerned.

But that's not entirely true anymore -- because we're not eating the tomatoes or beef or yogurt that our grandparents ate when we purchase many of these conventionally grown, raised and formulated foods. 

Take for example the little cups of yogurt we buy in the store and deem healthy because, gosh, it IS yogurt after all. Once I discovered all of the artificial ingredients in the low-calorie-but-yummy yogurts I'd been consuming and taking note of the brands whose farmers have not pledged to treat their dairy cows with growth hormones or been certified organic by the USDA, I realized that I needed to look more closely at ingredient lists used to produce the foods my family was consuming.

We've now switched to brands like Stonyfield and Nature's Path, two companies that are committed to partnering with farmers who farm the way our great-great grandparents and all of the generations before farmed -- and who are committed to using only real food ingredients that have not been genetically modified or chemically altered in their foods.

I know what some are thinking. There's too much ground to cover, too many battles to be fought considering how far many of our farmers have ventured into conventional practices like using pesticides and GMO seeds and companies that have taken to using artificial ingredients.

But we all have a voice.

As Robyn said at the lunch -- she was just a mom of four who was serving her kids frozen waffles for breakfast before she started digging into the facts. She didn't want to know about our food supply and she was totally happy with what her family consumed. But when health was compromised for one of the little people she loved most, she was spurred to action, to knowledge, to advocacy.

Many of us don't have a health crisis to spur us to action. There is power, though, in being proactive with our health!

And can I just say -- our votes count. 

We women have the power to band together and change what companies put on the grocery store shelves.

Every time we spend a dollar on food, we vote. 

Every time we make one small change toward the better in our grocery purchases, we vote. 

Companies are getting the message. Let's keep soaking up information, making better decisions in doing so, continue sending the message loud and clear.

After all, we have little lives that are counting on us to send it.


Stonyfield has generously offered to give away a copy of Robyn O'Brien's book The Unhealthy Truth. Also included: a Stonyfield canvas bag, the Stonyfield Yogurt Cookbook, Stonyfield coupons and a few other goodies. 
Simply leave a comment sharing what small change her family could make in grocery purchases so as to promote overall wellness.  {Or you can say a change you've already made toward healthier eating!}
For an extra entry {and to help spread the word about food integrity in our country while motivating other parents to get involved}, tweet:
"The food we eat should be REAL food! I'm taking a stand for food integrity w/ @Stonyfield @TheUnhealthyTruth @HyacynthW http://bit.ly/opaCPM"

*special thanks to Robyn O'Brien for listing out these ingredients as published on Healthy Child.
Full disclosure: I was not compensated for this post or asked by Stonyfield to write about my lunch experience. Simply, I am passionate about helping further education about our food while advocating for how we can all live the healthiest lives possible. No purchase necessary to win. Winner must be 18 years or older and live within the United States. A winner will be randomly selected October 10, 2011.

This post is linked with The Green Resource at Sorta Crunchy, A Delightful Home, The Greenbacks Gal and Live Renewed.