Friday, September 18, 2009

Food Labelling and the problem with additives

Do you read the labels on the food you buy?

Labels are available on all food packaging, and, are there to help you make an informed choice about the food you buy. Food labels give us a listing of the ingredients in the product, from greatest to smallest in weight. They also list any chemicals and additives that may also be present in the food. Labels are a great way of being aware of what you are eating and making an informed choice.

I'm a big label reader. I try not to buy anything that has preservatives in it and I choose not to buy foods that have too many "extra" ingredients in them that aren't actually food.

There has been scientific studies performed that suggest foods with additives may help contribute to A.D.D (Attention deficit disorder) and A.D.H.D (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) as well as general concentration and learning disorders, tiredness, irritability and stomach upsets. This is just the tip of the list though, potential problems also include asthma, eczema, allergies and food intolerances and as a result it's best to avoid as many of these additives as possible.

I'd like to share some websites with you that may be of interest for further reading;

This one is a great one for mum's and dad's -

How to read labels -

And finally, this one gives you a run down on all the potential additives;

Food labels are a good thing to get educated about, especially when feeding your growing children.

The Future of Food - Introduction

Please have a look at this link.

I found the doco frighteningly disturbing from start to finish, the idea that food can be patented is wrong in so many ways. please have a look, it will get you thinking at the very least.

The DVD is available at -

On the road to self sufficiency

I don't know about you guys but I like the idea of self-sufficiency. And I don't just mean being able to grow my own herbs and veggies and collect my own eggs each morning, I also mean being able to make my own yoghurt and pancakes, pasta sauce and cakes etc.

I like the fact that I don't need to buy a jar of pizza sauce or a tin of pineapple (not that I have a pineapple tree, but I do have a local organic shop that sells pineapples) when I make a pizza, I do still buy the base (a gluten free one), which I will work on changing soon.

When I used to make cakes I used to buy a packet mix and hey presto withing minutes I had a cake sitting in the oven cooking. Now when I make a cake it takes time, but I feel it also takes a lot more love. I remember years ago sitting in a Nutrition lecture and my lecturer talking about the idea of making your food with love, how when you take the time to make food you are also instilling the love within the food. "when you cook.... you are providing more nourishment than packaged food ever could" *

Self sufficiency also saves money, lots of money potentially. When I consider the money I used to spend on yoghurt per week compared to now, it's pretty staggering. I reckon I was in the ball park of about $15 a week, just on yoghurt. Now I pay about $3 a fortnight. Making yoghurt is so easy, and so worth the half an hour it takes and you don't need anything fancy to make it (well apart from a sweet thermometer, if you don't have one). Here's a recipe for you to make your own yoghurt -


(Makes 1 Litre)


½ - ¾ Cup good quality commercial plan yoghurt, or ½ cup yoghurt from previous batch

1 litre pasteurised whole milk, unhomogenised

A sweet (candy) thermometer


Gently heat the milk to 180 degrees Fahrenheit and then allow to cool to about 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir in yoghurt and place in a shallow glass, enamel or stainless steel container.
Cover the container (I use alfoil)and place in a warm oven (a gas oven with a pilot light or electric oven pre-heated to warm and then turned off) overnight.

In the morning transfer to the fridge, the longer the yoghurt is kept out of the fridge the tarter it will become. I think the longest I have left it out is 24 hours.

The final ingredient may be (is generally) thinner in consistency than commercial yoghurt.

Have a try, you can also add honey and pureed fruits if feeling a little more adventurous. This would be done at the adding yoghurt step.

So once a week, to start off with, try making something from scratch. You'll find out how much fun it can really be and if you have children, get them involved, an interest in healthy, wholesome, nourishing food from a young age is a fabulous thing.

* Quote is from a cookbook called Wholefood by Jude Blereau