The last school holidays saw us a household held in the grips of a Gastro outbreak. Quite common over the winter months but not so fun for babies (and big babies!) and their mother! Sensitive little tummies weren't up to taking on too much after the worst had gone so soup seemed the answer.
I hit the supermarket for a little convenience as I was still trying to catch up on the housework after being ill and playing nurse to purchase a few cans of soup for dinner.
Of course I had my chemical hunter hat on and was dismayed that in the large tin soup section and in the fresh soups in the fridge I found it almost impossible to find a variety of flavorsome soups that were chemical free.
The chemical that I saw repeated tin after tin was E250 or Sodium Nitrate. So what is Sodium Nitrate? Nitrates in general are a chemical we should avoid putting in our body, including this one.
When it comes to food E250 is primarily used to inhibit micro-organisms like botulism and is mostly found in products that have meat in them. So, in the soup aisle it was mainly in soups that had beef, chicken and bacon in them. It is a crystalline white powder that is also used to pinken up meats so some unscrupulous butchers and supermarkets use it to make their meat look fresher and more inviting.
Interestingly enough E250 is also found in the chemical industry. It is a corrosion inhibitor so is used in cooling systems, metallurgy and grinding. It is also used in photography. Currently in Australia it is being used to poison wild boar that are an introduced pest, so this gives you an indication of it's toxicity.
So why should you avoid it in your tin soup?
- It can be toxic if swallowed in large amounts
- Is an eye, skin and respiratory irritant
- Can cause hyperactivity
- Is a carcinogenic and when combined with other chemicals in the stomach can create other adverse reactions.
Lapidge, Steven; J. Wishart; M. Smith; L. Staples (2009). "Is America Ready for a Humane Feral Pig Toxicant?". Proceedings of the 13th Wildlife Damage Management Conference: 49–59.
Cowled, BD; SJ Lapidge; S. Humphrys; L Staples (2008). "Nitrite Salts as Poisons in Baits for Omnivores". International Patent WO/2008/104028.
Miranda Hitti (17 April 2007). "Study: Cured Meats, COPD May Be Linked". WebMD Medical News.
Dennis, M J; Wilson, L A (2003). "NITRATES AND NITRITES". Encyclopedia of Food Sciences and Nutrition. p. 4136. doi:10.1016/B0-12-227055-X/00830-0. ISBN 978-0-12-227055-0.
Yoghurt is our theme this month and one additive that can be found often in foods that are supposed to be all natural like yoghurt is Potassium Sorbate (202).
Potassium Sorbate is a preservative that does occur naturally in some berries, but when used in the foods that we eat it is synthetically derived.
Some of the side effects from consuming 202 can include the following list. Remember that a lot of these foods are consumed on an almost daily basis in most households i.e. a small tub of yoghurt in a lunchbox, so the the preservative can accumulate in the system.
- contact dermatitis
- eye irritation
- nasal irritation
- burning mouth syndrome
- the full range of food intolerance reactions including irritable bowel symptoms
- children's behaviour problems.
Foods that 202 will often be found in and that you will need to scrutinize include:
- Bread i.e. Loaves, English Muffins, crumpets
- Flat breads and tortillas (e.g. Old El Paso, also contain other preservatives)
- Bakery products such as cakes, pikelets, pancakes, waffles (make your own!)
- Flour products such as fresh pasta and noodles
- Cheese, Cream cheese, cottage cheese, cheese slices, cheese sticks
- Reduced fat cheeses and spreads
- Yoghurts (Yoplait are a well known brand that use this preservative)
- Drinks including fruit juices, cordial, brewed soft drinks, wine
- Fruit syrups, preserved figs, cherries
- Margarines, spreads and dips
I know that there are at least 3 things on the above list that we consume daily - how about you?
Did you know that your bread is actually supposed to go moldy?
In fact if you have bought bread and it goes moldy by the end of the week then you know your bread is probably good for you! Sound strange? ... let me explain.
I used to wonder why my supermarket brand loaves of bread still looked as good in the pantry after a week as they did the day I bought them - but how could that be?
It also still tasted exactly the same and kept the same texture. The more I thought about it the more disturbed I became and it was literally one of the first foods I started to investigate and change in our chemical free diet.
It turns out that most bread products and supposed ‘fresh” loaves of bread have a series of chemicals in them to help them stay preserved for longer - mostly to aid the manufacturer’s in the bread’s production and distribution rather than to keep it longer in your pantry.
Most bread’s you buy are already at least 12-24 hours old before they have landed in your supermarket and the mold inhibitors stop the manufacturers’ from having to be super scrupulous in their factory cleaning and enables them to bag hot steamy loaves of bread straight away.
Like most chemicals you may not see a significant change when a food product is consumed only once in a while i.e. croissants for Sunday Brunch, however, when you are making sandwiches for lunch each day, toast for breakfast and a pastry for afternoon school snack then the effects can be cumulative and positively disastrous.
Symptoms can include all or any of the following reactions:
migraine and headaches;
gastro-intestinal symptoms including stomach aches;
irritable bowel, diarrhoea, urinary urgency, bedwetting;
eczema and other itchy skin rashes;
nasal congestion (stuffy or runny nose);
depression, unexplained tiredness, impairment of memory and concentration, speech delay; tachycardia (fast heart beat);
growing pains, loud voice (no volume control);
irritability, restlessness, inattention, difficulty settling to sleep, night waking and night terrors.
The preservatives that you want to avoid are listed below - however it can be very difficult to avoid them as these are so widespread and consumed just about every day!
280 Propionic acid
281 Sodium propionate
282 Calcium propionate
283 Potassium propionate
They can also be found in dairy products as well! Furthermore, they can travel in your breast milk so if you have a particularly unsettled baby, you may want to explore an elimination diet to see of this makes any changes to your babies restlessness.
So, when you go to buy your next loaf of bread, donuts, scones or pastries from the supermarket stop and ask yourself - how did mom used to buy these items when she was a little girl? And if the answer is her local baker, it might be time to seek out yours and spend your hard earned income on good, fresh preservative free bread in your community at your local bakers!
I was recently doing some research in the dessert aisle of my local supermarket for my new Australian Shopping Guide, when I came across the Jelly/Jello range.
A friend of mine had said that a popular aviated related product had a range out that contained only natural colors and flavors. I was very excited about this as it would add a whole new range to our ok list.
As I was reading the ingredients it did indeed seem that these gelatin desserts were ok, they had colors and flavors made from safe sources like fruits and vegetables, however, my excitement soon turned to disappointment. Right at the bottom was written "Contains Sulphites". There was all their hard work undone in one statement.
So what's wrong with Sulphites. Sulphites are a form of preservative and anti-oxidant, which does occur naturally in food and the body, but can cause a reaction in susceptible people. They are anti-microbial, and help maintain color, bleach starches and maintain shelf life. They are what stop your dried fruits from forming molds and going brown.
On the label it may be known as sulfites, sulphites, sulfiting agents or sulphiting agents. They are also known in Europe and Australia by the following numbers on labels:
E220 E221 E222 E223 E224 E225 E226 E227 E228
So what reactions can it cause in susceptible people:
- It can trigger asthma symptoms
- It can trigger other anaphylatic symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, swelling of eyes, lips, throat, tongue, rashes, itchiness, hives, cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, dizziness, drop in blood pressure, faintness, loss of consciousness.
Sulphites can be found in these foods:
Bec Taylor is asking her readers, do you like your frozen fries dipped in embalming fluid?
Do you want to throw the perfect colour free birthday party?
Get your tip sheet now!