Why Eat Only Natural?
by: Laura Dean
Why eat only natural?  For me that question was asked a long time ago when my mother had inexplicable and frequent stomach upsets every time we ate dinner out, or even sometimes when we ate at home.  After 5 years of this, and numerous diagnosis ranging from simple food poisoning to IBS (the catch phrase for unexplained stomach issues), we had a chance meeting with a chef at one of the restaurants we frequented as a family. “Maybe,” he said, “you are allergic to preservatives and additives.  Many restaurants have meat and vegetable products that are treated with them to aid in shipping costs and shelf life.”  He then produced a list of items, most of which are unpronounceable, but those that you have heard of would include sulfites and sulfates, anything with monosodium glutamate (MSG), hydrolyzed protein (found in canned tuna), meat tenderizer, food colorings, and vacuum packed foods (found in hot dog packs)—to name a few.  So, mom kept careful watch of everything she put in her mouth…and low and behold!  The irritable bowel syndrome went away.  Imagine that.

That got me to thinking—just because my mother had symptoms, nothing in food should make you have stomach pain (unless you have food allergies, but that is another issue).  So, just because I don’t experience problems, what IS all this STUFF doing to my insides?  Then I started looking at all the food containers in the grocery and I was like, “oh my goodness, this doesn’t even look like there is FOOD in these products!  How good can it be for my body?”

The question of WHAT IS IN MY FOOD was further enforced every time I went to Europe, ate like a pig, and didn’t gain any weight.  (By the way, I never was a fast food eater, so it wasn’t about McDonalds or Burger King.)  I had several discussions with Italians and French who confirmed the fact that when they came to the U.S.A. they seemed to gain weight, even though they weren’t eating any more than they would in Europe. 

Plus, and there’s a BIG PLUS here, didn’t you ever notice that horrible after taste from foods that have “non-food” products in them?   Natural foods are DELICIOUS!  So, you can Google all the news about food additives and preservatives (like I did), or you can just logically figure out, the more natural my food is, the better it is for my body and the better it will taste.  The FDA has loads of stuff on preservatives and additives too… but of course, they haven’t banned a whole load of junk…that 50 years down the road kills you.

Ok, I am going to be a hypocrite here and say I do have the occasional Diet Coke (I know, I know—so shoot me) and I do eat out.  A lot and don’t always know what I’m getting (hey I live in Manhattan)  .  But whenever I am buying in the grocery store—I look at labels and buy natural.  It takes a little effort, but believe me, your taste buds and your body will love you for it!


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