My frustration is at an all time high today. As a family we are doing our best to keep preservatives, chemicals, un-natural ingredients, and food dyes out of our bodies. My children are teenagers and even though they at times get very frustrated with me as I discuss harmful effects of food additives, read food labels out loud to them, tout the benefits of real whole food, and yell like a crazy lady at the commercials for kids junk food on TV, they have bought-in to the concept of real food.
Last week I was doing a little bragging to my friends about my eldest son’s recent shopping expedition. I handed him a grocery list and my credit card and off he went (he’ll do just about anything if you give him a few dollars to put gas in his tank). My husband and I were pleasantly surprised when organic sourdough bread, organic green onions, and non-GMO corn grits were found in the shopping bag! They were just listed as sourdough bread, green onions, and corn grits on the grocery list. We surely sung his praises and thanked him for being so mindful of our health.
Today, I texted him at work requesting a grocery store pickup on his way home of Monterey Jack cheese and cheddar cheese. I got the confirmatory “yep” text reply. An hour later two blocks of cheese (yeah! not bags of shredded cheese) were set on the kitchen counter. I looked at the cheddar cheese’s bright yellow color and I know my face didn’t hide my thoughts. My son said “What’s wrong with that? It is organic and a block right?”. Immediately I felt regretful of my facial expression and thanked him for shopping for us. But he wouldn’t let it go. “Why is this an unhealthy choice?” was the question. We looked at the label together and found “Annatto (vegetable color)” listed on the label.
I explained to my son that cheese is not naturally this dark yellow color. The coloring is an unnecessary ingredient and has no added benefit to our health. And, it’s been shown that some people do have irritable bowel symptoms (IBS) and allergic reactions to this ingredient even though it comes from a plant. “This is so crazy that stuff is added to food that isn’t necessary and especially if it might make me or someone else sick.” I agreed with him and my maternal lioness instinct went into over-drive.
How dare these food manufacturers upset my sweet son! How dare they try and trick him! He did his best to make a healthy choice and he was fooled. It just doesn’t seem right or fair at all that it is so difficult to read a darn food label. I am frustrated dog-gone-it! It seems our FDA (Food and Drug Administration) should make it difficult for food manufacturers to add unnecessary items into the food supply rather than make it difficult for the consumer to correctly read the label of that food! Grrrr.
In the meantime, we’ll all just keep plugging away, doing our best to make the healthiest choices! We’ll continue to vote with our dollars at the grocery store and voice our concerns to government officials — teenagers and all.by