Tuesday, February 3, 2009

You Are What You Eat

Recently, a new product came to my attention. It's not vegan, so this is a bit off-topic. But I couldn't help but write about it.

It was discussed at length on a dietitian list serve that I'm a member of, and it originally came from a blog post by Gail Shepherd of the Miami New Times. Before you click on that link, read this list of ingredients. What do you think this "food" could possibly be?

Ingredients: reduced fat milk, heath bar crunch ice cream (cream, nonfat milk, caramel ribbon (corn syrup, sweetened condensed whole milk (milk, sugar), water, high fructose corn syrup, butter (cream, salt), propylene glycol, sodium alginate, salt, natural and artificial vanilla flavors, potassium sorbate (preservative), soy lecithin, annatto color, sodium bicarbonate, propyl paraben (preservative)) , heath® bar candy pieces [milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, nonfat milk, milk fat, lactose, soy lecithin (an emulsifier), salt, and vanillin (an artificial flavoring)), sugar, palm oil, dairy butter (milk), almonds, salt, artificial flavoring, and soy lecithin], sugar, corn syrup, toffee base (sweetened condensed whole milk, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, water, natural flavor, disodium phosphate, and salt), whey powder, cellulose gum, mono and diglycerides, guar gum, carrageenan, polysorbate 80), fudge topping (corn syrup, sugar, water, hydrogenated coconut oil, nonfat milk, cocoa (treated with alkali), modified corn starch, salt, sodium bicarbonate, disodium phosphate, potassium sorbate (a preservative), natural and artificial flavors, soy lecithin), jamoca ice cream (cream, nonfat milk, sugar, corn syrup, jamoca extract (coffee extract, sugar, potassium sorbate and methyl paraben (as preservatives)) whey, caramel color, cellulose gum, mono and diglycerides, carrageenan, polysorbate 80, carob bean gum, guar gum), caramel praline topping (corn syrup, sweetened condensed whole milk, water, sugar, modified food starch, butter, salt, propylene glycol, natural and artificial flavor, sodium citrate, xanthan gum, lecithin, potassium sorbate and propyl paraben as preservatives), Hershey’s® Heath® Milk Chocolate English Toffee (milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, nonfat milk, milk fat, lactose, soy lecithin [an emulsifier], salt, and vanillin [an artificial flavoring]), sugar, palm oil, dairy butter (milk), almonds, salt, artificial flavoring, and soy lecithin), whipped cream (whipped cream (cream, milk, sugar, dextrose, nonfat dry milk, artificial flavor, mono & diglycerides, carrageenan, mixed tocopherols (vitamin e), to protect flavor, propellant: nitrous oxide).

Do you REALLY want this stuff in YOUR body? Think about it! When we buy something as seemingly innocent as a Baskin Robbin's Shake (which is what this is, and by the way, contains 2310 calories, 64 grams of saturated fat, and 1/2 pound of sugar), do you actually think of the components that are becoming an actual part of your body? That's what making smart choices is all about. We tend to make food choices based on what we're in the mood for. But our taste buds aren't the best judge of what we really need... we have to introduce our taste buds to our brains.

Taste buds: "I want a cold, sweet, creamy dessert."

Brain: "Throw some frozen fruit and almond milk into a blender."

Brain would never reply: "Whip up some disodium phosphate with jamoca extract and an additional 114 ingredients."

No one wants to walk around sluggish, fat, tired, and in a haze. But when we eat junk, we become junk. When we eat Real Food, that's when we can start to look and feel Real Good. And that's the foundation of a healthy diet, vegan or not. Want processed foods now and then? Fine. But at LEAST 75% (more is ideal) of our food should be something that we recognize as a plant part that grows on a tree, in a flower, in the ground, on a vine or bush, or underground.

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