Saturday, February 22, 2014

Ciao to Carcinogens & Coconut Milk

Wait!  I was just praising coconut milk 2 days ago.  What happened?

So the other day I decided to bid farewell to cow's milk.  Not a minor thing for me, because I have always been a big milk drinker.  With this new goal in mind I decided to look at the milk alternatives at Fred Meyer.

This store has an awesome natural foods and organic section.  I looked at labels, focusing on calories and calcium and decided on coconut milk, the Simple Truth brand, which is Kroger's home brand.  It was so yummy!  I went through one half gallon and bought another.

Then I did something I hadn't done before, which was to look at the ingredients.  I knew it wasn't organic, but it was in the natural section of the store, so I assumed it was very natural and OK.  (You know what happens when you assume, right?  You make an a** out of "you" and "me!")

Suddenly, staring back at me, were all sorts of hard-to-pronounce words.  WHY?  Why do things that taste so good have to be bad?  Words like "xanthum gum" and "carrageenan."  I tried to ignore it.

Then I made my way to an amazing site called through a link on Facebook.  There was an article on Watch Out for This Carcinogen in Your Organic Food. Guess what that carcinogen was?  Carrageenan.  It also explained how it was allowed to even get into foods that qualify for the organic label.  Scary.

Bottom line, since the big food companies can't compete in quality with the organic ones, they are buying them, thus lowering the standards of what qualifies for organic.  Very slick and very sick.  Sometimes I wonder what the people making these decisions are eating.  Is there a food store for Monsanto bigwigs so that they get to eat healthy while they feed GMOs and pesticides to the rest of America?  Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

The thing I learned from this experience is read your labels

Armed with this new knowledge, for the 2nd time in 3 days I went on a new hunt for a new milk alternative. Fred Meyer has them in both refrigerated and non refrigerated form.  I spent a lot of time looking in both sections, amazed at some of the ingredients I was reading in "organic" products.  Unfortunately, none of the coconut milks were completely natural.  I looked at rice, soy, almond.  I also looked at calories, calcium content...and prices.  Eating healthy is not cheap!

And the winner is:
There was a vanilla option with the same amount of calories, but I decided to go plain on this first carton.  The price was comparable to other drinks/amounts of its kind.  The ingredients were easy to pronounce and, even though it doesn't have the organic label, it is non-GMO.

Be aware that NOT all almond unsweetened milks are free of the nasties I mentioned earlier.  On the contrary, many of them do have them, regardless of the appealing containers with healthy-sounding words on them. Read your labels.  

Good heavens, who would've thought that finding a decent milk substitute was as difficult as finding that perfect pair of jeans?  

One hurdle down in this quest for health.

Tonight Hubby and I are having smoothies for dinner since we had sushi for lunch.  We're using the Nutribullet, which has replaced the juicer for many reasons (perhaps a future blog post.)  Smoothies will have spinach, an apple, a banana, and some blueberries and raspberries. 100% organic and vegan (which we are not, but the smoothie is.)  Very yummy.

I will admit, this eating totally healthy thing is not easy.  There are temptations everywhere.  In the store, at the gas station mini mart, and along the road.  I'm looking upon these things as the evil saboteurs of my hour-long sweat session in the morning.  They are not going to win.  I am determined.

P.S.  FoodBabe also blasted the Vitamin Water ZERO which I have grown to love.  It has GMOs and other nasties too.  *sob!*


MOM said...

I am learning a lot following your blogs!

Becky Cook said...

Love this post. I switched to almond milk as well. I buy the unsweetened one from Trader Joes. You can also make your own in your nutra bullet. There are recipes online. Thanks again for sharing. Eating whole foods is not easy but I think the outcome will be worth it.