For years I've been shopping at Whole Foods Market, Wild Oats, and our local HFS, Rainbow Blossom. I have the luxury of knowing that my food does not contain additives* and other unnatural ingredients, and therefore, aside from checking for allergens, I don't spend much time reading labels.
This past weekend we had a lot of errands to run and needed to get our groceries. We were near Meijer, and since they've started to add a lot of organics we decided just to get our groceries there this week.
Because I don't know which brands at Meijer are allergen free I had to read labels a bit more closely. What I am about to say may sound naive and ignorant, but I was shocked. I was absolutely in shock over the amount of "junk" that is in foods that are marketed as (and should be) healthy.
Now, if you've never been to a Meijer, it's similar to a Super Wal-Mart in size......you know, one of those stores that has an aisle of no less than 200 brands of cereal to choose from, and probably 500 choices of "snacks" for your children (i.e. fruit snacks, cereal bars, crackers and the like). So, those of you familiar with the size of health food stores know that it is a bit overwhelming to have so many choices. And really, do we need that many? Do we need 200 varieties of cereal? And worse, do we need 200 varieties of cereal listing sugar and artificial color as their top ingredients? Do our children need "fruit" snacks in all shapes and sizes? Do our kids need "fruit" snacks at all? Why can't they just eat fruit?
I digress, so let me get back to the point........wouldn't you think that in a store filled with such an abundance that it would be easy to find food to feed your family? I thought so, but apparently I was wrong. I estimate that only about 10% of the stuff in that store would ever be purchased by me. Unfortunately, the rest of America doesn't feel this way, they don't read labels, and they blindly snag packages from the shelves. Most of us are fooled by the "health" claims on the packages (marketing is powerful stuff). Brown and/or green packaging does not equal health food.....READ THE LABELS!!
I think it's about time America wake up. Read food labels. Learn what you are putting into your bodies, and if you don't care what goes in your body, at least learn what you are putting into your children's bodies. Food should nourish us. Food should be healthy, be natural, and give us life (not cancer, heart disease, allergies, and death!!).
*Note: If you are not vegan, and you are feeding your kiddos cheese crackers (such as Cheez-It's, including organic versions), they contain yeast extract, which is a natural ingredient, but is actually MSG in disguise. Yeast extract is also found in a lot of canned soups and other processed goods. So, you will find some "unhealthy" ingredients in your HFS's as well, just watch out.
Just a few articles to get you started: