December 12, 2013

Food Allergens

Food is such an emotional topic in our lives. We need it to live, we feel good, bad, or somewhere in between when we eat it, and its nutrients, or lack thereof, deeply impact the well-being of all living beings, including the planet.

I believe that cooking my own food is a radical and revolutionary act. I try to grow some of my own food, too, which requires a profound lifestyle shift. It is neither the way of convenience nor of instant gratification.

The more I research processed food, the more I realize its potentially harmful health impacts. Here are my latest findings.

In summary:
Read the labels on packaged foods.
Try to cook more of your own, additive-free food.

The details:

Xantham Gum:
A polysaccharide secreted by the bacterium Xanthomonas campestris 
used as a food thickening agent and a stabilizer. It is produced by the fermentation of glucose, sucrose, or lactose. It may be derived from a variety of sources that are common allergens, such as corn, wheat, dairy, or soy. Anyone with known sensitivities or allergies to these foods is advised to avoid it

Tapioca Starch:
This root vegetable is native to Brazil and spread throughout the South American continent by way of Portuguese and Spanish explorers. It is now cultivated worldwide. In Brazil, the cassava plant is call mandioca while its starch is called tapioca. The name tapioca is derived from the word tipi'óka, the name for this starch in the local Tupí language. This Tupí word refers to the process by which the starch is made edible. Today, the commercial process of extracting starch from cassava root is highly chemical and requires class 3 solvents akin to rubbing alcohol. Over time, the residues of this starch can affect overall health, both of the human body and of the groundwater surrounding processing plants. 
What questions do you have about other strange and mysterious ingredients? Email me at lisa[at]harmonizedcookery.com and I will research them for you.


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