Monday, January 4, 2010

Hydrogenated Wonders

Long before I cared enough about the environment to call myself "eco-conscious", "environmentally friendly" or "green", I made decisions solely for health purposes. Looking back, I can see the connection between making health changes and my current lifestyle.

During the pregnancy of my daughter, I became friends with a doctor that worked with my husband. She was a complete health nut. Buying only organic foods and shopping primarily at our local co-op-- I often thought she was insane for spending so much money on organic food. BUT... we had so many great conversations and through her I gained a knowledge and started looking a little deeper at the choices that I was making when it came to food. It was her knowledge of "partially hydrogenated oils" that led me to "weed out" all products containing it before mainstream media shed light on the problems of the partially hydrogenated oils (aka Trans Fats). I stopped buying cake mixes, Peter Pan Peanut Butter, Hostess or Little Debbie anything, chewy granola bars, pancake mixes, Cool Whip... if it had partially hydrogenated oil in the ingredient list... I passed.

I now call all of these foods "partially hydrogenated wonders" because they are an invention made to trick us into believing that they're something they're not. They are not REAL food. Take cool whip for example... it's partially hydrogenated oil made to taste like whipped cream. Hmmm... I'm wondering how eating whipped cream flavored Crisco could be good for anyone???

I'm conscious about what I put into my body and more importantly my children's bodies.

Now... I'm positive there's a link to how this all helps the environment... like losing the packaging. By making from scratch instead of buying premade, prepackaged foods... I eliminate over-packaging such as a little plastic bag contained in a paperboard box. BUT, more importantly I support good healthy food. Food that I can pronounce every ingredient... I've adopted the motto "if it's good for the planet it's good for me" because if it's bad for the health of the planet... how could it not be bad for the health of me??

Think about it, Trans Fats are a totally artificial form of fat, our bodies and those of the animals in our environment are simply not equipped to safely process these fats. Regularly we 'dump' foods and oils with Trans Fats in them into our environment - be it via the drains or the trash. Given their relative long life compared to regular fats these Trans Fats are very likely to be making into the environment....

Also, in a way, the economic effect of Trans Fats on fast food cost is causing us to choose fast foods over more environmentally friendly alternatives (such as locally grown or organic produce) - in effect it has 'distorted' the market against better foods as in order to be making money at the cheaper end of the market you almost have to be using Trans Fats.

Think outside of the boxes...start reading labels... pick up a cookbook... know exactly what you're putting in your body. Your body and the planet will thank you for it ;)

Don't just take it from me... read up :)