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If a shady character in an alley offers you a small bag of azodicarbonamide for “Only five bucks!” would you take it?

What is azodicarbonamide?

According to Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, “. . . it’s a known carcinogen used primarily to make foamy plastics, like yoga mats. In 2001, in fact, a semi-trailer full of the chemical overturned on the Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago, and authorities deemed it so dangerous that motorists and residents near the accident were ordered to abandon their cars and evacuate their homes. Azodicarbonamide also happens to help make bread seem fluffy, which is why it’s used in almost every fast-food bread and bun, as well as in some Dunkin’ Donuts. And azodicarbonamide is just one of the more than 5,000 nonfood substances that are routinely added to processed food,”  EXPERIENCE LIFE, September, 2013

It is one of the many non-food ingredients found in a Subway Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki sandwich!

Grumdahl has been taking a close look at a new book, Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal, by Melanie Warner (Scribner, 2013.  Warner has given all of us a great deal to think about.

Grumdahl continues, “Azodicarbonamide, by the way, is banned in Europe; it breaks down into a known carcinogen by the name of semicarbazide when heated. Needless to say, both bread and doughnuts require heat to assume their forms.”  She adds, “According to Warner, if you eat “a Nutri-Grain bar in the morning, a Subway Chipotle Chicken and Cheese sandwich for lunch, and a DiGiorno pepperoni pizza for dinner, for instance, [you] will have ingested a total of 68 different nonfood additives” that haven’t been tested together.”

This stuff was so scary, I conducted an experiment.  I bought a few things to eat, then looked at the ingredients.  Folks, the processed “food” actually made me sick.

Some conclusions in a minute, but first, see if you can tell what these four products are simply from the labels.

Ingredients

INGREDIENTS: SUGAR, ENRICHED BLEACH FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, FERROUS SULFATE, THIAMIN MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID), EGGS, SOYBEAN OIL, WATER, MILK, CREAM CHEESE BLEND (MILK AND CREAM, CHEESE CULTURE, SALT, STABILIZERS [CAROB BEAN AND/OR XANTHAN AND/OR GUAR GUMS), VEGETABLE SHORTENING (PALM OIL, SOYBEAN OIL, PROPYLENE GLYCOL, MONOESTERS, MONO- AND DICLYCERIDES, SOY LECITHIN).  CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF EACH OF THE FOLLOWING: STRAWBERRIES, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, WHEAT STARCH, FOOD STARCH-MODIFIED (TAPIOCA, CORN), CORN SYRUP, HIGH-FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, BUTTERMILK, NONFAT MILK, POTASSIUM SORBATE (PRESERVATIVE), MODIFIED CORN STARCH, SALT, SODIUM BICARBONATE, SOY LECITHIN, MONOGLYCERIDES, WHEY (MILK), ACIDIC SODIUM ALUMINIANTE PHOSPHATE WITH ALUMINUM SULPHATE, CALCIUM PROPIONATE (PRESERVATIVE), SORBIC ACID, CULTURED SUGAR, VINEGAR, SODIUM ACID PYROPHOSPHATE, GUAR GUM, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, GLUCONO DELTA-LACTONE, POTASSIUM SORBATE AND SODIUM BENZOATE (PRESERVATIVES) TITANIUM DIOXIDE, CITRIC ACID, ERYTHORBIC ACID, AGAR, SODIUM CITRATE, RED 40, YELLOW 5, AND YELLOW 6. CONTAINS WHEAT, EGG, MILK AND SOY INGREDIENTS. (1)

INGREDIENTS: WHEAT BRAN, RAISINS, SUGAR, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, SALT, MALT EXTRACT, FERRIC ORTHOPHOSPHATE, SODIUM ASCORBATE, PALMITATE, NIACINAMIDE, THIAMINE MONONITRATE, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHOLRIDE, CHOLECALCIFEROL, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID, BHT. (2)

INGREDIENTS: – - – - – - -, MALTODEXTRIN (FROM CORN), ADIPIC ACID, POTASSIUM CITRATE, SODIUM CITRATE, ASPARTAME, ACESULFAME POTASSIUM, SALT, RED 40, BLUE 1, DIMETHYLPOLYSILOXANE. (3)

INGREDIENTS: CITRIC ACID, MALTODEXTRIN, SODIUM CITRATE, ASPARTAME, POTASSIUM CITRATE, MAGNESIUM OXIDE, CONTAINS LESS THAT 2% OF; ACESULFAME POTASSIUM, CALCIUM SILICATE, GUM ARABIC, SOY LECITHIN, ARTIFICIAL COLOR, YELLOW  5 LOCAL PHENYLKETONURICS: CONTAINS PHENYLALANINE. (4)

(Spell check hated this section)

(1) Walmart Strawberry cream cheese loaf cake

(2) Great Value Raisin Bran

(3) Hy-Top cherry gelatin

(4) Great Value lemonade drink

Advice to myself:

1.  Don’t eat any processed “foods”  They really are not food.

2. Don’t shop the aisles, stay on the rim of the food section – fruits, vegetables, etc.

3.  READ the ingredients BEFORE you buy it.

4. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient, don’t buy the “food”

5.  Become more aware.

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