Do you know how many preservatives you’re consuming each day? Between the preservatives in baby food and the ones in nearly everything you buy at the grocery store, it feels like you can never escape them. That isn’t the truth, though. With some due diligence and a little practice, you can create a preservative-free household in 2023.
Shop Local & Organic Groceries
When you shop locally and stick to organic groceries, you are more likely to avoid the many preservatives that are on the shelves of big grocery chains. Does your city host farmer’s markets during the summer? Perhaps there’s a mom-and-pop grocery store or a health food store in your area. Check them out as a starting point for going preservative-free, but keep in mind they likely still have at least a few preservatives in them.
That’s right. 100% organic foods do not need to be 100% free of preservatives. Legally, organic food only needs to be 95% preservative-free. In fact, there are even 45 different additives that are permissible for use in organic food. For this reason, it’s important to read the front of the packaging to know what you’re getting. Keep in mind that phrases like “all-natural” are not FDA-regulated and may be completely fabricated. Compare products, ask questions, and take your time when you’re shopping to get the best results.
Avoid Processed Snacks & Meats
There is no clear definition of what “processed” means in terms of meats and snack foods, which means it’s likely that you’re ingesting preservatives if you eat them. Studies show that people who eat a lot of processed foods are more likely to suffer from diabetes and heart disease. It’s best to avoid processed snacks in favor of making healthy ones at home. However, it’s not always easy to avoid meat, so it’s important to know what to look for on the label.
First, avoid nitrates. Common in bacon, corned beef, lunchmeat, and a variety of other meats, they may be listed as sodium nitrate or sodium nitrite on the packaging. Other ingredients to avoid include artificial colorings such as Red 3 and Yellow 5 and monosodium glutamate (MSG).
Shop the Store the Right Way
Shop the perimeter of the store. This is where you’ll find the least amount of processed foods. Choose fresh, organic fruits and vegetables in the produce section, look for organic and preservative-free options at the meat counter, and check for organic eggs, cheese, and milk in the dairy section. Keep in mind, though, that not everything on the perimeter is preservative-free, so it’s important to read labels.
When shopping the aisles, be extra careful. The freezer aisles typically contain a variety of very processed and minimally processed items. When shopping for canned foods, choose ones without any added salt and read the labels on condiments and dressings. Avoid the candy, chip, cracker, and cereal aisles, as this is where you’ll find the most processed foods. Don’t forget about the baby, either. Look for vegan baby probiotics to help your little one grow and avoid giving them preservatives.Preservatives have been known to create allergic reactions, increase the chance of obesity, and above all, cause a loss of important nutritional value. Learning how to define toxic stress and shop appropriately is vital for keeping your family happy and healthy.