Get To Know Your Food

By Annette Demeny

As we learned from last week’s post, National Diabetes Month, Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90-95% of diabetes cases. We also learned that more than twenty million Americans are currently diagnosed with diabetes, tripling since 1990.

Why is that?

In Western Civilization, while the cases of obesity, hypertension, diabetes, cancer and countless other diseases increase, so does the number of prescription medications.  Diabetes is a systemic disease, its effects are felt in virtually all parts of the body. If we don’t address the root causes and stop using drugs as a Band-Aid, we will only get sicker and sicker.

I understand that change is a huge undertaking especially when you don’t even know where to start. So much of our decline in health stems from multiple things; environmental toxins, chemicals in plastics and in our foods, lack of exercise, exposure to toxic EMF’s…the list goes on and on. I plan to cover many of these topics in the upcoming weeks but for today, let’s tackle chemicals in your foods that are contributing to obesity, diabetes and other diseases.

It’s hard to navigate what is best for us when the Big Food and Chemical companies invest huge amounts of money and resources to convince the consumer that their food/products are good for you, when clearly they’re NOT.  They go as far as paying dietitians, farmers, and bloggers to help spread their message that GMO’s, food additives, factory farming practices and pesticides are “safe”. So, my first suggestion in combating diabetes is to consider the following three questions before you consume any food.


1. What is in your food? Read the ingredient labels. It can be confusing to decipher the differences between synthetic chemicals and natural food ingredients when shopping for quality, healthy foods. We see food items labeled natural, all natural, “healthy”, etc. but what do these labels actually mean? The front of the package is designed to convince consumers that it’s a “healthy” product. In fact, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t even regulate the use of the term natural on food labels. This is why you shouldn’t put your trust in the FDA or anyone else to protect you or inform you of harmful food additives. A good example is Red #40 (found in sodas, candies, pudding, ice cream, cereals, baking mixes, chips, boxed meals and so much more). It is a harmful chemical made from petroleum and studies have linked it to ADHD in children and cancer. Here in the United States, many additives in our foods have been banned in other countries because of their harmful toxicity. Think about that for a minute. So, it’s best to choose a product with the least number of ingredients and avoid processed foods that have any of the below ingredients/chemicals in them.

2. Are you choosing organic foods to avoid GMO’s and Pesticides? Right now the most meaningful label on your food is the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic seal. For a product to be certified organic, it’s required to meet specific standards:

    • Organic crops cannot be grown with synthetic fertilizers or synthetic pesticides
    • Organic crops cannot be genetically engineered organism (GMO’s)
    • Animals must eat only organically grown feed (without animal byproducts) and can’t be treated with synthetic hormones or antibiotics
    • Animals must have access to the outdoors, and ruminants (hoofed animals, including cows) must have access to pasture
    • Animals cannot be cloned

A lot of people believe that eating organic fruits, vegetables, free-range and hormone-free meats means you will have to spend copious amount of money. That just isn’t the case. Organic farmers are making it easier and less expensive to offer quality organic produce and meat. There’s also a wide variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables that you don’t necessarily have to buy organic, however, I do suggest you purchase organic when it comes to The Dirty Dozen. The Dirty Dozen (trademarked by the Environmental Working Group, EWG), refers to the fruits and vegetables with high levels of pesticides. These foods should be purchased organic, if possible. Why is this important? Pesticides may lead to birth defects, nerve damage, cancer, and hormone disruption. Hormone disruption can be a huge contributing factor of obesity. Read more about the effects of pesticides in my post, Round-Up Kills People, Not The Lawn.


3. Where does your food come from? Unless you do all of your shopping at a local farmer’s market, the produce you buy most likely has traveled a long way and been sprayed with preservatives to extend its shelf life. Obviously, the best option is to purchase directly from your local farmer or farmer’s market but if you don’t have that option, always trace your food back to its source. Here’s how. Look at its PLU (price look-up) number. If there’s a 9 at the beginning of a five-digit sequence, that means the produce is organically grown. A four-digit code beginning with a 3 or 4 means it was conventionally grown and may be a GMO crop. If you eat animal protein, avoid meat raised on factory farms. Factory farm raised animals/fish are kept in contained pens or tanks.  They end up becoming contaminated with feces and diseased.  Some farmers use antibiotics to treat the diseased animals which then can be passed on to the consumer. Most factory farm raised animals eat a highly-processed diet consisting of grains, corn and even given growth hormones. This type of diet is designed to fatten the animal quickly and at a low cost to the farmer. Again, the hormones are then passed on to the consumer when you eat this type of meat. To learn more about factory farming, read my post Wild Caught or Farm Raised?


There are many reasons why we should pay attention to what we eat, how it’s grown, and where it’s from. The processed, nutrient-poor foods many of us consume regularly may be convenient and tasty, but they can compromise our health. If you want to be more deliberate in improving health—perhaps to address a chronic disease or condition, the first step is becoming more familiar with your food.


SFY Sources

Feeding You Lies, Vani Hari


Photo by Anne Preble on Unsplash


SFY Recommends

Feeding You Lies, Vani Hari

The Food Babe


Are you ready to know your food? 



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