>> Tuesday, February 3, 2009
In case you missed it the first time around, my Snack Time post on edamame was featured as a guest post on Food with Kid Appeal. Thanks, Jenna!
I don't like to push my food agenda on other people. But this blog, well, it's all about us giving up HFCS, so if you're here, chances are you've already taken the plunge and expunged it from your life, or you're curious about what in the world you eat if you don't do HFCS, or you've read some recent study about HFCS and are curious about this strange ingredient, or maybe you're thinking of eliminating or reducing the amount of HFCS in your own diet. This post is for those of you in that last group.
Why eliminate HFCS in the first place? Our journey was spurred by concern of over consuming fructose. Since then, I've found that the quality of our diet has improved upon giving up HFCS. Giving up HFCS made us give up a lot of junk and switch to higher quality foods. We think about what we're consuming more. With two young kids to think of, eating higher quality foods (which usually translates to fresher and less processed) and teaching them to like those foods is really our biggest motivator. Last, it's nice to not worry about what the latest study says about HFCS - whether it's health concerns from consuming HFCS or a contamination scare. We went cold turkey on HFCS consumption in our house last June, and we don't regret it.
How do you get started on eliminating HFCS from your diet? I can tell you what we did. We started by resolving to not buy anymore foods containing HFCS (and by we, I really mean the frugal me). But then we (and by we, I mean my husband, who is whole-heartedly along for this ride) decided to go more hardcore and completely cleaned out our pantry and refrigerator of products containing HFCS. It was tricky at first finding replacement foods for some of the must-have items like ketchup, but now all is good. Our HFCS-free diet is second hand now.
Don't be afraid of ingredient lists! I'm an ingredient reader. I have been since my son was a babe and had infant food intolerances. As a chemical engineer, I'm actually a little fascinated by what goes into our food and am not scared of ingredient lists - you shouldn't be either! More and more, I think that it's important for us to know what we're eating and to understand what the ingredients in our foods are. I've spent much of my life blindly eating my food, but no more! I want to know what I'm eating. I want to be informed.
But I digress...if you want to give up HFCS, be prepared to also become an ingredient reader. Flip that box of bread crumbs over and take a quick scan of the ingredients (or better yet, make your own). Take a gander at the ingredient list of that jug of juice before you put it in your cart. HFCS is in strange places.
Now that we've been HFCS-free for three quarters of a year, it seems old hat now. It seems like such a hard, daunting task in the beginning, but it really hasn't been bad. I mindlessly scan ingredients of new products (and often of old standbys) before buying. I instinctively avoid certain types of products and can usually predict when something will have HFCS in it or not. Even now, though, we're occasionally surprised by a product that contains HFCS.
So, what are you waiting for? Whether you go all out like we did or simply reduce the amount of HFCS you consume, get started! You won't regret it!
And if you have an ingredient or a food or food issue question you'd like to see addressed here, let me know! I love it when readers and friends pose questions - especially if I don't know the answer. Our journey is just beginning, and the more questions you ask, the more we all learn!