What Are We Really Eating?

I’m about halfway through Robyn O’Brien’s book, The Unhealthy Truth, and I still can’t wrap my mind around even a tiny fraction of what I’ve discovered.

Just to give you an idea of what it’s about, Amazon’s description of this book is as follows:

Robyn O’Brien is not the most likely candidate for an antiestablishment crusade. A Houston native from a conservative family, this MBA and married mother of four was not someone who gave much thought to misguided government agencies and chemicals in our food—until the day her youngest daughter had a violent allergic reaction to eggs, and everything changed. The Unhealthy Truth is both the story of how one brave woman chose to take on the system and a call to action that shows how each of us can do our part and keep our own families safe.

O’Brien turns to accredited research conducted in Europe that confirms the toxicity of America’s food supply, and traces the relationship between Big Food and Big Money that has ensured that the United States is one of the only developed countries in the world to allow hidden toxins in our food—toxins that can be blamed for the alarming recent increases in allergies, ADHD, cancer, and asthma among our children. Featuring recipes and an action plan for weaning your family off dangerous chemicals one step at a time The Unhealthy Truth is a must-read for every parent—and for every concerned citizen—in America today.

The main goal of Robyn’s research was finding out why food allergies are becoming so much more common and severe. She wondered if there was any link between how our food is grown and cared for and the increased rates of allergies. What she found was mind-boggling. The US is allowing things into our food supply that other countries wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. What’s more shocking is that the reason other countries aren’t allowing substances such as artificial colors, artificial flavors, chemical preservatives and genetically modified (GM) foods into their food supply is usually due to one of two reasons: 1) research results showing that these substances are potentially harmful to humans or 2) there is a lack of research showing how these substances affect humans.  If other countries see these things as risky, why is the US allowing its citizens to be unknowing guinea pigs?

It’s not just other countries that see the danger in these things, the U.K. components of companies such as Mars, Nestle, Cadbury and Coca-Cola have taken these dangerous substances out of their products marketed in the U.K., most have even stated that their removal has not altered the taste of their products.  That begs the question, “If it works in the U.K., then why not here?” Obviously, the removal of things such as aspartame, artificial colors and artificial flavors hasn’t hurt these companies, so why are they still putting all this crap in our food?

Another shocking detail is how close the relationships are between the companies that produce these chemicals and people in the government. In what O’Brien calls a “revolving-door” effect, many high level employees in these companies (not to point fingers, but the biggest one out there is Monsanto) leave their positions with the company to go take positions in the government, usually in areas related to our food and drug supply. I’m pretty sure there are some conflicts of interests going on there…

As a mom, I’ve been trying to get a grip on all this information and figure what I can do to protect my family from all of this junk that is being marketed as “food.” I have to digest all the info little by little or I can easily get overwhelmed. I never used to be this into organic and non-GM foods, but the more I learn about it the more I realize I can’t just sit back and ignore it either. Call me crazy or “crunchy” if you want to, but I can’t be ignorant any more.  At the same time, I can’t just let food control my life. Right now for our family, this new approach includes more label reading at the grocery store, preparing more foods from scratch and relying on less pre-prepared foods, eating more organic foods (not just fruits and veggies) and being more selective about what we eat outside of the home. In all honesty, unless you’re willing to grow all your own food, keep your own cows and chickens, and never set foot in a restaurant again, you can’t really make sure that 100% of your food is free ofd all that junk. We’ve pretty much decided that we can achieve somewhere around an 80/20 balance with it all; 80% of our food will be pretty much free from such things and the other 20% is just something that we’ll have to live with since we live in the US and these substances are so rampant in our food supply. We’ll still eat out, we’ll still have fun, but we’ll also be more aware of what we’re eating and, more importantly, what we’re feeding our kids.

If you’re looking for an eye-opening look at the food supply in the US, I’d highly recommend you check out this book for yourself.  I know that most of the other books I post about are reviews in exchange for free books, but this is not one of them. I bought this book myself, no one asked me to write anything about it, but I just couldn’t help but share some of what I’ve learned while reading.

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