12 Food Additives To Avoid

Food Additives To AvoidI remember the trips that I used to take to the grocery store when I was younger. I would go up and down the aisles, filling my cart up with colorful, pretty boxes and bags of processed foods that had been constant companions since I was a little girl. I never read a label or had even one thought or concern about the chemical additives that those so called “foods” had lurking in them. Ignorance truly was bliss.

It was a shortly lived bliss though, because I started getting really sick, in my early 20s, from eating a diet that was full of chemicals and low in nutrients. Educating myself about our food supply was a real eye opener and my health began to slowly improve with each new thing that I learned about food additives and other toxins to avoid.

It might not be pleasant learning all of this and I know, from experience, that it can be bothersome reading labels. But, you owe it to yourself and to your health to put in a little extra time and effort and to become informed. It just might save your life.

Sodium Nitrates/Sodium Nitrites

1. Sodium Nitrate/ Sodium Nitrite

  • What is it? Nitrates/Nitrites preserve, flavor and maintain a red color in many processed meat products.
  • You can find them in: Processed meat products-Bacon, sausage, ham, hot dogs, lunch meat, pepperoni, smoked fish, corn beef, canned meat. It’s also found in some cheese.
  • Why you should avoid them: Nitrites can form potent carcinogenic nitrosamines in the body. Nitrosamines are among the most powerful carcinogens known and even small amounts can lead to cancer. Studies confirm that nitrates and nitrites can cause prostate, breast and stomach cancers in humans.
  • Nitrates are associated with increased miscarriages, fetal deaths and birth defects in laboratory animals.
  • Both US and Canadian regulatory agencies have lowered the permissible levels of nitrates/nitrites for use in processed foods.
  • Alternatives: Health food stores offer a variety of nitrite/nitrate free meats.


2. BHA and BHT

(Butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydrozyttoluene)

  • What is it? BHA and BHT preserve many common processed foods
  • You can find them in: cereal, chewing gum, potato chips, and vegetable oils.
  • Why you should avoid them: Repeated studies show that BHA and BHT increase the risk of cancer and accumulate in body tissue, causing liver enlargement. They also slow down the rate of DNA synthesis and cell development.

Propyl Gallate

3.Propyl Gallate

  • You can find it in: some processed meat products, chicken soup stock and gum.
  • Why you should avoid it: Propyl Gallate is a suspected carcinogen. It is also known to cause kidney, liver and gastrointestinal problems.

Monosodium Glutamate

4. MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)

  • What is it? Monosodium glutamate enhances flavors
  • You can find it in: most canned soups, salad dressings, chips, crackers and frozen foods. It is also found in most spice and flavoring blends.
  • MSG can be legally concealed on food labels behind harmless-sounding names like “natural flavoring”, “spices”, “seasonings” etc…
  • Why you should avoid it: MSG can cause severe reactions in some people- headaches, nausea etc… Animal studies link it to damaging nerve cells in the brains of mice.

Trans Fats Chart

5. Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil

  • What is it? Hydrogenated vegetable oil sometimes goes by the name “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.” It is more commonly known as a trans fat.
  • You can find it in: Processed chips, microwave popcorn, crackers, cookies,pastries, pies, cakes, most fast foods, butter, margarine, lard, coconut oil, cottonseed oil & palm kernel oil etc…
  • Why you should avoid it:Trans fats raise levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and lower levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, which increases your chances of developing heart disease,having a heart attack, stroke or kidney failure.
  • Alternative: Monounsaturated fats like Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil, help to lower bad LDL cholesterol and raises good HDL cholesterol.


6. Aspartame:

  • What is it? Aspartame is sold by the brand names Nutrasweet and Equal. It’s found in 6,000 products worldwide.
  • You can find it in: Diet foods- diet soft drinks & drink mixes, low calorie desserts, gelatins, puddings, frozen desserts, yogurt, some childrens vitamins etc…
  • Why you should avoid it: Aspartame is responsible for 75 percent of the complaints that the FDA receives. The FDA has compiled a list of 92 Aspartame poisoning symptoms, from over 10,000 consumers. These complaints include- headaches, memory loss, seizures, vision loss, coma, and cancer.
  • Aspartame was once listed as a “Biochemical Warfare Agent” by the Pentagon.
  • For 8 years The US Food and Drug Administration did not approve Aspartame because of the evidence that was brought to light by numerous scientists, litigators and consumer groups, that aspartame damages the central nervous system and causes cancer in animals.
  • Alternatives: Stevia and Xylitol are low calorie, natural sweeteners


7. Acesulfame-K…(Sunette, Sweet-n-Safe, Sweet One)

  • What is it? This is a relatively new artificial sweetener, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1998.
  • You can find it in: Diet soft drinks, baked goods, chewing gum, and gelatin desserts.
  • Why you should avoid it: Acesulfame-K often is on many top 12 lists of additives to avoid because further study is needed in order to decide whether or not it is harmful to humans.
  • Some studies showed this additive causes cancer in rats.
  • Alternatives: Stevia and Xylitol are low calorie, all natural, safe sweetners.

Food Coloring

8. Food Colorings: Blue 1, 2; Red 3; Green 3; Yellow 6

  • Blue 1 and 2: used in beverages, candy, baked goods and some pet food. It has been linked to cancer in mice.
  • Red 3: used to dye cherries, fruit cocktail, candy and baked goods. Causes thyroid tumors in rats.
  • Green 3: used to color candy and beverages. Has been linked to bladder cancer.
  • Yellow 6: used to color beverages, sausage, gelatin, baked goods, and candy. Causes tumors of the adrenal gland and kidneys.


9. Olestra (brand name is Olean)

  • What is it? Olestra is a synthetic fat that prevents fat from getting absorbed by your digestive system. It also prevents valuable fat-soluable vitamins (A,D,E & K) and carotenoids from being absorbed by the body.
  • You can find it in: some brands of potato chips
  • Why you should avoid it: More than 15,000 consumers have filed complaints saying that Olestra has caused health problems- gas, diarrhea and abdominal cramps so severe that they had to go to the emergency room.

Potassium Bromate

10. Potassium Bromate

  • What is it? Potassium bromate is a bleaching agent in white flour.
  • You can find it in: breads, rolls and pizza dough
  • Why you should avoid it: It is known to cause cancer in animals and humans. It is still legal for it to be used in the United States and Japan. The state of California has it listed as, “chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity” and requires a cancer warning on products that have Potassium Bromate as an ingredient.
  • Alternative: Look for flour and bakery products marked “UNBROMATED”


11. White Sugar/ High Fructose Corn Syrup

  • Why you should avoid it: Too much white sugar/high fructose corn syrup in the diet puts on the pounds, causes depression, rots teeth and messes with blood sugar levels, which can lead to diabetes. It also leaches valuable vitamins and minerals out of the body.
  • Alternatives: Maple Syrup (not the kind with High Fructose Corn Syrup, dye & synthetic “maple flavoring”), Brown Rice Syrup, Sorghum Molasses, Barley Malt Syrup and Date Sugar are all nutritious sweeteners that won’t put you on a blood sugar rollercoaster ride.

Sodium Chloride

12. Sodium Chloride

  • What is it? Sodium chloride is more commonly known as table salt. It enhances flavor and acts as a preservative. Processed foods have extremely high levels of sodium, so read those labels carefully.
  • Why you should avoid it: Refined, table salt is 99.9% sodium chloride. During the refining process, naturally occurring minerals and trace elements are stripped away, then it’s blasted with high heat, bleached and chemicals like aluminum and anti-caking agents are added to it.
  • Too much processed table salt intake burdens the kidneys and adrenal glands, depletes calcium and interferes with the absorption of essential nutrients. It also causes high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke.
  • “Low-sodium salt” is even more toxic than table salt. More chemicals are added to the mix, in order to remove the sodium and stimulate the synthetic taste of salt.
  • Alternatives: Flavor your food with herbs, a squeeze of lemon or lime, unrefined sea salt, Spike (an all natural salt substitute that has 37 herbs and spices) or Herbamare (a blend of sea salt and 14 herbs).


68 thoughts on “12 Food Additives To Avoid

  1. Kathleen Callaghan on

    I have read that there are now many concerns about the safety of stevia … what do you think?

  2. I was not aware that Stevia had any safety concerns. From what I know, it is an all natural sweetener, made from a member of the daisy family. There are also many claims that it has medicinal properties.

    Here’s a link with more information:

    I don’t personally like Stevia. I think it tastes too much like Sweet N Low. I prefer raw honey or agave nectar when I need something sweetened.

    • mbhawk on

      Most stevia brands have other ingredients such as natural flavor and maltodextrin.

  3. William Faulk on

    Just saying that something is “all-natural” doesn’t make it safe. Nightshade is all-natural, for example.

    You’re aware that both honey and agave nectar are mostly just fructose and glucose, right? The impurities that exist in them don’t change the fact that they might as well be HFCS. Refined sugar is at least a disaccharide so your body has to do a little work to unravel it into its monosaccharides.

    • marisa on

      they are not “just” fructose and glucose, the honey making process by bees is very complex and it can contains pollens and antibodies from the flowers the bees consume and from the bees themselves. yes its very high in calories, so are avocados, but it is healthy. and your body can digest refined sugar more quickly than raw organic honey (unprocessed and unfiltered) but quickly is not good in the sense of digestion, especially concerning sugar, because your body does NOT want blood sugar spikes. bottom line raw organic honey = always better for you than refined table sugar


    a complex combination of carbohydrates (mainly fructose, glucose, maltose and sucrose),small amounts of protein, live enzymes, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and amino acids, bits of pollen and propolis.

    Propolis is an anti oxidant, anti inflammatory, anti allergenic and has antimicrobial properties

    Raw honey is naturally antibacterial,antiviral and antifungal and has been used by the Greeks, Romans and Chinese as a health tonic since ancient times.

    One of the enzymes in raw honey, glucose oxidase, converts glucose into gluconic acid, which kills bacteria and heals wounds. Gluconic acid also increases calcium absorption.

    Raw honey’s antioxidant properties help keep free radicals from damaging our bodies (free radicals contribute to premature aging and degenerative disease)


    Sugarcane that is stripped of any naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber. It is then heavily processed with several toxic chemicals and is bleached white with pork by-products.(blood albumin or animal charcoal.)

    Refined sugar contains high levels of carbonic acid, which disturbs the body’s nutritional balance, robbing the body of important nutrients, especially chromium, zinc, calcium, vitamins C and B-complex.

    Refined sugar destroys live enzymes in the mouth, stomach, small intestines and the pancreas, which leads to difficulty digesting food and weakens the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food.

    Refined sugar causes blood sugar levels to skyrocket, which leads to the pancreas having to secrete large amounts of insulin,in order to return blood sugar levels back to normal. This can lead to depression, lethargy,irritability and other health problems, like Diabetes.


  5. omg on

    thats like all the things i eat though? do u want me to starve?

  6. Liz on

    Nobody’s diet is going to be perfect all the time. You can make changes gradually, by removing one thing at a time that you know is bad. It’s doesn’t happen overnight. Go to a weekly farmers’ market and see what’s there that interests you. Go to your food co-op, make a meal from scratch once a week to start.

    Just making small changes adds up. And nobody needs to prove their own way is perfect. No one diet is right for everyone. Nobody was ever converted to eating differently by getting yelled at. (Stop the all caps. Just say no! lol)

    This is a really good list to start. I also like the Blood Type Diet, which works for me and several folks I know. I would add two things to the list that will be controversial, so if you think I’m crazy, I’m ok with that. But humans just are not equipped to digest either thing: dairy products and anything made with or related to wheat. I lost 60 lbs. by just cutting these two things out of my diet, and lost the last 20 by eliminating sugar. Now, I do eat sugar on occasion, but it’s not an every day part of my diet. My philosophy on food is all about avoiding things that are bad for me, not making them taboo. Taboos are too much fun to resist!

    That’s all, folks. Don’t make yourself miserable, don’t beat yourself (or anybody else) up, just do loving things for your body. It’s a miracle, and should be treated like the valuable gift that it is.

  7. Axion on

    The so-called “MSG effect” has been proven to be false. 😛

  8. Kunzang on

    I like honey, but also prefer Fructose as a sweetener (though my sweet intake is very low).

    Crystalline Fructose should not be mistaken for HFS or HFCS. They are not the same.

    For more info, you can check out this link:


  9. The ‘MSG effect’ is real! A few months ago I was searching on the internet why every time I had a soup (cup-a-soup), I had a headache!

    I still have around 10 envelopes if anyone wants them…

  10. Dave Thomas on

    I read this and started laughing m butt off. I guess the author is suggesting your grow your own meat and butcher it. I wonder if the blog author has ever butchered an animal in his life? I’ll eat the preservatives. How in the world is the life expectancy what it is if all this is true?

  11. Lindsey on

    Dave Thomas – I’m pretty sure the author is not suggesting you raise and butcher your own meat…just to be careful and responsible about what you buy. Instead of buying the ballpark franks that are loaded with nitrates….buy all natural hotdogs or tofu dogs. Instead of highly processed lunch meat, get some that has been freshly roasted at the store (many high end supermarkets offer it).

    It isn’t difficult to avoid additives, we just need to make better decisions about our diets. Hot dogs and chips are part of the reason why America is so fat anyway.

  12. Ann on

    Thanks. Good to know.
    Sad to learn. Now what can I eat??

  13. I have no idea why it is deemed alright by the government for food manufacturers to add these things to our food at all…

    I just don’t get it! Eat organically and fresh…

    Kimberly Edwards

  14. Tenth Speed Writer on

    A good scale to follow:

    The larger the company that produces it, the worse for you it probably is.

    Profit implies cheap methods. Cheap methods are rarely good methods.
    Big companies

    If you’re that afraid of processed foods, buy:
    Small scale (Preferably specialized) producers,
    local producers,
    “supermarket” organic,
    brand names,
    large company (Kraft, Post, etc.) generic products.

    In that order.

  15. don on

    read the wikipedia article on stevia if you have doubts to its safety. the experiments were faulty and would have made distilled water appear to be mutagenic.

    stevia has been safely used for over a hundred years in africa, and asian cultures have used them for over 30 years with no ill effects. they have coca cola sweetened with stevia, and the FDA is actually currently being petitioned to have it used in the US again.

  16. LO on

    Bread too!? Are you kidding me?

    I would LOVE to be able to eat organically and healthy, but where I live you can’t buy anything but… well, the foods you listed above.

    I don’t eat fast food, nor do I eat nasty snack foods, (fritos, hohos, etc).

    But seriously, what CAN I eat?

    It’s easy to tell me what I can’t eat… write the other side of this article and I’ll go from there.

  17. Bill on

    Is our life expectancy shinking or growing?

    What do healthy people die from?

    • marisa on

      old age, their hearts just give out. granted this usually happens at 80+. unhealthy people can also live to be 80+, modern medicine (and i am a med student at EVMS as a write this) has become very good at keeping people almost alive (walking with a limp, blind from diabetes, on 20 different medications so they can wake up in the morning, sleep at night, keep their blood pressure low and cholesterol in check, insulin for the diabetes, and pain killers for the day to day pains. you can live a long time on garbage but you won’t live all those years well.

  18. Ratfink on

    “stevia has been safely used for over a hundred years in africa, and asian cultures have used them for over 30 years with no ill effects.”

    The same can pretty much be said about MSG and other glutamates.

  19. Anonymous on

    ““stevia has been safely used for over a hundred years in africa, and asian cultures have used them for over 30 years with no ill effects.”

    The same can pretty much be said about MSG and other glutamates.”

    That is correct, and they are perfectly safe as well. So is salt.

    This article would have had more credibility if it was shortened to more like 6 Additive to avoid.

  20. stephi on

    so…what about all us poor college kids that can only afford the things listed above? are we just supposed to starve more than we already are? it’s not fair. healthy food should be affordable for everyone, not just the people who happen to have been blessed with more money.

  21. Gunter on

    Lalalali, lalalalai, sooner or later we all have to die….

  22. Char on

    I would love to see links to the scientific articles and research backing this list.

  23. Rochelle on

    I have a hard time believing people can only afford the foods listed. I am far from well off- probably more like lower middle class. I do not put priority on expensive material items…clothing, vehicles…etc. I spend my money on healthy food for myself and my family. I was a college student too as well as a stay at home mom…it is better physically and economically to buy non-processed, bulk foods…compare the price of a bag of rice to rice a roni….it all comes down to priorities…and i believe someone commented about the bread…I read that as processed white flour. If you are eating whole grain I don’t believe it is an issue.

  24. Edna on

    Site like this are wonderful in helping us eat healthier and live longer. You can be very poor and still cut out the unhealthy foods and improve your well-being. It was because I was on food stamps that I became a vegetarian,learned how to make my own whole grain breads,cheeses,yogurt,jams,granola,soups and more. My family loves my home-cooking and our food dollar goes a long way.

  25. Tracy on

    You people that are complaining ‘what will i eat now??”, do a little research. Yes, it is a little more expensive to eat well and even organic. But you know what-this is it, one body, one life. I prefer to be healthy for my only go around, thanks.

  26. Robert on

    People used to eat foods with no preservatives and very little processing whatsoever…and had an average lifespan of forty years. The average lifespan is now over eighty. This argument is specious at best.

    • Anonymous on

      The reason why the life span is over 80 is because of the advances in medical science to save people from the dangers of the additives in food.

  27. Barbara on

    We’re not living longer because of all the chemicals they’re adding to our food…give yer head a shake fella…our lifespan has increased because of the cures that scientist’s have developed for so many diseases and for the prevention of many diseases…for the technology that has made our lives easier, but certainly not because companies like Kraft produce a cheese slice that has so many chemicals in it, it will never grow mold. Anyone that wants to eat healthy need only to consider this..if it’s man-made, don’t buy it…fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, whole grain foods and organic meats and dairy.
    Another simple rule is, if you can’t pronounce the words in the ingredient list, don’t eat it!

  28. irrelevant on

    1. i’m a career chemist.

    2. sugar/HFCS should be REDUCED, but we americans are fat–this is what leads to health problems. there is no proven inherent risk in the consumption of either (in appropriate quantities).

    3. table salt and sea salt carry the same health risks b/c they are the same compound. actually, the processing that takes place to make the “unnatural” salt leads to a significantly less impure form (though neither is really bad…again, fat americans). subbing one for the other isn’t going to buy you any extra time.

    4. always be skeptical of the equation of human health with mouse health. we have wildly different metabolisms and living conditions. while it may seem scary to hear that mice get cancer from what you eat, it may not necessarily be relevant (for example, many drugs effective in mice don’t do a damn thing in humans…hit the literature). that being said, lots of things that kill mice do kill us too…i’m not saying that dioxins won’t fill you with tumors here…

  29. Patricia G on

    It really isn’t that the average adult is living longer, it is that overall the average life span of all people is longer because we have reduced infant and child mortality by preventing many of the killer childhood diseases. In the past, those individuals who survived childhood were quite hardy and lived much longer than 40 years. And, they probably ate a lot better than most of us do now!

  30. The shear abundance of additives going into our foods is literally making us sick. And the corporations force feeding it to us don’t care. Diseases like autism and asthma and disorders like hyperactivity have jumped in relation to the introduction of additives to our food. This is a huge issue and in the years to come as the general awareness increases we will see some drastic change… and hopefully lawsuits against greedy, immoral food manufacturers.

  31. Jake on

    There are people who don’t care about eating healthy, and that’s their problem. Some people are so addicted to their junk food they don’t want to change, and that’s their problem. EVERYBODY knows how to eat healthy, naturally, but most CHOOSE NOT to give up the crap they eat. No sense in trying to advise people on how to eat healthy. Obviously if they cared they would do it. The people here are just cry-babies “what will I eat?”, “where’s the science to back this up?”, “all these additives are safe”, and on & on.

  32. OChem on

    Unfortunately, the alternative to all those nitrates & nitrites in meat is botulism poisoning.

    • marisa on

      nitrates do NOT make meat healthy, and unless the meat is canned how are you getting botulism? the only reason nitrates are in meat is to make the meat LOOK better because people eat with their eyes. people will eat slaughter house steaks from cows that spent their whole lives standing knee deep in manure and eating corn, chicken manure, antibiotics, and sugar who are killed inhumanely if the meat is nice and red and looks healthy in its cellophane package at the grocery store. Nitrate free meats and hotdogs are available, maybe not more humane or fed a better diet but at least one harmful thing is gone and they do not contain botulin toxin
      – they still have to pass FDA regulations

  33. graham on

    for heaven sake! Terms such as Blue 1 etc to name food dyes are just about useless. Use simple terms ok, but give the more universal and more correct names as well. otherwise we think you don’t really know what you are talking about

  34. Tiamat on

    MSG = sodium + glutamate. One is an ion we need for our bodies to function properly (e.g. proper renal function), the other is an amino acid (what we build proteins out of). Neither of these things, in moderation, is bad for you. In fact, eating lots of MSG is pretty equivalent to eating lots of salt – not good for you, certainly, but nothing something you need to eliminate from your diet.

    • marisa on

      thats so funny well carbon monoxide is basically carbon and oxygen. all organic life is made of carbon compounds ( so you are made of carbon) and oxygen is what we need to survive. therefore its healthy to breath in as much as possible! your argument is void. glutamate is kind of an amino acid (not an essential amino acid) and not a natural one. and sodium is present in most natural food so adding it to food is pretty necessary. msg = equal salt. a food is more than the sum of its parts!

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  38. Anonymous on

    what a pile of unsubstantiated horse shit!

  39. Kate on

    While I like the information you put here, this all isn’t necessarily true. A little bit of any food is okay. Our bodies are made to process out any excess or impurities in food. In fact in some cases, a purely organic diet is worse then a normal, balanced diet.

    In addition, while I fully support local foods and produce, sometimes the chemicals (or even in some instances the lack of chemicals) is worse than something you could buy at a food market.

  40. Justgrits1 on

    Moderation . . . all things in moderation.

  41. You know what I wonder? How much SLOWER our bodies decompose when we die because of all of the preservatives that we eat… kinda gross to think about what we’ve done to ourselves.

  42. Thanks for the information. It’s nice to see all the info I was looking for on one page. If you have any kind of liver ailment, stay away from all of these products, but if you’re not sick everything in LOW moderation. If these products can kill mice and rats, of course it will kill us all if we keep eating all of these chemicals.
    We all need to go back to the basics, grow your own fruits and vegetables. Everything is made to order now and it sits on a shelf somewhere collecting dust until someone buys it. In reality we really don’t know how long this stuff has been sitting on the shelf because with all of the chemicals it can last for a long time. Sounds nasty, doesn’t it

  43. aeracura on

    Okay.. so maybe some people here are not too “well off” *rolls eyes* and can still some how eat this all organic healthy diet… I find it hard, here is my predicament;

    I go to University, around $3,000 + books a semester, I have to work full time around that as well to be able to afford rent 1,000 per month (yes, thats a cheap place here), bills, school, gas, car payments (no fancy vehicle but I do NEED to get around) etc. & that is on a min wage paycheque. I take a full course load and when you pile homework on top of that I barley have time to eat in the first place …

    So… if you get up at say 7 am, have to be at school by eight, come home at say… three, go to your lovely place of work until ten – ten thirtyish, come home to do home work and then TRY and get a decent amount of sleep, because as health freaks we ALL KNOW that 8 hrs of sleep is just as important as healthy eating..

    where can I go to pick up healthy food if I have a five dollar a day food budget and where would you suppose I get the time to cook my own organic food…also I refuse to be a vegitarian and do not want tofu or soy substitutes, I dont have anyone around to cook for me, and I have 100$ grocerie limit.. if that.. a month. Tell me what to do. I want usual 3 small meal 2 snack diet plan with the health guide suggested amounts of grains, dairy, fruit& veggies, protien etc. How about you make me a diet plan for a month, all organic meals, all made under ten minutes, all with a 100 spending limit.. :)

    • marisa on

      I am sympathetic of your situation but its not really as difficult as you’d like to make it seem. I attend EVMS full time (8am – 4pm with no breaks) and work full time (4-12pm on average). Here is how I do a completely whole foods diet on no money and no time (though it requires planning and it has to be something you want to do. You can do it, if you want to eat garbage because you dont care THATS YOUR RIGHT! You dont have to eat organic, sustainable, delicious food but you cant say your circumstances make it impossible. Background information: I bought a local food co-op with my tax refund. My refund was approximately 1500 dollars thanks to write offs for tuition and the fact that I make damn near minimum wage. I spent 249 of that on my co op but it means every thursday from about mid april – early october I receive a box of fresh organic produce from a farmers market. It averages to around $15 dollars a week for what seems like $40 of produce its such a good deal!

      Thursday: get box from the farm example: one or two peppers, tomatoes, peaches, strawberries, asparagus, arranged lettuces, ¼ watermelon. ½ cantaloupe, peanuts, a bit of jam, two steaks, a bit jam, and a bit of organic cheese

      farmers market
      1. small round of organic cheese – unless I get some in co-op box
      2. bit of organic butter or a pint of cream to use in recipes and I use a beater to make my own butter if necessary

      grocery store: I go to trader joes to find organic food at bearable prices
      1. smallest organic chicken I can find $8.00
      2. 1 can of corn ($0.50)
      3. lettuce (not boxed, just by it loose and save about half. Sort it your self on your day off)
      4. rolled oats (1.99)
      5. 2 cans garbanzo beans (1.70)
      6. eggs 3.00 (organic, store brand eggs)
      7. garlic
      8. flour: 3.00
      9. yeast .50
      10. lime 0.50
      11. a handfull of carrots $2.50
      12. a handfull of brussel sprouts $3.00
      13. a bag each black beans and kidney beans 3.00 all together
      14. bag of organic brown basmatti rice or quiona (keen-wa) 2.20
      15. 1 avocados 1.50
      16. two cans of tomatoes 2.00
      17. pasta 0.99
      18. sack of potatoes 3.00
      19. 1 red pepper (1.99)
      20. 1 sack each apples and oranges 5.00 all together
      21. bannas (6 for a $1.00)
      this goes a little over your $25 a week limit BUT you only have to buy the rice, pasta, apples, oranges, beans and potatoes every other week

      Saturday: my first day off, you can use yours: I cook and prepare for the week
      1. mix up a little bread dough and pizza dough using the flour and the yeast and a little oil and salt you probably already have on hand. I always bake three loaves at once its, really easy because the classic whole wheat recipe makes three loaves, and freeze two, the defrost really well and taste delicious after reheating in the oven. Let the bread rise while you complete the following:
      2. use two pots to make two cups each of black beans and red beans
      3. bring another pot of rice to boil and put away when done
      4. bring a pot of potatoes to boil once tender, fork the potatoes out and boil half a box of pasta in the same water with a little additional salt
      5. on the second tier of the oven slice the brussell sprouts in half and put sliced face down sprinkle with salt and pepper and around a table spoon of melted butter
      6. while you’re cooking and boiling away I slice up each fruit and vegetable that can be pre-sliced and arrange into zip locks for easy snacking: example: cut and freeze apple, mango and orange slices in a container in the freezer for easy smoothies (just add a little water, milk, yogurt, lemon juice and blend) and I slice a few carrot sticks and bell pepper
      all of this can be done at once: soak the beans first, once their ready to boil boil the beans and potatoes all at once and then put the chicken in the oven at 375 for just over an hour. When the chicken is done lower the oven to 350 and bake the bread and 1 pizza crust (the typical recipe can be cut in half to make 2 pizzas. Put the other dough in the freezer with the other two loaves of bread. You can defrost the dough its just like buying frozen in the grocery store!

      store all the food and during the week you can make the following meals in around 10 min
      1. rolled oats cooked with a water, splash of coconut milk (I don’t drink dairy) with a bit of jam or peanut butter if you’re not allergic
      2. smoothies: oranges and banana. Apple pie (apples, cinnamon or pie spice and splash of milk), orange-julius, just add ice!
      3. Home made bread with a piece of fruit and a little organic butter
      4. french toast using homemade bread. Served with sliced bananas
      5. 3 egg omelette with a bit of roasted pepper and cheese
      6. rolled oats and fruit not cooked but just used like cereal
      7. oatmeal cookies made with a shredded apple and the juice to replace most of the sugar

      lunch: round out each meal with a piece of fruit or cup of yogurt, or some premade house rice pudding
      1. use one chicken breast to make chicken salad
      2. brown rice and red beans garnished with a bit of green onions and or avocado served with salad
      3. large green salad with a few boiled eggs
      4. chips, guacamole, hummus and veggies
      5. pizza: add ½ can of tomatoes made into sauce to the prebaked crust with cheese, black beans, a jalapeno, and some of the corn

      1. roast the preboiled potatoes with oil and salt, serve with two reheated chicken legs and brussel sprouts
      2. dreamweaver soup: can of corn, kidney beans, black beans, 1 can of tomatoes, home made chicken stock, squeeze of lime. Garnish with tortilla chips, green onions, diced avocado
      3. left over stir-fry (use the other half of the chicken breast for bulk, some brown rice, and an egg near the end)
      4. ½ can of tomatoes used to make pasta sauce served with pasta, add some veggies for bulk
      5. chicken pot pies: rest of the left over chicken, veggies, sauce with homemade chicken stock and some milk, dough using flour, ice water, and butter. (only use a top crust to cut calories and make cooking time around 15 min.

      cookies, apple crumble, rice pudding (eggs, vanilla, rice, milk, cinnamon)

      snacks: apples, oranges, sliced vegetables, or use some of the flour and the small amount of organic butter and make crust for an apple pie.

  44. Educated on

    Antioxidants are one of the biggest “health food” farces out there. There have been exactly zero studies conclusively relating the increased consumption of antioxidants with improved health.

  45. To the college student above:
    I am a mother of 3 (under 6), stay at home mom that has learned how to be thrifty.
    #1- clip coupons. throw out your ego, and do it. who cares. if you can save $5 a week by clipping coupons, isnt it worth it? shop at stores that double your coupons.
    #2- eliminate ready-to-eat foods. you pay for convienience. If you have a microwave you can: *steam veggies (fresh or frozen) with very little added water…thus eliminating canned goods that have lots of added sugars and salts.
    *cook rice. Buy a small bag of natural (unbleached) rice. It should last you all week. For a simple, quick meal add some sauted veggies (one bell pepper, some sugar snap peas, one small onion)to the rice.
    Get yourself a hot plate. Use a skillet and pot to make meals. For breakfast buy natural oatmeal. Cook it in the microwave. Add brown sugar and raisens.

    There are so many ways to eat healthy on a small income. It’s all about how badly you want it.

    My daughter has an intollerance to refined sugar. Once we eliminated the refined sugar, she is a healthy 5 year old doing well.
    I have an intollerance to fructose. It’s amazing what these additives can do to your body!! And yes, the MSG thing is true.
    My husband gets horrible migranes from MSG. Its in spices, doritos, and lots of other things.
    Aspartame is horrid too. It causes body aches, headaches, and a feeling of confusion in me and a close friend of mine.

    Be smart about what you eat. It’s easy to cop out and say, im poor, i have no time, there is no evidence, etc etc etc….If you want to be healthy, do it. Not everything in life is easy, nor should it be.

  46. It's Easy on

    aeracura Says:
    June 13th, 2010 at 12:58 am

    Okay.. so maybe some people here are not too “well off” *rolls eyes* and can still some how eat this all organic healthy diet… I find it hard, here is my predicament;

    I go to University, around $3,000 + books a semester, I have to work full time around that as well to be able to afford rent 1,000 per month (yes, thats a cheap place here), bills, school, gas, car payments (no fancy vehicle but I do NEED to get around) etc. & that is on a min wage paycheque. I take a full course load and when you pile homework on top of that I barley have time to eat in the first place …

    So… if you get up at say 7 am, have to be at school by eight, come home at say… three, go to your lovely place of work until ten – ten thirtyish, come home to do home work and then TRY and get a decent amount of sleep, because as health freaks we ALL KNOW that 8 hrs of sleep is just as important as healthy eating..

    where can I go to pick up healthy food if I have a five dollar a day food budget and where would you suppose I get the time to cook my own organic food…also I refuse to be a vegitarian and do not want tofu or soy substitutes, I dont have anyone around to cook for me, and I have 100$ grocerie limit.. if that.. a month. Tell me what to do. I want usual 3 small meal 2 snack diet plan with the health guide suggested amounts of grains, dairy, fruit& veggies, protien etc. How about you make me a diet plan for a month, all organic meals, all made under ten minutes, all with a 100 spending limit..

    Late response, I know but forgive me – I just stumbled to this site. It’s actually easy to conform to a healthy diet around your financial limitations since I’ve been in your situation for years. Although I’m vegetarian, you’ll have to tack on your meat. I spend between $20-$30 a week in groceries (you’ll spend $25 or less if what you say is true).

    Whole Wheat Pasta ($1.50).
    Classico Pasta Sauce ($3.19)
    Bananas ($.79) lb
    Lentils ($1.81) lb
    Split peas ($1.24) lb
    Canned beans/spinach ($1.50)
    Canned fruit
    Frozen vegetables ($2.50)
    Eggs ($1.79) for 6
    Brown Rice

    Yep – that’s pretty much all I eat. I splurge for things like Almond Milk ($3.99), Almond Butter ($5.99), Nutella, Fiber One Pancake mix, Apples, Bagels, Mushroom or Vegetable broth, nuts etc…

    I check for coupons, or knock-down prices, specials/sales, AND I also check for the amount of sodium, sugar, syrup and what kind of preservatives are in the stuff. It’s really not a big deal. Just make sure you pick up some vitamins – they are essential.

  47. hi every body i m really intersted in what is harmfull to our health espicially food i have a research about it if someone could aid me and have news about harfull product pleas send it me on my e-mail : tayiri@live.ma and thaks to all

  48. A very simple rule to follow is: “if our creator didn’t make it, don’t eat it”
    Those of u that are new to all this check out: Raw food diet, Jack LaLane, Food combining, Colonics, Ann Wigmore, Paul Bragg just to name a few.

    • James on

      Smart rule, but not completely true. The ‘free sugars’ in honey, for example, are not much better than refined cane sugar. Certain fruits also have too-high sugar concentrations.

  49. Pingback: Transitioning to Clean Food « Transition Now

  50. Liam on

    I’m with the rest of you, what CAN we eat?
    What food is actually acceptable to have (even if it’s only now and again) even if they DO have preservitives?

  51. Wow, as if I’d get cancer from eating dorito’s and powerade, I can’t live without chips and powerade!!! Ah well, I’m going to turn granny smiths apples and tasty treats in the near future… LOVE YOU ALL

  52. Anon Emouse on

    Everyone should understand that [1] it might take YEARS for health problems to show up from man-made chemical additives [2] these food companies are NOT going to be held responsible for anyone’s health and [3] they are NEVER going to self-regulate themselves. They are going to constantly push the limits of adding man-made unnatural chemicals to your food. Therefore everyone needs to get educated to reach the critical/threshold point of enough people getting outraged at the corporate money-loving CEO more-money more-money arrogant attitude. They care about fancy colors and MARKETING NOT your health. Quote “Our bodies are made to process out any excess or impurities in food…” what a moronic statement. Statements and attitudes like that are not safe and are what these food companies (managers and execs) are making billions off of.

  53. James on

    Just for the record, this article has some big errors in it and also uses information that has either been debunked or never proven at all. For example, despite over a century of use, there is still a lack of evidence that MSG is dangerous for us. Ditto on Aspartame, which is considered safe to use in over 90 countries. The claims against that sweetener are mostly anecdotal and unproven.

  54. Pingback: Avoiding Food Additives « Shiloh Farms Blog