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Archive for January, 2011

When an experience inspires you to see that dream again, motivates you to a place you haven’t felt in a long time, and adds a monstrous log to the fire in your soul, what do you call it? Heaven? For me, it was the 2011 Edible Institute. For 20 hours, over two days, I listened, absorbed, brainstormed, smiled, scribbled, tweeted (#EI2011), consumed, and connected.

If you are not familiar with Edible, they are beautiful magazines filled with everything food-related local to that area, or as they say,  Award Winning Magazines That Celebrate Local Foods, Season by Season. When you so much as glance at an Edible magazine, you know that  it is something unique. The first thing you’ll see is the stunning cover. When you pick it up, the luxuriously thick pages beckon to be flipped and the sumptuous photographs visually devoured. There are almost 70 Edible magazines and publishers flew in from all over the United States and Canada this past Wednesday to attend a publishers’ conference. Starting at 7:30am Saturday, the Edible Institute ignited bringing publishers together with food writers, farmers, activists, artisans, cookbook authors, winemakers, bloggers, and little old me.
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Blueberries are used in hundreds of foods including cereal, bagels, pastries, breakfast bars and muffins. You see those little sweet, purplish-blue globs as you eat these foods and assume it must contain actual blueberries, right? As this video reports, the answer is probably not. More likely, you are eating a mixture of partially hydrogenated oils, starches, blue #1, blue #2, red #40, and artificial flavorings which create a fake blueberry.

As an avid ingredient reader, even I was surprised to see this blatant of a lie on food packaging of hundreds of foods. Watch this video from Mike Adams, The Health Ranger, of Natural News, to see the expose on the use of fake blueberries in foods.

To see how the food manufactures responded to this report, click for the Fox News story.

Sources:
Natural News
Fox News

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Unhealthy additives find our way into almost every imaginable food. Last week, my husband purchased this spice jar of garlic powder for a recipe without looking at the ingredient list (you’d think I’d have him trained better considering he lives with me!). I happened to take a peek and this is what I saw:

Lawry’s Garlic Powder, Coarse Ground with Parsley

INGREDIENTS: GARLIC, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OIL (COTTONSEED, SOYBEAN), PARSLEY.

So they’ve basically taken something as simple as powdered garlic and added unnecessary and harmful trans fats. Remember, ingredients are listed in order of weight, so this means there is more hydrogenated oil in this jar than parsley. Not quite what I had in mind for dinner.

Moral of this story? Never assume something simple will be free from additives and preservatives. There are many other brands which only contain garlic and parsley, so read the label and shop smart!

Back Label

Ingredient Spotlight: Citric Acid

This Ingredient Spotlight is a regular feature from Be Food Smart. Check back regularly to see new ingredients.

Today’s additive is Citric Acid, which is one of the most widely used acids in the flavoring industry. It has even been used to dissolve bladder stones!

Citric Acid

Names: Sodium Citrate, E330

Uses: Flavoring, Acid, Antioxidant, Preservative, Emulsifier, Firming Agent

Found In: beverages, soda, ice cream, candy, fruit juice, wine, juice, jam, canned fruit and vegetables, frozen fruit, cheese spreads, dressings, preserves, cheese, mayonnaise

Description: Naturally occurring acid found in citrus, other fruit and coffee. Mainly derived from citrus by fermentation process of the fruit sugars. Produces a sour taste and is one of the most widely used acids in food flavoring. Used to flavor, adjust pH balance, cure meats, prevent certain flavors, firm vegetables, brighten colors and preserve food.

Possible Health Effects: In large or concentrated amounts can cause … continue reading about Citric Acid

Be Food Smart was created to educate and inform the public about what’s really in the foods we eat every day. The site has a huge database of food additives, chemicals, food colorings, sweeteners, and preservatives and allows one to search for over 400 ingredient names. Our unique ingredient reports contain simple and easy to understand descriptions, alternate names, possible health effects, and allergy information. The site is completely free and is a wonderful resource for parents, teachers, health care professionals, dietitians, and concerned consumers.

Daily Sound/Image by Victor Maccharoli

Be Food Smart is featured in the Santa Barbara Daily Sound today.  If you are local in Santa Barbara, pick up your copy at your coffee shop. Not local? Check out our press page or click on this link for the story:

With Be Food Smart, Santa Barbara brother and sister team moves beyond labels to encourage healthier choices

January 14, 2011

By Jeremy Nisen

Many thanks to Jeremy for the great write up and to our dad, Ananda Dalidd, for making it happen. Also, thanks Victor Maccharoli for meeting me at the Goleta Farmer’s Market yesterday and taking the fun photos!

Ingredient Spotlight: Guar Gum

This Ingredient Spotlight is a regular feature from Be Food Smart. Check back regularly to see new ingredients.

Guar Gum

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By: VirtualErn via Flickr

Names: E412, Gyamopsis Tetragonolobus, Gum Guar, Guar Flour, Guaran

Uses: Thickener, Stabilizer

Description: Extracted from the guar bean; made with the ground up guar seeds. Used as a thickener, binder, and stabilizer in a variety of foods. The guar bean plants are mainly grown in India and Pakistan. Also used as a bulk laxative.

Found In: baked goods, cereal, fruit drinks, frozen fruit, cheese spread, dressing, jelly and preserves, yogurt, kefir, sauces, ice cream

Possible Health Effects: If consumed in large quantities or without enough water, may swell and cause throat blockage. As with many fiber products, may cause flatulence and abdominal cramping…read more on Guar Gum.

Related Ingredients: Gum Arabic, Guaiac Gum

Copyright August 8, 2010 Be Food Smart

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Be Food Smart was created to educate and inform the public about what’s really in the foods we eat every day. The site has a huge database of food additives, chemicals, food colorings, sweeteners, and preservatives and allows one to search for over 400 ingredient names. Our unique ingredient reports contain simple and easy to understand descriptions, alternate names, possible health effects, and allergy information. The site is completely free and is a wonderful resource for parents, teachers, health care professionals, dietitians, and concerned consumers.

Image: VirtualErn

By little blue hen via Flickr

My hubby and I are addicted to the Food Network. We love Alton Brown’s wacky show and decided to try his granola recipe after watching an entire show devoted to the cereal.  Granola is something I’ve loved since childhood, but I’d never made it from scratch.

This recipe was adapted from Alton Brown’s granola formula. If tropical flavors are not your thing or if you want to mix it up, you can substitute any of the dried fruit in the recipe for your favorite (raisins, blueberries, apricots, cranberries, apples, etc.). You can also add a variety of seeds such as pumpkin or sunflower. When buying ingredients, make sure your dried fruit does not contain added sugar or the harmful preservative, sulfur dioxide.

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