What am I searching for? MSG, partially hydrogenated oils, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, dyes, artificial flavors... The list is extensive. When I first picked up Unjunk Your Junk Food, I expected it to be a cookbook with alternative recipes to your favorite "splurges."
But instead, it was a look into my grocery world - each product side-by-side, ingredients in plain sight. It was everything I do at the store, minus standing there with the freezer door open and people staring at you.
The book reviews why we should choose certain ingredients over others and even gives a list of the main "icky" ingredients. Among the list are "The Scary Seven." They include HCFS, Trans-Fats, MSG (in all its names!), Artificial flavors, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives.
I looked through the book fervently because I'm always looking to improve on our eating habits. I am beyond thrilled when I can come up with a mental list of "safe brands" that I can pick up without having to check their labels every time (note - I still check periodically to be sure things haven't changed.)
I was excited to see my usual brand of ice cream listed on the naturally savvy approved list. But I was also sad to see all the yummy alternatives that are not in my regular stores. I even did a product locator on a few items only to find them in urban co-ops and my beloved (but oh so far away) Whole Foods.
Even still, I was glad to know that there are clean versions of microwave popcorn (teflon, preservative and trans-fat free!) and nut butter cups. I may just have to make a trip to Whole Foods this summer and stock up on those goodies.
But even if I never make it to Whole Foods to buy a cleaner almond joy or better microwave popcorn, knowing that a better version exists will keep me from buying the junkier ones available at regular stores.
If you have a hard time deciphering labels, and you like the "eat this, not that" format, then you will love this book and learn a lot. If you're a clean eater (read: grocery stalker!) like me, then you'll appreciate knowing that alternatives exist! Ideally, no junk food would make it in your house. But with kids and husbands - sometimes you have to bend the rules. I like knowing that there are options.
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