We have learned a lot in recent years about ingredients that we want to avoid like High Fructose Corn Syrup and Artificial Food Dyes as well as food production problems like Pesticides and GMOs.  We do not pretend to be the experts but would like to provide you with some of the resources we rely on and occasionally pass on some of our lessons learned.

Topics We Risk Getting Up on Our Chemical-Free Soap Box For:

High Fructose Corn Sryup

Okay, let’s start with the obvious one. HFCS has taken over the American food system but is rarely found in other countries. Why is that? It’s not usually because of the bad health implications but more typically because Europe does not have farm subsidies that encourage the over production of corn syrup. Our farmers have produced so much inedible corn that they have turned it into a cheap sweetener similar to sugar and added it to everything.


According to Wikipedia, HFCS is “produced by milling corn to produce corn starch, then processing that starch to yield corn syrup, which is almost entirely glucose, and then adding enzymes that change most of the glucose into fructose.” This kind of sugar is especially harmful for your body to process – as opposed to the naturally occurring sugar in a banana which is mostly fructose. (See our info about sugar down below)


From 100Daysofrealfood.com, “So we have all heard that it isn’t good for our health to eat too much sugar and the same should go for HFCS. The biggest problem with HFCS though, is that it is hidden in an unbelievable amount of processed foods in every single aisle of your grocery store.


There are a lot of controversial studies and news stories about how bad HFCS really is and if it is more harmful for your body than sugar. But, no matter what all the different experts disagree on there is one thing for certain – it would be wise to avoid consuming high quantities of HFCS – just as you would with any other type of sweetener including sugar. And chances are you are consuming a lot more HFCS than you think.”

Artifical Food Dye

(adapted from the 100 Days of Real Food blog)

Artificial or synthetic food dye, food coloring, FD&C Red No. 40, Yellow No. 5, or whatever name it’s listed under, it is all pretty much the same bad stuff. I have no problem indulging in sweet treats but what I NEVER want to “treat” myself (or my children) to is a dose of chemicals derived from petroleum. My 9 year old daughter breaks out in painful eczema anytime she eats foods or touches a product with Red 40 and we figured that out by process of elimination. But Red 40 is not just in food- it’s in the hand soap at school and shampoo and lip balm and of course all the liquid antibiotics that your pediatrician prescribes for your precious kids.


Dyes, made from the same petroleum that fuels our vehicles, is being added to packaged foods including Macaroni and Cheese, Lemonade, Fruit Roll Ups, Cheetos, and even “Light and Fit” Yogurt.


Why is it so bad besides the fact that it gives Moira eczema?


7 Reasons Food Dyes ARE BAD (from 100daysofrealfood.com)


1. They are made in a lab with chemicals derived from petroleum, a crude oil product, which also happens to be used in gasoline, diesel fuel, asphalt, and tar.


NPR.org: “Artificial food dyes are made from petroleum and approved for use by the FDA to enhance the color of processed foods.”


2. They’ve been linked to long-term health problems such as cancer. If you’re a child of the ‘80s (like me) do you remember that rumor about red M&Ms causing cancer? Maybe it wasn’t just a rumor after all.


CSPInet.org: “The three most widely used dyes, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, are contaminated with known carcinogens, says CSPI. Another dye, Red 3, has been acknowledged for years by the Food and Drug Administration to be a carcinogen, yet is still in the food supply.” FYI – According to Wikipedia, “A carcinogen is any substance … that is an agent directly involved in causing cancer.” !!!


CBSnews.com: “There’s no good reason not to ban Red 3, something then-acting FDA commissioner Mark Novitch tried to do in 1984, saying the dye ‘has clearly been shown to induce cancer’ and was ‘of greatest public health concern.’ … Other dyes, namely Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, are known to cause allergic reactions in some people and have shown signs of causing cancer in lab animals. Of course, this isn’t the same thing as leading to cancer in humans, but it argues for limiting intake, especially among children, who are getting the biggest dose of food colorings from a gazillion brightly colored, fun-looking foods.”


3. Did you know that food products containing artificial dye are required to have a warning label in the U.K.? The label states that the food “may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.” So speaking of M&Ms, they aren’t so brightly colored in some countries outside of the U.S. because manufacturers would rather do away with the artificial dye than have to put a warning label on their products.


Mercola.com: “This is why if you eat a Nutri-Grain strawberry cereal bar in the United States, it will contain Red 40, Yellow 6 and Blue 1. But that same bar in the UK contains only the natural colorings beetroot red, annatto and paprika extract. In fact, the UK branches of Wal-Mart, Kraft, Coca-Cola and Mars have removed artificial colors, sodium benzoate and aspartame from their product lines as a result of consumer demand and government recommendations. In the United States, however, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to allow these toxic ingredients in countless popular foods, including those marketed directly to children.”


CBSnews.com: Many Grocery Manufacturers Association members (like Pepsi, Kraft and General Mills) “have switched to natural colorings in their products in the U.K., where warning labels are required, but they’re not doing that here for the most part. That’s because no one’s making them do it, and switching would cost a lot of money.”


4. Synthetic food dyes have been shown to cause an increase in hyperactivity in children as well as a negative impact on their ability to learn.


Washingtonpost.com: “Artificial food dyes (in combination with a common preservative) could make even children with no known behavioral problems hyperactive and inattentive.”


CSPInet.org: “The science shows that kids’ behavior improves when these artificial colorings are removed from their diets and worsens when they’re added to the their diets.” and “While not all children seem to be sensitive to these chemicals, it’s hard to justify their continued use in foods—especially those foods heavily marketed to young children.”


Mercola.com: “According to scientific studies, these dyes are causing behavioral problems and disrupting children’s attention.”


5. They add absolutely no value to the foods we are eating, but do in-fact pose quite a few serious risks.


FDA.gov: “Without color additives, colas wouldn’t be brown, margarine wouldn’t be yellow and mint ice cream wouldn’t be green. Color additives are now recognized as an important part of practically all processed foods we eat.”


Huffingtonpost.com: “These dyes have no purpose whatsoever other than to sell junk food.”


CSPInet.org: “These synthetic chemicals do absolutely nothing to improve the nutritional quality or safety of foods, but trigger behavior problems in children and, possibly, cancer in anybody. The Food and Drug Administration should ban dyes, which would force industry to color foods with real food ingredients, not toxic petrochemicals.”


6. They trick your senses…just like other artificial additives including sweeteners.


In Defense of Food: “One of the problems with the products of food science is that, as Joan Gussow has pointed out, they lie to your body; their artificial colors and flavors and synthetic sweeteners and novel fats confound the senses we rely on to assess new foods and prepare our bodies to deal with them. Foods that lie leave us with little choice but to eat by the numbers, consulting labels rather than our senses.”


7. They are contributing to the obesity epidemic by attracting children (and adults) to highly processed food, which in many cases is being eaten instead of fresh whole foods.


Washingtonpost.com: “Beyond the behavioral problems and cancer risks, the greatest hazard that dyes pose for children may also be the most obvious: They draw kids away from nutritious foods and toward brightly colored processed products that are high in calories but low in nutrients, such as fruit-flavored drinks and snack foods. Those types of foods are a major force in America’s obesity epidemic.”


Disclosure: My children do occasionally eat foods containing artificial dye because it’s provided to them by teachers, other parents, and friends, but it’s not something we spend our own money on anymore.


We sell lots of products that are considering sweets or treats because we love them and we know you do to. But we all know that too much sugar is bad for us so what is important to remember? Some sugars are better than others. We like products that are sweetened with Maple Syrup or Honey. And if you have to use Sugar it should be unbleached organic cane sugar – this means that it is grown and harvested in a way that is better for the environment and does not use pesticides.


Organic Cane Sugar is not however nutritionally better for you. Adapted from livestrong.com “some raw sugar advocates claim that organic raw sugar has more nutritional value than regular white sugar because the natural molasses has not been processed out of it. But most experts say there is no meaningful difference between the nutritional value of white sugar versus organic raw or natural sugar. In fact, both types of sugar are chemically recognized as sucrose, contain the same caloric count, and are processed by the body in the same way.”


“The term organic is actually used to indicate the farming methods used to grow the sugarcane or sugar beets from which the sugar is obtained. White sugar, in addition to being processed in a way that removes all traces of its natural molasses content, is usually obtained from sugarcane or sugar beets grown in fields utilizing commercial chemical pesticides and herbicides. If you are concerned about potential pesticide contamination and want sugar that has undergone the least amount of processing, you should look for sugar labeled “organic” and “raw” or “natural.”


We sell Wholesome Sweeteners. Their cane sugar is made from certified organic sugar cane grown in South America. The cane juice, rich in molasses, vitamins and minerals, is squeezed from fresh sugar cane, evaporated and crystallized. The result is a blonde-colored, perfectly sweet natural sugar that will enhance your favorite coffee, tea, cereal or baked goods. Organic sugar is naturally gluten free and can be used as a one-for-one replacement for refined white sugar.
Wholesome Sweeteners has a strong commitment to sustainable Non-GMO agriculture. In adherence with strict organic standards, the organic sugar cane fields are green cut and are not burned or treated with herbicides or synthetic fertilizers. This is better for the environment, which ultimately, is better for everyone. This also creates the highest quality, most delicious-tasting unrefined sugar you can find. No chemicals or animal by-products are used to make or decolorize this sugar making it ideal for vegans.


“In Paraguay, thanks to a little thing called bagasse no fossil fuels are ever used to produce our sugars. The bagasse, or used sugar cane, is used as fuel for the boilers that power the sugar mills and surrounding villages. In Indonesia, our cooperative farmers harvest sap from organic coconut palm trees that produce for 25-40 years and are not cut down. You can trust that our unrefined artisanal sweeteners not only taste amazing but are made with the future of the planet in mind.”
See more at: http://wholesomesweeteners.com



Naturally occurring Sugar?


From livestrong.com, “if you avoid bananas because of their sugar content, think again. You are passing up a healthy snack that provides numerous vitamins and minerals, including fiber, potassium and vitamin C. When health organizations, such as the American Heart Association, recommend cutting back on sugar, they’re talking about added sugars — not the naturally occurring ones found in fruits.


The sugar in bananas is primarily naturally-occurring fructose. Pure fructose added to products can cause elevated triglycerides when eaten in excess. However, when fructose occurs naturally — as in bananas — and comes with a bundle of nutrients and fiber, it is unlikely to cause problems.


Americans consume about 22.2 added teaspoons of sugar per day, according to the Cleveland Clinic. These added sugars pad your diet with extra calories, which can cause weight gain and nutritional deficiencies as they replace more nutritious foods. The added sugars may also play a role in high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides and inflammation that leaves you vulnerable to disease.


To see the whole article click here- http://www.livestrong.com/article/527607-is-the-sugar-in-bananas-bad-for-you/


Maple Syrup
We think Maple Syrup is a magical product and it sure tastes good in any form. Here in Old Greenwich, we can buy Maple Syrup that is harvested locally and processed in a way that you can feel good about what you are using. Because it is a less refined sugar, maple products contain minerals, antioxidants, and other compounds that have been shown to have health advantages in other foods.