Ingredients That We Avoid

When we eat out at a restaurant once or twice, our bodies can cope. But when we do it multiple days in a row, we begin seeing reactions in many different realms of health. I don't like to be "that person"--the one who frets about what they eat, the one who abstains from the party food, but I also don't want to be feeling sluggish, battling headaches, or relying on OTC digestive aids. From everything I've studied, those symptons are like huge red flags--our bodies' ways of saying, "CHANGE SOMETHING!"

When we returned to the USA after living in Europe, my 8 year old daughter had severe migraines several times a week. 8 year olds shouldn't get migraines. Either she had a serious neurological problem, or her body was desperately sending a message. We took note--every time she had a migraine, she had consumed a product with high fructose corn syrup.  She loves sweets and ate them whenever offered. She was eating a balanced diet daily, so I didn't deprive her of the sweets offered. I also didn't realize that this high fructose corn syrup was hiding in so many non-sweets as well. We removed it from her diet, and the migraines ceased. Several weeks passed, and we attended a birthday party--cake, ice cream, and blue fruity juice drinks were served, and my daughter had a migraine that evening. "My head feels like it's burning!" she would say. So now I'm that mom--the one checking the label, the one saying, "No, sorry babe, you can't have that."

There are several other ingredients that we have noticed cause us problems, and so we avoid them whenever possible.

Our Avoidance List:

  • Vegetable Oil/Canola Oil
  • Wheat (whole, organic, white, all of it. The guys in our family can handle it in moderation--which happens plenty enough if we ever dine with others, so we avoid purchasing it and preparing it in our house. The girls and I seem to have trouble if we consume it for even one meal, so we don't.)
  • Nitrites/nitrates (in lunch meats, breakfast meats, etc). 
  • Non-organic fruits and veggies when the rind/peel is consumed. (We do buy non-organic bananas, watermelon, naval oranges, etc--anything with a thick rind that we don't eat).
  • Non-organic dairy.
  • Non-organic chicken and beef.
  • Pre-packaged sweets
  • MSG
  • High-fructose corn syrup
We settled on this list based on trial and error and also the knowledge of what we were eating in Europe (that didn't cause troubles for us) and what varied about those same foods here in the US (which is when we saw a resurgence of troubles). 

Before I would've considered this list to be extreme, and now it's just our normal. It became normal when I came to grips with the fact that while there are hundreds of options on the shelves, they aren't options for us. I've learned to look right past them and zone in on the items that work for us. I do remember almost being in tears one day in the lunchmeat section of the grocery aisle, "There are literally no meats here that I can buy!" Correct. So why am I breaking my back trying to find stuff to make sandwiches for lunch? There are other things. There are lots of options when I just relinquish my cultural habits. For instance, today for lunch I ate cheese, avocado slices, and walnuts. It was satisfying and energizing, and it didn't render any of the negative effects that would've occurred if I had eaten a fast food lunch instead. Would I have experienced the negative effects if I had eaten a sandwich? Not for one day, but 5 days in a row = yes. If over several weeks (like after we've been traveling) then we need an even stricter reality for several weeks to detox and reset. (That's what's occurring now--read here). 

We also have a product avoidance list for bath and body items, which are also regulated in Europe and not in the USA. For these products we avoid:
  • parabens
  • methylchloroisothiazolinone and/or methylisothiazolinone
  • aluminum
  • sulfates
There are a lot more ingredients that are also harmful, but I've found that usually avoiding these 4 are difficult with any mainstream brand and so if I find a brand that doesn't have them, then typically they have pretty good ingredients. There are several brands that offer alternatives--some are stricter than others, but options do exist. Companies I've purchased from in this regard: BeautyCounter, Young Living, Younique, Acure, and Alba Botanical are the ones I keep going back to.

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