Friday, 12 July 2013

TGIFF, Labels & T.V. Commercials

Well its one of those, T.G.I.F.F. - you take a guess at what the extra 'f' stands for! My weeks and weekends tend to blend a bit and every day is the same with a baby - sleep, poop, eat, play, sleep - repeat! But its fun - all fun (most of the time), minus the overtired baby or sticking foot in poop moments (not my foot, her foot!). :)
I love being a mom but at the same time I'm scared of the fact that I am a mom - I know a lot of others out there feel the same way - its an overwhelming task that you, yes YOU, are responsible for the well-being and positive upbringing of another human being. I mean I burnt toast the other day so how can I raise a child?!? Ok bad comparison there but you know what I mean... maybe?!? It's a lot and there is a lot of GARBAGE out there, especially on t.v.and when I say garbage I mean commercials. They make me sad and mad all at the same time. Talk to other nutritionists and they will refer them and their products as 'healthwashing', by definition it is: 

"Healthwashing is a term used to describe the activities of companies and groups that position themselves as leaders in the crusade forward to good health while engaging in practices that may be contributing to our poor health... A good product, campaign or service stands on their own goodness, not on a claim and offers FULL DISCLOSURE of all ingredients and activity. (If it is a product on shelf, it's always best to judge something by what's IN the box, not by what's promised across the outside in big, fabulous exciting designs  The bigger the claim, usually the more Healthwashed." 

This definition is from a great article: Healthwashing Makes Me Feel Dirty By Meghan Telpner 

While I'm not looking to reinvent the wheel here there is more and more information out there today on healthwashing and what you should look for. The article by Meghan I've mentioned is a great start. 

Being a stay-at-home-mom (and I know others can relate) and if you have the t.v. on during the day you see a lot of commercials - ever notice a trend in them? I see a lot for food (so-called food), diapers and incontinence products (Depends, Tena)! Haha the last one always makes me laugh. 

Newer ones these days that are noteworthy and make me CRINGE are food related - lets start with the Dempster's Garden Vegetable bread. First thing wrong is they have two 'models' portrayed in the commercial, one eating a salad and seems so sad (why!? salads can be sooooo good) and the other is seemingly 'indulging' in a sandwich - oooh a sandwich. The 'salad eater' seems shocked her colleague is eating a SANDWICH - I mean - how dare a model eat a sandwich?! But then the two guys at the end saying the same thing as the models does me make me laugh a little, but just a little. Ok, so that is what initially irks me, on to the actual product and the fact that you can now get your veggies by eating garbage bread?! WTF?! 

Here is the list of ingredients in that product: 

Whole grain whole wheat flour including the germ, water, vegetables (carrots, pumpkin), sugar, yeast*, vegetable oil (canola or soybean), wheat gluten, salt, vinegar, cultured wheat starch, soybean lecithin. 

Now to the average person, this list looks pretty good - to my eye, garbage. First off, I get it, a majority of the population does not eat well and do not get their daily fix of vegetables. However they DO get more than enough of their daily allowance (joke!) of over processed cards. So, this is where the healthwashing comes in and says - 'hey lets tell people they are getting their share of veggies while eating our crap bread!' 


This makes me sad. 

Let's dissect!

  1.  whole grain whole wheat flour including the germ - WTF?! Why is everything separated? Boo! This is where we bring in the over processing - totally unnecessary! Unless it comes to cost, mass production, consistency of the masses.
  2. water - yay!
  3. vegetables - carrot and pumpkin - ok not so bad (in theory) either but with the over processing of this product any nutrients in them have probably been lost!
  4. sugar - Boo! While some homemade bread recipes call for sugar which can assist with the yeast growth, its not necessary in bread and in this case is not a high quality 'healthy' sweetener. Sugar is added to products like this to make it appealing to those used to sweetened products... you may not know it until you take it away!
  5. vegetable oil (canola or soybean) - yuck! they don't even know which, canola or soybean... hmmm, I'd like to know which please? GM Canola or GM soybean? Both make me sad and these oils have so many consequences due to quality and the way our body metabolizes them... and again there are SO many better options out there!
  6. wheat gluten - oh so it was removed in the over processing stage so they thought they'd throw it back in?!
  7. salt - ok, no biggie but again lets look at quality here... My guess it's iodized? Not something our body needs or benefits from.
  8. vinegar - again, no biggie and is needed in some dough recipes but what kind of vinegar did they use - as some types are better than others!
  9. cultured wheat starch - why?
  10. soybean lecithin - It is used commercially in foods requiring a natural lubricant or emulsifier. In baking it reduces the need for other fats such as oils or eggs (read: expensive and not shelf stable), and helps even distribution of ingredients in dough, stabilizes fermentation, increases volume, and acts as a releasing agent to prevent sticking and simplify cleaning.  Here is the kicker... lecithin is ALSO used in animal feed, as it enriches fat and protein and improves pelletization, it is found in the paint industry (it forms protective coatings for surfaces with painting and printing ink, helps as a rust inhibitor, is a colour-intensifying agent, and dispersing aid, eliminates foam in water-based paints, and helps in fast dispersion of latex-based paints). Oh yummy yummy in my tummy!!! Even better lecithin may be used as a release agent for plastics, an antisludge additive in motor lubricants, antigumming agent in gasoline and an emulsifier, spreading agent, antioxidant in textile, rubber and other industries!

    Excuse me while I vomit! 

So the above is one of the many reasons why I read labels - personally I just steer clear of products like this because I know they are full of crap and make me feel horrible. But I challenge you to READ food items you pick up at the grocery store and question what you are putting into your belly (and your family's).
I have to be extra cautious with products due to my dairy and corn intolerance - you would be shocked if you started reading labels and saw how often corn is found in manufactured products and isn't always listed simply as 'corn', there are a lot of by-products of corn out there and its found in everything from salad dressings, sauces, juices, cereal, crackers, baked goods and even ice cream. :( 

Well that was a long post from me, hopefully an informative one for you. I could dissect so many products out there it isn't even funny but that would be repetitive and boring so I will stick with this one, mainly because the commercial itself irks me. But do me (ok more-so yourself) a favor and read the labels of foods you're eating! 

If you have any questions please do not hesitate contacting me! 

Happy Friday everyone! :)


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