I watched an interesting segment on ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer last week. It was on food labeling… particularly the term “whole grain”… Since our doctors and our government schools and advertising have been telling us for a number of years that “whole grains” were good for us , I have noticed a dramatic rise in labels shouting various products “whole grain” goodness at me. I used to believe what I was told. It says ‘whole grain” so it must be, right? But what does “whole grain” really mean? According to Wikipedia it is ” cereal grains that contain cereal germ,endosperm, and bran, in contrast to refined grains, which retain only the endosperm.”. Oookay. So what are the FDA guidelines for product labeling for ‘whole grain” or “multi-grain’ for that matter? Erm, well, there aren’t any. Companies can claim pretty much what they want and basically they hope you don’t read labels. Ingredients are listed on the back in order from the most to the least. But you have to read carefully as both the entry for ‘whole grain’ in Wikipedia as well as World News blog on the subject entitled A Guide to Decoding Ingredients on Grain Products both point out. Wheat flour and whole wheat flour are not the same thing. Wheat flour is refined white flour and whole wheat flour is whole grain, wheat flour. Confused? Yeah me too. The world news blog gives some helpful terms that are frequently used and what they really mean so if you are searching for that “whole grain’ bread you will at least know which ones arent the real deal . Which is pretty much most of them *sigh* All those years I ate, and made my kids eat, wheat bread thinking I was doing a good thing. I was not. That bread was made from flour that was just as heavily refined as the white bread.
We have gone grain free at our house as part of our transition to the Paleo/Primal lifestyle. and it has NOT been easy. I knew it wouldn’t, but we have come face to face with just how much of what we ate on a daily basis was grain based. Quite a staggering amount it appears. I’d like to say I feel better now that we’ve gone grain free but the jury’s still out on that. I am still going through withdrawals. And we’ve had some slips like the day we were out running errands last week and were starving and ate at Hardees. I ate that big ole burger, bun and all. I’d like to say I am repentant and remorseful… but yeah still working on that too *wry grin*
I am discovering that eating truly healthy… staying away from processed foods and eating foods that are as close to their natural state as possible is not cheap! I priced meat from farms that are hormone free and grass fed. Wow!!! The price is about 2 to 3 times higher than meats in my local grocery store! So that portion of this project may never come to fruition. But I do want to find local suppliers such as a farmers market for fresh fruits and veggies and we already buy local honey. I am also trying to talk Roy in letting me get a chicken or two for eggs. He’s not sold on that idea yet.
At any rate…. I am learning more and more to read carefully what I am buying and to do more investigation on things. Things many times are not what they seem to be.