The other day, my daughter had a wistful look on her face as she gazed out the car window saying, “Mom, I wish unhealthy food was healthy and healthy food was unhealthy.” I smiled . . . I have those days too. There are moments when I’ve seen a commercial for, let’s say, a granola bar with “10 added grams of fiber and added antioxidants” and I’ve really wished I could succumb to advertising. Wouldn’t it be nice if that granola bar actually contained the same nutrients as a fresh salad packaged nicely in a bar, ready for storage in my pocket? Life would be so much easier if I could just get all my daily nutritional needs from the “stuff” added to my food.
Don’t get me wrong, I love cooking the way I do, but I’ll admit I have those moments, wishing the advertising was completely true. It would take a lot less thinking and planning on my part.
A few years ago, when reading through “Nourishing Traditions,” (pg. 551) I was shocked to read a list of common ingredients found inside ice cream cartons:
“Diethylglycol: A cheap chemical used as an emulsifier instead of eggs; is the same chemical used in antifreeze and paint remover.
Piperonal: Used in place of vanilla. This chemical is used to kill lice.
Aldehyde C-17: Used to flavor cherry ice cream. It’s an inflammable liquid also used in aniline dyes, plastic and rubber.
Ethyl Acetate: Used to give ice cream a pineapple flavor – and as a cleaner for both leather and textiles; its vapors have been known to cause chronic lung, liver and heart damage.
Butyraldehyde: Used in nut flavored ice cream. It’s one of the ingredients in rubber cement.
Amylacetate: Used for its banana flavor. It’s also used as an oil paint solvent.
Benzyl Acetate: Used for its strawberry flavor. It’s a nitrate solvent.”
Are you surprised? Fortunately, an increasing number of brands offer ice creams with only a few ingredients – and none ending in “aldehyde” or “acetate.” They’re not making unhealthy foods healthy, but they’re real foods, delicious even without the added solvents. I’ve learned to make my own.