When we got started on this healthier living lifestyle 6 years ago, one of the things we started doing was reading ingredients and learning how to make healthier swaps. Thanks to having the internet at our fingertips we were able to learn so many ideas for our family to make life easier, without adding more stress. The best thing I can tell you, take it one step at a time, pick one area of focus and just make small changes to prevent being overwhelmed. The steps you will see me share over coming months have taken years of laying the foundation, and yet I'll still always be a student learning.
Learning how to read ingredients like anything else in life did take some time and work, but once you learn it, it becomes more natural leading to it becoming a habit.
Taco seasoning is the one staple in our family, we use it many times a week and Old El Paso and Tone’s, were our go to staples! That is, until we started reading and learning what the questionable ingredients were doing to our system.
It was shocking learning how many of the processed foods out there have questionable ingredients hidden in them. While it did take quite a few trial and errors testing recipes and modifying to find one our family liked, eventually we nailed it. It’s actually cheaper making it ourselves vs buying the premades!
Anyone remember the big fad of getting rid of MSG? Companies bragged about their products when they claimed to remove it… or did they? Companies like Ortega slapped the “no MSG added” sticker on their product, yet it contains “yeast extract”. Yeast Extract contains the ingredient free glutamic acid which is the main component of MSG. This allows them to still sneak in potent flavor enhancers to your food.
So what are natural flavors? One of the most misleading statements listed on food ingredients. FDA allows food companies to use the term “natural flavors” to describe additives that originated in nature. Here’s where it gets shady, natural flavors will often have some solvent and/or preservatives that make up 80-90% of the volume. While in the end it might be a small amount, it still has artificial ingredients. It costs companies more money to use all real ingredients, so they swap for “natural flavor” which are flavor enhancers to mimic the taste of real food. Everything goes back to profits, they want the cheapest option.
Ingredients such as “malic acid” you’ll find on the back of Taco Bell taco seasoning packet. This is another artificial flavor enhancer / preservative that is lab made from petrochemicals and butane!
Maltodextrin used in some products is a heavily processed starch used as a sweetener, thickener, filler, and preservative. It's been shown to affect gut bacteria, also a hidden form of MSG, not to mention can cause spikes in blood sugar.
Compare these store bought package ingredients to homemade, it’s a no brainer which is better not just for your waste line, but your entire endocrine system and kiddo’s who are still growing.
Always buy organic spices when able. When we hit the wholesale clubs I add 1-2 each time to replace the ones we use. Yes it can seem more costly, but as I’ll share in coming months the amount of poisoning I’ve personally experienced (have the test results to back it up) from eating a whole food diet, you’ll be blown away. Almost all conventional spices sold in the USA are sterilized with hazardous chemicals. Many of your fresh fruits and vegetables as well. This practice leaves our soils and the foods that have grown in them even more decreased levels of needing vitamins and nutrients.
Organic spices cannot have genetically engineered ingredients (GMO), artificial colors, preservatives, or other synthetic anti-cake ingredients.
Whatever spices/seasonings you have in your cabinet currently will still be better than store bought.
Rogers Family favorite taco seasoning:
What you need:
1/2 cup chili powder
1/4 cup onion powder
2 Tbsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
2 Tbsp sea salt
1 Tbsp black pepper
Use 1-2 Tbsp per 1lb meat