5 Common Chemical Food Additives You Should Avoid

It’s not really news that our food ingredient labels are riddled with words that require an advanced degree to understand. We typically bypass reading them because it’s easier. However, buried in those multi-syllabic nutrition labels are chemical additives that can have adverse effects on our health and how are bodies absorb nutrients. These chemical ingredients are used by packaged food producers and restaurants to increase the shelf life and enhance the flavor and color of food products.

This list includes five of the most popular additives, the ones you should be most weary of consuming. You can read about other chemical food additives to avoid, like Saccharin, Olestra and Potassium Bromate.

salt shaker

1. Salt/Sodium

What it is: It’s been called one of the most dangerous additives in our food supply. Food producers, chefs and home cooks use it in nearly everything we eat and drink.

Why it is Used: Preservative and flavor enhancer.

The Risk: A diet high in sodium poses a great risk to our cardiovascular health. The RDA for sodium is 2,400 mg, or 1 tsp. of table salt, per day. Fast-food meals can contain a day’s worth of sodium, if not more.

Food Sources
: Fast Food, Deli Meats, Canned Goods, Processed/Packaged Food

fast food sandwich and french fries

2. Trans Fat

What it is: Created using a process that adds more hydrogen to monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, making them more saturated. This is indicated on food labels as “partially hydrogenated” or “hydrogenated.”

Why it is Used: This is a more economical approach for food manufacturers, as they get more product for their money. Additionally, it gives food a longer shelf-life.

The Risk: Consuming trans fat can be detrimental to your health because it promotes poor cardiovascular health and premature heart attacks. A food containing <0.5 grams of trans fat per serving is permitted to list zero grams on its label.

Food Sources
: Fried Food, Restaurant Food, Microwave Popcorn, Margarine, Crackers, Chips, Packaged Cookies and Cakes


3. Artificial Coloring

What it is: The dyes are just a chemical- so they contain no vitamins, minerals or other nutrients.

Why it is Used: To liven the color to make manufactured foods more attractive.

The Risk: Read food labels closely, and be especially cautious of those listing Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Red 3, Yellow 6- all of which have been linked with various tumors and cancers.

Food Sources: Soda, Candy, Juice, Frosting, Gelatin, Fruit Cocktail, Sausage

hot dog with mustard

4. Sodium Nitrite or Nitrate

What it is: A solid, white salt that is used in food production. Additionally, sodium nitrate is used in fertilizers, rocket propellant and pottery enamel.

Why it is Used
: This chemical additive gives “cured meats” that salty flavor, and helps to maintain their reddish tint. For example, hot dogs and bacon would be a gray color without it. Food producers say it is used to prevent bacteria growth, critics suggest modern refrigeration does the same thing.

The Risk
: This additive has been linked with cancers in children and adults.

Food Sources: Ham, Hotdogs, Bacon, Canned Meats/Fish, Corned Beef


5. Diacetyl

What it is: The chemical that gives the “butter” flavoring.

Why it is Used: To give microwave popcorn or other butter products that buttery flavor we love.

The Risk: In 2007, Diacetyl caught much publicity for being responsible for “popcorn lung,” causing lung disease in the workers at microwave popcorn factories. That publicity fortunately caused it to be removed from most foods, but still worth examining your food labels.

Food Sources: Microwave Popcorn, Butter-Flavored Anything

Removing these additives can be a major step toward maintaining a healthy diet for you and your family.

The Benefits of Juicing — And How to Make the Best Shake

Revenue in the weight loss industry skyrockets this time of year. Why? Everyone is looking for a quick-fix to lose the stubborn five or 10 pounds they accumulated last year (hopefully not all during the holidays!). Quick fixes such as calorie cutting and fad diets never work — they’re simply not sustainable. The key to reaching your weight loss goals is to create new healthy lifestyle habits.

When you change your focus to health, as opposed to vanity, the side effect becomes weight loss. Don’t get me wrong, everyone wants to look their best, but deprivation in order to fit into those size six jeans is going to backfire. So why not start out making small changes over time? And why not start with this: a detoxifying green juice that’s energizing, nutrient-dense and satisfying.

I personally start most days with a green juice, and follow it up with a healthy breakfast (check some out here). One of my all-time favorite breakfasts is apple cinnamon quinoa — a wonderfully warm and energizing breakfast especially when it’s chilly outside.

Health benefits and tips for juicing as below.

Drinking your greens has many health benefits including:

Bone-building: Greens provide a mega-dose of minerals including calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium and chromium (a blood sugar balancing mineral).
Beautification: Just one cup of kale provides 70 per cent of our recommended daily intake of vitamin C with only 20 calories. Vitamin C is a precursor to collagen, which is a skin protein responsible for preventing premature wrinkles.

Alkaline: We could all use more alkaline foods in our diet. Most people are very acidic due to stress, sugar, caffeine, red meat, processed foods and a lack of exercise (or too much exercise). Greens are alkaline, making it helpful in balancing your body’s pH level.

Please note: All of these recipes are created in my joyous kitchen with the healthiest ingredients. I’m not a calorie counter or a professional chef — I’m a nutritionist who loves to cook and bake, and I’m delighted to share my creations with you.

Quick Review:

This is crap! There are no health benefits to juicing, you are perpetuating another Urban Myth. In reality juicing works to extract larger quantities of fructose from the fruit or vegetables. Fructose is a sugar, sugar is bad. Without the fiber from those same items to slow the absorbing of the sugar, blood sugar spikes in unhealthy amounts.

You people are witch doctors and can provide absolutely no scientific proof of your claims.

5 Easy Ways to Reduce your Atlanta Home Cooling Bills this Summer

With no way around paying to cool your home, it is extremely important to get the most out of your Air conditioning system so that you don’t end up spending more than you have to. The cost of heating and air conditioning is only getting more expensive as the cost of energy and oil are rising, so we decided to share a short list of tips to help you get the most out of your heating and air system, thus saving you money.

In this Atlanta HVAC Guide, we’ll focus on a few small ways you can save money on cooling costs over the long summer ahead! If you have tips of your own, please feel free to leave them at the end of this article.

Make sure to seal windows and doors!

The last thing you want in your house is air sneaking in or out. Any air leaks will cost you money. Making sure you keep the windows and doors sealed tightly will ensure that you save money on your heating and cooling bills.

Provide some insulation!

Be sure that your attic is properly insulated so that the warm air does not escape, thus costing you more money.

Do not obstruct Vents!

Floor vents AND wall vents should be unblocked at all times. The allows for proper ventilation of the areas you are paying to heat and cool. Make sure to move any furniture, curtains, appliances, and anything else that could block the air flow. Doing so will allow you to get the most out of your systems.


Think of your heating and cooling system like a car. It is much cheaper to have a technician take a look at things every year than it is to pay for a major repair. You’ll also be saving money every month if the system is working the way it should be.

Warm air rises!

Don’t forget that warm air rises. This means that during the winter you may not get the most out of your heating system because the air around ground level is colder than the warm air that stays towards the ceiling. A ceiling fan is a great solution for this and will keep the house warmed evenly, preventing you from constantly heating the room and running up those bills.

Keeping these tips in mind will ensure that you are not wasting money on heating and cooling your home. These changes will cost you almost nothing, but save you a lot in the long run.

A Vacation From Parenting

Last Friday, Mack’s mother, aka “Nana” (etymologically kind of a cross between Grandma and nanny, which is fitting because of how much child care Ms. Daddy and I press-gang her into– she loves it, though– but I digress) took all three of our offspring to Virginia, to visit Mack’s sister, who’s a lawyer down there.

And so the last few days, while fraught with all the usual work tensions and so forth, have had kind of a Utopian feel.

The first night, we danced, sometimes on our coffee table, until three in the morning.

(And it wasn’t like we had a party: we only had one other couple over, but we were in a highly festive mood.)

Since then it’s been a non-stop succession of brunch, dim sum, dinners out, shopping, strolls in the sunshine, and so forth.

At first, all this leisure kind of created a little tension between Mack and Ms. Daddy. We tussled, a bit, and scrapped. Mack’s no marital counsellor, but my theory is we weren’t used to each other’s leisure-rhythms, we were rusty in this department.

We’re used to snapping into action first thing in the morning, dividing into two working units: you take the kids to this, I’ll do that, you put the kids to bed, I’ll make dinner, and so forth.

In a way you could say we are in harness so much, we weren’t really used to one another’s company.

So it’s been a treat to get reacquainted with Ms. Daddy, as I first knew her: pre-kids. And I’m pretty sure she has enjoyed it, too.

Don’t get us wrong. We’ve missed our boys, terribly, and it’s going to be a treat to see their shining faces (they come back today).

But they’ve had a great time: my sister has like a kid-paradise down in Virginia. She has a hot tub, ATVs– AND a “zip line” (those things where you hold onto a thing with wheels and zip down a rope). And three kids for my three kids to play with. So they’re having a ball, I know.

And a week is about all I could take of being without them.

But it’s been nice. Everyone should get a break like this, once in a while. A vacation from parenting. Recharge your batteries.

Doesn’t that sound nice, my bloggies? “Boy,” I bet my readers who are parents are thinking right now, “could I use a little of that.”

Waiting Around in Bathrooms

It’s possible that I spend about the same amount of time loitering in the bathroom as George Michael does.

My kid is on an, um, “evacuation” schedule that coincides with dinner time, so inevitably at a restaurant, just when my meal arrives, so too does the time for me to hang out in the crapper staring at ceiling tiles or discussing Scooby Doo episodes.

I am considering ordering one of these stainless steel room service plate covers to tote to restaurants. $49 (with plate), newyorkfirst.com.

Thanks to paranoia around up-skirt videos and the like, I can’t break out the cell phone to read the news online, and, as we know, taking a magazine into the washroom is also a no-no. So, I’m thinking of developing a sideline business designing commercial bathrooms.

Maybe I’ll make my fortune offering consults on “the mom-friendly public washroom,” say, touch-screen web surfing on stall walls (at eye level, so the little ones don’t get to watch too, thereby losing their concentration), or complimentary work stations tucked into the corner of a “family stall.” Maybe a small manicure station.

Of course, when you got back to your dinner table 15 minutes later, your meal would be waiting on the table under one of those metal room-service dinner cloches, and it would still be warm.

My Own Personal Grow-Op, Slim-Down Project

“The trick to growing the damn things,” says my friend, “is buying them as plants, not seeds.”

We’re commiserating about the sad state of our tiny urban gardens. The organic seeds we bought from an online eco-shop look like alfalfa sprouts, and the Loblaws-brand Gigantico potted tomatoes I bought at the supermarket are Brobdingnagian by comparison.I’m in the middle of taking the President’s Choice Healthy Eating Challenge, BTW. I was challenged to eat a 1,500 calorie a day diet (using PC Blue Menu foods) in order to try to meet my goal of getting down from a Gap Size 6 — which we all know is a real-life size 10, thanks to what I call the Gap’s “Self-Esteem Sizing” system — to a Gap Size 4, which would bring me in line to a sort of medium-slimming body type by today’s standards, which would be Brobdingnagian by, say, 1970s standards. Go to any vintage clothing store and check out the sizing, and you’ll see what I mean.

But I digress. Basically, I hit my neighborhood Fortinos to buy more PC Blue Menu foods to try as part of my challenge, and, sadly, I have to admit I find them a bit…salty (maybe sodium replaces fat in these dishes?), so I ended up in the Fortinos garden center instead. I think my new twist on the PC Healthy Eating Challenge will be to grow my own crops using PC Gigantico seedlings, and create healthy meals from my tiny vegetable patch, instead of relying on salty convenience foods. Tilling my plot will aid in additional physical activity on top of my paltry weekly gym-time.

Will keep you posted on how it goes. I abandoned the calorie counting after week one, however I am making an attempt to curb portion sizes. Key word here is “attempt.”

One concern I have pertains to keeping the “diet” (I’m so undisciplined that it’s not worth using the word without air quotations) on the down-low vis a vis my 6-year-old. My daughter doesn’t know that the word “diet” may mean “a caloric restriction regimen,” she only knows it as a word to describe what humans or animals eat, ie. “an herbivore’s diet is vegetarian,” “a carnivore’s diet is meat,” etc.

I’m sort of torn however, on what the real problem is today: are they eating disorders a la anorexia and bulimia, or more along the overeating and obesity??? According to the Public Heath Agency of Canada, about 1/3 of Canadian Kids Aged 2 to 11 are overweight, including 18% who were classed as obese. Check it out: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/pau-uap/paguide/child_youth/media/stats.html.

Or maybe they don’t even have to be seen as mutually exclusive: basically, the challenge we face as parents is creating healthy eating habits so our kids know what real food tastes like, how to cook it, how to eat it without guilt or gluttony.

In any case, getting back to the plants, my Gigantico plants are around a foot high already, and the organic ones will be coming along slowly but surely, no doubt. Mid-summer we’ll have an nice bounty from our postage-stamp sized yard. Will I attain that Gap size 4/real world size 8 courtesy of my custom-designed PC Gigantico Challenge (plus a little help from my organic plants and eggs from my pet chickens?) Stay tuned.

Completely Destroy Your Double Chin For Good

You’ve got a double chin haven’t you? And it looks downright ugly I’m sure.

… I bet you stare in the mirror at it.

I bet you wish you didn’t have that second extension of your face…

You know, that completely useless, permanent roll of fat below your chin, and no matter what you do, it’s always there.

Always staring back at you in the mirror.

Always on your mind.

Now frankly, I don’t care how big or small your chin is, or even if you have a triple, hell even a quadruple chin. I just don’t care.

And you shouldn’t either.


Because all that matters is that you’ve found this page, and you actually want to do something about it. Most will accept it, and get on with their lives, forever in shame. But you’re different, I know you are.

You’ve taken the first step by reading this, and knowing there is something you can do to lose your double chin once and for all.

Now listen to me when I say this:

I’m not talking from the perspective of one of them….

You know, the men and women that you envy, those chisel-jawed people, with the well-defined features. Those who even if they put on a bit of weight, are still sporting a well-defined profile.

Those who effortlessly look great on nights out, on dates, on any occasion.

Not at all.

I’m talking from the perspective of one of you, someone who suffers with an – to put it honestly … ugly chin.

This is me about 3 years ago:

You’re looking at someone who was conscious to even slightly tilt their head down, because of worries that the rolls of the chin fat will get even bigger.

I was embarrassed to go out. Was self-conscious of my face, and on a downward spiral to depression.

Now, let me make a correction: I’m not someone who suffers from a double chin… I suffered.

Trust me, I’ve been there. Thinking along the lines of….

“There’s no way I can have that jaw line”

“No matter how much weight I lose, my nasty chin is always there!”

and the worst…

“My ugly chin is here to stay”

Well I can tell you now. This is all NONSENSE.

And secretly you know it.

Yeah we have different genes, and yeah, some might have absolutely no this problem naturally, and you know what….

Good for them.

Now sorry to break up this cycle of self pity and no action – but here’s a newsflash for you.

You are not someone else, you are YOU.

So stop wishing you look like someone else.

Stop the madness!

Start deciding on what you want.

You need to ask yourself:

Do you want your double chin or not?

If you want to keep it – then stop reading, and leave now.

Because I don’t have time for you.

Want to BLAST THE HELL out of it? Then read on.

The truth of the matter is our head is on show 24 hours a day, no matter where you are, or what you are doing, our head is what defines us.

You can easily cover up a bit of belly fat, or arm fat, or leg fat, but face fat – no you cannot. And you know if you try you’ll look downright stupid.

So YOU need to do something about this.

I want you to take a look at me now (taken 4 days ago):

And before you start asking:

No it isn’t an expert photoshop job
No I haven’t been dieting or exercising
No I haven’t been using any machinery or fancy equipment whatsoever

What you should be asking is…

How on earth did you do that?

It is gone, and its gone for good.

This was 2 years ago, and admittedly my weight has gone up and down a bit. But my double chin has never returned, not even a fraction, and I can safely say, it never will.

I finally have perfected my method, and am fully ready to tell YOU exactly what it is.

All I have been doing is following my TRIED and TESTED double chin blasting techniques that anybody and I mean, anybody can follow, for just a few minutes a day.

“These Techniques Are So Powerful That Once People Saw The Results I Was Having…
They BEGGED Me For My Secrets!”

When you wake up, before you go to sleep, at work, in the car. Who cares, so long as you do it and follow exactly what I tell you.

Trust me, when you start seeing the results I saw years ago, you won’t want to stop.

Now. I want you to stop reading and find a camera. Digital camera, on your phone, whatever.

Now take a photo of your face, make sure you get that nasty chin completely in view.

Save it as “The Old Me”

Because you’re face is going to change. And fast. So differently that even when your family, friends and work colleagues are telling you “You look great”, “Have you been working out”, you just won’t believe it yourself!

It’s time to blast the double chin.

Here’s what my tried, tested (and tested again) – The Blaster Techniques will do for you:

Completely annihilate any stubborn chin and neck fat for good
Reshape and tone your face
Define your jaw line to the MAX
Tighten your face skin
Increase blood flow in the face

Now you can benefit greatly from

Increased confidence
Younger, healthier looking face
Appearance of HUGE fat loss
More attractive face due to defined jaw line

Enough talking. More action.

So you’re probably asking… How does it work?

Did you know the fat found around your chin is one of the LAST areas of fat to be removed from your body.

So unless you fancy losing ALL your body fat to remove your double chin, then you need to do it another way. You need to somehow exercise just the area you need.

Sounds impossible right?

Well actually no. Not when you know how.

For decades, the big names of Hollywood have been closely guarding and practicing these techniques – bit of a coincidence that nearly every big Hollywood star has a chiseled jaw don’t you think?

“Your face will look younger, sexier and slimmer without doing a SINGLE SECOND of cardio work or dieting!”

It all is done through a series of simple yet powerful double chin exercises that tone and tighten the surrounding muscle – as well as burn fat localized to the face.

These exercises and techniques are unique and extremely effective.

I am living proof of just how effective these techniques are.

They are designed for you to do when and wherever you want … whether at the office or in the car, no problem!

You wanna know the best bit?

All you’ll ever need is 2 things:

Just 5 minutes of your time a day (common, that you can do!)

… and the Double Chin Blaster techniques.

That is it.

No fancy equipment, no hidden catches, no weird contraptions.

Just 5 minutes of your time a day.

In just one week from now you will see a face in the mirror that you never thought you could have achieved!

Don’t delay – take action now.

Week ending on 3/20/11

This past week I shopped at SEVEN stores on two different days. I’m crazy, I know.

First, I ran to Walgreens and CVS last Sunday, and those were by far my most impressive shopping trips of the week. I’m pretty well stocked up, and I don’t need lots of things from the drugstores anymore, so I’d forgotten just how great it can be to walk out of there with a cart full of things for which you paid only a couple of dollars. It’s even better when the cashier can’t believe you’re getting such a good deal, and she asks to see the flyer before she lets you walk out of there with all those things.

Friday was my regular shopping day, and I went to Hen House, Hy-Vee, Price Chopper, Aldi, and Costco. I could’ve skipped Hen House and Aldi since I only went to each of them for a single item. Sometimes it makes sense to go a little out of your way if the savings are worth your time and money, but not always. Even when the savings justify it, make sure you grab the right item so that you don’t wipe your savings by overpaying.

All in all it was a great week. I was only slightly over my initial budget of $50/week, which I have actually upgraded to a more realistic $75/week. I figured that $50 was much too restrictive, especially since I use that money not only for groceries but also for cleaning supplies and personal care items. Moreover, even the thrifty USDA food plan for a family of 2 is $82.60/week as of January 2011. More often than not, I hover around $50/week anyway, but I no longer feel like I’m constantly failing whenever I go above.

Spent: $0.40
Saved: $8.98

Spent: $3.93
Saved: $42.42

Spent: $26.03
Saved: $3.00
Price Chopper

Spent: $12.98
Saved: $16.40
Hy-Vee, Hen House, and Aldi

Spent: $10.08
Saved: $9.36


Groceries 3/25/11

Today’s shopping trip was really small and cheap. I first stopped by Hy-Vee, but they were all out of the Peter Pan peanut butter. They were in the process of restocking it, but I didn’t have time to hang around waiting for it. I might swing by to pick it up tomorrow. The Price Chopper trip was mostly to get some fresh produce, although I did get some coffee ice cream. I was also looking for Dean’s bagel dip, but I can’t seem to find it no matter what. That was my second week looking for it. By the time I got to Costco, I was entirely too hungry and tired, so all I bought was milk. I wanted to get the box of Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches that’s a great deal with the coupon from this month’s coupon book, but that giant thing won’t fit in my freezer. Maybe next week.

1 gallon skim milk: $2.49
Total: $2.71

Price Chopper
1.38 lbs green beans: $1.36
1 lb radishes: $0.99
2 mangoes: $0.69 (hmm, only charged for one)
Edy’s slow churned coffee ice cream, 1.5 qt: $1.99
Blackberries, 6 oz: $0.99
Total: $6.49
Saved: $5.99