Are You a “Non-Food” Eater?

Diane Sanfilippo Fats and Oils 4 Comments

A few of you have asked me to clarify what I meant by calling foods “non-foods” in my last posting. Here are some requirements to consider before calling something a food.

  1. It looks like it does when it's picked/harvested or pronounced dead in it's original form. OR if I can make it in my own kitchen from it's original form (ex: fresh peanut butter from peanuts, tomato sauce from tomatoes, butter from cream etc.) In the case of meat, it's been butchered because I am not educated on how to do that, but if I were, I could.
  2. It has not passed through a laboratory and was not invented or discovered in a lab. Ex: Trans fats: crisco, hydrogenated oil in most peanut butters; Artificial sweeteners: Aspartame*, Splenda*, Equal, Sweet n' Low.
  3. It is not “new.” There are no new foods. Newly introduced to our country, like an acai or goji berry, does not count. New combinations of real foods are okay.
  4. It does not come in a package with marketing that tells me how “healthy” it is for me. If it is in a package, I can easily identify what ALL of the ingredients are.
  5. If it is not dessert or candy, it does not have sugar added to it. There should not be sugar in your food. Sugar*, and all organic sweeteners (honey, agave, maple syrup) should be reserved for when you know you are having a treat. Artificial sweeteners* are never okay. They're chemicals and your body is not a machine, it's not meant to handle chemicals.

That said, it's actually very easy to identify foods if you think in reverse.

What ARE foods? Foods are:

  1. Naturally occuring things including: vegetables, fruits, meats, raw dairy, nuts, seeds, legumes, herbs, spices, fats & oils* (olive oil, coconut oil*, animal fats- including butter*), whole/un-processed grains (wild rice, quinoa).
  2. I don't have a second requirement as of yet. If I think of one, I'll add it.

Below are a few of the items in the pantry that I consider “non-foods.” Compare the ingredients to the list above and you'll see what I mean (the linked ingredients take you to Wikipedia).

Sun Chips, Original Flavor:
Whole corn, sunflower oil, whole wheat, rice flour, whole oat flour, sugar* and salt.
> Offending ingredients: processed flours & sugar. These essentially are processed in your body as sugar. This product will mostly just raise your blood sugar and not satisfy any of your body's nutrient requirements.

Diet Coke:
Carbonated water, Caramel color, Aspartame*, Phosphoric acid, Potassium benzoate, (to protect taste), Natural flavors, Citric acid, Caffeine.
> Offending ingredients: ALL of this is pure chemicals except for the water. Gross.

Clif Bars, Chocolate Chip Flavor:
Organic Brown Rice Syrup, ClifPro® (Soy Rice Crisps [Soy Protein Isolate*, Rice Flour, Malt Extract], Organic Roasted Soybeans, Organic Soy Flour), Organic Rolled Oats, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Soy Butter, Chocolate Cookies (Organic Oat Flour, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Sunflower Oil, Cocoa, Unsweetened Chocolate, Salt, Baking Soda, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavors), ClifCrunch® (Apple Fiber, Organic Oat Fiber, Organic Milled Flaxseed, Inulin [Chicory Extract], Psyllium), Dutched Cocoa, Organic Fig Paste, Icing (Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Cocoa Butter, Soy Flour, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavors), Natural Flavors*, Sea Salt, Green Tea Extract (50mg caffeine equivalent).
> Offending ingredients: loads of processed, unfermented soy products, evaporated cane juice- which is sugar, processed flours, soy, soy and more soy, natural flavors– this is usually a form of MSG! Why not tell us what it is and not obscure it with this nebulous name?

Hopefully this helps explain…please don't hesitate to post a question in the box on the top right of the blog if you have one! I'm happy to answer!

* I'll write more details on anything I've starred in later postings!

Comments 4

  1. Isn’t it amazing how much non-food we eat in America? Have you seen God Grew Tired of Us? It’s about the lost boys from Somalia. They came to the US and could not identify much of what was edible because it looked nothing like the meat or grains or vegetables they knew. Ritz Crackers? Come on. One of the boys thought the gold packaged pat of butter on the airplane was soap. Clearly far removed from the dairy products he’d seen before.

  2. Michelle-

    I haven’t seen that, thanks for the recommendation though, I’ll check it out! It sounds like the movie makes an excellent point. Those butter packets DO look like soap! I distinctly remember learning how people used to make butter in a wooden churn when I was younger, and being fascinated by that process. I’ve already tackled mayonnaise, maybe I’ll take on making my own butter next!

    – D 🙂

  3. I just taught Sunday school for the first time yesterday and my idea of spiritual education was bringing cream, pouring it into a clear container, and having the kids take turns shaking it until, to their surprise, it turned into butter. Then they all ate the butter (on boxed crackers, oh well, but at least they were organic). All the while I talked about the "interdependent web of life" of which we are all a part (it's the Unitarian Universalist principle that was the theme of the class) and what it means to make food rather than to buy it. Etc. etc. etc. I kept coming back to challenging their notions about "where food comes from" — even this young (4-9) and growing up in groovy alternative families, the idea that EVERYTHING comes from the store and in a package was hard to shake. But they LOVED it that they had made their own food!

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