What Are We Eating Anyway?

Ever since starting a healthier lifestyle and eating a cleaner diet I have discovered a few things along the way.  My energy is sky high and I am able to recover faster from strenuous workouts quicker.  I think one of the most important aspects to eating a cleaner diet has been the research I have been able to do on where my food comes from, how its processed and how it ends up on my table.  Even better than that is getting links from folks like Jon of SwiCycloRun who sent me a link to the pizza is a vegetable phenomenon as well as another link yesterday that I will get into in more detail.  In addition to that my wife has been sending more links as she comes across them about the food that we are eating.  It is amazing what is being passed off as ‘food’ these days.  I put that in quotes because as you read this post and the articles linked within this post you will see what I’m talking about.  Are we even eating food anymore?

Most of what we eat we consume without thinking it seems.  Hungry for something sweet you can grab an apple and satisfy that sweet tooth.  Food is all around us and it is easy to calm hankerings.  We even have drive-ins for just about anything you can think of and we all just accept it.  When I went down this path I started questioning things like $.99 hamburgers or better yet combo platters for $2.99.  What kind of food can be expected for that cheap of a price.  It can’t possibly be any good right in terms of nutritional value right?

Yet, we as a society didn’t seem to care.  I see new fast food restaurants popping up all over the place.  As evidenced by my post regarding McDonald’s television, the picture in the post showed where every McD’s ‘restaurant’ was located.  It looked like an electrical grid it was so lit up.  How about the flair up regarding Taco Bell and the fact that their beef was not beef?  That uproar came and went quickly but it always left me wondering how they manage to continue to sell these items for so cheap.

What Are We Eating?

So it was perfect timing when Jon sent me a link to an article titled: 15 Food Companies That Serve You ‘Wood.’  Yes you read that right the word is wood and not food.  In addition to that was an email from Karen telling me that most honey sold in U.S. grocery stores is not actually honey.  What?  We are eating wood and who knows what that yellow stuff coming out of that plastic bear is.  I felt dejected about this concept and what was happening in our country that we are putting profits so far ahead of the health of our society that we are not even serving FOOD anymore.

I don’t want to make this a political discussion about lobbyists having more control than the population, but I want to focus on what we are putting on our table and not just feeding ourselves but our children as well.  The children of this country are eating this food because we as parents ignore the labels.  Childhood obesity is a huge problem.  Kids are stuffing their faces with sugary drinks and food that has so little nutritional value they might as well be eating wood.  Wait, they are eating wood.

The article 15 Food Companies That Serve You Wood discusses how companies are putting cellulose into their products as filler.  What is cellulose?  This is from the article as a descriptor of cellulose:

Cellulose is virgin wood pulp that has been processed and manufactured to different lengths for functionality, though use of it and its variant forms (cellulose gum, powdered cellulose, microcrystalline cellulose, etc.) is deemed safe for human consumption, according to the FDA, which regulates most food industry products.  The government agency sets no limit on the amount of cellulose that can be used in food products meant for human consumption.

Take one quick second and read that again.  You may be shocked that wood pulp is in your foods as was I, but when I read that the FDA sets NO LIMIT on the amount that can be used in products for human consumption I had to pick my jaw up off the floor.  The very Government that we rely on to protect us from this type of non-sense is turning a blind eye to it.  How can anybody sit in an office making decisions and say to themselves:  Well this burger is great but I wish it were apple wood instead of cedar?  I would love to be at a loss for words here but I am choosing my words wisely instead.  Better yet:  Are the people making these decisions eating this food?

This article is loaded with information including the fact that we cannot breakdown cellulose because we lack the appropriate enzymes to break it down.  Does this not worry you about what you are eating?  It scared the daylights out of me.  I couldn’t read fast enough to find out what companies/foods were using cellulose.  Fortunately for me, my impatience was quickly calmed down because the article lists them for you.  I have included the list at the end of this post.

honey without pollen food safety news1 thumb 350x838 11588 What Are We Eating Anyway?

A list of honey without pollen

So now you know what IS included in your food, but what about what is NOT included in your food.  As a person who accepted the fact that honey came from bees vomit and left it at that I never put much thought into what should be in honey.  Then Karen sent me a link that says that most of the honey sold in US grocers cannot be called honey and I was stunned.  What is it then?  I  immediately thought it was some made up chemical that was concocted in the bowels of the Dow Chemical Company labs.

As it turns out the reason that this should not be called honey is because they lack pollen.  Now shouldn’t this just be thought of as being in honey ALWAYS.  Why are you getting rid of the pollen, and just as important is the question of how important is pollen in honey?

As it turns out there was a study done that shows that at least 1/3 of all the honey consumed in the United States was smuggled from China and could be tainted.  Smuggling honey?  I must not be the best thief or law breaker because I don’t understand why you would smuggle honey.  Then it dawned on me…..maybe they are doing the smuggling for money.  Have these companies in China process the honey and then we ‘import’ here on the cheap as opposed to actually taking the honey from the bees here in the United States.

Why is it important to have pollen in your honey?  This is sort of the fingerprint of honey.  Without it there is no way to determine where the honey came from.  This is important to know because as this article points out there is an issue with contamination.  Here is an excerpt from the article:

Chinese honeymakers began using various illegal methods to conceal the origin of their honey beginning in about 2001. That’s when the U.S. Commerce Department imposed a stiff tariff – as much as $1.20 a pound — on Chinese honey to dissuade that country from dumping its dirt-cheap product on the American market and forcing hundreds of U.S. beekeepers out of the business.
About the same time, Chinese beekeepers saw a bacterial epidemic of foulbrood disease race through their hives at wildfire speed, killing tens of millions of bees. They fought the disease with several Indian-made animal antibiotics, including chloramphenicol. Medical researchers found that children given chloramphenicol as an antibiotic are susceptible to DNA damage and carcinogenicity. Soon after, the FDA banned its presence in food.
I know that it is time consuming to read labels and to adjust your habits but would you rather know what you are eating than take the chance that there is a chemical in your food or wood?  What would it take for you to care about what is used in making your ‘food’ and how it gets to your table?  If you eat honey as much as I do then I suggest you go to this site to find out which honey to buy if you are not buying it locally: True Source Honey   I will be making more of a concerted effort to make sure that what I feed my wife and step-son is researched as I want a full life for them without having to worry that the desk I’m working at could have been a cracker or that they are consuming honey that could lead to DNA damage.

====================

15 Companies that are using Cellulose and Their Products

DOLE FOOD

Peaches & Crème Parfait
Apples & Crème Parfait

GENERAL MILLS

Fiber One Ready-To-Eat Muffins – Used in:

Grilled Chicken Salad, Chicken Club Salad with Crispy Chicken, Meaty Breakfast Burrito, Hearty Breakfast Bowl

Cheese, Pepper Jack, Shredded – Used in:

Chicken Fajita Pita, Southwest Chicken Salad with Grilled Chicken, Meaty Breakfast Burrito

Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
Ice Cream Shake Mix
Log Cabin Syrup
Mini Funnel Cake
Mozzarella Cheese Sticks (also in Sampler Trio)
Smoothie Base: (Mango, Strawberry, Strawberry Banana)
Tortilla, Flour – Used in:

Chorizo Sausage Burrito, Steak & Egg Burrito, Meaty Breakfast Burrito

White Cheese Sauce – Used in Breakfast Bowl

KELLOGG

MorningStar Farms Chik’n Nuggets
MorningStar Farms Chik Patties Original
MorningStar Farms Buffalo Wings Veggie Wings
Eggo Nutri-Grain Blueberry waffles
Eggo Strawberry Waffles
Eggo Blueberry Waffles
Cinnabon Pancakes Original
Cinnabon Pancakes Caramel
Cinnabon Snack Bars Original
Cinnabon Snack Bars Baked Cinnamon Apple

KFC (YUM! BRANDS)

KFC Cornbread Muffin
Apple Turnover
Honey Mustard BBQ Sauce
Lil’ Bucket Strawberry Short Cake Parfait
Lil’ Bucket Lemon Crème Parfait
Lil’ Bucket Chocolate Crème Parfait
Oreo Cookies and Crème Pie Slice
Reese’s Peanut Butter Pie Slice
Popcorn Chicken
Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie Slice

KRAFT FOODS

Wheat Thins Fiber Selects
Frozen Bagel-Fuls
Macaroni & Cheese Thick ‘n Creamy
Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Three Cheese W/mini-shell Pasta

MCDONALD’S

Fish Filet Patty
McRib
Premium Caesar Salad
Chipotle BBQ Snack Wrap
Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken
Southern Style Chicken Biscuit
Strawberry Sundae
Natural Swiss Cheese – Used in:

McRib, Quarter Pounder with Cheese, Angus Mushroom & Swiss, Premium Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich, Premium Crispy Chicken Club Sandwich, Angus Mushroom & Swiss Snack Wrap

Shredded Cheddar/Jack Cheese – Used in:

Ranch Snack Wrap (Crispy and Grilled), Honey Mustard Snack Wrap (Crispy and Grilled), Chipotle BBQ Snack Wrap (Crispy and Grilled), Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken, Premium Southwest Salad with/without Crispy/Grilled Chicken, Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with/without Crispy/Grilled Chicken, McSkillet Burrito with Sausage

Barbeque Sauce
Sweet ‘N Sour Sauce
Shredded Parmesan Cheese – Used in:

Premium Caesar Salad with/without Crispy/Grilled Chicken

Biscuit – Used to make:

Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit, Sausage Biscuit with Egg, Sausage Biscuit, Southern Style Chicken Biscuit, Big Breakfast with/without Hotcakes

Vanilla Reduced Fat Ice Cream – Used in:

Strawberry Sundae, Hot Caramel Sundae, Hot Fudge Sundae, McFlurry with M&M’S Candies, McFlurry with OREO Cookies, Chocolate Triple Thick Shake, Strawberry Triple Thick Shake, Vanilla Triple Thick Shake

Sugar Free Vanilla Syrup, used in: Premium Roast Coffee, Espresso

NESTLE

Hot Cocoa Mixes: Mini Marshmallows, Rich Milk Chocolate, Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Caramel

PEPSI

Aunt Jemima Frozen Blueberry Pancakes
Aunt Jemima Original Syrup
Aunt Jemima Lite Syrup

PIZZA HUT (YUM! BRANDS)

Parmesan Romano Cheese
Taco Bean Sauce
Shredded Cheddar (for Taco Pizza)
Breadstick Seasoning – Used to make Cheese Breadsticks)
WingStreet Bone-In (in the batter)
Meatballs (for pasta products, sandwiches)
White Pasta Sauce – Used for:

PastaBakes Marinara, PastaBakes Meatball Marinara, PastaBakes Primavera, PastaBakes Chicken Primavera

Alfredo Sauce – Used for:

PastaBakes Marinara, PastaBakes Meatball Marinara, PastaBakes Primavera, PastaBakes Chicken Primavera

Fat Free Ranch Dressing

SARA LEE

Jimmy Dean Frozen Breakfast Bowl (Sausage & Gravy)
Jimmy Dean D-lights Turkey Sausage Breakfast Bowl
Jimmy Dean D-lights Turkey Sausage Croissant
Jimmy Dean Breakfast Entrée – Used in:

(Scrambled Eggs with Bacon/Sausage and Cheese Diced Apples & Seasoned Hash)

SONIC

Ice Cream
Sonic Blast
Banana Split
Ice Cream Cone

TACO BELL (YUM! BRANDS)

Southwest Chicken
Caramel Apple Empanada
Corn Tortilla
Enchilada Rice
Nacho Chips
Red Strips
Strawberry Topping
Zesty Dressing

WEIGHT WATCHERS INTERNATIONAL

Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich
English Toffee Crunch Ice Cream Bar
Giant Cookies & Cream Ice Cream Bar

WENDY’S ARBY’S

Asiago Cheese – Used in:

Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad, Asiago Ranch Chicken Club, Caesar Side Salad

Fat Free French Dressing – Used for:

Apple Pecan Chicken Salad, Baja Salad, Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad, BLT Cobb Salad

Blue Cheese Crumbles – Used in: Apple Pecan Chicken Salad, BLT Cobb Salad
Cheddar Pepper Jack Cheese Blend, Shredded
Chocolate Sauce
Coffee Toffee Twisted Frosty (Chocolate, Vanilla)
Frosty (Chocolate and Vanilla)
Frosty Shake (Frosty-cino, Chocolate Fudge, Strawberry, Vanilla Bean)
Milk, 1% Low Fat Chocolate Milk

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  • http://www.swicyclorun.com Jon

    This is SO freaking scary, Jason! I had no idea it was this bad and the fact that there is NO limit on this is even MORE scary. What else is in this food? Maybe ignorance is bliss…

    Whelp, reason #9.874 why we should NOT eat a single piece of processed food. Basically if I am not creating it using raw ingredients, its NOT entering my mouth!
    Jon recently posted..I’m Thankfull For………YOU!My Profile

  • http://tridiesel.blogspot.com BDD

    wow, just wow, I did not know this, wow
    BDD recently posted..Weekly RamblingsMy Profile

  • http://marleneontherun.com marlene

    Now I have hard it all. (but sadly, probably not)

    I often wonder if these regulations (lack thereof) apply the same way in Canada. I must admit I *have* eaten some of those foods. gag.
    marlene recently posted..“Unofficial” Speed WorkMy Profile

  • http://www.caratunkgirl.com Mandy

    I saw this – HOLY GROSS right??? AND what kills me is that most people are like…so? NO WONDER WE ARE SUCH A FAT NATION! Right?

    As a forester I am a little upset that I was unaware of the Kelloggs market…Who knew that I could approach them, McD’s, KFC…for a sales contract to make wood into food? WTF???????

    And really, Pepperoni Pizza is my favorite vegetable. ;)
    Mandy recently posted..Sharpie for 2012!My Profile

  • http://didyougetanyofthat.blogspot.com XLMIC

    I read that article the other day, too. Jeez… so frightening. So glad I eat very, very little processed food… except for that occasional In N Out indulgence :P So glad you posted about this… people need to know!
    XLMIC recently posted..A Mother’s Favorite Images… for Kim :)My Profile

  • http://www.caratunkgirl.com Mandy

    OH MAN!!

    Food instead of toilet paper!! BECAUSE you do know that cellulose is made into TP too, right? WTF!!!!!!

    OK. I am on a rant now. Must get back to work. But really. That is ridiculous.
    Mandy recently posted..Sharpie for 2012!My Profile

  • http://www.shesaidineedagoal.com adena

    This is just crazy.. I still can’t get over how good I feel since I went off wheat, dairy (for the most part) and sugar. Because I did this most processed foods have been removed from my world.. except tater tots, don’t make me give them up!!!! All I have left are tater tots.. ;-) I’ll give up the wood pulp, even McDonalds but not the tots. Thanks for the awesome info Jason, as always.
    adena recently posted..so I was… and some winners!My Profile

  • http://www.teammancuso.blogspot.com Mamarunsbarefoot

    You know what I think!!!!! GRRRRRRRRRRRR
    Mamarunsbarefoot recently posted..Form CheckMy Profile

  • http://www.teammancuso.blogspot.com Mamarunsbarefoot

    They have the audacity to say it adds FIBER!!!!!!!
    Mamarunsbarefoot recently posted..Form CheckMy Profile

  • DR

    great news for me! taco bell chili cheese burrito does not make the cut — looks like I am in the clear….oh and DQ Large Buttfinger Blizzard also not listed so I must really be doing something right :)

    amazing info

    D

  • http://trirunveg.blogspot.com Aimee (I Tri To Be Me)

    Gross…just gross! But, did you notice that it’s basically all processed food? It’s just one more reason to eat more of a plant based, whole foods diet!
    Aimee (I Tri To Be Me) recently posted..Ironman Arizona – The BikeMy Profile

    • http://cooktraineatrace.com CTER

      Yes, and while there is cellulose in some fruits and vegetables it is not manufactured. I hate to be on the soapbox of a plant based diet but with all the information that keeps coming out I’m not sure how there could be an argument against it.

      One of the major structural components of fruits and vegetables is cellulose. Scanning electron micrograph allows us to view the extracted cellulose in crystalline form. It is a polymer of glucose and is the major structural component. Cellulose is not the only structural material; however, the fundamental type of cells are parenchyma or ground cells. There are several different categories of tissues. All cells have a cell wall . The cell wall consists of very thin primary cell wall and a hydroxyproline-containing membrane. This cell wall contains much of the cellulose. Additionally, there are other polymers, such as the pectic substances, lignin, and sometimes even leucoanthocyanins (pigments).

      The understanding of the structure of a particular plant cell is not only important for texture elucidation. It will also assist with a greater awareness of color and of flavor.

      *Courtesy of Oregon State University ( http://food.oregonstate.edu/learn/fruitveg.html)

  • http://danglethecarrot.blogspot.com Jeff Irvin

    Glad I do not eat any of that shit listed above but there is probably a bunch more.

    Seriously thinking of growing a garden and hunting for the rest of my food. You think the farmers would be pissed if I started shooting their cows?

    You said, “Wood” … hehehehe
    Jeff Irvin recently posted..Turkey Trot Race Report – 5miMy Profile

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQHXSlwq_4w Sherry Bennett

    “FDA sets NO LIMIT on the amount that can be used in products for human consumption” I am shocked
    Firstly what is FDA doing about it? Haven’t any research done? and Why haven’t they set a limit on it?
    Secondly the list includes most of the brands I tag as favorites. This is saddening and a blow to my heath conscious mind.

  • http://www.man-versus-triathlon.com Ryan

    NOOOOO!!!!! Not the frosty! That’s my one guilty fast food dessert treasure! NOOOOO!!!!!!!

  • http://www.chasingthekenyans.com lindsay

    whoa.

    ok, most of that food i can’t eat anyway b/c of my food allergies or the sugar thing. however, mcdonald’s salads?!? WHAT?!? that’s the one thing i would order if i was forced to eat there (which i just avoid if at all possible). so glad to know ithe salad is wood…

    as for the FDA… i used to want to try to get into a career in food administration b/c of my food allergies. but honestly, i think the FDA does more harm than good.
    lindsay recently posted..happy thanksgibbing backMy Profile

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