Ranting About Food Chemicals

ranting womanI have a personal rant here. I am so sick of all the chemicals in food!

I haven’t always felt that way. When I was younger, I really didn’t care that much one way or the other.

But as I am getting older, I am finding that I am having more and more problems with different chemicals.

Let me first state that despite being overweight and having a thyroid problem, I have been very healthy.

But several years ago, I started to have breathing problems. I was coughing and felt like my lungs were constantly congested. It was worse at night. I actually ignored it for awhile. But then over this past winter, it got so bad, I couldn’t sleep and there were several times I almost called for an ambulance. It was that bad. I thought I might die. But I calmed myself down enough that I got my breathing somewhat more in control. And no, I have never smoked.

The reason why I didn’t call an ambulance or go see a doctor about this? Simple. No insurance.

But I was really getting scared about all of this. Then my son did some research and thought it might be an allergic reaction to the synthetic sweetener Aspartame. I scoffed. I mean really. How can an artificial sweetener cause breathing problems? But at his insistence, I went off my beloved Diet Cherry Pepsi and started reading labels to make sure I didn’t buy anything with Aspartame in it.

Unfortunately Aspartame is in many diet foods and other foods too. I found it in almost all diet soft drinks. I also found it in gum, yogurt, and pudding among other things.

It took a week before I noticed any difference at all. I think I must have had quite a build of it in my system. But I was a diet cherry pepsi addict and drank quite a bit of it. Way more than was good for me.

I did notice a difference. Gradually my breathing improved and after 3 weeks I was completely back to normal.

I mourned the loss of my beloved diet cherry pepsi but I was so happy to figure out what was causing the breathing problem and to be able to fix it so easily. I was also grateful to my son who loved me enough to really research it.

For a few months every thing was fine. Then slowly but surely, the breathing problem came back. Along with a lovely case of eczema on both hands.

I figured the eczema was just caused by stress. I have had it before but usually only on one or two fingers on one hand. Now it was on both palms and 4 fingers of each hand. I have always prided myself on having pretty hands. Now they were ugly, red, and scaly. Along with quite painful.

I really didn’t think the two problems were related but something sure was going on in my body. I rechecked all my foods to be sure I wasn’t consuming any Aspartame. I couldn’t find any.

The breathing is starting to get bad again too. Still not bad enough to keep me up at night and to scare me like it did last winter, but it’s bad.

I think I may have found the cause and guess what, it’s another chemical. Although this one is derived from a natural source.

I found this quite by accident while reading the newspaper today, which I rarely do anymore. In Dr. Gott’s column, someone was thanking him for telling them about the seaweed that is added to dairy products. She cut out the cream in her coffee and now her eczema is gone.  Apparently the seaweed can cause eczema in people who are sensitive to it. A long with breathing problems, digestive problems and more.

Come on! Seaweed in dairy products? What next, dog poo in cake mixes?

The seaweed in question is called Carrageenan and it is used as a thickener in many products. Dairy products such as yogurt, cottage cheese, creamers, ice cream, and cream cheese. It’s also in many other products such as condiments (mustard, ketchup, salad dressings, relish, and barbecue sauce) also in jelly, jam, canned foods and so many other products, it’s unreal.

I went to my pantry and fridge and found it in several products I eat on a regular basis. Most notably the yummy Bailey’s creamer I have been using for the last 5 months several times a day in my coffee.

Is this the cause of my symptoms? I’m not sure but it does look like this seaweed may be the culprit. The only way to know for sure is to cut it out of my diet and see if things improve. Unfortunately this chemical is in so many foods, it may hard to cut it out completely.

All this brings me to my rant. Since when did our foods suddenly become possessed with all these chemicals? Has it always been this way and I was just clueless because it didn’t affect me?

It seems more and more today, our kids are developing weird allergies and medical conditions that generations before never had. Is it because all these chemicals we are eating? Are we poisoning ourselves?

How long are we, as a people going to allow all of this until we make food companies stop with the over loading of chemicals in our foods.

And I realize it’s a two edged sword. Without some of the chemicals, the food will not last very long. And without others, the cost will go way up for that particular food. But it may be a price we need to pay to keep ourselves from developing illnesses and to keep our kids from being born with them.

I don’t know what the answer is. I guess in my case, since I am developing more and more allergies to processed food, I should try to eat as natural and organic as possible. Although I sure don’t relish having to make my own mustard, ketchup, etc.


5 thoughts on “Ranting About Food Chemicals

  1. What a wonderful post! I also deal with chemical sensitivities and avoid them as much as possible. If you don’t do your research, you don’t even know these toxins exist. Even hair products are contaminated with toxic chemicals. It’s a sad world we live in. I try to stay educated on my chemicals and educate others because the sad fact is that most people are clueless on information like this!

  2. Thanks Kelli. You are right. So many of us are clueless about this. And how many illnesses go un-diagnosed or mis-diagnosed because of food allergies?

  3. Maybe at least to some degree utilizing where possible Farmers Markets who use little or no pesticides, and try to grow organically.I too don’t quite understand why natural food is more expensive than processed food.

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