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Thirteen Ways to Avoid Toxic Groceries

SS Member Image By divinecaroline 08.12.09
Thirteen Ways to Avoid Toxic Groceries
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Various shelves throughout every aisle of your grocery store are stocked with wolves in sheep’s clothing. Colorful packaging, appetizing pictures, and nutrition claims hide the truth: unhealthy chemicals are lurking in many these seemingly harmless foods. Here are some tips to help you steer clear of hidden toxins that masquerade as safe products.

1. Stay away from processed meats like bacon, hot dogs, and sausage. Sodium nitrate accounts for their appetizing red hue, but this additive can also cause the formation of nitrosamines in your system, which can lead to cancer.

2. Stick to low-mercury fish like American-farmed tilapia instead of swordfish or tuna. Overexposure can cause memory problems, fatigue, and other health issues, and besides, most wild fish stocks are threatened these days. (Looking for an alternative? There’s branzini, the fish you’ve never heard of.)

3. Reduce the amount of canned food you consume. Cans are commonly lined with bisphenol-A, an organic compound that, according to the Lang study, may be associated with diabetes and heart disease.

4. Cut back on meat and dairy products. These animal products may contain trace amounts of harmful contaminants like polybrominated diphenyl ethers, polychlorinated biphenyl and dioxins. Although many of these toxins have been banned, they are still present in the soil. Reducing your intake of animal products is also more friendly to the environment.

5. Skip the diet soda and artificial sweeteners. Prolonged exposure to aspartame, a neurotoxic chemical additive in these products, can lead to nerve cell damage, dizziness, and headaches. Besides, anything that gives rats brain tumors is worth avoiding in my book.

6. Choose the farmed fish carefully. Studies show that farm-raised fish contain more polychlorinated biphenyl and over ten times the amount of dioxin.

7. Opt for organic chicken. The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy discovered traces of arsenic in non-organic chickens. Exposure to this dangerous chemical can lead to cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Another study also found numerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria in conventional poultry.

8. Only drink milk that says “no rBGH” on the carton because recombinant bovine growth hormone has been linked with breast cancer. Better yet, opt for responsibly-produced, unsweetened soy, nut or rice milk.

9. Avoid manufactured snacks. Hydrogenated oils are used to lengthen the shelf life of products like crackers and cookies, but they are also associated with diabetes and heart disease. Another reason to stay away from the middle aisles: snack foods are generally loaded with salt, corn syrup and other unhealthy ingredients.

10. Stay away from artificially-colored foods like candy, maraschino cherries, and gelatin. Mice and rats exposed to blue 1 and 2, red 3 and yellow 6 suffered from brain, adrenal gland, thyroid, and kidney tumors.

11. Always buy organic produce. This one’s a no-brainer, but the list wouldn’t be complete without it. Lingering pesticides can lead to nervous and reproductive system damage, not to mention cancer.

12. Use stainless steel or cast iron cookware to prepare your meals. The Teflon used to create nonstick surfaces can release noxious gases when exposed to high temperatures, which puts you at risk for heart disease.

13. Never microwave food in plastic bowls, containers, or dishes. Exposure to heat causes the bisphenol-A found in plastics to break down and potentially contaminate your food. Also, make sure to hand wash them.

For more information, check out Twelve Dangerous Food Additives and the Seven Most Dangerous Ingredients in Conventional Foods. 


"Hydrogenated oils are used to lengthen the shelf life of products like crackers and cookies, but they are also associated with diabetes and heart disease."

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  • sandy36 By sandy36
    06.07.10  

    Thank you for the helpful information and tips!

  • bobbittsara By bobbittsara
    01.21.10  

    I like all the information. I didn't know over half of this stuff. To tell you the truth half this stuff is darn near impossible to do. I can't possibly afford to buy everything organic for my big family. I can (and will) make better choices on some of the fruits and processed meats.

  • tori20 By tori20
    11.29.09  

    Amazing! I am passing this information on to others by mail, email and other communication vehicles.

  • Daniyello By Daniyello
    11.17.09  

    When I'm in a rush, I always microwave my food in the container or a plastic bowl. I'll now stop doing this! I agree with sourgrapes81 that popping your own popcorn is better, I'm starting to do this now and it's a lot of fun and a lot cheaper.

  • luv2couponmommy By luv2couponmommy
    11.17.09  

    Definitely difficult to do this on a fixed grocery budget, but we do try to follow many of these tips already. It's just sad that even those "juicers" out there have to be worried about putting all of those chemicals/pesticides in their bodies. Nothing seems to be safe...even the fruits and veggies!

  • sourgrapes81 By sourgrapes81
    10.30.09  

    Thanks for posting this so well put together! I always try to tell ppl my views on these things i agree with everyone of them that you have posted, now i can just send ppl this link so they can read this too. I also try to avoid high fructose corn syrup in things as well! I read the other day too about how harmful microwave popcorn is for you too, i have avoided it for years and its so much funner and cheaper to pop it yourself.

  • emmabelly By emmabelly
    10.28.09  

    Yikes, we routinely run our platic tupperware through the dishwasher and microwave! I think it's time to go invest in some glass/pyrex to store and reheat those leftovers. I know they've started making BPA free baby bottles, maybe tupperware is next?

  • Sjbutterfie By Sjbutterfie
    10.27.09  

    Wow, There's a lot of things on this list just about everyone of them I do. I must be a toxed up monster then lol. Seriously, with my PCOS & Heart Diseases I need to get with the program and buy food that isn't so harsh on my body. I want to go all organic. It's hard finding foods anymore in stores. It's like the cheapest food you find is JUNK! The diet foods and all that good stuff is extremely high. Hard on a low-income person like me to afford every month.

  • maggie_elizabeth By maggie_elizabeth
    10.13.09  

    Great tips...but yeah, I would have to agree with both DexterBuzz and bluechristina5 as well. Its just NOT that easy on a tight budget!!! Thx!! :)

  • bluechristina5 By bluechristina5
    10.12.09  

    Great list! I've always told my hubby that aspartame gave me a headache, but he he didn't believe me. Definitely going to share these points with him. However, I do agree with DEXTERBUZZ that it's not exactly practical for families on a tight budget. Most of them can be implemented through simple changes, but some are simply out of my price range. It's too bad that "better for you" equals "more expensive for you."

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