Food Additives Banned in Europe…but Not in the USA
PQ Group Coaching Program
Did You Know?
Recipe of the Week
Health Tip Tuesday!
My Favorite Quotes
Creating Health Unconsciously
Habits are driven by what we do repeatedly…I’ve said it over and over…lol. It’s true, though. What we do routinely becomes, well…what we do. Habits form when what we do is done without thinking…subconsciously. Exercise can be an example. We start out by taking a short walk every day. It may grow longer, or not. Pretty soon, we have created a habit of taking that daily stroll. When we don’t do it, something feels off. We may not be able to pinpoint what it is…but it’s there. An uncomfortable feeling.
How many times have you tried to make a change and ended up right back where you started? Change is not easy. It takes more than motivation, desire, and knowledge. It takes repetition! Some say it takes 21 days to form a new habit. I call BS on this. It takes MUCH longer! It takes persistence, determination, and willingness to be uncomfortable…for as long as it takes. I’ve read that the idea of the 21-day habit change myth comes from a paper written in Europe about how long it takes for plastic surgery patients to feel normal again…nothing to do with habit. Quite often, we latch on to an idea and it gets skewed far from its original intent.
Our minds are powerful! Our conscious mind deals with linear, analytical thinking. Our subconscious mind works quite differently. This part of our mind responds to neural pathways that have been created by repeating a behavior until it is hard-wired into our brain. These unconscious patterns can override our intentions and drive us back to our old ways. This may sound like a bad thing, and it can be. Shifting to another perspective, we can use this knowledge to our favor. When we engage our unconscious mind to create automaticity…doing a thing without having to think about it. This is where change happens. Once it becomes automatic, it is much more likely to remain.
Sounds simple…and the formula is simple. It ain’t easy, though. Pure willpower won’t get you there. Deeply connecting with why you want to make the change, having a plan and a system in place, and getting the support you need are key factors in whether this time will truly be different. When we are ready to step out of our comfort zone and become comfortable with being uncomfortable is when change can happen. It happens on an unconscious level after much conscious effort. We have the power. It is within all of us. Allowing our brains to rewire is key and knowing that it is unlikely to happen in a short 3-week period. It may take months…even years sometimes. But the months and the years go by. Where do you want to be in that time frame? Only you can decide.
The Holidays are Here
The 2023 holiday season is here! The holidays are thought of by many as the happiest time of the year. For some, it brings up worries about not being able to “stay” healthy due to overindulging during holiday festivities. It starts with Halloween. Trick or treaters bring bags full of candy into our homes and pick out their favorites to keep for themselves. The discards are often left for the taking…and some of us are unable to “just say no” like the campaign says. Then there is the leftover candy because not as many kids were out this year because of the snow or maybe you overbought…not wanting to run out (or, more likely, not wanting it all to be gone when the lights go out).
Thanksgiving comes up quickly, when it is customary to overeat to the point of having to fight for the couch for that tryptophan snooze. Many of us cook more than we need because the leftovers can be even better than the first “go around”. By the end of the long Thanksgiving weekend, we may be dreading Christmas or Hanukkah since we know we are unlikely to be able to not overindulge in the sugary sweet treats that often accompany the season.
What if this year was different? What if you can stay healthy all the way through the holiday season and into the new year? What might it feel like to get to the new year having maintained or even lost a little weight? What might that feel like? This can be yours. And it doesn’t have to be as hard as you think.
There is no lack of information available on what is the best way to lose weight. Unfortunately, so much is available and often there is conflicting material online and in the bookstore. We become confused and just stay with what we know whether it has worked for us in the past or not. Harry S. Truman many years ago said, “If you can’t convince them, confuse them”. This is very true in the diet and nutrition world as we know it today.
There is another old saying that I recently read, “A man with a watch always knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never quite sure”. The more opinions we get, the more confused we are. So, what do we do?
Learn what science says is my best advice. What I tell my clients is to listen to the information, read more about it, check resources (and if someone stands to make money by selling you a product or the latest miracle diet/drug/supplement, you may want to skip this opinion) and then check with your gut. What makes the most sense to you? What FEELS like will lead to better health?
Most of us agree that eating your vegetables and fruit is a good thing. Did you know that a diet high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and nuts and seeds is the only diet proven to reverse heart disease? If it can prevent and reverse the #1 killer of Americans, how might eating these foods help you get through the holiday season and stay healthy?
Carbs are not the enemy!
Complex carbohydrates such as those found in vegetables feed our bodies its preferred fuel, glucose. It could be possible that you are craving sugary treats because you are not providing your body with the fuel it needs to thrive. Consider these helpful tips to get you through the holidays with a whole new experience…staying healthy without weight gain!
5 Tips for Healthful Holidays
Healthy food first – start with a salad with oil-free dressing, eat your veggies! Choose fruit to add some sweetness.
Rework your favorite recipes – Swap out oils with water, broths or vinegars for sautéing or steaming. Bake with fruit, date paste, flaxseeds or beans as sweeteners and fats.
Move your body! – This is great for your body and mind. Take a walk with a family member or neighbor, dance, do yoga. Moving your body is an excellent de-stressor!
Remember your “WHY” – What drives you to want to “stay healthy” over the holidays. Create an anchor to help you remember. This can be a bracelet or a body part. When you are faced with a challenge, touch your bracelet or your wrist and remember why you want better health. This may be helpful in making a healthier choice for yourself. Dig deep into your ‘why’…Chef AJ says the why that makes you cry is the most effective.
Shift your attention – If you are faced with a temptation, get out of the room. Go to another room and take some deep breaths or step outside and breath in fresh air. Shift the celebration from centering around food to centering around family and friends. Create an opportunity to help others during the holiday season. Giving is the best gift we can give ourselves and others.
Where do I go from here?
Taking a few minutes to consider how this holiday season might be different will serve you well as we move closer to 2024. You can create a whole new way of being during the holiday season. Getting the support you need makes all the difference. Consider hiring a coach to help you achieve your goals. Just like working with a personal trainer or a baseball coach, if you want to achieve your goals in the most effective way, partner with a health coach to achieve your health goals in the upcoming months. My upcoming group coaching program will help you get through this holiday season with positivity and feeling GOOD about yourself and your choices! Sign up today…the deadline is tomorrow!
Food Additives Banned in Europe…but Not in the USA
There is a big difference in food quality in Europe and the United States. Travelers notice this almost immediately. Food is just different outside the USA. This can be especially true for those with ‘food sensitivities’ or ‘allergies’. Even those eating a gluten-free diet in the US, have no trouble eating gluten containing foods overseas. Food additives are more likely the underlying culprit in our inability to tolerate certain food items.
American food manufacturers include a variety of food additives with potential side effects, European manufacturers must either avoid using certain ingredients or warn consumers of their risks. Here are several of the most used additives in the United States that are banned in Europe (EU).
Commonly found in salad dressings, flour, bread, candy, boxed macaroni and cheese, canned soup, and prepackaged baked goods.
Often used to give food a white appearance, titanium dioxide was determined to be no longer acceptable to be used in food products by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in May 2021. “A critical element in reaching this conclusion is that we could not exclude genotoxicity concerns after consumption of titanium dioxide particles,” Maged Younes, former chair of EFSA’s Food Additives and Flavourings Panel, explained in an EFSA assessment. Genotoxicity refers to the properties of a chemical that can impair DNA or chromosomes. Titanium dioxide breaks down into nanoparticles, which can cause inflammation, pulmonary damage, fibrosis, and lung tumors in rodents. It is “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer. “After oral ingestion, the absorption of titanium dioxide particles is low, however, they can accumulate in the body,” Mr. Younes said in his assessment.
Despite these safety concerns, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated this year that the available safety studies “do not demonstrate safety concerns connected to the use of [titanium dioxide] as a color additive.”
Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)
Commonly found in chips, crackers, cereals, premade baked goods, and granola bars. Used in a variety of processed foods, BHA and BHT prevent oils from oxidation. However, these two chemicals are not akin to the antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables. “These are preservatives in some food products and have been found to have immune effects and potentially are also carcinogenic,” said Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana, a professor of pediatrics and environmental health sciences at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Research Institute. Both chemicals are “anticipated to be a human carcinogen” by the National Toxicology Program. In Europe, both BHT and BHA have certain restrictions.
Synthetic Food Coloring
Commonly found in candies, sodas, sports drinks, cake and cupcake frosting, salad dressings, and chips. Incorporated in food products to enhance appearance, petroleum-based food dyes like Yellow No. 5, Yellow No. 6, and Red No. 40 have been shown to induce behavioral challenges and hyperactivity. In one recent review analyzing 27 clinical trials on synthetic food dye, researchers found that the current evidence “supports a relationship between food dye exposure and adverse behavioral outcomes in children, both with and without pre-existing behavioral disorders.”
In 2021, the California Environmental Protection Agency released a report expressing that the current federal guidelines on synthetic food dyes were outdated, failing to acknowledge recent literature showing their negative effect on children’s and adults' health. California recently banned the use of Red Dye No. 3 but has not restricted the use of other synthetic food dyes in the state. Even though the literature supports the dangers of Red Dye No. 40, it is still used and given to our children regularly.
The European Union requires a warning label for foods made with added colors.
Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO)
Commonly found in sodas and sports drinks. BVO is vegetable oil with bromine added to it. It is incorporated into a variety of beverages as an emulsifier. In 2012, however, an online petition with over 200,000 signatures led many companies, including Coca-Cola, to stop using BVO. But many companies still utilize this emulsifier, given that the FDA has not prohibited its use. The European Union, on the other hand, has banned BVO as a food additive.
BVO has been associated with neurological disease in adults and reproductive harm in animal studies. “BVO can build up in the body, and research has shown a connection between drinking large amounts of BVO-containing sodas over a long period and problems such as headaches, irritation of the skin and mucous membranes, fatigue and loss of muscle coordination and memory,” the Environmental Working Group (EWG) wrote on its website.
The FDA announced a proposal to revoke authorization for the use of BVO as a food additive on Nov. 2, 2023.
Commonly found in bread and baked goods. Azodicarbonamide (ADA) is most commonly used in making various kinds of plastics and as a bleaching agent in flour-based foods. Animal studies revealed that ADA could be an organ and cellular toxin, while other research demonstrates that it can cause respiratory complications in humans. The European Union prohibits its use as a food additive.
Commonly used in flour, bread, and baked goods. Used to enhance the texture of flour-based foods, potassium bromate has been scrutinized by activists for decades. Small amounts of bromate, a substance shown to be carcinogenic in animal studies, are found in potassium bromate. It was labeled “possibly carcinogenic” in 1999 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which ultimately led to its ban in European countries. This ingredient was also banned in California as recently as October, but the law won’t go into effect until 2027.
Animals exposed to potassium bromate had increased incidences of both benign and malignant kidney tumors. Additional research showed that ingesting potassium bromate resulted in significant increases in cancer of mice’s thyroid, kidneys, and other organs. “Despite the significant evidence of potassium bromate’s harmful health effects, the food industry has long argued that it is of no concern in baked products,” the EWG wrote.
Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH)
Commonly used in conventional dairy products. Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) is a hormone that stimulates greater milk production in cows. The EU banned the hormone in 1999. The primary concern of rBGH is its influence on the endocrine system. Some research has found a potential relationship between increased blood levels of growth hormone due to rBGH use and hormone-related cancers like breast and testicular. However, according to the American Cancer Society, the link between rBGH and cancer is inconclusive, warranting further investigation.
Overall, the EU takes a more precautionary approach in banning this substance to prevent impacts on human health while the U.S. takes the approach of waiting until we see harmful effects before regulating. However, this hormone can be avoided if consumers avoid all dairy products.
Compared to the U.S., the EU system generally does a better job of ensuring that more recent data and scientific principles are used to assess safety and that regulators, not industry, are the final decision makers. Our job is to be informed consumers. Become a food ingredient detective. Do your own research if you are using products with items in the ingredient list that you do not recognize. The Environmental Working Group is an excellent resource at www.ewg.org.
Avoiding processed foods is a step in the right direction. Eat whole plant foods. Choose organic when you can. Be your own cook. That way, you know what you are putting into your body and the bodies of your loved ones.
This article was adapted from Vance Voetberg, who aims to present truthful, inspiring health-related news.
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Serves 16!! (It's easy to cut in half) This is my absolute favorite dip to bring to parties…everyone (plant-based or not) loves it!
2 16 oz bags frozen spinach – thawed and squeezed to remove water
4 cans artichoke hearts – roughly chopped
1 cup raw cashews
1 ½ packages firm tofu
Juice of 1-2 lemons
2 tsp salt
2 tsp garlic powder
1 cup nutritional yeast
Enough plant milk to make it smooth and creamy (about ¾ - 1 cup)
Mix together with spinach and artichokes and bake covered for about 20 minutes, more depending on oven. I like to uncover it for the last 10 minutes or so for browning.
Make healthy pita chips in the air fryer. Cut whole grain pita bread into rectangles or triangles, brush with lime juice and air fry. Time varies depending on your air fryer so start low and check frequently. They can also be baked in the oven.
Recipe from veganproteins.com
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My Favorite Quotes
Loving your grandchildren is like loving your own child twice. It's double the love. It's just the best thing ever.
The content in this newsletter is intended for educational/informational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your health care professional.