Hope you’re all doing well.
This blog post was inspired by a conversation I had with my brother today.
On my way to school this afternoon, I received a text from my brother. He asked me if I knew about a NEW gluten-free version of a popular rice cereal.
I replied, telling him that I had heard about it and that I wasn’t sure if it was sold here, in Canada, yet.
He told me that he had seen a Canadian ad for the product, and so I made a mental note to check the cereal aisle the next time I was at the grocery store.
Well, that time came sooner than I thought, after school I stopped by one of my favourite grocery stores to pick up a few things.
After grabbing some produce and checking out the Natural Food section I made my way over to the large cereal aisle.
I walked down the aisle slowly, gazing up and down the shelves looking for that new item.
There it was, NOUVEAU (the French side was facing out) printed at the top and I spotted the words Gluten-Free under the title.
Here it is, sold in Canada, available for those of us who haven’t been able to eat cereal from the “normal” cereal aisle since going Gluten-Free.
[As a side thought, I don’t really feel like I’ve been missing out. There are great Gluten-Free options in the Natural Food section and they are always introducing new products. I’ve been very content with my Nature’s Path Organic Gluten-Free brand cereal. Tastes just as good as the popular stuff – and I can eat easy knowing there are 4 ingredients and I can pronounce all 4 of them! (not to mention KNOW what they are)]
Anyway, back to my adventure…
So, there it is, sitting on the shelf and I have to admit a little part of me was excited to pick up the box. It’s almost too good to be true when a big box company, that everyone else buys products from, makes an item that you can eat – you don’t feel so different after all.
With the box in hand I flipped it on it’s right side looking for the Ingredient List (as I do with just about everything I buy), oops, French, turn it over to the other said, ahhh, there it is…4 ingredients?!?!
Really?! Is that all? This is fantastic! Not only have they made a Gluten-Free version of this popular cereal but they’ve managed to keep the ingredient list to a minimum…it must be all good stuff!
So what do they have in here?
- Whole grain brown rice – of course!
- Sugar – okay…
- Salt – alright…
- BHT – bht, bht, I know what bht is, why can’t I think of it?…I know I’ve learned this in school…it’s not a good thing…in fact, I think it’s actually really bad…but, would they really list it here in bold, black print, right next to the other ingredients, being the fourth of four ingredients?
I laid the box on the top of my cart, parked my cart against the shelving and googled BHT on my phone right there in the aisle. I know it can’t be good and if I can’t remember exactly what it is, then I can’t buy this product.
So, I know Wikipedia isn’t the BEST source for getting information but I needed to find something, anything, quick!
I scrolled down the page, reading little blurbs here and there.
Butylated hydroxytoluene, fat-soluble, organic compound, antioxidant food additive – jackpot!
Antioxidant…anti-oxygen…they put it in there to preserve it so oxygen won’t get to it and make it stale – alright, so now I know it’s bad…but just how bad is it exactly?
I keep scrolling, there are a whole lot of scientific names and equations…oh ya, your typical consumer would really understand all this(sarcasm).
Ah ha! Controversy – this is what I want to be reading.
In the 1970s, Benjamin Feingold, a San Francisco MD who established the Feingold diet, claimed that BHT could produce hyperactivity in some children. In addition, some controversy surrounds the link of BHT to cancer risk…
I stopped reading.
That is all I needed to read.
I closed my phone, picked up the cereal box, placed it back on the shelf, thought of the people who had bought the boxes that had left empty spaces on the shelf (wishing they would have known exactly what they were buying) and continued walking.
It’s funny, these big companies have reached the point where they flat out list the chemicals they add to our foods, right where we can see them and they aren’t worried because:
1. They know that not many people actually read the ingredient list.
2. If someone does read it, the likelihood of them knowing what all the chemicals are, is slim.
So, they can’t lose!
You want full disclosure? You got it – now use it to your advantage!
I particularly enjoyed how they listed the VITAMIN AND MINERAL content. Right under the indredient list, with the words “vitamins and minerals” in a bolder, black text than all the rest of the information on that side of the box.
Strategic? You bet!
I understand why cereals in this aisle are less expensive than those in the Natural Food aisle, however, are the additives/preservatives really all that necessary?
I mean, you buy a box of cereal and how long does it really take you to get through that box? Will the contents of the box be sitting there for so long that you need to preserve them?
I get it, it’s mass produced, it’s all about shelf life and the mighty dollar but what about the dangers these chemicals have on our health? What amount of money is that worth?
I’ve always been quite skeptical of those big brand name companies coming out with “healthier” or “natural” versions of their regular items to compete with health food/organic/gluten-free products. Now, this may sound heavy and perhaps slightly along the lines of all those “conspiracy theories” but, the way I see it is – this is their way of “tricking” us into thinking we are buying something really good when actually it is a way of getting more chemicals into us. They can’t lose us to the reputable, wellness-minded companies. No, the big guys need to have ALL the sales and, while they’re at it, add in as many chemicals as they can get away with – while still using words like “natural”, “homestyle”, “healthy”,…etc.
These companies are basically saying the average consumer is dumb and we aren’t giving them any reason to think otherwise.
It’s up to us to take back control of what we eat. There are options out there – so there’s no excuse.
Think about it, so many kids these days are diagnosed with ADD and ADHD – connection to the chemicals in our food? Go ahead, Google it!
Cancer? Don’t even get me started!
- You’ve been blessed with the freedom to choose where you shop.
- You’ve been given the ability to read and make decisions.
Why have we lowered our standards and increased our laziness?
You are what you eat.
– American Proverb
Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food.
It’s funny – one box of cereal can elicit so much emotion…ha!
On a brighter note…when I got home from the grocery store and got out of my car, the scent of BBQ was in the air…it reminded me of summer and made me smile inside and out.
Be well – bon appetit,
Chanel Granzotto, Nutritionist at Fit for Life Wellness & Rehabilitation Centre