Are you aware of all the additives you are consuming? I bet you’ll be just as surprised as I was, if you put yourself to the test. Prolonging the shelf-life of products may be convenient, but do we really understand the long-term effects these chemicals have?
Below are some additives to avoid and information on what you can do to lead an additive free lifestyle.
Searching through my own cupboard, I found a salt-based preservative added to my cereal, additives in some stock powder, canned food and sauces.
When it came to external products for the body and household, nearly every item wasn’t ‘additive free’ of something. These included creams and body washes that claimed to be natural and protect your skin. Ugh, so instead of feeling defeated, I decided to research finding ways to replace these, by changing some of my habits.
Additives to Avoid
We all know about colours, preservatives and flavouring. These trigger images of artificial products like Jelly, soft drinks, cordials, cake mixes, lollies, etc. Yet, if you get specific and start checking every product at your local supermarket, you’ll discover numbers and words you cannot even pronounce, nor alone understand.
MSG or Monosodium Glutamate, is a flavour enhancer known to cause things such as headaches, nausea, fatigue, among others. It works in stimulating nerve cells in order to relay its signal according to a Healthline article. When large doses were injected into mice, this caused harmful neurological effects.
As a consumer it’s important to know, a product that notes salt reduced, may still contain MSG. This is normally added to help increase the overall taste. MSG can be disguised as many other names. Look out for words like natural flavours, yeast foods, yeast extract, gelatine (naturally) and flavours or flavouring. Here is a list of MSG alternate names for you to educate yourself on.
An additive Free Lifestyle
Anything homemade by yourself is generally always better, especially for growing children. Kids may be less tolerant to these additives and are too young to understand their meaning. Sharing your knowledge with your children is a smart idea, so they are mindful of the foods or products you purchase as a family.
Each day millions of us are exposed to a multitude of chemicals, these are found in our soaps, toothpaste, creams, perfumes, food and cleaning products.
According to 500 of the most important health tips you’ll ever need, the average person ingests about 14kg of toxins through the skin. And with 3500 food and product additives used today it makes it very difficult for the consumer to distinguish each one.
The Price for Keeping Beautiful
The beauty industry thrives on selling products that not only make us feel good, but also claim to keep us looking more fresh, healthy and young. On the contrary, there are many ingredients in products such as Parabens, Fragrances and Phenoxyethanol that we do not understand.
With a value of US$532 billion, according to an article published by Business Insider Australia, the beauty industry is growing. Fragrances are found most commonly in perfumes and products like creams, wipes, soaps, shampoos, baby lotions, laundry power and more, but did you know that Huffington Post claims that 95% of these are synthetic fragrances derived from petrochemicals.
Petrochemicals are made from refined petroleum and can also be obtained from fossil fuels like coal or renewable resources like sugar cane.
Next time you sniff a sweet-smelling ‘fragrance’ remember it is an undistinguished chemical that can be made from something like benzene.
The alternate to using perfumes or products with fragrance, could be using essential oils. Making your own products will cost you less and require little time. Going back to the good old days of doing it yourself with DIY cleaning products, body scrubs, shampoo and other goodies is a healthier option.
Researching the names of items you don’t know, will help you to look for alternate products. An example is Lye, something normally found in brought and handmade soaps.
What is Lye?
Lye is Sodium Hydroxide, which is caustic base. This means it is a corrosive substance and when combined with fat, a component of soap, it creates a chemical reaction. So why is it used in soap you say? You can read more about the dangerous symptoms of Lye and decide for yourself. It’s also good to know there are recipes for making soap without lye and Making shampoo without Lye.
Even the beauty products that claim to be ‘natural’ might not be. Only by looking at the ingredients and researching the items can you gain a better understanding.
Why are Additives Bad?
Additives are toxic chemicals with studies linked to cancer, asthma, dermatitis, among others. It is important to know how many chemicals, additives and preservatives you or your family ingest. For those of you wanting to apply some changes, here are some useful tips to help towards living additive free.
- Change your shampoo and soap to additive free
- Make your own cleaning products with vinegar and soap
- Switch to multi-purpose castile soap
- Use essential oils for fragrance in homemade products
- Moisturise with natural oils
- Try using a non-toxic suncream
The Source Bulk foods is just one of the stores found across Australia aimed to reduce the amount of packaging, while offering alternate options. Here you’ll find laundry powder, superfoods and raw ingredients to make your own food products.
Once you start digging through your own pantry, you’ll soon understand almost everything has something added to it. Although we cannot live on eggshells, it’s good to educate ourselves as consumers. Like so much else out there, it’s a battle you need to pick and choose. Just trusting a brand can be risky, as they don’t normally have our best interest at heart. Only through educating ourselves, can be gain more clarity on what’s in our food, body and cleaning products that we come into contact with each day.