Step 2 – Read Food Labels

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Welcome back to Step 2 of 12 Steps to a Nourishing Diet!  If you missed step 1 from yesterday, you can read it here.

This step is really as easy as it seems!  There is no secret method to the brilliant idea of deliberately checking food labels for what ingredients are actually in the food.  And I can’t take credit for thinking up this genius plan of action, because I at one time did not read food labels. I have since learned how important it is!

When I speak of reading food labels, I’m not talking about paying attention to how many calories or how much fat is in a serving.  I’m most interested in what ingredients are listed.  I want to consume REAL and NOURISHING food, not fake food products.

Tangent: I saw a McDonald’s billboard recently that advertised smoothies “made with real fruit.”  Isn’t sad that a distinction needs to be made?

Here are a few helpful rules of thumb when reading labels:

  • The less the amount of ingredients, the better.
  • Ingredients with names that are pronounceable are preferred (it probably means it’s real!)
  • Keep in mind that the ingredients are listed in descending order by quantity.  In other words, if “Sugar” is listed first, it means that there is more sugar than anything else in the product.
  • Having sugar listed as one of the first few ingredients is not preferred, for the above reason.
  • Ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, MSG (and its hidden names, we’ll talk about this in step 3), nitrates, corn (unless specified as non-GMO, see step 4!), corn ingredients (check the GMO list mentioned later), preservatives, artificial colorings, and other chemicals should be avoided
  • Grains that are refined, unsoaked, or unsprouted would be best avoided (See step 12 for why!)
  • EDIT:  a reader pointed out that I left off partially-hydrogenated oils.  You DEFINITELY  want to avoid those.  I would also add any SOY ingredients as well.

Do you feel like you are extremely limited in what you can buy at the grocery store? What other thoughts do you have?

Don’t fret.  You are only on Step 2, and all of the other steps will help explain why these rules are important and what you can do to replace the foods that contain these ingredients.  I’ll help you through the process!

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2 Responses to Step 2 – Read Food Labels

  1. Megan Kinkade says:

    You also want to avoid “partially hydrogenated” on food labels— those are trans fats, which by law companies are not required to put on all food labels.

  2. Kelly @ Domestic by Design says:

    Woops! Don’t know how I missed that one, you’re totally right! Will edit!