Original Publish Date 9/15/2014
Maybe you started the meal with a delicious fresh salad covered in ranch dressing or even a lovely store-bought, low-fat creamy Italian – you ARE trying to cut calories and fat, after all. The main course might have been a wonderful turkey meatloaf, with tomato sauce poured over the top. You have been watching the labels and ingredients more carefully lately with all the talk about GMO’s, artificial ingredients, and chemicals in the food supply. You have been making sure that everything you buy says either “organic” or Natural on the label - that way you are ensuring that you are buying the best ingredients to feed your family.
Yet, are you truly buying natural? What if you are being deceived?
It might surprise you to learn that, in spite of all your efforts, there is something hidden in your foods that you never suspected. It’s under the guise of “Natural Flavors”, “Natural Flavorings”, or “Other Natural Flavors”. Go ahead, take a few minutes to run to the refrigerator, pantry, and cupboards, then set out all the food items that have those phrases on the ingredient label. I will just play the Jeopardy song right here until you get back. . . . .
How many did you discover? When we did this, we found ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, turkey burgers, ground turkey meat, natural and organic herbal loose teas and tea bags, as well as a few other items I can’t recall now as I write.
This isn’t the first time I have seen these “ingredients” in my food. Months ago I remember being in the grocery, and they were out of my favorite organic chicken. There were no no kosher chicken packages to be found, either. I perused several national brands and every one my store carried read: “Enhanced with natural flavorings”. One of the whole chickens I picked up actually said, “Injected with natural and other flavorings.”
I put the packages down thinking I would buy some the following week, and walked away wondering, “Exactly what does it mean “natural and other flavorings”? By the time I got home I had forgotten all about it and didn’t even take the time to look it up.
For over a decade I have done the same as you by reading the labels and trying to buy the best foods. We buy very little prepared or processed food, and we try to make a lot of things from scratch. With these other products, I thought, “But it says “NATURAL” so it MUST be okay.” That is how I always thought about food until recently when I was researching another topic and discovered a 60 Minutes video from November, 2011 that stopped me in my tracks.
Morley Safer, from 60 minutes, takes you on a tour of some orchards in California with “flavorists” from a company who creates and manufactures everything from natural to artificial to combination flavorings. They create these flavorings that may be used in just about every form of product currently available on the market, and according to the report, they had the corner on approximately 25% of all flavorings worldwide. I actually watched the video twice to make sure that I heard it all correctly. The link will take you to the video that I recommend you watch and listen to carefully. Please set aside about 15 minutes to watch the entire report. http://youtu.be/a7Wh3uq1yTc
For years it has been no secret that the food industry has used ingredients that enhance sweetness, flavor, and texture. Consumers have just taken for granted that these ingredients are safe. and that the USDA and FDA allow these in our foods because they meet the “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) rules for food. What surprised me is that David Kessler (former head of the FDA) has come out and said that the artificially created ingredients are making a “food carnival” in your mouth, and that this carnival is so stimulating that our brains cannot resist. He calls it being “hijacked,” and this creates the inability to stop eating because the synthesized flavors trick your mind into wanting more and more.
It is discouraging to think that these scientists and the food industry representatives appear to believe it is acceptable to use whatever is necessary to cause us to “want to go back for (it) again and again,” to need a quick “fix”, and become addicted to food (see transcript and video). The scientists and employees speak of their process as though it is perfectly fine, harmless and acceptable, and they do it with such kindness in their voices.
The next up and coming market for these flavorings is the “healthy” foods line. They intend to make things taste salty without salt, sweet without sweetener, spicy without spice, and delicious without calories, after all we are a nation with an obesity crisis and health issues that must be addressed. Some “experts” say we NEED foods with no calories and artificial fats so that we can continue to “enjoy” our foods without making our current problems worse.
Let's apply this thinking: Imagine for a moment that you ate one donut – a real donut made with REAL natural ingredients – you felt satisfied by the taste, texture and flavor after eating only one. Now imagine you ate the “other” donut that has been enhanced with new flavorings, texture additives and synthetic ingredients. It was SOOOO good you ate another, then another and another. Before you knew it the kids were saying, “DAAAAAD!!!! (or Mom! LOL) what about us?” Yet you just could not stop yourself, you’re addicted to how it tasted and felt as you swallowed each bite. It doesn’t matter that it is a “created” donut; you just ate 12 of them without stopping. Don’t you think this will affect our country’s obesity problem, cancer rate, or other health issues? Dave Kessler believes it already does (see video).
When I first watched the video I was so taken aback by the lies, deception and open admissions. It is all done on purpose to give us just enough flavor burst to tantalize our taste buds. but then the flavor is chemically manipulated so that it does not linger. Our brain remembers how good it felt and tasted on our tongue, and it craves the next time it will have that sensation. The guise is that it is to please the consumer and make them happy, yet what it really does is please the profit margin because the consumer consumes more and more.
And what about these ingredients that they use? What are they derived from? We don’t know. The “flavorists” willingly admit that they will not tell you what exactly is in each flavor because it is all "proprietary." It could come from something God created and that is clean, but it could also come from something that is UNclean, yet still conbsidered "natural". We just don’t know for sure.
After I settled down inside, I wondered, “What can we do to better ensure that what we are getting is in line with God’s teachings about food?” I took the time to re-read Deuteronomy 14, Leviticus 11, and to search other scriptures and council about food and about the deception of these hidden ingredients.
Honestly? For now, I teeter back and forth between eating the foods we have stored and avoiding them like the plague. We already paid for them, and if I throw them away I feel that it would be wasteful. I don’t feel comfortable donating them, but I am not sure I can eat them because I don’t know what is hidden in the “Natural Flavorings” – is it clean or unclean?
The Flavorists willingly admit that one ingredient used in foods is the infamous beaver extract. It is derived from a gland in a beaver’s backside and is used to create berry and vanilla flavors. So, what other unclean creature is used to create ingredients that are put into our foods?
I believe that choosing to throw out foods and deciding how far you want to eliminate products has to be a personal decision for each family to decide through prayer, discussion, and discernment, as it will be for us. In the meant time, there are things we can all do for the future:
Be aware. Read articles and labels, watch videos, and even sign up on Facebook for discussion groups.
Know what is in your foods. If you don’t recognize an ingredient, pass for now, but write it down and look it up. Don’t be afraid to call the maker – just be ready for the “I can’t tell you that, it’s proprietary” response. Then, pass on the product if you don’t feel comfortable with what you learn.
One technique I have learned is to ask the manufacturer if the ingredients are animal based or plant based. If animal based, the won't often tell you from which animal, so we will simply avoid that product. An example of this is herbal teas: we have several we enjoy with vanilla flavoring in them - SOME have animal based flavorings in them. Herbal teas are plants, dried, chopped or crushed, and put into tea bags. There is no need for anything animal based to be in them!!!
Search for alternatives. I am so happy that many manufacturers are putting their labels online now. I found several mayonnaise products that are acceptable to replace my current product.
Next grocery trip set aside double the time it normally takes to shop, and relax. Take a small notebook with you. Write down the brands you find that you can use as replacements in your kitchen. Don’t be embarrassed to read every single label, and if necessary, take photos with your phone of what is good, bad, or questionable so that you don’t forget.
Learn to use plain, single herbs and spices to enhance flavors at home.
Genesis 1:29 “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed . . .”
Genesis 2:8 “And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food;. . .”
Before there were “flavorists” there were Grandmas. Remember when you were a child and the holidays came around? What do you remember from those times? I can recall baked cookies, cakes, pastries, and pies; there was roast beef and chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy and yams. I can almost smell them now. Those foods were created from just a few ingredients thrown together with recipes passed down for generations. A so called “Food Czar” for a major flavor enhancing company says they are trying to “create irresistibility and memorability” through their chemical concoctions, or as the bible calls it “Pharmakeia” (Galatians 5:19-21). I believe we need to get back to those old-fashioned recipes instead and create the irresistibility and memorability through ingredients God gave us.
Always remember: “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31
Video and Transcript: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-flavorists-tweaking-tastes-and-creating-cravings-27-11-2011/
What does "natural flavor" do to your taste buds and cravings? http://foodbabe.com/2011/12/01/chemical-warfare-with-natural-flavor/
I want to make this perfectly clear: I am a “prepper.” I had to say it, just in case there was any question!
I have been into emergency preparedness for over 30 years now. I initially learned about preparedness through the church to which I used to belong. They have an entire program designed to teach their membership all about having their families prepared for one full year – the principles I was taught said we were preparing for basically, “Armageddon.” Yet even then, I questioned that part of preparedness. Prepping made sense – my parents had food set aside, my grandparents, and I even recall my great grandparents having a pantry filled full of foods. Yet I recall their reasoning being, “For a rainy day.”
So, I am not waiting for Armageddon. Period. Why? Because I have learned over the years that being an “Armageddonist” when it comes to prepping is not the right way to approach the subject. I tend to be someone who believes in preparedness as an everyday thing. Being a prepper, to me, means that I will be ready for what comes my way.
It is a multi-tasking mission for my – I want long term storage for the “what if’s” of life that may come down the road in the future, but I also want a pantry-full and a freezer packed for the rainy days. Rainy days have come, you know.
Through my years of adulting, I have had to rely on food storage a number of times. Imagine for a moment, if you were one of those families who in recent weeks, was hit by a government shut-down. If you had a savings and food storage, AND your family was used to eating that food storage, you would not be fretting the shut-down as much as other families are. You could help some of your local families who also might be struggling.
Imagine being able to do unto others as the Bible says (Luke 6:31). Imagine being able to take care of other families – as is said in 1 John 3:17, “But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?”
Taking care of those in need might mean stretching out into your neighborhood or community and helping someone you see is in need. Imagine being able to take care of your family or another family at a time when one spouse or the other loses their job, is laid off, or forced to take a pay cut?
With food storage set aside, there would be much less to worry about, wouldn’t there? I have had moments like this in my years of adulting. When times were hard, and we needed to rely on what we had stored. THESE are reasons why I am not an Armageddon Prepper.
If you read our recent blog about the ice storm, we were trapped, and had it not been for our prepper mentality and a blessed impression upon Jim, we could have lost a lot of our cold foods. But we didn’t. We followed his inspiration as a Biblical Prepper, packed ice into pots and pans, and after almost 4 days without power we only lost a couple of bags of veggies.
Sort of like the mailman’s old motto, I want our home to be ready for rain, snow, sleet, and hail, but also for wind storms and ice storms. My hope is that we will be prepared for whatever the future hold: a trucker strike, job loss, lean times, that moment when a neighbor needs help, or any other emergency.
I will also say that having this mindset of being an everyday prepper has helped tremendously in many areas. Such as, knowing which foods are tasty, which are not. Which are easiest to prepare, and which will require excess water storage to be added to our plan. We know we need more water filters than anticipated, and more canning jars to put things up from the garden.
Having a “living” and rotating storage has helped us to discover another principle which I will write about soon, too: rationing early!
We know what foods we will store and what NOT to store ever again. Many of the pre-packaged meal type foods, for example, we did not like. After having lived on them for several months, we vowed to never buy those again! (You will have to read our upcoming review article on that one!). We learned there are certain freeze-dried foods that we will only open during dry season, and which will need to be eaten right away to prevent them absorbing too much moisture from humidity!
If I could give any new prepper advice, it would be: Don’t be an Armageddon prepper. Be a living, eating, rotating prepper. LIVE on what you store, and STORE what you live on.
It finally happened to us up here in the mountains: an extended power outage. We knew it was possible when we moved here, yet we’ve been truly blessed that it didn’t happen our first two winters.
Living at the end of a road, one way in and one way out has its advantages, but also its disadvantages. It’s definitely peaceful & quiet most of the time which makes it very relaxing. We can see who’s coming and going and the noise of the city, just 30 minutes or so away, doesn’t reach up this far. We are close enough to civilization, yet just far enough away to make it feel like you are “nowhere.”
The pitfall, though, is if those old trees along the road get weak or burdened by weather, and they come down. We may just find ourselves stuck for a while until they get to clearing the road and stringing the power lines again! THAT is exactly what happened in the ice storm November 2018.
We lost power for almost 4 full days. It was bitter cold outside, too. Snow and ice added to the drama of fallen trees and downed power lines. We decided we would just hunker down, stay warm, read books, and keep the fire going in the fireplace.
We made a bed in the living room, found all the flashlights we could, put on warm clothes, and hunkered down. We thought it was only going to be for a day. No problem. Then we got the automated message saying it was going to be out for several days.
We had just stocked the freezer and fridge with goodies for the upcoming holidays! What to do, what to do. . . we couldn’t get out to buy ice because of downed trees and power lines, and we didn’t want to lose all our foods. Jim came up with the brilliant idea: Since we couldn’t go GET ice at the store, why not use the ice God gave us!
So outside we went with hatchets, pots and pans, and dressed toasty warm.
We chiseled ice off everything we could – any ice source that would break off easily ended up in every large canning and soup pot we own. We took those and stuffed them into the freezers and refrigerator. Things like dairy – milk, cheeses, and cream cheese – I placed into a large pot and surrounded those with ice. Other products, we just put on the shelves accordingly – items that needed more refrigeration were closer to the pot of ice, those like vegetables and fruits, were further away.
We also put two large pots of ice on the top shelf of the upright freezer. We figured that the turkey and whole chicken in the bottom would keep that section cold, and the ice pots in the top, would keep the top cold. When it was all over and done, we were surprised to open the freezer to discover that ALL the meat was still frozen solid. It was SO cold in there that even a small ¾ lb pack of ground we stuck in there hoping to just keeping it from spoiling – had frozen solid! All we lost was a small package or three of frozen herbs, and two bags of frozen vegetables that had thawed completely.
When all the neighbors started checking on each other, we were surprised to learn that so many of them had lost the foods in the fridges and freezers by day two. Jim asked them, “Why didn’t you put the foods outside or even grab ice and bring it inside in containers?” He then explained what we had done.
We kept hearing over and over again, “Why didn’t I think of that?!” Honestly, I felt a little guilty at first that we hadn’t thought to text everyone and let them in on our little freezer secret. Yet, Jim said, he kind of thought folks would have known to do something like that. It seemed like both common sense and something they would have been used to doing, since folks up here have lived up here for so long. He thought they would know how to be prepared.
We consider ourselves more like city-folk, yet we seemed more prepared than a lot of people we ran into after that storm. Even folks we talked to at the store after the outage. We mentioned what we did to keep our foods safe, and everyone acted shocked and surprised.
I will say that I can’t be too taken aback by all their surprise. A few weeks later someone mentioned to me that we should have bottles of water – gallons work well – inside our upright freezer. Apparently, when your freezer is a bit low on foods, you fill the empty space with water bottles, and the frozen water will help the unit run more efficiently.
I have always known that a full freezer operates better. I just never thought to actually fill the empty spaces with water bottles! This will protect the foods should we have another outage, AND provide a form of water storage, too. So, what goes around comes around, there I was saying out loud, “Now why didn’t I think of that?!”
So what else did we learn from our ice storm experience? We can make it through, for one – even several days without power can be dealt with. You do it the old fashioned way: read BOOKS! But we also learned, I can make coffee and tea in the corner of the fireplace if I have to, we need more fire wood, and we need to check on our neighbors sooner!
We need to reteach ourselves to think, evaluate the circumstances, and act!!!
Jim has decades of experience with service in the U.S. military, in the Intelligence field, as a commander in USAF-AUX overseeing air and land search & rescue teams and Emergency Services operations, he also had substantial FEMA training, and organized a CERT team. Most of all Jim has been trained and served in various ministry positions to include serving as a hospital chaplain.
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