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/
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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