Recently, I had a bit of a wake up call regarding the ingredients in things that I buy. I’ve been purchasing almond milk and soy milk for years, and never really thought twice about the ingredients in them. But then I heard someone say that a lot of plant milks are made with an ingredient called carrageenan, which may be a carcinogenic (in other words, it may cause cancer). But the purpose of this post is not to discuss carrageenan and whether or not it’s a carcinogenic. (I’ve done some research and still do not feel qualified to make a suggestion one way or another.) Rather, if you’re reading this, I want to encourage you to always investigate your products’ ingredient lists so you can feel confident about what you’re putting in your body.
This realization about my soy milk forced me to acknowledge the fact that I never really look at the nitty gritty ingredients on my products. I tend to skim the nutrition label in general for sugar, protein, fat, and nutrient content. And I’ll usually peak at the first few ingredients just to make sure I know what the product is mostly made with. But the truth is, we should be looking at every single ingredient in the things that we buy. Yes, this can seem like a crazy task, especially considering how long those lists can get nowadays. But it really is a good idea to familiarize yourself with all of the ingredients. If you see something on there that you’ve never heard of, I encourage you to look it up! It could be something completely normal and harmless, or it could be something you really don’t want to be putting in your body. Either way, it’s a good idea to educate yourself.
- Always take a good look at the nutrition label on the product you’re buying, considering both macronutrients (fat, protein, carbs) and micronutrients (calcium, magnesium, Vitamin D, folate, etc…).
- Read the ingredients list completely. Don’t just read the first few, although those are important.
- If you see an ingredient you haven’t heard of or don’t know anything about, do some research on it.
- When in doubt, make your own — this way you can control exactly what’s going into your food.
I’m not trying to make you paranoid about all the foods you’re buying. But I thought this would be a good opportunity to discuss the importance of reading about ingredients. Knowledge is power, right? Happy eating!