Complete Loss of Energy… And Some Surprising Facts

Dear all,

Usually people are completely energy depleted after a long work out, a long exhausting work day or because of too much partying… I loose all my energy after spending more than two hours in a shopping mall. No, make that 1 hour or even just thirty minutes. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to go shopping and at some point in my life even called myself a “shopaholic“.

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The type of shopping that I enjoy involves beautiful small shops, strolling along streets, hitting a nice restaurant or cafe in between, and getting lots of fresh air between shops.

Mall shopping is so on the other end of the shopping spectrum- a huge building with hundreds of shops, mostly artificial light, a constant noise level that gets amplified in the enclosed space, and a gazillion people. Not a single quiet spot… and to top it off, the unavoidable, most horrific place that has ever been invented, the food court. Anyone who is looking for “normal”, healthy, non processed food should try to steer clear of this awful place all together. Sometimes though, the need of food leaves you no other choice than to go on the quest to find the least harmful food in the food court.

This is exactly what happened to our children and me today. Our mission was to exchange one book and to maybe find a pair of pants for my son in a specific shop. Sounds easy, took us forever. Shopping in a mall means that your car is parked a fair distance away from the shop that you want to visit. So just getting to the shop took us roughly 20 minutes. Exchanging the book took 1 minute. Walking to the next shop to look for pants took another 10 minutes, the shop being located on a different level. As usual, his size was sold out- it took the shop assistant another 20 minutes to find that out.

By that time we already had enough of our shopping experience and my daughter felt hungry. Going back home would have taken too long so we set out to find a place that would offer some type of decent- as in healthy- food. The cafes offered only sugar laden food so we ended up… yes, in my beloved food court. Our eyes moved from one chain restaurant booth to the next… Nothing looked even remotely natural. In the end, the kids had the idea to eat at Subway and that’s where we ended up going. We opted for whole grain bread and veggies and turned down the dairy yogurt option included in the kids’ meals.

Overall, I thought we did pretty well. The setting of the food court does not really allow you to enjoy your meal and so we were done quick- and that might be the idea behind it: eat fast, buy more bad food and continue shopping to spend some more money. Well, I get it, it’s about business, not making people healthy. Once again though, the kids were shocked by the sheer number of overweight people in the food court. Ben said that one of the chain restaurant names actually stands for Kids Fattening Center” – sounds funny, but is actually the sad truth.

azo2Anyway, while writing this post, I was wondering where the bread that we ate at Subway was actually made and googled it. I stumbled across the appalling fact that Subway bread contains a “dangerous plastic chemical called azodicarbonamide – the same stuff used in yoga mats, shoe rubber and synthetic leather” (read more on http://foodbabe.com/2014/02/07/subway-update/). Naturally, I wanted to fond out what this substance does and why they add it to their breads. Here is the answer:

In the old days, bread would go stale within a day or two of baking, and start to grow mold in 3 to 4. But today, you can buy a bread that will stay soft and fresh for two weeks and even more. Part of the miracle of stay soft forever bread is the additive called azodicarbonamide, which plays 2 important roles in mass manufacturing of bread: it is a bleaching agent and improves flour strength, which improves the dough’s ability to retain gas and makes the bread more elastic.

Azodicarbonamide (E927) is an orange, odorless, powder.  It has non-food applications such as a foaming agent in plastics, in photography and electronics.

Is it safe? Depends who you ask.

Europe and Australia ban the use of azodicarbonamide because it is a “respiratory sensitizer” that can cause asthmatic and other allergic reaction. In Singapore, the use of azodicarbonamide in food products can lead to a lengthy jail sentence.

And in the US? Azodicarbonamide is considered GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) by the FDA. Despite being “safe” it can be added to flour only in tiny amounts – 45 parts per million!

Would I eat something like that or feed it to my children? NEVER!!

My advise is to make sure the ingredient list for bread is short and does not contain Azodicarbonamide (E927), partially hydrogenated fats, potassium bromate (used as a dough conditioner),  DATEM (Diacetyl Tartaric Acid Esters of Monoglycerides, another dough conditioner) and artificial colors (you’d be surprised but some breads include artificial colors).

We are lucky to have found an amazing friend and artisan baker (http://www.burleighbaker.com/) who only makes incredibly tasty, healthy, organic bread- and will hopefully soon write a guest post on my site! Thank you Geoff and Lisa!

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Writing about all the bad stuff companies put into our foods, makes me crave a healthy, great meal. This is what I am having in mind: Super refreshing

watermelon lime mint spinach juice

juiceSee recipe on http://plantbasedhappy.com/?page_id=3850

…and cannellini beans on fresh Burleigh Baker organic bread with tomatoes and fresh sage

P1020222See recipe on http://plantbasedhappy.com/?page_id=275

Stay healthy and avoid food courts.

Cheers,

Ursula

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