CLEAN TIPS: Reading Labels… ALWAYS

I apologize in advance for the rant you are about to read. So if you’re not in the mood for one, I suggest you go watch funny cat videos on You Tube.

What am I ticked off about?

Let me start with coconut milk.


I recently found a recipe (thanks to Mel Joulwan) for whipped cream made from a can of coconut milk. Great, right? Especially considering grocery stores never–AND I MEAN NEVER–have cream without carrageenan. I figured this would be a fantastic alternative. No longer would I have to watch everyone else eat whipped cream on their pie. Coconut milk was easy to come by and could be kept in the cupboard for, like, ever. I remember a time not that long ago when I could walk into my local grocery store and pick from any number of coconut milk brands that were free of stabilizers, just coconut milk and water. Not anymore. Guar gum. In EVERY SINGLE BRAND.

Then I go to buy prepared horseradish. Guess what? All four brands had guar gum.

Tomatoes. I needed a can of diced tomatoes for a chili recipe. Out of the five or so brands, only ONE didn’t have natural flavors, although it did have citric acid and calcium chloride which I’d rather do without. One brand! They’re tomatoes for God’s sake! They should just be tomatoes!


Tonight, I went to make a sandwich and thought, I haven’t checked mayo labels in a long time. I’d been buying Best Foods for years because it was the only “clean” brand, and honestly, I’d become complacent about reading the label when it was time for a new jar. Just to check and make sure, I flipped my jar around, and yep… you guessed it. Natural flavors. Natural flavors in my 100% natural ketchup, too.


So what’s the big deal with natural flavors, you ask? What could be bad about natural flavors? They’re natural!
Here’s the deal with natural flavors. It can be anything. Anything at all that is “naturally” derived instead of “artificially” derived. A scientist could use a hundred different ingredients to create that flavor and add it to the foods without having to identify ANY of the individual components. As we know, not all natural things are good for those of us with migraines, like guar gum for instance, and Oh yeah! MSG (made from seaweed). Using a catch-all phrase like natural flavors is essentially a way for food producers to hide MSG because they know consumers are hesitant to buy products that contain it. Is seeing NATURAL FLAVORS on the label a guarantee it’s MSG? No. But it’s a high likelihood, otherwise, why wouldn’t they just be honest and list the ingredients? It’s so incredibly WRONG. It infuriates me.


Yes, I can make my own mayo, and ketchup, and horseradish, and stew my own tomatoes, and boil my own coconut to make milk, but I work full time and HAVE A LIFE. It makes me so angry that simple foods that we ate for years without crap are now compromised, all to benefit the pockets of the food producer’s, while I, and others who have reactions to crap, have to devote our lives to making everything from scratch in order to be pain free. No wonder migraines are rampant!

Deep breath.

Okay. Here’s the bottom line: No matter how many times you’ve bought a “clean” product, read the label again. Read it every single time you buy something and read it on EVERYTHING even if you think there can’t be anything in it (like I assumed of stewed tomatoes).

Rant over.

Until next time (when I’ll be in a much cheerier mood)…

Later gators.

One Response to “CLEAN TIPS: Reading Labels… ALWAYS

  • Right on! I share your anger and frustration!

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