What’s Really In Your Food!?


Do you really know what is in the foods you and your family eat?

I was asked by my local PEO chapter to do a presentation on the hidden things in your food so I did a little digging and came up with a TON of material. I only listed a handful of ingredients found in some of our foods because, really, the list could go on and on!

It is very scary to see what they put into our foods! It’s also hard to ignore all the posts on Facebook, Pinterest and other blogs about the horrible things found in your foods and trying to eat clean or follow the Paleo diet, I know I can’t. I am pretty sure McAllen and it’s surrounding cities were listed as one of the United States fattest cities on some recent posts on Facebook. I think we can do ourselves and our families a big favor by knowing what we are putting into our bodies and eliminating those things that are affecting our health.

Here is the list of ingredients I came up with that are hiding in our foods. I tried to list examples of products we can find in our local stores that contain these not-so healthy ingredients.

Isinglassdried fish bladders that can be found in beer to give it it’s lighter/golden color. Sounds YUMMY? EX. Guinness

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Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO)– added to sports drinks and citrus flavored sodas to keep the ingredients from separating. Contains Bromine, which is found in flame retardants and can lead to to early puberty. Yes, I really want to give this to my kids, NOT! EX. Fresca, Mountain Dew and Fanta.


L-Cysteine (E 920)– made from fibers of human hair or even duck feathers. It is used as a softening agent found in baked goods at grocery stores and restaurant chains. Has been reported to be found McDonald’s and Wendy’s rolls, Dominos Pizza, Dunkin Donuts and Einstein Bagels. Just GROSS! EX. Wonderbread, King’s Hawaiian Bread


Propylene Glycol– a thickening agent used to make baked goods, salad dressings and hair products. It is also used to make antifreeze. It alters your skin cells by helping chemicals reach your bloodstream. I guess I’ll be throwing these cakes mixes away! EX. Duncan Hines and Betty Crocker cake mixes, Blue Bonnet Vegetable Oil Spread, Loreal Hair Dye and Corona Beer.

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Cellulose/Sawdust– used to prevent foods from sticking together. Listed as “fibrous plant material.” I always wanted to eat sawdust on my Italian food, said no one, EVER! EX. Kraft Parmesan Cheese, Blue Bell Ice Cream.


Gelatin (Animal Tissue)– boiled animal (cows, chickens and pigs) connective tissue found in fruit chews, marshmallows, frosted cereals, yogurt, candy, sour cream. This just makes me want to cry! We can’t survive many car trips without our fruit snacks!

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Cochineal Extract/Carmine– bodies of crushed up beetles used in red food dyes. Ewwwww! EX. Ocean Spray Grapefruit Juice, Strawberry Yoplait Yogurt, Snapple Mango Madness.

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Arsenic- a metal, can be found in grains, fruits and vegetables due to absorption from the ground and water. We lived off of rice growing up, glad I think I was overdosed because I don’t ever make white rice anymore. EX. Apple juice, white rice, infant rice cereal and Kellogs Rice Crispies cereal.

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Tartrazine/Yellow #5– a yellow food dye that is linked to childhood hyperactivity.  Again, all the kids favorites down the drain! EX. marshmallow treats, gummy bears, lemonade mix, macaroni and cheese, chips.

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Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)– a flavor enhancer found in almost all processed and packaged foods and Chinese foods. It seems like this stuff is found in almost everything. YIKES!  EX. Stove Top cornbread stuffing, Ranch dressing mix, Cheetos, Bouillion cubes.

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Sodium Benzoate– a preservative that is linked to childhood hyperactivity. Yuuuummmmy, NOT! EX. jelly, syrup, pasta sauces, dressings, cheese, pickles.

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Carrageenan- a gel extract from seaweed used as a thickening agent. It is injected to into raw meats to help retain water. Yuck, Yuck, Yuck!  EX. Redi Whip, Blue Bell ice cream, almond milk, pop tarts, cottage cheese.

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I am not trying to scare anyone or tell anyone that they need to change their diet, but I think we should all be aware of what we are putting into our bodies and into the bodies of those we love.

I strongly think that we can eliminate illnesses by eating more healthy and eliminating highly processed foods and drinks from our everyday diet. I try for the most part to follow a clean diet or Paleo diet, but sometimes I just have to give into my cravings or I find myself somewhere where the most healthy options are not available. I think exercise and practicing moderation is key to living a healthy lifestyle.

I like to follow a clean eating diet, which means I do not (try not) to eat any processed foods. I eat mainly fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats.


[Related article: Healthy Breakfast Ideas]

Here is a list of my favorite foods you can eat, if you choose a clean eating diet: all fresh fruits and vegetables, organic meats (beef, poultry, seafoods), nuts, natural nut butters, brown and wild rice, whole grain breads, tortillas and pastas, Greek yogurt, organic cheeses, quinoa, rolled oats, hummus, organic eggs, almond milk, coffee, tea and water.

Foods that I avoid or try to avoid are: all sodas and other sugary drinks, fast food, fried foods, foods with added preservatives, dried fruits, canned fruits and vegetables, candy, chips, juices and cereals.

Again, I believe moderation is key! If you can follow a healthy eating lifestyle 80% of the week and give yourself the other 20% of the week to indulge a little, I think you will be able to be successful, feel the difference in your energy levels, you may see a difference in your muscle tone, and in your waistline and in your overall health in the long run. Cheers to that!

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Kelly was raised in League City, Texas and now lives in Weslaco, Texas where her husband, Rocco grew up. Kelly and Rocco moved to the Valley in 2008 so Rocco could work for his family's business, JR Produce Supply in Edinburg. Kelly is a former High School Biology Teacher. Now, she is a stay at home mother with 2 children, Jack (3) and Brooke (1). If she is not spending time with her family you can probably find her running around town or at the gym, or cooking/baking in the kitchen. Kelly also loves traveling to the beach and to League City to visit her family. Her husband would probably say she is addicted to Pinterest and working out.


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