How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE

We are What We Eat!

68 Comments


Really? In that case I’m afraid. I don’t plan to talk about steroids or food fads. I want to talk about staying alive.

Aren’t we told to read ingredient labels of food we buy? Isn’t it true the words you cannot pronounce on these labels are really preservatives?  Remember the caution to cut back on processed food because it is loaded with salt?

Have I a story about a home experiment. About three or so months ago, I made from-scratch hamburgers for my grandkids but not home-baked buns. Who thinks about making their own buns? No biggie, right? All’s normal. Everybody buys buns.

The kids and their Mom enjoyed the meal and I was pleased to see everyone happy. The next day, I had another burger for lunch and another the day after. Two buns remained on my kitchen island in the plastic bag they’d come in. Another day went by and it occurred to me the buns should be thrown out because surely they were hard and moldy by now. Wrong. I poked my finger at a bun but it sprang back as if fresh. I scratched my head. A week had evolved but not these buns.

I decided to keep an eye on the bag. Another week crawled by. Still, the buns hadn’t cracked nor lost their elasticity. Remember your school-day science experiments with moldy bread? No mold had taken up residence in the moist plastic environment in my kitchen.

morgueFile free photo

morgueFile free photo

  • Ingredients: enriched wheat flour, water, sugar/glucose-fructose, yeast, soybean and/or canola oil, salt, wheat gluten, calcium propionate, monoglycerides, sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate
  • On the front of the bag: Cholesterol-free / 100% vegetable oil (but doesn’t the ingredient list say soybean and/or canola?)

I kept moving the bag because it gave me the creeps—from one counter to another. Bread is supposed to develop mold under the right conditions and grow hard and crusty. Almost four months later, here I sit without a clue what’s kept this product from walking away on its own. Instead, we are both stuck in the Twilight Zone. Today, the buns are harder on the bottom but the tops, although this much later, still spring back. This is not normal. You would think by now my finger should poke a hole through the crust, but no crust yet.

Even if I say so myself, I know I am well preserved, but that’s from the family gene pool. Why the heck do I need or want help from (food) preservatives from someone I don’t even know, from who knows where? After this experiment, who can I trust?

Do you know what’s in your food?

And then there are eggs—but that’s for another day. I’m worn out; its stressful stumbling about in the land of One Step Beyond.

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Author: Let's CUT the Crap!

I'm getting a little LONG in the tooth and have things to say about---ouch---AGEing. I believe it's certainly a state of mind but sometimes it's nice to hear that you're NORMAL. I enjoy reading by the truckload. I'm a grandma but I don't feel OLD although I'm not so young anymore. My plan is to stick it out as long as I can on this lovely planet and only will leave it kicking and screaming!

68 thoughts on “We are What We Eat!

  1. A very good question! One that sometimes I’m afraid to ask!

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  2. Eeew! Now you have me wondering if my guts will by osmosis adopt such elasticity and shelf-life, or if they’ll spawn some type of cancer cells by and by. Thank you for the enlightenment!

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  3. Great post and it is important to read labels. You questioned the cholesterol level but a vegetable oil doesn’t contain cholesterol. Cholesterol is an animal derived fat and solid at room temp. Saturated fats = cholesterol. Unsaturated fats (eg. vegetable oils) don’t. It can get complicated when unsaturated fats have hydrogen added to make them saturated and then the cholesterol content is questionable. That’s why reading labels is especially important because if it says hydrogenated then it may also mean saturated = cholesterol added. FYI: for those really into the minutia of labels, as I am. Hafta be as a health care provider. Happy weekend. 🙂

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  4. This is a fantastic post Tess because it is so shocking and important! I wonder wherpther you could submit it to some scientific or perhaps food mag? It’s a very ordinary, simple experiment that you have done and that why it stands out so strongly. I doubt many others have done this at home. 🙂 so why not give it a go and send your research on. Best of the best to you! xo

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  5. Over the past several months, I’ve been radically changing my diet. I’ve even to the point of baking my own bread, because commercial bread has been, well, disagreeing with me lately. We hardly eat out anymore either. I almost think there are more chemicals in our food than actual food. Bleh. Thanks for a great, insightful blog! 😉

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  6. Personally, I like my food fresh, not embalmed with mysterious chemicals and food additives. Too bad I don’t have time to cook from scratch anymore. Maybe someday. Great post, btw. Love your sense of humor, lady.

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  7. I am becoming a bit more careful with what I eat. But I have a long way to go. Baby steps are steps though tiny ones. It is sometimes scary when you read the labels

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  8. I bake my own bread. It goes moldy in a couple of days. It’s supposed to. Mold is a living thing, and if it won’t grow on your bread, it is because your bread hasn’t even got enough nutrition to sustain MOLD.

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  9. I have the name of a great book for you. Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal by Melanie Warner. Not just American either, but the Western meal. It will tell you exactly why your buns aren’t walking around by themselves.

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  10. That is disgusting and very disturbing! It reminds me of the McDonalds experiment. The same thing happened, except instead of just the bun, the whole burger stayed in tiptop shape for months. For some crazy reason, people still wonder why there are so many more illnesses these days. Give me a farm with livestock and a big vegetable garden and I’ll be happy.

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  11. I am open minded about it, some clever people are working on projects like this but your case does sound rather extreme!

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  12. Hi Tess,
    Very interesting post! I’ve heard that if something contains ingredients you you can pronounce, you shouldn’t eat it. These days that includes most packaged foods. I talked to a guy who knew an airplane pilot–it was in the days before 9/11. There he saw a piece of lettuce tacked to the back wall of the cockpit. They too were conducting a little experiment. They didn’t know what kind of chemical preservatives had been used on the leaf of lettuce, but after ten or twelve days it was still green. He stopped eating airplane food after that.

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  13. I remember hearing a while ago about a similar experiment being done with a Twinkie, where it was put in a plastic bag, they introduced a little bit of water in there, some warmth, nothing. Can’t remember how long they left it, but it was definitely scarily long! Even if we make things from scratch, some of the ingredients might have been subjected to certain things we wish they hadn’t while being grown, or reared, or whatever. It’s pretty hard to avoid the bad stuff!

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  14. Yuk, yuk, yuk! How can it be possible to eat this and be healthy? I’m fussy about what I eat most of the time but then I have horrid lapses. I don’t eat meat, only fish and take aways are far too expensive anyway. Really interesting Tess!

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  15. Okay, I am now whigged out. We don’t eat a great amount of bread in our house, but eeww. I have tried to get more healthy in my eating habits, more fresh foods, less processed foods. This makes me want to get even more so.

    All I can say, throw the buns away Tess. Throw them away.

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    • Eeww, is right. Some years ago I started reading, “Last Chance to Eat,” by Gina Mallett but didn’t finish it as it put me off food. Another commenter also mentioned, “Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal by Melanie Warner. I took a peek inside at Amazon. Ugh.

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  16. I always buy whole-wheat bread, but when it comes to hamburger buns, I cave in to my kids’ pleas for white buns since they already have to ‘suffer’ with ground turkey breast as the meat. There’s usually always one bun left, and I end up tossing it because it won’t get eaten. You’ve just inspired me to keep it around a little longer. It can become a fun family game: how long will it take for the mold to appear? We can place bets. 😉

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    • Someone suggested, “Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal by Melanie Warner.” which I looked up on Amazon and read the first few pages. Ugh. Some years back I started another book, “Last Chance to Eat,” by Gina Mallet. I didn’t finish it and now I know why. I hope for ignorance being bliss because reading made me lose my appetite.

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  17. My word…that is a bit scary…it might just attack you one day.
    Our buns certainly don’t last that long…or maybe they do…we just eat them.

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  18. I too occasionally buy ‘white’, processed buns. But even they do eventually go moldy. Your experience is truly scary, Tess! I think you should ‘name and shame’ the manufacturer…or better, get someone like Morgan Spurlock on the case. He does a great job of exposing the sins of the mega food corporations.

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    • Thanks for the tip, Laurie. I thought I might try our local paper but haven’t decided how yet.
      About 5 years ago I started reading, “Last Chance to Eat.” by Gina Mallet. I dug it out after this post. Now I know why I didn’t finish. Another commenter suggested another book as well, but I can’t recall the title. Ew.

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  19. I never know what scares me more: if it gets moldy, or if it stays “fine” – what on earth have they put in it?
    Talk about food for thought!

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  20. Tess – I’ll agree with Delft from above. We are definitely what we eat and you’ve handed us food for thought. Until I left home for college, I’d never met a commercially prepared slice of bread, bun, biscuit, muffin, etc. My mother prepared everything from scratch with wheat, oats, etc. from the family farm. When mom passed we all knew we’d never have the pleasure of exploding taste buds the way we had at Mother’s table. The same was true for the beef cattle raised in the lot next to the barn, the hogs and chickens kept to feed the family. It’s amazing to me how we really did live off the land and i’d not given it much thought.

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  21. My advice is to keep away from chemical laden foodstuffs as one almost glows from the toxins, okay not in reality but do we really know the secret ingredients added and more importantly what they can do to the body after consumption? 😦

    I guess they must be alright to eat, after all they are rigorously tested are they not? I prefer to keep well away from fast foods and the like, and instead choose healthier, I mean how many peeps bother to peel a simple looking potato, or grate a humble looking carrot these days, not so many I would wager, but then it is down to preference, or an easy meal as it were.

    I think home grown vegetables are definitely
    worth a punt and if I can grow them, anyone can 🙂
    Have a really great rest of weekend Tess 🙂

    I enjoyed reading your posting on
    the longer lasting homemade buns 🙂

    Andro xxxx

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    • I started to read a book about five years ago but didn’t finish and it was all about how our food is ‘manufactured’ and the fillers that are put in for cost effectiveness. Ugh. I gave up but dug it out after writing this post.

      Last Chance to Eat by Gina Mallet, and another one a commenter mentioned I can’t remember now. 🙂 I cook everything from scratch and never buy processed anything. Do you know what’s in those processed cheese slices? Ew.

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      • I can imagine that it is something rather gross, it makes one wonder what else we are eating in the food chain, of course, like you I prefer homemade, or at least home grown products and then instead of the alternative microwave rubbish, everything is either steamed or grilled, which is a lot better health wise 🙂 Too many people choose the quick meal options but I don’t like all the added salt, sugars, and the rest 😦 Eeuuw

        Andro xxxx

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      • Copious salt and sugar is the enemy too.
        Thanks for the conversation, Gray. It’s been interesting.

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    • I started a book about five years ago and never finished. After this post, I dug it out again. I remember why I didn’t finish reading the darn thing. Ignorance is sometimes bliss but not after this latest ‘experiment’.
      No longer available at Chapters (I check): Last Chance to Eat by Gina Mallet.

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  22. Love, love, love this post! Yes how scary. I try to eat organic and I have a motto, I don’t buy or eat things that have names I can’t pronounce! Stay away!

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  23. A well written post indeed. These days, I find more and more of Indian food treated – wax on apples to make them last longer, bananas gassed with ethylene to make them ripen faster, batches of lady’s finger that surprisingly don’t have a singe worm, milk that is full of hormones (injections given to the cow for increased lactation) etc. It scares me. But, in cities like Mumbai where real estate is gold, we really don’t have the option of our own kitchen garden. Makes me want to create an alternate universe.

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  24. I know what you mean. I’m astounded at the shelf-life of food these days. Strawberries last over a week. A head of romaine lettuce still looked okay after a trip over seven days. Something is happening in the food world and no one is talking.

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