You’ve probably seen the words ‘free from preservatives and artificial flavours’ written on all kinds of food packaging, but what does this really mean?
Recently, I’ve been watching River Cottage with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and it got me questioning what I eat. Where does my food come from and what’s really in it?
So I started reading the packaging on foods. And feeling rather disturbed by how many foods had preservatives in them, I decided it was time for a change.
Listening to my body
As a breastfeeding mother, I’m highly aware how what I eat affects my baby. I soon came to realise a pattern of restlessness and irritation in both of us, mainly after eating processed foods, chips, lollies, some breads and even stocks I added to home-cooked food.
I began to keep watch for anything with a preservative or a number (those starting with E are the worst culprits). Nearly all the foods I bought had some sort of number. Some are said to be harmless but I wanted to eliminate them and free my body.
Removing my formerly beloved comfort foods from my diet made me realise that although I sometimes craved them, they didn’t always make me feel good. And the more I learned what was actually in them, the less I wanted these kinds of food.
I discovered there are even yummier foods I can cook to give me comfort. Pizza bases, rough puff pastry, a double batch of cookies that froze for later… suddenly I had a renewed enjoyment of planning my weekly menu and sourcing local produce.
I’m now excited about what I can do with food and it’s become a family affair – my husband and two little ones are having fun in the kitchen, too. My body is feeling healthier with less headaches, irritability and tummy aches. More importantly I have a sleeping and contented baby.
I no longer crave salty foods, but find I’m wanting to eat more healthy foods.
For me, removing preservatives from my diet is a lifestyle and mindset change, one that is most definitely for the better. Although I still occasionally enjoy chocolate, I’m much more careful about what sort and the quantity I consume.
After years of eating preservatives, I notice a significant change now when I do have a food or drink with colourings or preservatives. I usually regret it and discover that it didn’t taste as good as I remember!
The best gift I can give my family is healthy fresh food that’s preservative free…
How to free yourself from preservatives
- Check the packaging on food you’re buying. There’s generally an equally good product that’s better for you.
- Get to know your local health food store. You can often bulk buy which saves you money.
- Fresh is best. Check out your local farmers’ markets.
- Grow your own whenever and wherever you can – in your garden or in your allotment.
- Make instead of buy – this is so often easier than you think.
- Make changes slowly so you don’t overwhelm yourself. This will make it easier to succeed long term.
- Remember, you are making a change for the better.