Tuesday, May 29, 2012

UNJUNK YOUR JUNK FOOD - a book review

As you know, I am a big believer in eliminating processed foods from our diets. I believe they contain harmful preservatives and chemicals that wreak havoc on our bodies. However, I also know that we do not live in a perfect world where we have time to bake or make every single item we eat. It simply is not realistic. So I am always on the lookout for snacks that are portable and tasty – but above all, healthy.

I stumbled upon a page on facebook called Naturally Savvy and this book – “Unjunk Your Junk Food”,   written by Andrea Donsky and Randy Boyer. I immediately contacted the page owner to see if they would consider letting me do a review of it and I was thrilled when they said yes! As I opened the book I told myself to keep an open mind because sometimes I am disappointed by books that offer no more information than I can get with a quick internet search. I am happy to say I was not disappointed!

This book is an excellent guide on how to choose snacks that are tasty and made with natural ingredients. It is small enough to carry in your purse so you can take it shopping with you for a handy dandy reference guide.

It begins with a section on how to read food labels, moves on to explain the basics of a well-balanced diet and then proceeds to describe some of packaged foods worst ingredients.

Their worst ingredients list is broken up into groups called "The Scary Seven." Here is that scary list:

HFCS: High-Fructose Corn Syrup (AKA glucose-fructose in Canada and not to be confused with corn syrup)
TRANS-FATS: Anything listed as 'partially hydrogenated' or 'hydrogenated' (includes vegetable shortening)
MSG: Monosodium Glutamate
ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS: Any artificial flavoring
ARTIFICIAL COLORS: Any type of artificial dyes
ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS: Chemical sweeteners including Aspartame, Splenda (sucralose), Ace-K (Acesulfame Potassium), Saccharine, etc.
PRESERVATIVES: Polysorbate 60, 65 & 80, TBHQ, Sodium Benzoate, BHA, BHT, Sulfur Dioxide (sulfites)

This book offers side by side comparisons of the worst offenders and their healthier alternatives. It not only list ingredients that you should avoid altogether (and why) in the “bad” choice, but also lists “questionable” ingredients that may be in the healthier alternative as well.

I also like that it breaks the foods down into variety of junk food groups.  You can find sections on Chips, Dips, & Party Food, Ice Cream & Other Treats, Cookies, Chocolate, Cakes & Other Desserts, Granola Bars & Other On-The-Go Snacks, Candy, Soda & Other Drinks.

There is also a glossary for all the ingredients mentioned that explains why they are bad for you, and a full listing of brands they have pre-approved for you, along with their websites so you can find them easily. 

If you are at a loss when it comes to deciphering the ingredients panel on packaged foods, I would recommend this book. You can get a sneak peak of the book by clicking here. It can be purchased at Barnes and Noble or on Amazon.com.

Disclaimer: This product was given to me for free to review, however, the opinions are expressly my own.


Laura @ Mommy run fast said...

Sounds like a great resource! I've done a lot of that research on my own, but it takes time... I'm glad to hear there's a book out there to help us navigate the options.

Tasha @Healthy Diva said...

I really need to read this book. I have been trying to eliminate a lot of gluten and the more over processed snack items from diet over the last couple of weeks because I was having so many tummy issues. The result has been great for me. I am going 11 days with no tummy aches and no tums! My pain problem is finding good snack items for work. I have been eating more veggies and I love to take celery sticks and sweet bell peppers to snack on. Thanks for sharing!

Kari said...

This sounds like a great book, and would be an easy 'go to' reference.

Brandi said...

Thank you so much for sharing this!! It really is amazing how difficult it is to get rid of these things in your diet. I am really glad that someone broke it down! I am definitely going to get this!