Posted by: suzan | April 20, 2012

Unjunk Your Junk Food – A Book Review

People will often say, “hey, you can snack as long as you snack sensibly”. Yes, but what is “sensibly”? It could have different connotations to different people – some think little amounts of high fructose corn syrup is sensible. Well, certain things can be eaten in moderation but high fructose corn syrup certainly shouldn’t be one of them. In my own opinion, snacking should always be limited but if you are going to snack, then try to snack on foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, unprocessed cheese, yogurt, cereal, and so forth. But sometimes your body and your mind craves for something “junky”. After all, you see countless advertisements on chips, ice cream, cakes, and other similar products and your brain sends signals that make you crave those foods even more. So, in order to start snacking sensibly, you can train your brain to eat, buy, and learn about sensible snacks instead of craving the less healthier versions.

Common sense can pretty much tell you that foods ladened with saturated fat, artificial ingredients, hydrogenated oils, refined sugar, salt additives, and other similar ingredients can harm your body in the long run. Of course avoiding them altogether is a pretty hard feat to accomplish since we don’t always know what is added into foods that we buy in restaurants. However, you do have control over what you buy in grocery stores and what you put in your home. One new book that was recently published helps us define the meaning between healthier snacks and junk snacks. This book, ‘Unjunk Your Junk Food’, was written by the creators and founders of Naturally Savvy (http://www.naturallysavvy.com/), a website and company dedicated to providing people with intelligent knowledge about eating and being healthy. In the book, ‘Unjunk Your Junk Food’, the authors illustrate the difference between healthier snacks and unhealthy snacks. With beautiful images and clear-cut instructions and information, this book is your new go-to bible of healthier junk food eating.

As the author points out, ” Junk food, by its very definition, is not a substitute for a healthy meal, but if you don’t choose wisely, certain ingredients can actually make snacking hazardous to your health.” According to the book, hazardous ingredients are usually ingredients that are artificial, or man made. In the US, many artificial ingredients are used to replace real ingredients to lower cost and increase production. Certain hazardous ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup can actually elevate cholesterol levels in your body, elevate obesity and metabolic syndrome. And it’s highly addictive – most sugars are. The book also notes that reading ingredients and labels is crucial in gaining an upperhand in buying and eating healthier snacks. I was intrigued by the book the minute I received it and had actually anticipated reading it even before it was sold in stores. Each page clearly gives you the “bad” choice and the “good” choice when it comes to snacks and although not every single snack choice is listed in the book, it’s pretty detailed and complete.

As a Naturally Savvy blogger, I was given an advanced reader’s copy of Unjunk Your Junk Food and I was challenged by the authors to unjunk my own kitchen pantry and cupboards. Luckily for me, I had actually cleaned out my pantry and cupboards not too long ago and although I have tried to eat and purchase only foods that are natural and organic, it can get pretty hard and expensive at times. In one section of the book, titled ‘Worst Ingredients Chart’, the authors created a list of ingredients that should be strictly avoided such as BHA which is a toxic preservative,  Polysorbate 80 which is an emulsifier, and artifical colors like Yellow 5 and Red 40. Okay, so I was intrigued by Polysorbate 80 because you find them mostly in ice-cream and it’s pretty hard to avoid it unless you’re buying natural and organic ice-cream. But the book specifically warns of the ‘Scary Seven’ which are seven artificial ingredients that you find in a lot of unhealthy snacks and food. The ‘Scary Seven’ are:

HFCS: High-Fructose Corn Syrup (AKA glucose-fructose in Canada);
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).

And they truly are scary because how can you possibly avoid them in this day and age? Well, my best advice and also the book’s advice is to read the labels and ingredients of every food you purchase. Be overly conscious of what you buy, especially for your children and for those with health issues. Our bodies are our own after all and if we don’t treat it right we might regret it later on. After I had cleaned out my kitchen pantry and cupboards, I went to our refridgerator and did the same. Of course I had found some unnatural ice-cream that my husband purchased not too long ago and although I’ve been touting the importance of buying natural ice-cream, the unnatural version somehow got smuggled in. But besides the ice-cream, we were pretty good on the natural and healthier snacks in our home.  And to be honest with you, I think naturally-made snacks are actually better tasting. So I encourage you to go through your own kitchen pantries, cupboards, and refridgerators to see if you have any hidden dangers in your food. Like I said, it’s pretty hard to avoid, but if you’re diligent on starting and continuing on eating healthy and living a healthy lifestyle, then throw away those bad stuff!

So if you’re looking for a wonderfully-written and extremely-informative book about how to eat and choose healthy foods and snacks, then you have to pick up a copy of ‘Unjunk Your Junk Food’. Currently, the book can be found at Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, and several other online retailers. It retails around $18.00 which isn’t too expensive when you’re talking about saving your health and the health of your loved ones!

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products. 

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/in.php?id=storm

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