This weekend I spent 15 minutes in our grocery store’s bread aisle looking for buns that did not have high fructose corn syrup in them. I steadily made my way down the aisle, looking at each and every brand’s ingredient with no success- this was after I had already checked the bakery section. Finally, 15 minutes later, at the very end of the aisle there was a small island that carried the only buns in the entire store that did not have high fructose corn syrup.
We initially started our quest to eating healthier foods by making two decisions. First, we wanted to completely eliminate high fructose corn syrup from our diet. Second, we decided to reduce the amount of processed foods we eat and try to eat real, genuine, authentic food that we made from the most basic ingredients (milk, eggs, vegetables, fruit, and meat) that we sourced (raw milk from a farm, farmers markets, etc.) or grew ourselves. Besides our desire to eat healthier in general, we had an additional theory that we wanted to test. Here is our thought: If we removed all snack foods in the house and replaced them with healthy options, such as vegetables, then I (Grace) would have no other alternative, but to eat vegetables, and, maybe, start to like them. Basically, we were going to try to remove, even the possibility of eating junk food. If we didn’t have it in the house, then we wouldn’t have any decisions to make about whether or not to have junk food. We would have no other option, but to eat healthy food.
We began to look at the ingredients in the foods that we had in our cabinets and were appalled to find out that just about all of them had high fructose corn syrup. The biggest surprise was that my beloved carbs (bread, etc.) were chocked full of high fructose corn syrup. Our freezer was loaded with rolls and bagels. Since I (Grace) was breastfeeding, I was ravenous most of the time and carbs were easy and quick to prepare. Plus, they made me feel full. When I realized that I’d have to reduce the amount of bread I ate, make my own or buy it from a bakery that doesn’t use high fructose corn syrup (which meant spending more $$), I nearly abandoned our resolution. The gravity of just how much of our typical diet would have to change in order to comply with our two decisions was starting to sink in.
I slowly began reducing the amount of bread I ate and our freezer reserves dwindled. There were days when my body CRAVED bread- it was like my body was going through withdrawal. How can my body be addicted to bread? Was it just my imagination? I would run out of my coveted sandwich rolls (with high fructose corn syrup) and come up with reasons to go to the store and buy more of them. I felt so guilty when I came home. My husband would ask if I bought more rolls and I couldn’t believe I always succumbed! It took nearly a month for me to completely give up my addiction to this certain type of sandwich rolls! What eventually ended up happening was I decided to buy bread from a local bakery to get me over this hurdle. I bought super yummy bread that didn’t have high fructose corn syrup in it for a few weeks. I still craved my sandwich rolls, but having something that tasted better helped me “kick” my addiction.
After a few weeks of having yummy local bread, I decided to order a sourdough starter and venture into the world of breadmaking myself. More on that adventure to come later…
Looking back, it took nearly three months for me to completely stop eating bread that had high fructose corn syrup in it! How scary is that! And so, I am proud to write that over the weekend, I SPENT 15 MINUTES in the grocery store on a quest to find rolls (I didn’t have time to make them myself for this particular meal and our favorite bakery was closed for the day) that didn’t have high fructose corn syrup in them before FINALLY finding some!
For more information about the dangers of high fructose corn syrup, check out these two books we read after making our bona fide living decision: Real Food by Nina Planck and Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon (Nourishing Traditions is also a cookbook!).