I had a “make me think” moment the other day when I overheard someone talking about preservatives. We all know that preservatives are in packaged, processed foods and that we have been told that we would be better off eating more real food, with fewer ingredients, than processed, packaged products. That said, I never really “got it” until I heard this:
“Preservatives are just like are you eating a low grade antibiotic.”
I stopped in my tracks as I took this in. Why had I never realized what a preservative really was or why we have been recommended to eat them less frequently? Now I understood. Why would anyone want to ingest a low grade antibiotic on a regular, or for many daily, basis? As Chemicalfacts.org puts it ” The term “preservatives” refers to the functional name for a wide variety of compounds that help slow or prevent bacterial growth in a wide range of products, including foods, medicines, and personal care products. These compounds can be natural or synthetic.”
I feel that everywhere I look, health issues are being tied to our gut health. According to Dr. Axe in his book Eat Dirt when he is discussing Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), he says that in TCM “good digestion is considered to be central to good health.” And yet, we know that antibiotics affect the health of our gut. “Most antibiotics work by killing bacteria or preventing it from growing. Unfortunately, most antibiotics can’t distinguish between good and bad bacteria. That means they can wreak havoc on your gut’s healthy bacteria. In fact, many people suffer lasting changes to their gut flora as a result of taking antibiotics.” So why would we consume these regularly?
My answer to this, was that as far as my family and I were considered… we shouldn’t. And it has never been easier to turn down an offer for packaged cookies, chips, or other product as it is now. It is so easy because I get it. I am the type of person who sticks to things when I understand them. When they resonate, I have no problem committing to a change. But my problem before was that I just never got the degree of why these foods would not be ideal for my family and I. For more reading on the effects of food additives and preservatives, you might enjoy this article by Food Matters. Even if you only have time to skim it, I think that it will make you think, and experience an ahah moment, as I did.