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You are What You Eat, and Other Thoughts

Scenario I: You visit that loving aunt of yours. As always, she asks “Are you hungry? Let me get you a little something.” No problem! She’s a wonderful cook - great company to boot. No need to worry about what she serves, because you know that she is very serious about what she does in the kitchen.

Scenario II: You go to your favorite restaurant and order your favorite dish. It doesn’t matter if it is a fancy place with a Michelin Rating or a fast-food joint with a recognizable brand name -- you know what you like and that is what is on the menu for the evening.

Scenario III: Now it gets dicey: you are going grocery shopping for the week at the supermarket. You have your list: poultry and fish for you, a variety of extra vegetables because your beloved is a vegetarian, whole grain bread, cereal, juices, almond milk because your kid is lactose intolerant, and some treats. Everything is good right? Right?!

A few of years ago I ran across an article that basically said the food industry was putting all types of foul things into what we eat. While I am not a sky-is-falling type of person, it reminded me of the familiar saying: "You are what you eat." Without any question or debate, that is absolutely true. So what is a thinking person to do?

For me it was simple: start by reading all labels, carefully. A variety of food allergies in my immediate family have made that even more important. Then I considered freshness, the quality and quantity of

various ingredients, deciding upon the production techniques in organic vs. non-organic. Arrrgh, so many decisions!

I did take the time to consult the Food and Drug Administration: How to Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts Label. While helpful, I generally rely on a far more basic calculation when in the supermarket. If there are more than ten ingredients or I see several items with five syllables or more, I put myself on pause before making the purchase. I ask myself, “What is that, really?!”

There is one exception: Pop Tarts…they are my weakness and I just have to live with the consequence when it comes to those.

More seriously, take a look at the labels on the food you are eating on a regular basis. If you're selective about your grade of gasoline, why not be choosey on what you ingest. Be mindful of what you are actually putting into your body. Everything that goes into your mouth is going to get processed and transformed into…well, transformed into YOU!

Paul Mondesire is a freelance writer, Frisbee enthusiast and lover of healthy eating...and Pop Tarts.

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