Hippie Moms Aren't Crazy

Simple Guidelines for Reading Ingredient Lists

If you are a human living in today’s world you have probably consumed pounds of chemicals… Chemicals never meant for the human body to be consumed.

This is an important subject as my mission is to arm people with the understanding and power to source and eat clean food.

First we must understand what is allowed in our food so that we know what to look out for and where the insults come from!

There are over 10,000 chemicals the FDA allows in our food system. Take a look at the list yourself! (Click Here)

Only 1% have been tested for human safety.

Things that make you go HMMMM…

These substances are used to:

  • Flavor
  • Color
  • Preserve
  • Package
  • Process

Food. Or what I like to call create “Food-Like” substances.

Chemicals fall under these categories for the roles the play in the food they are added to.  Emulsifiers, stabilizers, solvents, coloring, flavoring, surfactants, dough conditioners, and preservatives are more categories these chemicals fall under. Then we have the toxins that come from more growing and processing such as pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, and heavy metals. 

For example, “Perchlorate—the rocket fuel chemical—is an approved food additive, despite the fact that it impairs infant brain development.” (Source)

Unfortunately many of these chemicals may never appear on the list of ingredients. WTF?

The thing is that some of the chemicals in our food isn’t from “ingredients” but contaminants from production, processing and packaging. Thus companies don’t have to list them…

According to the Wiley Online Library of Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Safety,

“Overall, federal agencies made approximately 40% of the 6000 safety decisions allowing substances in human food. These decisions allowed an estimated 66% of the substances currently believed to be used in food. Manufacturers and a trade association made the remaining decisions without FDA review by concluding that the substances were generally recognized as safe (GRAS). (Source)

Who’s in charge here? No one.

This then leads us to the problem with GRAS:

According to the GAO (US Government Accountability Office),

“The problem is, generally recognized as safe is an oxymoron. Under the GRAS process, ingredients can bypass FDA safety reviews, and the manufacturers themselves can determine a substance is safe without ever informing the FDA that they are using it in food.” (Source)

To decide if a chemical is GRAS, companies will use their own expert panels and conclude if the ingredient will pose harm when used as intended. The companies have NO obligation to share the results with the FDA, and have full authority to use it in their products even if they conclude it isn’t safe. WTF?

So basically companies determine if the own chemicals they put in their products are safe? Conflict of interest anyone?

The whole point of this course is to educate you, not stress you out. It’s important to understand there is NO regulation what is going into our food and into our body… and our children’s bodies.


Let this information fuel you to reduce your toxic burden in food, and opt for a new way of sourcing and eating food… without tons of chemicals.

Here are some simple guidelines to follow when reading ingredient lists on ANY packaged or processed foods:

1. Look to source organically certified or Non-GMO food products. This will help limit many chemical offenders such as artificial food dyes, flavoring, and pesticides.

2. Find out if there any processed vegetable oils: Corn, soybean, canola, peanut, sunflower, safflower, palm, cottonseed, margarine, shortening, or grapeseed? Even if organic… it’s a pass. Think brain starving food.

3. Read the the sugar content and list to see if there any added sugars. Sugar is sneaky and has 61 names it hides under. Anything with an “ose” at the end is disguised sugar. I suggest diligently avoiding all sugars made in a lab.

4. If you don’t understand an ingredient, your body won’t either… another pass. Just think “this will just turn into fat”.

5. Products that boast health claims like “low-fat, fat-free, healthy, natural, naturally flavored, low-carb, whole grains, sugar free, gluten free, etc.” deserve a much higher level of investigation, and are most likely always a pass.

6. Limit any products you buy with an ingredient list exceeding 5 ingredients… and understand ALL of them. Some exceptions are marinara sauces, breads, and fermented foods. Again understand ALL ingredients.

7. Anything with “Natural Flavors” is an absolute pass. Even in organic foods. Organically certified foods only have to be 95% organic ingredients. That leaves 5% that can hide under this “umbrella” term. No thanks.

8. Don’t stress. Make small changes.

Are there any guidelines that are overwhelming?

If so just pick one food  or food group to transition into a healthier way of eating. Such as crackers! Just start where you are and remember it’s not about being perfect… it’s about making progress!

Live Hippily… and go create some progress!


About the Author

Becky is lover of life and a mom of two young boys. She believes in empowering moms and women to a healthy and holistic lifestyle through sharing information and experiences. Gratitude and love has led her into this journey and she hopes you will join her in learning and living beautifully.

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