My Cocina, Cuisine, Kitchen and Microwaves

Trader Joe’s is my grocery store of choice. I am able to discover food from many cultures that I love and new items that inspire me to travel more. I find that with each item I buy, I am searching the ingredients and Nutritional Fact sheet for different bold words. Some items, I am searching for the amount of sugar, while with other food I am more concerned with protein or fiber. I try to find a balance in all items that I purchase, but I try not to over analyze every percentage. After walking the aisles of the store and gathering some photos, I realized I could not do the same for all of my fruits and vegetables. Some prepackaged fruit and vegetable items do have a Nutritional Fact sheet. I personally would like to know what each of my bananas and cucumbers contained. I cannot assume that the items are fully organic or healthy.

Below are some of the items I gathered, some of the words that stuck out to me, and some of the things that surprised me along the way. This investigation has made me take a second glance at some food that I have always considered good for me and never questioned.

Organic Popcorn with Olive Oil
Organic Popcorn with Olive Oil
Organic Popcorn with Olive Oil, Nutrition Facts
Organic Popcorn with Olive Oil, Nutrition Facts

This popcorn has very little fat and some fiber and protein. I was pleasantly surprised that it is made of just three ingredients. I am curious about the “sea salt” though. The other two items say organic, yet the “sea salt” does not. I am wondering if it is automatically organic.

Matthew’s All Natural Whole Wheat Bread
Matthew’s All Natural Whole Wheat Bread
Matthew’s All Natural Whole Wheat Bread, Nutrition Facts
Matthew’s All Natural Whole Wheat Bread, Nutrition Facts

I am concerned about the amount of sodium that is in one slice of bread. It is almost as much as two cups of popcorn. Some words and phrases that stuck out to me were “natural”, “no high-fructose corn syrup”, and “no artificial ingredients or preservatives”. I am curious if these words were necessary 15 years ago.

Minute Maid Pink Lemonade
Minute Maid Pink Lemonade
Minute Maid Pink Lemonade, Nutrition Facts
Minute Maid Pink Lemonade, Nutrition Facts

My roommate purchased this juice and I find it containing all of the scary words we find on the don’t eat or drink list. The front is inviting with bright colors and lemons in clear water with the words “100% Natural Flavors” below. The “Flavors” words is made very small and could be looked over if the buyer is in a hurry. The Nutrition Facts display an extremely high amount of sugars, while the ingredients shows the “high fructose corn syrup”. Another labeling they added was “13% Fruit Juice Pasteurized” and I am wondering if this is a good thing, something they had to put on their by law, or a marketing tactic.

Organic Carrots
Organic Carrots
Carrots, Nutrition Facts
Carrots, Nutrition Facts
Grape Tomatoes
Grape Tomatoes

My carrots do have a Nutritional Fact sheet while my tomatoes do not.  I am not sure why a plastic package wouldn’t have that information for the buyer.  If I were at a farmers market, then I would understand the lack of nutritional information.  Are there regulations for when and how much health information is given to the buyer?

Microwaveable Mac & Cheese
Microwaveable Mac & Cheese
Microwaveable Mac & Cheese, Nutrition Facts
Microwaveable Mac & Cheese, Nutrition Facts
Top Ramen
Top Ramen

 

Top Ramen, Nutrition Facts
Top Ramen, Nutrition Facts

Growing up my sister ate her share of microwaveable Mac n’ Cheese, while my brother ate many servings of Top Ramen.  I found myself between the two with a Cup of Noodles.  From this comparison, we can see that the Mac n’ Cheese has far few ingredients and the ones they have are easily understood.

Apples and Cinnamon Naturally Flavored Instant Oatmeal
Apples and Cinnamon Naturally Flavored Instant Oatmeal
Apples and Cinnamon Naturally Flavored Instant Oatmeal, Nutrition Facts
Apples and Cinnamon Naturally Flavored Instant Oatmeal, Nutrition Facts

Oatmeal is one food that I appreciate and find accessible in most places I have lived.  While I was an undergraduate, the instant oatmeal was what I ate most often.  The ingredients list for this item is never ending and filled with scientific words I cannot understand.  I am lost in words such as “guar gum”, “niacinamide”, and “pyridoxine hydrochloride”.  One Green Planet states, “With instant oatmeal, the packages often have loads of added sugar and salt and artificial coloring.”

Organic Multigrain Hot Cereal
Organic Multigrain Hot Cereal
Organic Multigrain Hot Cereal
Organic Multigrain Hot Cereal

There is one ingredient in my cereal, five grams of fiber, and zero sugars. I find the difference between the Instant Oatmeal and these grains to be shocking. I started buying the whole oats a few years ago as I enjoyed adding my own fruits and spices to the mix. Now, I buy them because of the difference in nutrition.

In Medical Daily, I found the following information, “In a Swiss clinical study, researchers found that blood changes in individuals who consumed microwaved milk and vegetables…The results of the study showed red blood cells decreased while white cell levels increased, along with cholesterol levels.  The non-ionizing radiation of the microwave can affect changes in your blood and your heart rate…If you experience irregular heart beat or any chest pain and regularly eat microwaved food, it might be best to discontinue use.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) claims the following, “The microwave energy is changed to heat as it is absorbed by food, and does not make food “radioactive” or “contaminated.”…Microwave cooking does not reduce the nutritional value of foods any more than conventional cooking.  In fact, foods cooked in a microwave oven may keep more of their vitamins and minerals, because microwave ovens can cook more quickly and without adding water.”

The Global Healing Center published “Why You Should Never Microwave Your Food” this past February.  “One study by Dr. Hans Hertel explored how microwaves change the molecular structure of food and the effects of that food on the human body.  In his study, he found that individuals who consumed the microwaved foods experienced a decrease in HDL cholesterol, a reduced red blood cell count, and fewer white blood cells….Microwaving cooks the food at very high temperatures in a very short amount of time.  This results in a great deal of nutrient loss for most foods, especially vegetables.”