Eating Wholesome Foods: Additives To Avoid

My birthday is coming up this month, and at the top of my list of wanted gifts is a bread maker.

Four years ago, if you had told me that someday I would want a bread maker so that I could make my family’s bread from scratch, I would have laughed in your face. Until I was purple.

In fact, even after kids and marriage (yes, my husband and I are one of those couples who likes to do things in opposite order), my husband did the majority of the cooking for our family. Meanwhile, if I so much as looked at a toaster it would pop out burnt toast.

This arrangement was all fine and dandy for me, until about a year ago. When I did some reading and researching and realized how strongly our health correlates to what we put in (and on, but that’s another post) our bodies. And I took a look at the things that my children were eating and did not like what was listed on the label under ingredients.

So, after a discussion with my husband, we changed our shopping strategy. Out went the processed food and in came the wholesome goodness. Now, we are far  from perfect and still have some processed food in the house, but what we buy we only buy after carefully examining the labels, and with the knowledge that in our journey, we are taking baby steps and will get there some day.

Bread has been causing me trouble (seriously, how much sugar does bread really need?) and so bread maker has made the top of my wish list. In the meantime, I am still examining labels, cursing at food companies who can’t seem to lay off the sugar, and doing as much research as I can.

There’s one book that I’ve found most helpful, and that’s Staying Health With Nutritionby Elson M. Haas. Now, this is book is huge (1,139 pages) and therefore not the type of book you sit down and read cover to cover (at least, not if your life is anything like mine, as in homeschooling two small children while working from home and studying to be a CBE), but man is it full of information!! I use it more as a reference and I love it. What I really love about it is that Haas has a chapter devoted to additives and has a really cool chart that lists which additives to avoid, which are okay in moderation, and which are probably safe. I wrote this list down and carry it with me into the grocery store to reference while I shop. So, without further ado, the Food Additive Chart:

Additives to Avoid: artificial colors, sodium nitrate and nitrite, BHT, saccharin, sulfites, sulfur dioxide, BVO

Additives to Limit: BHA, MSG, sugars (sucrose, dextrose, corn syrup), artificial flavorings, THBQ, Prophyl gallate, EDTA, hydrogenated vegetable oils, salt, aspartame, caffeine, propylene glycol, gums, xylitol, aluminum salts.

Probably Safe Additives: vitamins A, C, &E, beta-carotene or carotene, carrageenan, annatto, acids, alginates, minerals, glycerin, gelatin, pectin, natural flavorings, calcium proprionate, polysorbate 60, 65, 80, sorbitol, sodium benzoate, lecithin, vanillin, and potassium sorbate.

Hope this list was hepful. What steps do you take, if any, to ensure your family eats a diet of wholesome foods?

Shelly is a WAHM to two girls. You can find her daily at

Author: shelly

Shelly is a mother of two and a birth and postpartum doula. When not blogging, she homeschools her children and is involved with her local La Leche League chapter. You can find her daily here:

3 thoughts on “Eating Wholesome Foods: Additives To Avoid”

  1. I make my own bread when I can, but I’m very picky about what brands I will buy. I won’t buy bread unless it’s free of HFCS and hydrogenated oils, and it has to have at least 3grams of fiber per slice. Pepperidge Farms Naturals and Arnold Naturals usually meet those criteria. Arnold also makes a bread with double fiber that is DELICIOUS.

  2. I can totally relate to your tales of being cooking-challenged. My husband is actually the one in our household who does the majority of cooking, b/c my idea of cooking is anything that doesn’t have to actually be cooked. Therefore, I LOVE my breadmaker, except that it recently busted (or really, we actually threw out the kneader part by mistake — you kow, the part that gets stuck in the done loaf).

    By the way, I had issues with sugar, too. Apparently, the yeast needs it. It’s so easy to mess up bread, amazingly.

    I like your list, especially since I don’t often have time for anything but cooking out of a box. I’d like to eat healthy, and we certainly eat a lot of fresh fruits and veggies, but sometimes, the ease of the mac-n-cheese calls to me from the cupboard a little too loudly.

    Great post!

  3. Kayris – I hear you about the better brands (I was looking at a loaf of Arnold’s the other day and sugar wasn’t listed until the 5th or 6th ingredient) but they are a little pricey, and we go through a lot of bread. Which is why I was thinking making my own would be more economical. The cheaper bread that we were buying had some form of sugar listed for the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th ingredient!

    R – It was hard for us to give up the mac n cheese too, but when I realized that it has food coloring as well that made it easier. Plus, I found a really easy and quick homemade mac-n-cheese recipe that is so delicious, so I make that instead!

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