Our bodies are designed to consume proper food. Any food that the body doesn't recognize as a food will be a source of toxicity to the body and will stimulate an allergic response, which can manifest in many different ways, such as weight gain, obesity, headaches, eczema, hyperactivity, gout, or brain fog. If we don't heed the warning signs our bodies send us we can eventually develop chronic diseases such as diabetes, IBS, Crohn's, Alzheimer's, even Cancer.
Over the last 40 years food manufacturers decided to cut costs and started replacing wholesome ingredients with toxic chemical additives. Even the most basic foods such as commercial bread, milk, and cereals have been tainted. In truth its harder to find ingredients in many processed foods that are healthy than aren't healthy. People convince themselves that food and health have nothing to do with each other. They can't be any more wrong. They want a free pass to eat anything they feel like without acknowledging the dire consequences. Our Rabbis such as the Rambam, the Shlah, the Rabbeinu Bechai clearly explain that eating unhealthy foods is prohibited. The Shulchan Aruch (Rabbi Yosef Caro), the Mishna Berurah, and the Sefer Hachinuch Pasken that eating should only be to strengthen and fortify the body so that we can serve G-d. Any food that weakens the body is prohibited. (6)
The truth is that 90% of Americans have food addictions. I am not here to mock anyone suffering from a food addiction. In fact, even though I have been natural for over 8 years, I still have a sweet tooth which I have to fight every day. Nonetheless, our nation has to admit that we have a serious problem. With cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, Autism and obesity rates climbing through the roof we have to address the root cause. Even conventional organizations such as the FDA, the American Diabetes Association, and the American Cancer Society have voiced their concerns about problems in the food industry.
This year, The FDA issued a ban on partially hydrogenated fats in all processed foods. In their words "Partially Hydrogenated Oils (PHOs) are not Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). ... PHOs are the primary dietary source of artificial trans fat in processed foods. Removing PHOs from processed foods could prevent thousands of heart attacks and deaths each year"(1). Unfortunately food manufacturers have a loophole anyway (see below). Additionally, almost All restaurants that serve deep fried foods like french fries are serving trans fats to their customers.
The American Diabetes Association issued a warning against sugary drinks. "Research has also shown that drinking sugary drinks is linked to type 2 diabetes.. The American Diabetes Association recommends that people avoid drinking sugar-sweetened beverages to help prevent type 2 diabetes. " (2)
American Cancer Association: "Studies have linked eating large amounts of processed meats with an increased risk of colorectal cancer. This may be due to nitrites, which are added to many lunch meats, hams, hot dogs, and other processed meats. " The ACA has also raised questions about the safety of growth hormones, antibiotics and pesticides in plant foods, explaining that they may increase cancer risk. (3)
The root cause of many of the food health problems our nation is experiencing is the food we eat. Food is our fuel which is supposed to nourish our cells. Proper food should be naturally high in nutrients, not bleached processed sugar laden foods which are so nutrient deficient that vitamins have to be added just to make sure we don't collapse from nutrient deficiency.
It's shocking that Kashrut organizations today have completely ignored the link between food and health. They continue to give Kosher certifications to foods that have trans fats, artificial colors, artificial flavors, MSG, GMOs etc..
Even Monsanto is going to have to pay for the damage their herbicides are causing people. Just this year a jury found that Monsanto had caused a man’s terminal cancer and ordered the agrochemical corporation to pay $289 million in damages. The extraordinary decision, exposed the potential hazards of the world’s most widely used herbicide Roundup (Glyphosate). The verdict stated that Monsanto “acted with malice”, knew or should have known its chemical was dangerous, and failed to warn consumers about the risks.
GMO corn, soy, beets,oats are routinely sprayed with Roundup. GMO crops are actually designed to contain pesticides within the food itself. Our children are literally eating Roundup and other pesticides for breakfast.
Where are the Kashrut organizations?
How can they condone the use of deadly chemicals in so many processed foods? On the OU website they list companies that they give a hechsher to. A good portion of these companies are actually chemical laboratories in China. Click on this link to look under the emulsifier and sweetener categories. In fact the OU has a whole separate website in Chinese. This is a major health concern. The colorings and flavors in processed foods are all made in labs that don't look anything like a kitchen. These companies figure out how to artificially make foods look shiny and taste good and the process is scary. Unfortunately anything added to food that is less than 2% doesn't have to be listed on the ingredient list. Why is everyone so lax when it comes to the severity of the issue of poisoning people with toxic chemicals, pesticides, trans fats, and GMOs?
I propose that every food that contains artificial colors and flavors, MSG, trans fats, GMO soy (including soy lecithin), GMO corn (including high fructose corn syrup), GMO sugar beets (most white sugar on the market is from GMO sugar), GMO canola oil, guar gum, Polysorbate 80, Polysorbate 60, basically all the most toxic ingredients be labeled with a health warning label. To go even further, I think all Kashrut organizations should ban the use of all GMO crops in processed foods. In the future, the truth will shine out and everyone will realize the severity of GMOs and toxic chemical additives. But by then the damage to our children will already have been done. They deserve a better future. For the sake of our children and grandchildren, we have to protect the integrity of our food supply.
Lets take a look at some common ingredients found in many Kosher Foods today: Toxic Ingredients Found in Kosher Foods
Canola Oil: Over 90 percent of canola oil is genetically modified. Canola oil is a refined oil made from toxic rapeseeds. Canola is often partially hydrogenated (a major source of trans fats) to increase its stability. When heated at high heat (such as in fried foods), canola turns into trans fats. Rats fed canola oil developed heart and kidney damage. Tran fats in general are very toxic to the brain. They disrupt neuron signalling leading to memory loss, hyperactivity and learning disabilities.
Corn Starch: 93% of corn grown in the world is GMO. Corn is heavily Sprayed with toxic cancerous pesticides. Assume that the corn used is GMO unless otherwise indicated. Corn starch is simply another word for corn sugar. Corn starch can also be a hidden name for MSG.
Bleached White Flour Bread- contains Bleaching chemicals such as azodicarbonamide which you might recall is the “yoga mat” additive. This plastic dough conditioner is used to make bread dough fluffier. According to the CSPI, the chemicals azodicarbonamide break down into after baking are recognized CARCINOGENS
Soy products: 90% of the world's soy is GMO. Unless fermented carefully using traditional methods, soy contains high levels of phytoestrogens which can contribute to the development of breast cancer, thyroid problems, calcium loss, male hormonal issues, and early development in girls. Infant soy formulas are laced with phytoestrogens.
Caramel Coloring: caramel color in brown beverages, candies and cereals, has been proven to increase the rate of cancerous and benign tumors in rats as shown by the National Toxicology Program and has been labeled by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a possible carcinogen for humans.
High Fructose Corn Syrup: It’s cheaper and sweeter than sugar, and it is much more quickly absorbed by the body. Eating too much high fructose corn syrup can lead to insulin resistance, obesity, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Very hard on the liver.
Polysorbate 60- a popular emulsifier Made of corn, palm oil, and petroleum. This is a sticky mixture that replaces dairy in baked goods. Potentially contaminated with 1,4 dioxane, a chemical which causes cancer in animals and could in humans as well, according to a study in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology.
Polysorbate 80: This emulsifier is incredibly toxic. It is used in many diet foods and has been shown to cause cancer in mice. It is also linked to infertility, and many other health problems. Personally, I avoid this at all costs. Sugar: Most of white Sugar is made from GMO sugar beets which is heavily sprayed with pesticides. Brown sugar is usually white sugar sprayed with molasses. Additionally sugar consumption causes high blood sugar levels which of course is linked to hyperactivity and diabetes. According to the USDA’s new Dietary Guidelines, we should be eating no more than 50 grams of sugar a day for optimal health. While the USDA is hardly the organization I would go to for health advice they do actually understand that our bodies are just not made to process sugar in the amounts people consume it today. On average, the American child consumes between 29 teaspoons and 2 cups of refined sugar per day! The American Heart Association writes "Added sugars are sugars added to food when they are processed or prepared. Consuming too much may make you sick and shorten your life."(5) Even worse, sugar depresses the immune system, weakening your T fighter cells thereby making you and children vulnerable to viruses and bacteria. Want your children to spend less time at the doctors office? Cut down on sugar.
Guar Gum: an emulsifier that is 8 times more powerful that corn starch. It swells up so much when it absorbs water that ingesting guar gum in powder form has caused lung swelling and death in a number of people. This emulsifier is present in many gluten free foods (to help it stick together). It is so toxic to the digestive system that I would avoid it with a ten foot pole.
Aspartame: is a synergistic methanol poisoning. breaks down into wood alcohol when heated which is then converted to brain damaging formaldehyde (embalming fluid) in the human body. Neurotoxic and not fit for children. Found in diet soft drinks and beverages.
Sucralose: Studies have shown that Sucralose reduces beneficial gut bacteria by a whopping 50% in rat studies! Also a source of chlorine. Sucralose is worse than all the other sweeteners.
Sulphur Dioxide (E220)- can spark asthma attacks. found in dried fruits and nuts.
BHT or BHA: Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) or BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole), ingredient are banned in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and much of Europe because they are thought to be CARCINOGENIC.
Tapioca starch: Starch is simply fruit sugar- promotes the growth of unhealthy bacteria in the gut, and raises blood sugar levels.
Potato Starch: Starch is simply fruit sugar- promotes the growth of unhealthy bacteria in the gut, and raises blood sugar levels.
Psyllium- is very harsh on the intestines. Found in many gluten free products.
Mono and Diglycerides- Since the FDA has banned trans fats, food companies dodge the ban by listing mono and diglycerides as an ingredient. They contain Trans Fats.
Artificial flavors – Flavorists make artificial flavors by combining chemicals made from INEDIBLE ingredients, such as paper pulp or petroleum. Artificial flavors are made to smell and taste exactly like real flavors. What we know about artificial flavors is that they are for certain synthetic chemicals. But it end there. A 'simple' strawberry flavored candy could actually contain dozens of chemicals because each artificial flavor is made up of dozens of synthetic chemicals. Companies are not required to list all the chemicals they use.
NATURAL Flavors: Natural flavors” is often code word for MSG or other “natural” chemicals that can harm neurologic health. This is a food category completely unregulated by the FDA. For this reason, natural flavors could potentially be worse than artificial chemicals. Each natural flavor could be made of hundreds of ingredients. This is very concerning.
Sodium Benzoate: Benzene is the primary ingredient in Liquid Wrench, various paint stripping products, rubber cement, and some spot removers because its a good solvent. Sodium benzoate is more toxic than either processed sugar or high fructose corn syrup.
Emulsifiers: Emulsifiers are basically thickening agents that wreak havoc on our digestive systems. Some emulsifiers like guar gum swell up so much when they absorb water that they have caused lung swelling and death when ingested in powder form. Examples of Emulsifiers: Soy Lecithin (there is a 96% chance that the SOy in your food is toxic GMO soy), guar gum, xantham gum, cellulose (wood chips that act like knives in the intestines leading to leaky gut), soy lecithin, sunflower lecithin.
Damaging to heart health. Very toxic to the brain. Trans fats disrupt neuron signalling which can lead to memory loss, hyperactivity, speech problems, and diseases of the nervous system Although it was been officially banned by the FDA just this year, there are many loopholes around the ban. Just like total fat and saturated fat, if there are less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving, it can be expressed as zero. So even foods that have zero trans fats can actually contain a lot of trans fats. For example a bag of potato chips that claims 0 trans fats can by law actually contain 8 grams of trans fats if it has 16 servings. Trans fats in even minute amounts are brain toxic.
Another way for food companies to add trans fats is by adding mono and diglycerides which contain trans fats. Avoid foods that contain canola (rapeseed), soybean oil, most vegetable oils, peanut oil, etc... their fatty acids are very delicate and when heated at high temperatures turn into trans fats.
DEEP FRIED FOODS CONTAIN LOADS OF TRANS FATS
MSG is an excitotoxin. Toxic to the human brain, it destroys synapses and sometimes even neurons themselves. In children it has been implicated in ADHD. In research studies it has been shown to damage the hippocampus (an area responsible for memory and learning) of the brain in rats. Baby formulas are laced with MSG so beware.
There are over 50 names that food manufacturers use to disguise MSG. Common names for MSG include: natural flavor, yeast extract, gelatin, protein extract, soy protein, starch, Corn starch. Corn syrup. Modified food starch. Dextrose. Rice syrup. Brown rice syrup. Milk powder, etc...
Once again having a food addiction is nothing to be ashamed of. What is concerning is when people refuse to admit that they have a problem, blaming "genetics" for their obesity, IBS, and diabetes while completely ignoring the fact that their diet is harming them. If you can't admit that you have a problem, how can you fix it? People with IBS who are honest with themselves, will openly admit that certain foods trigger digestive distress and other foods don't. Diabetics know that their bodies react badly to high sugar foods and well to green veggies. Its clear that their is a connection between our state of health and what we eat. We must take responsibility for our food choices. Our Rabbis of old understood the dangers of eating unhealthy foods and they strictly prohibited the consumption of these foods. It is our responsibility to keep our bodies healthy. Parent should not allow allow their children to eat these toxic foods. Rabbis should serve only healthy foods at their schools and shul kiddushes, especially when it comes to children's snacks. Children do not have a properly developed blood-brain barrier. What they eat goes directly to their brains. MSG (natural flavors), artificial colors, and trans fats will enter their brains quickly. Which explains why children become hyper or angry after eating junk food.
I can say that since I became natural and cut out all processed foods, GMO's, etc.... my severe eczema disappeared and I hardly get sick. In fact, Baruch Hashem I haven't been to a doctor in 8 years! It's quite amazing. Without question this is a great gift from G-d, but I do put in the effort every day to cook healthy. Organic foods may be a bit pricey, but on the other hand, I have no doctor bills. In the long run eating healthy is actually a time and money saver.
Is it hard? Yes Is it a Mitzvah? Yes Is it worth it? Yes It is worth the effort. Starting is the hardest, but if you believe in yourself, what seems impossible is actually possible.
Article by M.P. Geulah
Joseph's Organic Bakery believes that Kashrut and health go together. Their Breads & Baked Goods are Sugar Free, Soy Free, Corn Free & No Trans Fatty Oils. Absolutely no added colors or flavors. Healthy Food at its best. The only Pat Yisrael Organic Bakery in Miami.
Sources for this article:
(5)https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sugar/cut-out-added-sugars-infographic (6) Rambam Hilchot Deot Chapter 4 (first paragraph)
Sefer Hachinuch Mitzvah 117
Mishnah Berurah Seif Katan 45 (the Shlah)
Halachic Sources provided by Rabbi Levin