Open thread: Declare your food independence!

I’m not talking Lent. I’m talking freeing yourself of something for good. In our family, we’re going to endeavor to go HFCS-free. I bet by doing that we’ll end up eating more whole foods.

It’s funny for me to say that because as I wrote in a previous post how about two years ago I thought one of my husband’s coworkers was a little crazy when she told us about the “dangers” of HFCS and how she was giving it up.

Are you declaring your food independence?

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26 thoughts on “Open thread: Declare your food independence!

  1. Sugar-free (*), grain/legume-free, vegetable/seed oil-free. Three years and counting, feeling better at 40 than I did as a teenager!

    (*) That's ALL sugar (anything that ends in -ose or -tol). HFCS may be the current big bad bogeyman, but it's just one of the many negative effects of corn subsidies…

  2. We've been HFCS-free for nearly 2 years. (My exceptions are graham crackers, Hershey's syrup, and Oreos: obviously all very occasional snacks and we just can't find acceptable substitutes!)
    One of my favorite, no non-sense blogs on the subject of going no HFCS is

    HFCS is not the ONLY issue. There are many things we are working on in our diet. Additionally, there are a number of other issues surrounding the corn industry. But, in our family, this is one simple, yet major, change we were able to make over a few months and been able to maintain.

  3. i would love to but i be too po'.

    i'm sure you know about bein' po'. it's when you ain't got no money — you be PO'!

    this is, in my estimation, a major cause of the obesity epidemic in the united states: food that is healthy is more expensive than food that is not (again, corn subsidy), and as a consequence of basic economic necessity, people of lower financial means (like, for example, me) have no choice but to eat food that is bad for them, because good food is too expensive.

  4. Honey Maid low fat grahams are HFCS free, as are Newman-O's. Nestle Abuelita choc syrup (Hispanic section) is as well. 🙂 Mexican Coke is, too, though very pricey.

    it's getting easier. Even Heinz makes ketchup with none–the organic version. It's tastier, too!

  5. On June 26, 2005 I made my last boxed cake mix. It was all an effort to rid our house of trans-fats… which I did!! Since October 2009, we stopped eating meat and started eating a pescatarian diet– fish eating vegetarians ;))…have eliminated HFCS…. AND made the decision to eat locally… about 80% of the food we purchase/consume is locally grown… either from our garden, farmers' market or CSA… (we even get our eggs from our very own hens.)

    Oh, and I'm also freeing myself from packaged products and purchasing everything I can in bulk… honey, maple syrup, beans, grains, sugar… you name it… and it's freeing up my recycle bin!!

    Good luck with the HFCS… it may seem overwhelming at first because it's in EVERYTHING (I had the hardest time with BBQ sauce)… you'll find organic options to be the most likely choice next to homemade 🙂

    I have some recipes for granola bars and such if you'd like them, just email me 🙂

  6. cutting out HFCS is a big issue and adding more green leafies to our diet is another. Trying green smoothies now. No one else in the family will touch them though.

  7. Thanks to my devoted readers for commenting as usual!

    @Rainbow warriors — fresh fruit and veggies, breads made at home are cheap and HFCS free.

  8. We recently declared our independence from bleached white flour. We're already dairy, nut, peanut, oat, coconut, and watermelon free.

  9. We try our hardest to not have HFCS in our diet, and I try to buy Organic as much as I can. It is very true that it is becoming easier…one of our local supermarket chains Meijers makes alot of "Natural" products now that are HFCS free and affordable. I have also removed Pop from my diet now for going on 5 years. I have only occasionly taken a sip (when I have that half second of weakness) and it almost makes me sick because it is so sweet. We try to follow the "Eat right for you blood type" as well…since doing so I have seen a drastic decline in the issues of reflux and IBS symptoms…
    Have a Blessed Fourth 🙂

  10. Rainbow Warrior, beans, fresh veg and fruit. You don't have to go organic. Organic is expensive, I agree. Try to cut back on processed foods at least..
    and you will see a difference in the way you feel.

  11. We try to be as HFCS-free as possible, along with the other label detective work I have to do with my youngest son's allergies to egg, nuts and seeds (try finding a sunflower oil-free tortilla chip). I think that what has made it easier for me is shopping at stores that don't carry as much of those items. I know that I'm lucky to have a Trader Joe's, and other natural markets that make the choices for me. I hit a mainstream grocery market about once a month, and every time get a bit riled up at the amount of junk in the isles-especially when i spend less money for better quality food items at TJs.

  12. I have pretty well cut HFCS from our diet. The only things left is ketcup (I am using up the last bottle with HFCS) and a couple of things that the husbsand likes. I did not get rid of HFCS all at one time but phased it out as I used it up.

    I started cutting out HFCS when I was reading the label on an expensive jar of jam. There was HFCS in it. There is no reason for HFCS or even Corn Syrup in jams much less above fruit on the label. HFCS and corn syrup are added to make the jam cheaper to make. I solved this by making our own jams. I found homemade jams are much cheaper, much higher quality and have a taste that is fresh and fruity. Each year my costs go down because I can reuse the jars.

    I have always watched how much salt we consume and will continue to do so. We feel better when we don't eat too much salt.

    We eat a lot of fresh food. I do try to buy locally, preferable directly from the farmer, because food that is eaten closer to the time it was picked tastes better. I do wish that I could have a garden but my yard is way too shady.

    I don't insist that foods be organic but I do watch artificial flavors, colors and preservatives buying as little of these foods as possible.

  13. We've been about 99% HFCS-free at home for quite a few years now.

    In addition to being bad for you, it's highly addictive and causes cravings for more of it.

    @Rainbow Warrior – you're only fooling yourself if you think it costs any more to avoid HFCS. Even if you don't want to go the whole-foods (not Whole Foods) route, there are plenty of commercial alternatives to whatever you're buying now that do not have HFCS aren't any more expensive.

  14. We've been taking baby steps towards a less factory-processed diet. We eliminated food dyes, MSG, artificial sweeteners, and BHA/BHT/TBHQ for my son's health, and it's part of the way we manage his condition.

    Then I moved to eliminating hydrogenated oils. Last year I worked on eliminating HFCS and we're continuing that this year (as well as reducing the amount of GMO corn and soy).

  15. Anon,

    I buy Hunt's ketchup now instead of Heinz, which has HFCS in it. Hunt's does not use HFCS and even says so on its label. I think it tastes just as good as Heinz — I really can't tell a difference and I LOVE ketchup on everything. 🙂


  16. I am working on pulling HFCS out of our diet and have started making our own bread and jams. I was originally also pulling MSG, but I have found that without the HFCS, most things with MSG are also gone, so I am just focusing on the HFCS. My next target will probably be processed soy. I don't have a problem with soy in and of itself, just like I don't have a problem with corn, in and of itself, but moderation doesn't mean derivatives in everything you buy.

    Just as a fun asside about how I got here. I saw those commercials about HFCS being "fine in moderation", and "what DO they say?", and it got me looking into it and deciding that I wanted to get it out of my diet. Thank you Corn Growers of America (or whoever it was that paid for those adds). I was eating lunch a couple of weeks ago and I had a pork loin chop with some BBQ sauce, some apple sauce, and some steamed carrots on the side. I realized that there is HFCS in two of those three things. And if I were drinking soda, or certain juices, like in one of the commercials, that would be three sources of HFCS in one meal. That is not moderation.

    I also don't eat any fake sugars because I can't stand the taste of them, or "diet" versions of foods. Interestingly enough, without avoiding a single high fat/calorie meal, just by cutting HFCS and watching portion size, I have lost 10 pounds in 2 months, and am still losing.

  17. In terms of health, I think it's a lot more effective to concentrate on eating real, actual, whole foods that you cook and bake yourself than to concentrate on eliminating single elements.

    If you want snacks, applesauce, breads, meats, drinks, and any other foods made without HFCS or other additives, you have choices: go without, make them yourself, or source purer alternatives. Of course there's a time versus money issue; that's the way all of life is. Often, if one doesn't have money, one has time; the inverse is true as well. Good health requires investments of money and time. It's as simple as that.

  18. It's great-I have eliminated HFCS from my diet and additionally am only buying products that have 5 ingredients or less on the package. I have been reading Mark Bittman's book "Food Matters." It has really helped me have a better understanding of our food industry and the complete integration of environment, obesity, and the health insurance crisis. I have loved reading your blog and thank you so much for doing the work that you do!

  19. I'm attempting to go as soy free as possible, with HFCS as the second item to be avoided. I'm also working on getting away from commercially raised meat. I found a local farmer's market that provides grass fed/pastured meats, and the local grocery store carries ground buffalo (grass fed, but finished on grains), and vegetarian fed hormone free/antibiotic free meats. They're not organic, but it seems to be as far as the store is willing to go for the moment. It takes some work, but I've made a lot of progress in only 5 weeks!

  20. My kids now look at the boxes to decide if something is actually food or not. We make a weekly trip to the produce market and nothing ever goes to waste. We do get the occasional bit of junk, but it is happening less and less. Last year the kids also stopped buying school lunch and opted to bring their own. Actual food is just so much better.

    I have enjoyed your blog and have become completely inspired by it!

  21. We're already MSG, HFCS, transfats and gluten free so I'm trying to buy things as unprocessed as possible. As of this past month we've been getting around 50% of all our foods from the local farmer's market. Things we do need to buy at other places we try to get at local businesses and in bulk to cut down on packaging.

    I want to declare my independence from gluten free bread products! They're way too expensive and the prepackaged ones taste terrible. I do really love the GF bread from the local bakery but I would have a lot more freedom if I baked it at home. Even the dry mixes are terribly overpriced, although delicious.

  22. Like so many other readers and posters, I too am trying to “simplify” what my household eats. And, also like so many others, that includes reducing HFCS. I have decided that (at least for now) my focus isn’t to 100% eliminate it; however I believe that the more we buy ingredients (grass fed meat, organic fruits, whole wheat flour, etc) we will naturally eliminate the amount of HFCS we eat. Gotta take baby steps, especially with the hubs! Anyhow, I sort of scored a win this week at the grocery store. We were shopping for bread, and it was the hubs’ turn to choose the bread. He pulled a loaf he liked off the shelf and asked if it had HFCS in it. We turned it over and it was the *# 3* ingredient. Really, #3?? As we looked through every other loaf that appealed to him, every single one had HFCS on in. I say it was only a sort of victory because we couldn’t find a single loaf without it listed somewhere. We settled for one that had it near the end, but still…Anyone know of a brand without HFCS available in eastern Iowa?

    I aspire to make our own bread someday (following my theory above with the ingredients rather than processed food), but for now is not possible. And I know, it can be done inexpensively with or without a bread maker, and that it is time vs. money. The bread maker is on hold while we save up to upgrade out of our condo next year, and the extra time to make it without the bread maker is not available as we are both obtaining graduate degrees while working full-time in professional lines of work. Mrs. Q., the hubs is a teacher too and stopped eating hot lunch so often once I shared your blog with him!

  23. We have also been eliminating HFCS at our house. It's only been a couple of months so we are still using up some things but we're mostly there. I'm sure we won't be 100% free of it but I still feel good about the changes we are making. No margarine or butter substitues. Only real butter in moderation. Less processed/junk foods, more whole foods, lots and lots of fruits and veggies and just overall better food choices. I hardly gave this stuff a thought until we decided to have kids. I do wish I had been more proactive about how we ate before deciding to have kids but better late than never.

  24. Rainbow Warrior: I would like to challenge you to post your weekly or monthly grocery budget, family size and how you currently spend your budget in a normal week or month. Maybe it could be called Soup Up My Groceries or something along those lines. The challenge would then be for the readers to take your budget and list out exactly how it could frugally be spent in real life on good foods with meal plans/recipes and all. I believe it's possible to eat well on a shoestring budget. Yes, it will take time and planning but isn't your health and the health of your family worth the extra effort?

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