Tropical Smoothie and Food Additives

Yesterday morning started out with another delicious smoothie. I’m a little bit hooked on these things. Here’s what went into this one:

  • a banana
  • frozen mango chunks
  • orange juice
  • pineapple juice
  • baby carrots

It turned out a dreamy orange sherbet color because of the carrots. Which I still couldn’t taste, so any carrotphobes can relax. Unless you’re allergic, and then, yeah…skip the carrots.

pineapple banana mango smoothie

Here’s how it looked just before I blended it up:

pineapple banana mango smoothie fixings

Not terribly pretty, but not too bad either.

I always use not-from-concentrate juices. For a while I was buying Dole Pineapple Juice in a can, but there was some stir on several SCD websites about the use of starch-bound additives. Dole’s added vitamin A and E supplements are bound with corn starch, apparently. (Is there any indication of that on the label? Nope. Sneaky, sneaky…you never know what’s in the food you’re eating.) So I had given up on finding any pineapple juices that I could safely drink. Then this weekend I saw not-from-concentrate pineapple juice at Trader Joe’s.

Trader Joe's pineapple juice

The ingredients are: pineapple juice. That’s it. And with a vitamin A percentage of zero (I checked), I’m pretty sure there are no additives, though I haven’t done any research on the SCD forums. I’ve heard that Trader Joe’s is notoriously unwilling to make any commitments (verbal or written) about what is (or isn’t) in their products. There are some shady rules about food labeling, such as this hard to swallow nugget from FoodLabels.com:

Processing aids and incidental additives that have no functional or technical effect in the finished product are exempt from ingredient labeling.

This makes it particularly difficult for an SCDer to ever know precisely what’s in pre-made foods. And unless you’re well versed in the terminology, you may be unwittingly consuming foods you’d thought were safe.

For example, I’d been buying this particular kind of roast chicken from the supermarket. After scoping out the ingredients on all of the available chickens—most of which had cane sugar or sugar—I found one that had only four ingredients. They all sounded benign enough, so I kept buying these roast chickens and eating them. However, after a meal, my stomach would typically be upset. I couldn’t really figure out why. It’s just chicken, right? That’s supposed to be one of the safest things an SCDer can eat. I looked more closely at the ingredients and realized I’d ditzed out on one crucial ingredient: sodium glutamate. “Hey!” I’d thought. “That’s just salt! Or a preservative of some kind, right?” Then it dawned on me that sodium glutamate sounded an awful lot like monosodium glutamate: MSG. A known evil in the food world and an extremely cheap way of injecting food with just a hint of exceptionally tasty goodness. I looked it up, and sure enough, sodium glutamate is just another way of saying MSG. Yikes.

MSG is technically SCD legal, but there’s enough evidence out there to convince me to stay away from it. Also, one of the cardinal rules of SCD is to listen to your body and figure out what it does and doesn’t like. Some “legal” foods are not well tolerated by everyone. After looking through the list of common MSG-related ailments, it’s no wonder my insides were rising up and staging insurrections under such an onslaught of a meal. Guess I’ll be spending the extra $3 on roast chickens from Whole Foods if I want a quick, fuss-free dinner.

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One thought on “Tropical Smoothie and Food Additives

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