I started realgredients because I am disgusted with the state of our food. We’ve transitioned from a society that once made its own food, to one that relies on others to make it. We go out to eat, we buy food-stuffs that are already made, and we don’t read the labels that tell us what’s in our food. Many ingredients are far from standard, are unpronounceable to mere mortals, and the fact that we cannot pronounce them should subconsciously tell us that we shouldn’t eat them. Instead, we’ve put our trust in food manufacturers and other agencies to protect and inform us. Whether they have or haven’t is not the point of this site, however; each entity has a job to do.
So what are WE doing? We are unlearning the years of “education” we’ve had, and insisting on REAL food from here on out.
It’s a tough thing to insist on, given the circumstances. Collectively, we tend to think that a food product containing maple syrup, salt, preservatives, and defoaming agents shouldn’t be able to be listed as “100% maple syrup”. But the FDA disagrees. And it’s an abhorrently uphill battle to decode the marketing-speak that is printed on your food to decipher what is actually in it. So part of this site’s purpose is to reach out to food manufacturers to let them tell us directly what is in their food ingredients. And since the 4-ingredient maple syrup can legally and truthfully be listed as a 1-ingredient item, there is no way for consumers to know which one is actually JUST maple syrup, and which one is TECHNICALLY just maple syrup. Unless we ask them, that is. And when they’ve told us where they’ve sourced their ingredients and we can verify the legitmacy ourselves, we’ll let you know. Because until then, there’s much we don’t.
Here’s what we do know, though: It’s better to eat the 4-ingredient maple syrup listed as “100% maple syrup”, than the host of unnatural food-stuffs that are somehow considered viable food ingredients, with a litany of nicknames presented via subterfuge and careful consideration by various entities. It’s a shame though, when even our “natural” ingredients are not nearly as natural as purported.
It’s not just our own ignorance that faults us either. We’ve been systemically deceived at almost all points throughout the manufacturing process, to the point where we actually connotate a difference between artificial and natural flavors. Thanks in big part to the naming conventions, products routinely advertise themselves as being “all natural, and having no artificial flavors”, but will use natural flavors as an additive instead. Unfortunately, the only difference between the two comes from the INITIAL source of the flavoring. All are chemical components, carefully created in a lab. There is not one artificial or natural flavor that we are aware of that actually comes from the ingredient it is supposed to represent. And just like the maple syrup example, each one of these flavorings actually contain multiple ingredients that are legally allowed to be labeled as one.
We live in a society where we think we are free to simply look at food labels to know what’s going on. But we often don’t, and wouldn’t know the ingredients or the resulting food products, even if we did. Orange juice is allowed to be separated into water and orange, which can then be evaporated, distilled, and produced and coaxed into a flavor profile where it is re-introduced to the flavorless orange liquid and separated water. Since the product started as oranges, and only uses oranges as part of the process, we know that franken-orange by a better name: 100% orange juice. The food industry knows them as flavor packs.
Poppies can be distilled into something far worse than the sum of it’s parts. As can other natural ingredients like leaves from the cocoa plant. But we don’t simply call the results “poppies” or “cocoa”; we call them heroin and cocaine.
I digress; I understand. With our advances in science, and modern society’s scope of understanding the metaphyscial, in this information age we currently live in, an apple isn’t just an apple. It’s technically a carbon based protein structure with a myriad number different flavor components and compounds.
It’s also… just an apple.
The deception in our food runs deep. There are veils we don’t even know to lift. But we can start eating better by being better informed of what’s in our food. We can again start eating REAL.
Real food starts with real ingredients. Realgredients.com