Top Five Foods to Never Buy at the Healthfood Store

by Sarah Healthy Living, Most PopularComments: 214

Consider yourself warned!

shopping cartNot all food at the healthfood store is healthy! In fact, much of it can be classified as organic junk food.  You can always tell healthfood store newbies as their shopping carts are typically loaded up with these types of foods which indicates that they have only recently made the transition from grocery store junk food and are simply replacing one type of highly processed boxed food with another.

Having shopped at healthfood stores for almost 20 years and seen many a food fad come and go, here is my top five list of supposedly “healthy” foods that are anything but nourishing to you and your family.

#1 Protein Powder

Protein is a very fragile macronutrient.  When you separate it from its whole food source it will easily be denatured.  Denatured foods are toxic and allergenic to the body as digestive enzymes do not work well on them and the food ends up only partially digested.  Undigested food rots in the gut and is the perfect food for pathogenic yeasts and bacteria to thrive upon which rapidly leads the body down the path to autoimmune disorders.

Whey protein is especially fragile and cannot be powdered or dried even at low temperatures.

For more information on the dangers of protein powders and other high protein foods, check out Ditch That Protein Powder.

Do yourself a favor – if you need protein boost, skip the protein powder and eat a grassfed steak, some pastured poultry, or an egg instead!

#2 Soy Milk

Soy milk is not an ancestral food nor was it ever considered of value in traditional Asian societies.  Soy milk is a modern invention – a cheap, mass produced product “fortified” with an undigestible form of calcium as well as synthetic Vitamin D2 which has been linked with hyperactivity, coronary heart disease, and allergic reactions.

Soy milk is loaded with sugar to cover up its awful beany flavor.  Even versions labeled as “original” or “plain” are full of sugar as unsweetened soy milk is highly gag worthy and completely unacceptable to the consumer.  Manufacturers fool the consumer with the amount of sugar in soymilk by using stealth sweeteners such as barley malt and brown rice syrup.

I took a look at an unsweetened soy milk yesterday at the healthfood store and it had the ominous “natural flavors” in the ingredients list where artificial sweeteners typically lurk.   For example, the artificial sweetener Neotame is permitted even in organic foods with no labeling required.

The most insidious aspect of soy milk is its devastating impact on the thyroid gland.   Soy is one of the most goitrogenic (thyroid suppressing) foods on the planet and those who drink soy milk are at great risk of developing thyroid problems or even becoming hypothyroid.

Interestingly, Dr. Harry Miller, the man credited with popularizing soy milk in China in the late 1930’s which then spread to the rest of the world, specialized in goiter surgery in his medical practice!

#3 Organic Canned Soups

Canned soup even if organic is never a healthy food choice. Most organic soups are nothing but water, sodium, and MSG.  Organic bouillon cubes are no better and the tetra packs of organic chicken or vegetable broth should be avoided as well.

Anything that is in the store that is soup related is going to have MSG in it. Organic MSG is still MSG and will produce the same damaging effects to the neurons in your hypothalamus. Remember that the hypothalamus is the Master Controller of the endocrine system, so if you don’t want your metabolism screwed up – possibly permanently – then avoid canned soup of all kinds as this is a very big source of this toxic ingredient.

If you don’t believe me, just read the label of your favorite organic soup and then read the list of MSG pseudo names. I have yet to find any organic soup brand that doesn’t have at least one and usually several more of these MSG aliases in them.

Note:  Since this post was written, a few brands of organic soup have appeared on the market that do not appear to have MSG in them, but canned food is nutritionless, usually packed in toxic BPA or BPS cans and not in any way health promoting, so it’s not worth buying anyway.

If you want a decent bowl of soup, you must make your own.

#4 Fish Oil Supplements

Fish oil is a very delicate oil highly subject to rancidity due to the high concentration of omega 3 fatty acids.  Omega 3 fats can never be heated for any reason and even exposure to light and air hastens their rapid breakdown.

With this in mind, how then could fish oil supplements be anything but unhealthy given that they are all processed at extremely high temperatures?   They are then packaged in capsules or bottles which sit for goodness knows how long on store shelves until the unwitting customer buys them in hopes that these magic pills will somehow reduce their chances for cardiovascular disease and other inflammatory conditions as so cleverly marketed.

Fat chance.

#5 Gluten Free Foods

Healthfood stores in my area seem to all be expanding their gluten free sections lately. Even grocery stores are adding gluten free aisles.

Gluten free went mainstream this past summer when Chelsea Clinton requested a gluten free cake be served at her wedding reception.

Don’t be fooled by the hype.  Gluten free foods are not healthy and are not any better than regular store bought processed versions.  Gluten free processed foods are made for folks who aren’t ready  or are unwilling to switch to Real Food but are very allergic to regular processed foods. Moreover, they are ridiculously expensive and nutritionless to boot.

If you are allergic to gluten, it is much better to work on your gut health by buying and traditionally preparing Real Food rather than the band-aid approach of buying gluten free processed foods.   Once you rebalance and rebuild your gut so that beneficial bacteria dominate rather than the pathogens that are in control in the gut of a gluten intolerant person, you might be delighted to find as my husband did that gluten no longer causes symptoms or immunity issues!

I hope this list helps you become a much more savvy healthfood store customer.  Don’t fall for the highly processed organic junk food.   Buy organic produce and one to three ingredient foods such as nut butters or traditional sourdough bread at your healthfood store and you will be well on your way to loading your pantry and refrigerator with foods that will really enhance your health and not just give you a false sense of security and empty your wallet!



Sources:  Not Milk and Uncheese:  The Udder Alternatives

Picture Credit


Comments (214)


    I go back and forth about using protein powder and getting protein from food. Honestly, I don’t notice any difference between the two ways except that the protein powder is a real time-saver. However, I did notice my body composition improved when I increased the amount of protein I was getting daily not necessarily from how I was getting the protein.

    December 11th, 2015 12:55 pm Reply
  • Kris

    Celiac Disease cannot be cured by healing your gut. I have healed my gut and I still have celiac disease.

    April 29th, 2015 5:54 pm Reply
    • Jojo

      I agree with you Kris. I was diagnosed in 2001 with celijojohac disease. I wish there was a way to clean up my gut and be able to eat normal again.

      September 30th, 2015 3:13 pm Reply
      • Jojo

        Oops celiac disease

        September 30th, 2015 3:15 pm Reply
  • Food for thought

    Don’t forget that unprocessed junk food is still junk food!

    October 10th, 2014 10:29 am Reply
  • Jen

    You said to look at our soups from our pantry so I did just that. I am going to list the ingredients now:
    Health Valley Organic No Salt Added Minestrone Soup– The can clearly states NON-BPA LINING on it
    Filtered water, organic celery, organic carrots, organic tomatoes, organic onions, organic peas, organic tomato paste, organic pasta (organic wheat flour, organic egg whites), organic green beans, organic red kidney beans, organic corn starch, organic small white beans, organic spinach, organic expelled pressed canola oil, organic evaporated cane juice, organic onion powder, organic garlic granules, organic spices, organic concentrated lemon juice, organic white pepper, organic cayenne pepper, vitamin A palmitate.

    I don’t see anything on this list to be extremely concerning (while the addition of vit A, might not be necessary, it is the last ingredient and it does not raise any red flags). It most certainly does not contain any MSG (or hidden MSG) as you erroneously claim. And I would like to know what kind of soup you make without water, because all of the homemade soups that I have made are also mostly water or milk so I wasn’t really sure where you were going with that statement.

    While I appreciate the idea of making everything homemade it just isn’t feasible for everyone. Most people work outside of the home and simply do not have the time to spend in the kitchen making soups and all other sorts of meals that live up to your ridiculously high standards. When able, it is good to make things from scratch with whole ingredients, but in a pinch I think that these alternatives are good to have available. For you to poo poo them because you are some sort of elitist is just nonsense. But everyone is entitled to an opinion. I just know better and thought that perhaps some of your readers should be made aware of your ridiculously unfounded claims as well.

    Also, you clearly know nothing about bodybuilding or protein. There are some good organic protein powders on the market today (and you are wrong about whey- there are Whey concentrate – not isolate- protein powders that are cold processed, but had you done your research you would know this!). But you don’t understand that when I leave the gym, I can’t just grill up a steak in my car. Nor am I going to have one on hand. Your lifestyle is not realistic for normal people. And I thought I was crazy about being organic. Holy Cow! You really take the cake on this. But LYING to people doesn’t promote your cause! It’s your karma.

    March 2nd, 2014 8:41 am Reply
  • Stuart Friedman

    Thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge with us. Very clear and intelligibly written. Blessings.

    January 19th, 2014 6:08 pm Reply
  • Paleo Huntress

    Americans are consuming less salt then we were at the turn of the 20th century when salt was the primary preservative used for food and as much salt as were 50 years ago. Salt is not only not unhealthy, cutting way back on it could be harmful. As reported in the New York Times article, “Salt, We Misjudged You”, in 2011, two meta-analyses were published by the Cochrane Collaboration. The first concluded that cutting back “the amount of salt eaten reduces blood pressure, but there is insufficient evidence to confirm the predicted reductions in people dying prematurely or suffering cardiovascular disease.”

    The second concluded that “we do not know if low salt diets improve or worsen health outcomes.”

    It isn’t the salt in the food that’s causing us health issues.

    January 9th, 2014 10:09 am Reply
  • Gricelda

    My brother was recently diagonse with cirhossis in the liver and he is in a diet low protein and low sodium. I am desperate to find a store where I can purchase all the items to use for fixing meals for him. Right now I don’t know where to start feeling helpless. We leave in Denton, Mckinney, Texas area. Looking for guidance. Gricelda

    August 31st, 2013 9:06 am Reply
    • Smudge

      Gricelda, you could try Dandelion and Milk Thistle herbs as these support and help heal the liver. Also, can I suggest that he do a detox with fresh vege juices. Good luck!

      August 31st, 2013 7:54 pm Reply
  • grace

    Yes, totally agree that you can absolutely heal your gut. My friend who has severe IBS has been working with a holistic healer and has done just that. She was only allowed to eat chicken soup broth and fresh juices while her gut healed.

    However, if she goes back to eating the same foods (grains, gluten) that helped damage her gut in the first place, she will end up right back where she started. Just because your gut has healed does NOT mean you can go back to eating grains/gluten.

    As for myself, when I decided to go gluten free for 30 days as a trial (mostly I was tired of feeling bloated). I also noticed that as long as I avoided gluten , all of my PMS symptoms disappeared. When I shared the info with my sister-in-law and friends, their symptoms also disappeared after going gluten-free. Gluten-free diets are more than just a fad. Gluten has been shown to disrupt our hormones-especially estrogen. There is much research on this.

    I rarely eat any grains, opting for fresh veggies and fruits, dates and nuts and believe strongly grains are unhealthy.

    I agree with you when you advise people to avoid processed foods and to eat REAL whole foods but I’m confused that you claim you can now eat products with gluten in them. I cannot think of any products that contain gluten that are not considered a processed food.

    August 24th, 2013 9:07 pm Reply
  • Rowan

    It would be nice if you gave us some sources for all of the claims you make here.

    I hope your readers are good critical readers because nothing you have said here is supported by factual evidence.

    August 12th, 2013 11:13 am Reply
    • vk


      July 27th, 2014 3:08 am Reply
  • David

    All of Trader Joe’s products (with the Trader Joe’s label on them), including soups and broths, are free of MSG.

    June 4th, 2013 1:29 pm Reply
  • Sara D

    I’ve been in the industry for about 30 years, and I don’t necessarily agree with *all* of the above.

    First of all, it is indeed possible to find sources of Omega 3’s in health food stores that are still completely viable. You’re right that many manufacturers do it the easiest and cheapest way, and as such, shorten the life of the nutrient. But if you do your research, you will be able to find a good quality product whose Omega 3 is very worth your while.

    Secondly, you’re right that many gluten-free products are basically desserts touted as healthy. No, thank you! However, Udi’s makes some gluten-free breads that are wonderfully delicious, and are chock-full of great nutrients. (I have no association with the company.) Being gluten-free myself, I only eat Udi’s and love it.

    Finally, if you’re in search of a powdered protein source from a health food store, try brown rice protein! It does indeed come unsweetened, and it’s much much healthier for you than most all the other kinds.

    May 24th, 2013 2:44 am Reply
  • Cherrri Nelson

    Incorrect information on gluten free. There’s an allergy to gluten and then there’s gluten enteropathy or Celiac. Gluten intolerance is very different from a gluten or wheat allergy. We simply can NEVER eat gluten in any form no matter how long we stay gluten free, every again without medical complications. You may grown out of it if it’s an allergy only.
    Yes, it’s become a fad! And, it’s not healthier to go gluten free; unless it’s a medical issue for you. You don’t lose weight. But when it’s a medical genetic disorder for you, there’s no choice.
    For many many of us this is very real, I can medically never go back. And, it causes many medical problems to try, including the painful cramping of IBS within a day if I try or accidentally eat even small amounts of gluten.
    Real food is always better, processed is never as healthy as the real deal. But, please become more informed on this issue. I’m glad for your husband, I miss cinnamon buns terribly. But your information about gluten is misleading and incorrect.

    April 22nd, 2013 3:48 pm Reply
    • Sara D

      Actually, Cherrri, many people say nowadays that we should ALL go gluten-free! Health experts are learning how a glutenized diet affects many systems in our bodies.

      I know that diabetics especially are told to stay both gluten- and dairy-free. I happen to agree that we’d all be better off that way.

      May 24th, 2013 2:48 am Reply
      • JR

        Actually, Sara D, ‘many people’ once said that saturated fat was bad for the body. That has been debunked.

        Why anyone would follow the cattle over the cliff is beyond me…you have far, far more to learn; I’m not going to be the one to teach it.

        October 15th, 2015 8:32 am Reply
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  • Smudge

    I have to agree with Sarah and Paleo Huntress all the way! Until everyone arguing with Sarah and PH have done their research ( and I don’t mean just believing what your doctor has said!), can I say “ignorance is not bliss!”
    Give your body some credit as it is an amazing thing! It can heal itself from disease and ill-health if it is given the correct tools and resources ie whole foods (veges, fruits, nuts & seeds, grass fed meat etc), clean water, exercise, sleep etc. Simple!

    April 9th, 2013 11:26 pm Reply
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  • Kayla

    What about plant based protein powder?

    March 28th, 2013 11:22 am Reply
    • Sara D

      Kayla, brown rice protein powder is one of the best you can buy.

      May 24th, 2013 1:45 pm Reply
  • Heather

    Oh and maybe read up on “rapeseed” which is what Canola is made from. The producers wanted to get away from the word “rape” so named it Canola “Canada oil low acid”. Yes I’m from Canada and Canola oil is produced not too far from where we live. Yes, but I’m sure it is just liquid death….

    March 25th, 2013 1:29 pm Reply
    • Paleo Huntress

      “Yes, but I’m sure it is just liquid death….”

      It is.


      March 26th, 2013 8:40 am Reply
    • Paleo Huntress

      I understand your fondness for your patriot oil, but Canada has so much to be proud of, there really is no need to defend canola.

      “After altering the rapeseed plant, Dr. Baldur Steffanson went to work for Calgene, which later became called MONSANTO. In fact, Dr. Steffanso indeed also developed the Monsanto Round-up resistant variety of GMO Canola. Canola has been Monsanto GMO’d to a stunning degree, not only are a considerable amount of the canola plants out there genetically engineered to be resistant to the toxic Roundup herbicides applied to them, but even approximately 80% of WILD Canola plant’s have been infected by the GMO variety, so finding a non-GMO canola oil is exceptionally difficult.”

      “Companies selling Canola claims the seeds are expeller pressed, but then they throw in that sometime after that the oil is also REFINED NATURALLY. Refined canola oil is exposed to hydrogenation type heat, as well as precipitation and deodorizing w/minerals and potentially more? The concept that any cold-pressed organic oil is subsequently refined may sound contradictory. Isn’t the purpose of expeller processing to avoid high heat and chemical treatments? Isn’t the assumption the consumer is acting on when they are buying oils that say expeller pressed is that heat and treatments have been cut out of the equation? So the question remains if you are applying high heat during refining of a Monounsaturated oil, like Canola, won’t you be oxidizing it more from the get-go, and thus creating more free radicals in it, so its quite like your OIL has been PRECOOKED before you even get to use it?”

      “Canola, as a monounsaturated oil, with those two weak carbon bonds, is open to oxidation and free radical generation especially in the course of application of heat. If refining means adding heat, then not only may there be a problem in undermining of the natural antioxidants in an oil, but also in the free radical generation that may be linked to increased incidence of many diseases.”

      March 28th, 2013 11:05 am Reply
    • Mary Ann

      CanadaOil/CanolaOil is also a GMO product originally produced to be used as a machine oil… TO BE ROUND-UP [GLYPHOSATE’ RESISTANT!!!]

      March 8th, 2015 1:24 pm Reply
  • Heather

    I’m sooooooo glad I eat white bread and a lots of red meat because I sound so much happier than most of the people who posted above. Glad to know my corn syrup additives are working hard to make me a happier person. Somebody needs a nice piece of chocolate cake !

    March 25th, 2013 1:25 pm Reply
  • waterlilly

    I meant GUT healing diet…. ayayai…

    March 13th, 2013 2:18 am Reply
  • waterlilly

    I read a fair bit about the Gluten Free (GF) and the comments, and stopped about midway down. I am celiac. My life changed when I went GF. I also healed my gut. I regularly make my own Kimchi or fermented cabbage veggies. The stuff is amazing for the body. Especially the inflammation part which is autoimmune. After years of going almost entirely grain free, I’m now able to have some gluten products here and there, but I can feel how it very quickly compromises my nervous system – I develop autistic tendencies and oversensitivity. I prefer to cheat with whole grain, largely nut based gluten free “treats” (which I make myself), and make sure they never contain GMO corn, soy or the junk oils Canola (horrible junk). It seems what used to be a pretty decent industry, with GF, is now as junky as the regular stuff – replete with junk oils, msg, corn syrup and other corn derivatives. Best you make this stuff at home and follow the guy healing diet.

    March 13th, 2013 2:16 am Reply
  • Billy Bragg

    It is amazing, that we have now gluten free markets..

    February 18th, 2013 7:50 am Reply
  • Rachel Kopfle

    I don’t see any of the MSG ingredients on your list on the Amy’s brand of organic canned soups I buy. I just checked the Amy’s Southwestern Vegetable, Split Pea, and Spanish Rice and Red Beans. Rather than villifying all organic canned soups, perhaps it would be more accurate to tell readers that some canned soups contain MSG, but not all, and then refer them to your list. I am a stay at home mom with a family that has lots of food allergies and while I try to cook from scratch as much as possible, sometimes it’s not an option and things like healthy organic canned soups can be a real help.

    February 16th, 2013 1:04 pm Reply
  • amanda

    I want to eat healthier and feed my children real food…but I don’t know how. Take away all the ‘bad’ foods and I don’t know how to make a meal. I was raised on fast food. I’ve been eating and feeding my kids frozen meals and take-out. I don’t know how to shop healthy, what to look for, how to cook it, etc.
    I need someone to give me at least a week or two of meal plans and how I make it and where to buy the groceries.
    I also need to stop the soda habit…I drink 3 to 5 bottles of Dr. Pepper a day. When I don’t, I get headaches and feel fuzzy and tired. :( it’s killing me but I don’t know where to turn. I have only been to a health food store twice in my life…and I got the ‘healthy junk food’. That was me…cart full of junk from the health store.

    February 5th, 2013 5:48 am Reply
    • Pam

      Right there with you Amanda!! Completely overwhelmed with just trying to eat less fast food, fewer preservatives, fewer frozen quick fix meals, etc. I too read these blogs and think “what’s left to eat?”. I have found that the cost and time involved to eat “real foods” is also a huge stumbling block. I now read labels carefully and try to make better choices. Real food IS more expensive, contrary to what many claim (ground beef $2.89/pound, grassfed organic ground beef $7.29/pound). I can barely get dinner on the table most evenings, and certainly don’t have entire days to spend in my kitchen cooking chicken bones for 12 hours, soaking stuff for 3 days, kneading bread, etc. Yes, I need meal plans and shopping lists too, shopping lists for REAL stores, because I have no “health food” stores or farms anywhere near me. And meals that don’t take hours in the kitchen. And quite honestly, my motivation is low because my family is HEALTHY, no allergies, no intolerances, no autism or behavioral problems, etc. and are completely unphased by what goes into our bodies.

      I did ditch the soda and do coffe or tea instead. I work night shift so there is no way I could do life without caffeine :)

      March 4th, 2013 8:01 am Reply
      • Johnny

        The Standard American Diet with foods bought at a chain grocery is about the same cost as a healthy diet with foods bought at a chain farmer’s market. Greek yogurt, free-range meat, and wild-caught seafood cost more. But the rest of a healthy diet is fresh produce and unprocessed grains like oats and bulgur, which is much cheaper than the packaged food that makes up the rest of the American Diet. So its roughly a wash.

        May 8th, 2013 1:16 am Reply
  • Angie

    Also, this statement:

    Gluten free processed foods are made for folks who aren’t ready or are unwilling to switch to Real Food but are very allergic to regular processed foods.


    Check out ELISA allergy testing. Many people find that need to START a gluten-free diet in order to aid in gut healing. Eating whole foods is an integral part, assuming people CAN digest them. You’re not taking into account that some people cannot jump right into eating ‘Real Food’ right away. They may need a gluten-free rotation diet.

    You need to do more research.

    February 2nd, 2013 5:46 pm Reply
    • Paleo Huntress


      There is nothing, and I mean ABSOLUTELY nothing a person gets from processed gluten-free foods that cannot be gotten in a better, more nutrient-dense, more digestible form in whole foods. That’s a line of garbage. Dump the grains and eat whole food- prepare them ancestrally, cook them longer, puree if necessary. No one needs “gluten-free” anything, and it only prolongs the dependance on processed foods and drags out the misery.

      “You need to do more research.”

      Totally. Pot, meet kettle. Except, she’s not actually the pot because she’s correct.


      February 3rd, 2013 6:13 pm Reply
  • Angie

    Are you being paid by Big Agriculture to write this nonsense? Soy is very much a health food, ask a huge population of Asians. Your blog is largely filled with scare-tactics used to deter people interested in plant-based diets.

    February 2nd, 2013 5:40 pm Reply
    • Paleo Huntress


      If you were actually knowledgable about soy consumption in Asia, you’d know that historically, it was fermented and averaged about 2 TEASPOONS/day in the form of a condiment, rather than the cupfuls that Americans are now eating. As Asians follow this trend, their health is suffering for it too. If the author was “being paid by Big Agriculture” as you suggest, she’d be far more likely to PROMOTE it’s third largest product (next to wheat and corn) soy rather than suggesting people avoid it.

      FWIW, the reason soy-based “fake foods” have flooded the fod market is because when soybean oil was first being produced, the leftover mash was actually considered a “toxic waste product” and it was becoming difficult to dispose of. Some very clever marketing folks came up with a way to sell us the waste product, and “textured soy protein, defatted soy flour and a myriad of other fake foods was born.

      Don’t drink the Kool-Aid. There is NOTHING healthy in soy. Even the American Heart Association withdrew it’s recommendations citing no evidence.


      February 3rd, 2013 6:02 pm Reply
      • Catso

        I’m Asian, and we do actually do drink and eat lots of soy, and always have. Soymilk is a staple – although the soymilk I get from the market in Asia does taste different to the soymilk that’s available in cartons in Europe, though I think it’s partly due to the honey/sugar syrup in Asian soymilk. We have a sweet soy curd for breakfast or dessert, and soy was a large part of my diet when I was growing up. I don’t know if soy is actually super healthy or not, but saying it isn’t a traditional food in Asia isn’t true. If you were actually knowledgeable about soy consumption in Asia, you would know that historically we haven’t eaten a lot of soy-based products, particularly as meat substitutes for a vegetarian diet or where meat is scarce, and it isn’t a recent health trend.

        February 13th, 2013 10:25 am Reply
        • Paleo Huntress

          Well how kewl that you’re “Asian”. Which Asian culture specifically do you hail from? Do you feel that your experience represents that of ALL Asian cultures? This is why we call it an AVERAGE.

          For example, according to Japan’s National Nutrition Survey, and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, older Japanese adults consume around 10 g (1 tsp) of soy per day- about half of that comes from the fermented food miso and natto and half comes from tofu and dried soybeans.

          Soy was considered a “great grain” LONG before Asians began eating it. Others includes rice and wheat. Interestingly, the other grains are shown in their seed form in pictograms, however, soy is shown as a root. It was likely plowed under to enrich the soil and not eaten.

          No one was suggesting soy was a recent health trend… just a bad one.


          February 13th, 2013 11:59 am Reply
  • Paleo Huntress

    On the subject of “organic MSG”- I did some extensive research on this topic and learned that the deliberate cooking down and concentrating of broths creates a concentrated source of free glutamic acid- which is the part of MSG that has been referred to as an excitotoxin. In my eyes this makes organic bouillons and stocks (at least those made with sea salt) quite similar to what I make at home. I keep a supply in my pantry, because even though I make my own bone broths and stocks, sometimes I’m just out, and I like having the option.


    December 10th, 2012 1:23 pm Reply
  • Peony

    Not all soy milk is made with additives, Eden and West soy brand are the best ones to buy. Soy milk may taste aweful to the westerner but for asians its a wonderful flavor. Asians don’t drink and eat soy as the westerners do, and that is the problem with their health, a little tofu in some miso, not the entire block, or a bit of edamame and not the whole bag, etc. anything in moderation is fine.

    December 10th, 2012 12:39 pm Reply
  • Dianne

    I am lactose intolerant, in turn became a big soy drinker! no longer!! I would like to make lactose free yoghurt, the culture ive been advised is Glucoden powder and Dairy free yoghurt starter culture (SYAB 1) can you advise on this?

    November 14th, 2012 9:01 pm Reply
    • waterlilly

      Dianne, you might enjoy making “nut milks” as well. I love them. I find raw nut/seeds that I like such as sunflower seeds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, and hemp seed. There are several recepies on-line for various types of nut/seed milks that are delicious, easy and low cost. The nice thing is you can have the nut/seeds in the fridge, soak them overnight when ever you want to make the milk, and then you are ready to go! Then you can spice it up with a dash of cinnamon and cardamom, or heat it on a warm winter day, with a touch of saffron and ghee (clarified butter), and it is delicious and warming. Enjoy!

      March 13th, 2013 2:29 am Reply
  • Peony

    Not all soy milk is loaded with sugar or other bad ing. West Soy and Eden Soy has a very high standard of reputation. Just a bit in your tea is fine

    October 20th, 2012 11:54 am Reply
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  • Terri

    I live in Alberta, Canada and I bought an organic cream of tomato soup. It’s called Amy’s Organic Soups (made in the USA). On the label it reads – no added MSG – no preservatives. The ingredients read: organic tomato puree, filtered water, organic cream, organic evaporated cane juice, organic onions, sea salt, organic black pepper. Am I missing something?…. because it sounds okay to me.

    October 5th, 2012 9:03 pm Reply
  • Brittany Blankenship via Facebook

    I had never thought about the GF food being junk too. But yea, it basically is! Glad we switched to traditional cooking!

    September 30th, 2012 8:34 am Reply
  • Kati Stiles Carter via Facebook

    I have read the GAPS book. I was on it for less than two months when my milk dried up completely.

    September 29th, 2012 9:05 pm Reply
  • Rachelle Clark via Facebook

    @Roseann Ligenza-Fisher-Yes I have tried baking with Rice flour and almond flour and oat flour and bean flour etc etc etc. . I have bought most of them. For many autistic children, eating is about smell, taste, how it looks, and texture. I have done an enormous amount of research into food and autism, along with healing the gut and strengthening the immune system. We strive to improve his life in all aspects. But, when it comes down to it, I have to choose the less of two evils. Can Ry have a store bought processed cookie, or does he have to go without because he can’t make himself eat rice flour. Reading a book does not make you an expert. If you don’t live in the trenches and experience it first hand, you can make all the assumptions that you want. Oh, and one of our daughters was diagnosed at 11, almost 20 years ago with Juvenile Diabetes. Ive been reading labels for a long time. I do appreciate your comments Roeann. :)

    September 29th, 2012 6:11 pm Reply
  • Roseann Ligenza-Fisher via Facebook

    @Rachelle…have you tried baking your grandson’s cookies with almond, arrowroot or rice flour? There are many good gluten free flours to use. I think what Sarah means is that to beware of processed foods in general. Just like if you’re diabetic be aware of processed foods that say sugar free. The foods that are labeled gluten free have a paragraph of ingredients that aren’t at all “healthy” Best bet is to buy fresh ingredients and make your own.

    September 29th, 2012 10:35 am Reply
  • Gina Robinson Ungar

    Sarah- Can you tell me whether Thai fish sauce is an acceptable substitute for MSG?

    September 29th, 2012 12:43 am Reply
  • Jennifer Bright via Facebook

    I think you guys are misunderstanding the diet that needs to be done to heal the gut. It goes beyond whole, healthy foods. You must read “Gut and Psychology Syndrome” by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride to truly understand what it takes to heal the gut. Then get the recipe book that accompanies it.

    September 28th, 2012 9:03 pm Reply
  • Becka

    Sarah, you say soy milk may cause hypothyroidism. I have Graves Disease, or a hyperactive thyroid and take medicine daily for it. Is there any possibility that adding soy milk to my diet will help reduce the amount of medicine I need to take?

    September 28th, 2012 8:45 pm Reply
  • Becka

    Sarah, you say soy milk may cause hypothyroidism. I have Graves Disease, or a hyperactive thyroid and take medicine daily for it. Is there any possibility that adding soy milk to my diet will help reduce the amount of medicine I need to take?

    September 28th, 2012 8:45 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    Yes, MSG is usually listed under one of the 50+ aliases. Food manufacturers aren’t dumb and won’t list “monosodium glutamate” on the label as that would be tantamount to a skull and crossbones to the consumer! LOL

    September 28th, 2012 8:02 pm Reply
  • Fran Shipp via Facebook

    Didn’t know that about the gluten free foods or the fish oil. Thanks for sharing.

    September 28th, 2012 7:19 pm Reply
  • Yngvild

    Just to mention, fish oils don’t have to be treated with heat. There are products on the marked that are fermented. You can have a look at

    If you are afraid of consuming heated fish oils…:)

    September 28th, 2012 7:18 pm Reply
  • Jeanea Tyner Windham via Facebook

    If it says “no MSG” on the label, can they still use it under the other pseudo names that you listed?

    September 28th, 2012 6:31 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    So glad some savvy food manufacturers are wising up and getting the MSG out of some of the soups and broths. Be vigilant about checking those labels though as those are exceptions .. the general rule is to have it in there.

    September 28th, 2012 6:28 pm Reply
  • ecoSAFE

    You are absolutely incorrect about #3 involving MSG in soups. While MSG naturally occurs in foods, some of the highest amounts in parmesan cheese and sun ripened tomatoes, not ALL canned soups contain added MSG and you shouldn’t promote that they do! Organic spice cannot contain synthetic/lab created MSG; artificial flavoring, on the other hand, may contain chemical additives like MSG. Please get the facts straight and do your research before spreading erroneous info publicly in the future! On the same note, why don’t you promote that all canned foods in the US with the exception of most Eden Foods brand, use BPA on their can lining. Now that is a definitive reason why not to use canned foods…now to blow your mind with some MSG free canned soups (the 1st 3 I looked at in my pantry), here you go: Trader Joes Organic Vegetarian Chili, Pacific Natural Foods Organic Cream of Mushroom, & Pacific Natural Foods Organic Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato. I’ll save you the time looking up the ingredient lists since I have them right here. 1) Red Beans, water, onions, tofu, bell peppers, sweet rice flour, jalapeno peppers, safflower/sunflower oil, spices, garlic, sea salt. ALL items are listed organic. 2) water, mushrooms, cream, rice starch, rice flour, sea salt, whey powder, onion powder, garlic powder. All listed as organic. 3) milk, water, tomato paste, red bell peppers, cane juice, garlic, sea salt, butter, sodium citrate, rice flour, garlic powder, onion powder, spices. ALL items listed as organic. Now I’m pretty sure you will argue the tofu has msg because of the soy and if it is processed to isolate certain proteins, this would be true however the amount of MSG present would be the equivalent of 1/10,000th of a teaspoon of a natural sun ripened tomato. Pretty sure you have more toxic exposures than that in your everyday happenings. The only other argument you may have is with the spices ingredient…but once again, to accurately be labeled and called a certified organic spice, it would need to pass the tests of being organically grown and natural. Now it is VERY possible that they could select a sun ripened tomato or parmesan cheese and add that to the spices ingredient because they are both extremely high in natural MSG, but this is a naturally occurring substance and you already eat a lot of it everyday anyways – you just don’t realize you do!

    September 28th, 2012 6:24 pm Reply
  • Lucia Paterra Catania via Facebook


    September 28th, 2012 6:07 pm Reply
  • Jeanea Tyner Windham via Facebook

    I just checked Amy’s cream of mushroom ….no MSG unless I just missed it! I needed it in a bind or I would have made homemade!

    September 28th, 2012 6:04 pm Reply
  • Amanda Colo via Facebook

    @Liz ogden agle I just checked the same thing! Pacific natural vegetable broth is clear of msg

    September 28th, 2012 5:16 pm Reply
  • Rachelle Clark via Facebook

    Your assumption that people who eat (and I will quote) “Gluten free processed foods are made for folks who aren’t ready or are unwilling to switch to Real Food but are very allergic to regular processed foods” is a slap in the face to so many. We switched our grandson to a Gluten free/Casein Free diet and saw wonderful results. We didn’t do it because he had a gut problem, we did it because he has a neurodevelopment disorder (Autism). The changes in his behaviour were amazing. And while we try to keep his diet as healthy as possible, he is a little boy and he likes his cookies. I resent your assumption that we are lazy. And just because your husband had good luck, doesn’t me that those who still have a problem with gluten are failures.

    September 28th, 2012 5:08 pm Reply
  • Susan Eyres via Facebook

    I thank you for this article but must caution that just beccause folks switch their diet does not mean they will be gluten tolerant. I have three childrenwhohave been eatting healthfully and completely avoid processed food, they still have a gluteen allergy. Please be weary when trying to group everyone under one umbrella.

    September 28th, 2012 4:47 pm Reply
  • Kati Stiles Carter via Facebook

    I tried gaps and my breast milk dried up, I’ll take gf flour, keep my oats and keep feeding my children human milk tyvm.

    September 28th, 2012 4:47 pm Reply
  • Kir

    While it’s easy to condemn gluten-free foods, my guess is that the author is not gluten intolerant. People like us are very limited in our food choices, and I personally welcome gluten-free options. I do not feel any worse eating them, but if I eat wheat, I feel like hell. And as far as their option to “just work on fixing their gut”, I would suggest learning about gluten intolerance. It is not reversible. I have been working on my gut diligently for the past 16 years, and surprise, am still gluten intolerant. While most of your info is good, not all gluten-free food is evil. There are also many different mitigating circumstances that can make a person gluten intolerant, other than the gut, like various diseases, so just working on the gut is not going to fix the problem.

    September 28th, 2012 4:27 pm Reply
  • Veronica Moedjio via Facebook

    “You can always tell health store newbies…” please enlighten me pretentious one

    September 28th, 2012 4:05 pm Reply
  • Anna Obreshkova via Facebook

    thank u for the advice…

    September 28th, 2012 4:05 pm Reply
  • Julie Gerasimenko via Facebook

    Thanks for the great post!!!

    September 28th, 2012 3:58 pm Reply
  • Andrea Rice via Facebook

    I am extremely reactive to MSG, and I can tell you that there are organic soups and broths without it. Also, if you are proficient at reading labels, there are gluten free products that are healthy to be found.

    September 28th, 2012 3:48 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    @Liz that’s great news … yes even fairly recently I couldn’t find a single box or can of organic broth or soup that didn’t have MSG in it.

    September 28th, 2012 3:38 pm Reply
  • Michele Fairman via Facebook

    since we have a severe soy allergy in the family, I am actually very wary of organic food

    September 28th, 2012 3:34 pm Reply
  • Sarah Kirkelll


    I am looking at Dr. McBride’s book now. It’s a book I respect on many levels, especially because it contains a good model for healing the gut. However, after reading your article and the comments I reached for it, mainly because I do not remember it saying celiacs disease could be cured, only that the gut could be cured and that many people with GAPS issues could heal their guts and return to eating grains, gluten and other forbidden GAPS foods.

    The index has one reference to celiac’s disease, which it says is mentioned on page 13. The quote, “There has been a substatial amount of research linking schitzophrenia with digestive abnormalities similar to coeliac disease.” I’ll reread it, but if you can refer me to the discussion specifically on healing celiacs, in the sense of celiacs patients being able to eat gluten again, I’d be interested.

    Incidentally, the definition of celiac was narrowed in recent history to such an extent that people with certain body types (the obese for instance) were never screened. This is a GOOD explanation for the increase in diagnosis, because we now know that a majority of celiacs patients are overweight or obese.


    September 28th, 2012 3:26 pm Reply
    • Sarah Kirkell

      After looking around some more, it appears that she may have backed off of some of the statements in articles (and perhaps in the book) about curing celiacs, at least according to a few posts where people were angered over her claim to cure celiacs. My book is printed in 2010 and I can’t find any statement saying celiacs will be cured in the sense that they can go back to eating grain. Gut healing, yes.

      Her website, however, contians this page which seems to indicate she believes you can heal celiacs. She says, “People, who used to be diagnosed as celiac, after following the diet for a few years, can eat ordinary bread and pasta and any other gluten-containing foods.” It is interesting to note that the official means of diagnosing is to look at the intestinal villi and measure their degredation–a severe flattening of the villi is celiacs, anything short of that is not. The test is not actually a genetic test (though there is one to see if you have the gene–which may or may not be triggered.) And, the “cure” of villi that are now healthy and can digest some gluten may not mean you are not susceptible to further damage if you begin to expose yourself anew after gut healing. Her method is to heal the gut back to normal, which can take years–according to her book. But, I’d be hesitant to assume that celiacs folks (especially genetic carriers) could maintain normal intestinal villi after repeated introduction of even soaked/sprouted grains and homemade whole grain gluten containing foods. She simply doesn’t offer evidence for it.

      September 28th, 2012 3:45 pm Reply
      • Ursula

        Sarah, I am glad you went and read that (I’ll have to check out her website, too).

        The problem is, that it takes YEARS after completely healing the gut for your villi to be destroyed again to the point of ‘officially’ having Celiac disease again. Did she do any follow up, let’s say, over a ten or more year period, to see if those going back to gluten after being healed, are still healed?

        The official thinking was for a very long time, that children who ‘used’ to have Celiac disease were cured as teenagers, because they didn’t appear to react to gluten any more.

        Now they call that the ‘honeymoon period’….. somehow, maybe due to the body changing, those kids really don’t react. But then, usually in their twenties, they start having ‘IBS’ symptoms, depression, fibromyalgia, asthma………… and when somebody finally clues in and has them tested, what do they find? You guessed it……. full blown Celiac disease is back!

        Meaning, once a Celiac, always a Celiac. If you were once diagnosed, you simply should NEVER go back to eating gluten on a regular basis, period. You might get to where when going out you don’t have to freak out about possible cross-contamination. But you should never purposely eat gluten again.

        That is my two cents worth on the subject. I have been actively reading and studying about gluten intolerance for eight years now (since I found out I have Celiac disease), and this is my opinion…. not based on one single book, but reading probably at lease twenty books, a thousand articles, and talking to other people like me, and by observing my own family members, too.

        September 28th, 2012 7:02 pm Reply
        • Ursula

          “…… at least”, not “….. at lease”

          September 28th, 2012 7:04 pm Reply
  • Liz Ogden Agle via Facebook

    Here are the ingredients in my box of Pacific Natural Foods Organic Vegetable Broth: filtered water, organic carrots, organic tomatoes, organic celery, organic onions, organic garlic, organic leeks, sea salt, organic bay leaves, organic parsley, organic thyme. That’s it. That’s all of them. Your article had me worried for a minute, but there’s no hint of MSG in there at all. Maybe some things have improved since this was written in 2011?

    September 28th, 2012 3:07 pm Reply
  • Susan Waite Blanchfield via Facebook

    I’ve been considering the GAPS diet, but I’m wondering, it calls for cutting dairy, does that also include raw dairy?

    September 28th, 2012 3:05 pm Reply
    • Jessica N.

      You do have to cut out all dairy for a time. The GAPS book by Dr. Campbell-McBride, and the GAPS Guide book and website by Baden Lashkov tell you everything you need to know. They both have blogs too, with a lot of additional FAQ’s. I think the protocol is that you have to give up every bit of dairy for a certain number of weeks (6?) and then add it back in a specific order, starting with raw milk yogurt – homemade.

      September 29th, 2012 9:25 am Reply
  • Cindy Wexler via Facebook

    Thanks Sarah – you often explain things I’m trying to share with my friends ever so much better than I can!

    September 28th, 2012 2:58 pm Reply
  • Jeannie Owen Miller via Facebook

    I like your article, although I would heed the advising that people with a Gluten sensitivity, just have a problem with their gut. Thanks to Cancer and a method of treatment, my brother bore the effects of living off a feeding tube for a very long time, hence ruined his gut and his ability to tolerate even the mildest of whole foods, he can only eat things that are highly processed and twice cooked, he can eat very little without suffering extreme pain and came to the conclusion that foods that give him the most pain, have gluten in them in some way. Yes, you can have a problem with your gut, but first you have to avoid the things that cause the problem in the first place. It’s a catch 22 for him.

    September 28th, 2012 2:58 pm Reply
  • Yana Staples via Facebook

    great advice in general_ howver i strongly disagree about ur point re:gluten

    September 28th, 2012 2:54 pm Reply
  • Brittney Goodman via Facebook

    What about ‘Twin Lab’ Norwegian Cod Liver oil???

    September 28th, 2012 2:52 pm Reply
  • Jim Diehl via Facebook


    September 28th, 2012 2:50 pm Reply
  • David Tiffany Hays via Facebook

    Hum, just bought some Norwegian Cod Liver Oil from Spectrum. Wonder if that was ok? It does have to be refrigerated.

    September 28th, 2012 2:49 pm Reply
  • Robin Mandley Wilkins via Facebook

    Monique, she explains the FCLO in the comments. I was wondering the same thing :)

    September 28th, 2012 2:45 pm Reply
  • Janet Polglase via Facebook

    Wow, thanks for that. An eye opener.

    September 28th, 2012 2:18 pm Reply
  • Monique C. Melara via Facebook

    What about the Blue Ice FCLO in non-gel caps? Do they have the same issues? Thanks

    September 28th, 2012 2:14 pm Reply
  • Kbg

    Could you please state some of your published sources, besides one persons book, that supports your theory that Celiac is ” curable”.? Also, what are your credentials for giving medical and dietary advice? I would like to read your research studies.

    Aside: i realize you will probably delete these posts that do not agree with you if you really have no medical data to back up these claims.

    June 26th, 2011 10:53 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Why don’t you check out the book Kbg. It’s written by an MD. I’ve reread my comments here and I’m not giving any medical advice as you say. I’m simply suggesting that celiac can be handled in a more effective way through the GAPS diet and not just avoiding gluten which is really only part of the problem when it comes to autoimmune issues. Hope that helps.

      June 26th, 2011 11:11 pm Reply
      • Jennifer

        Sarah is CORRECT. I also have a good friend who HEALED her gut & can how eat gluten. She just prepares it the traditional way, as was done historically, & she’s fine. She now teaches about it around the nation. Gluten is in many grains. Gluten in itself is not “bad” for you. This assumption in these modern years that grains and gluten are bad & unhealthy is making me seriously CRAZY. It’s the hybridization of the grains, the way they are grown, genetically modified, produced, & treated afterwards… and probably most importantly PREPARED. Oh my goodness, people have so much RE-learning to do. History since the Garden of Eden has shown that humans were meant to eat grains! It’s these stupid modern practices of industry that have screwed it all up. Sheeeeesh. This makes me so sad.

        September 28th, 2012 10:35 pm Reply
  • Jessic

    This article is absurd. If you have Celiac Disease and cannot eat gluten, yes your body will repair itself on a gluten free diet. But if you eat gluten once you’re feeling better it will literally kill you. One of my family members died of gastrointestinal cancer that was a complication of Celiac. I hope no one believes this trash article. People’s health and lives are on the line. This is very upsetting.

    June 26th, 2011 9:49 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      As I said above, symptoms of celiac subsiding is NOT healing. Eating gluten free is a band-aid approach to dealing with celiac. I’m really sorry but you are not understanding my point about how to heal celiac.

      June 26th, 2011 9:55 pm Reply
      • Jessic

        If you have a cure for Celiac, the medical community and I would love to hear it because we’re all stumped.

        June 26th, 2011 10:30 pm Reply
        • Jessica N.

          Sarah is right … truly: read Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s book or blog. It really is sad that no one thinks you can really heal from these things. I can see why people get so angry because it seems like saying your disease is fake or imagined. It can still be a real disease and be curable. I think the difference is that nowadays when something has a “genetic” component, people think of that as “part of who you are and will always be.” Genes are turned off and on, and it doesn’t mean a permanent part of you. Heart disease, for example, has a genetic component but that doesn’t mean “inevitable.”

          September 29th, 2012 4:39 am Reply
          • Leslie

            I just read a wonderful article about genetics, and how genes can be turned on and off. While there might not be such a think as a “genetic epidemic”, according to the article, changes in diet (both in this generation and even several generations before us) can trigger particular genes to be turned on and off.

            I don’t know much about Celiac, but I thought this might be an interesting read for everyone here.


            December 10th, 2012 1:38 am
        • Smudge

          The medical community (read Sickness Industry) don’t want to hear about. Where’s the money in that?

          August 26th, 2013 10:31 pm Reply
  • Laurie

    Its because they weren’t diagnosed as doctors didn’t think it was so wide spread. they were treated for other things… I don’t expect you to understand if you aren’t a Celiac. i just find it bad practice when people trust you to say something like this. will you say the same to rhetorically kid with peanut allergies so severe that he might die?

    June 25th, 2011 2:36 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      I’m interested why people are so resistant to the idea that one can recover from these autoimmune diseases? People recover from stage 4 cancer (which is autoimmune). Why not celiac for heaven’s sake? Why put yourself in a box and say it’s impossible. Its very sad.

      June 26th, 2011 5:23 pm Reply
      • Smudge

        I’m with you Sarah. As Charlotte Gerson says “you cannot cure one disease without curing all disease”. I have an idea that the contributors on this page who claim they are Celiac and cured are actually just “controlling” their illness. If they only ever ate real food (nothing out of a package and nothing that requires reading ingredients) their immune systems would be strong and able to process gluten if they wanted to consume it. Just saying.

        August 26th, 2013 10:29 pm Reply
        • Paleo Huntress

          Even healthy, feral animals living on their own whole food, natural diets have shown reactions to gluten. The idea that we can eat anything if only we’re healthy to begin with is silly. There are all kinds of toxins found in plants and many that we simply cannot eat in quantity, no matter how healthy we are to begin with. Just sayin’.

          August 27th, 2013 3:30 pm Reply
  • Laurie

    You are sadly mistaken about gluten. Celiacs cannot recover. Any amount of gluten destroys the gut for a Celiac and to think otherwise is ignorant.

    June 25th, 2011 8:24 am Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Of course they can recover Laurie! The gut has marvelous ability to recover! Please read the book Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD

      June 25th, 2011 8:34 am Reply
      • Laurie

        Recovering from gut damage is one thing, adding back in what damaged the gurmt to begin with is another. I am a Celiac and get very sick when i eat gluten
        even though my gut is now healed. I also have a student who nearly died at the age of 8 months because she was Celiac and non one knew. i doubt she will be subjecting herself to gluten after 13 years based on this. Its not an allergy, you can’t outgrow it. It is an autoimmune disorder. genetic. I imagine you’ll be addressed to find anyone who has suffered fertility problems, intestinal problems among host of other symptoms who would go back and eat something that caused it. Maybe for this with allergies… Where i doesn’t raise you risk of cancer 40%…

        June 25th, 2011 2:18 pm Reply
        • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

          Please read the book Laurie! If genetics is really the cause of celiac then why are there so many celiacs today and weren’t even 10 years ago? It’s because everyone has a messed up gut today and it’s getting worse each year. Processed foods and drugs are to blame for the skyrocketing cases of autoimmune disease, yet autoimmune can be healed.

          June 25th, 2011 2:24 pm Reply
          • cassie

            genetics is 1/2 the cause, environmental triggers (INCLUDING EATING GLUTEN) are the other 1/2. more are getting diagnosed today because we have A LOT of catching up to to!!! untill now- only 97% of Celiacs were being diagnosed (thanks to our Corporate run medical system)… that is changing now because we are wising up and taking charge of our health. please stop misinforming everyone. you are partly right- processed gf foods and grains and starches (some) can impeed a Celiac’s gut healing- but with all due respect, you seem to know nothing about Autoimmune Disease & Genetics.

            June 26th, 2011 4:39 pm
          • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

            Your argument sounds like how people explain the dramatic increases in autism. It isn’t logical and cannot be explained with genetics because you cannot have a genetic epidemic.

            June 26th, 2011 5:21 pm
  • Scott Reasoner

    How come you are the only person I have found so far to say that whey powder is bad? If it truly is bad then why are there so many companies producing it?

    June 24th, 2011 3:30 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Why are so many companies producing it? Because it makes a profit, that’s why. Companies will make anything that people buy and they can make money on. It has absolutely nothing to do with whether the product is healthy or not.

      I am not the only person who is negative about protein powders. Protein powders are very very highly processed foods … there is no possible way they can be healthy if you think logically about it and anyone who claims otherwise very likely has a profit motive involved in the process. Can you make protein powder in your own kitchen? If not, then don’t eat it!. That pretty much tells you the story, does it not?

      June 24th, 2011 5:04 pm Reply
      • Scott Reasoner

        Very interesting. I am a health nut and thought for the longest that whey powder was okay. Your post has really changed the way I feel about whey powder. Is there any protein supplements around that are healthy. What about Pea Protein?

        June 24th, 2011 5:59 pm Reply
        • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

          Hi Scott, I so wish I could tell you yes. Unfortunately, ALL these protein isolates have the exact same problem — very very denaturing processing. It doesn’t matter the food source where the protein is derived. To get protein, eat Real Food. Have a chicken breast or a steak. Eggs are great too. This is what traditional bodybuilders used for protein .. lots of eggs.

          If you really want a powder type of substance to mix with smoothies, natural gelatin and nutritional yeast are good subs for protein powder.

          June 24th, 2011 6:17 pm Reply
        • Jessica

          You could also use raw egg yolks (from an actual farm), and raw milk kefir in smoothies. (Using raw whites on a regular basis leads to biotin deficiency.) These make delicious smoothies.

          September 29th, 2012 4:32 am Reply
        • Smudge

          Forget the processed, food-like substances and just eat REAL, unadulterated food ie pasteured, free-range meats, organic vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds. The benefit is that there are no side effects and you don’t have to waste time reading labels.

          August 26th, 2013 10:21 pm Reply
      • Lakisha

        I totally agree about those misleading protein powders, I’d much rather eat my free-range eggs, nuts, legumes, and meats than to consume protein powders. I do have a question about the MSG’s though, I once heard that Nutritional Yeast, and Bragg’s Liquid Amino’s could turn into MSG’s, I was just wondering if you knew anything about this, as I love Kal’s Nutritional Yeast, and Bragg’s Amino’s, and I try my hardest to steer clear of MSG’s . Thank you in advance for your response, and thank you for all you do.

        January 30th, 2013 2:01 pm Reply
  • Scott Reasoner

    What is your opinion on Ribose? And what supplements do you suggest?

    June 16th, 2011 5:36 pm Reply
  • Lea

    MSG goes by so many names it’s disturbing:
    autolyzed yeast
    citric acid
    glutamic acid
    hydrolyzed protein
    monopotassium glutamate
    monosodium glutamate
    Just to name a few. Clearly, even organic products are guilty.

    June 16th, 2011 2:19 am Reply
  • Kari

    Another reason to avoid canned foods is they contain BPA

    June 13th, 2011 7:01 pm Reply
  • Ivett

    Well, regarding fish oil pills, I can’t agree. I know of some homesteading, Real Food eating friends who had some health problems, and their health has notably improved by taking salmon oil pills. So they must work somehow and be good.

    June 9th, 2011 10:27 am Reply
  • Diann

    I agree with this post, but I am wondering about:

    #5 Gluten Free Foods

    A co worker has celiac disease and needs to avoid gluten. I told him I was going to make gluten (and grain) free muffins for a recent bake sale there. He kept trying to get me to use a package mix and I refused. He kept saying that the package mixes taste great and I shouldn’t go to the trouble for him. I still refused. I do agree processed mixes are bad, but in his case, he is going to be better off with the processed gluten free things than eating gluten-containing food.

    He lives alone, and I’ve been encouraging him to cook things, but as far as baked goods, he has no desire to branch out. So better that than gluten, alas.

    June 7th, 2011 9:30 pm Reply
  • Matthew

    I agree with most of the post, but express many of the same reservations shared earlier in this thread. I have the pleasure of living the in the pacific northwest so here’s a soup company that has no MSG in any of their products:

    No added sugar either, in the particular one I linked, but I don’t know if other ones might have sugar added. In Seattle, we can buy these at Costco in bulk quantities.

    I’m going to really go after your protein comments, particularly on the protein post– pretty much all whey protein humans consume is denatured (unless you drink raw milk). Considering that the allergenicity of whey is nothing compared to other (even raw milk) components such as betacasomophin-7 (A2 variant), it’s really only an issue for extremely sensitive infants with not yet fully developed gut flora (or folks with bad gut flora).

    Back to MSG – as you seem to know MSG (the sodium salt of glutamic acid) is not the same thing as naturally occurring forms of glutamic acid, which occur in yeast products and fermented foods. Glutamates are processed extremely efficiently by the body (broken down to be burned in the citric acid cycle) and have difficulty penetrating the blood brain barrier.

    A lot of the lists of “hidden” MSG encompass all forms glutamic acid and thus are misleading. Tomatoes themselves are a pretty good source of glutamic acid and they have less than 1/10 of what is present in Rocquefort or Parmesan cheese. You are correct that folks should err on the side of safety and not buy store bought soups (at least without doing the research), organic or not, without first doing the research as there is no way to tell what is actually in the can.

    June 2nd, 2011 1:46 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Here’s the ingredients list. MSG is most definitely in there (Organic Spices):

      Organic reduced fat milk
      Filtered water
      Organic tomato paste
      Organic red bell peppers
      Organic evaporated cane juice
      Organic roasted red bell peppers
      Organic roasted garlic
      Sea salt
      Organic butter
      Sodium citrate
      Organic rice flour
      Organic garlic powder
      Organic onion powder
      Organic spices

      June 4th, 2011 1:35 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      There are degrees of denatured and I agree that whey really needs to be consumed raw as with raw milk, raw yogurt, raw kefir etc. If you powder whey even at a low temperature, it is really denatured and no longer even a food.

      MSG is particularly bad for children to consume as the blood brain barrier does not develop until about 12 years old. Even in adults, this blood brain barrier protection argument is rather flimsy as why would folks get such massive headaches if the blood brain barrier really protected them?

      June 4th, 2011 1:50 pm Reply
      • Matthew

        I just said there’s a difference between MSG (the sodium salt of glutamate) and other forms of glutamate. By your standards am I to presume that Parmesan and Rocquefort cheeses should not be purchased?

        Glutamine is a naturally occuring amino acid that gets used by metabolic processes in your body, which gets converted back and forth between glutamate as it used in things like the citric acid cycle. Almost all modern studies have failed to find a connection between MSG and the supposed “Chinese Restaurant Symptoms” (they actually tricked people with the placebo pretty effectively if you read the accounts.) Now the salt form used as a food additive has been shown to trigger obesity in rats and worsen fatty liver disease, but those are completely separate claims (from the headaches/numbness/etc) that are only tied to sodium salt form.

        Also, even by your standards Pacific Foods does NOT use MSG:

        A: No. Pacific Natural Foods does not use MSG in any of our products or ingredients.
        Many people who have allergies/sensitivities to MSG are concerned about hidden sources of free glutamates. We insist on full disclosure from our natural flavoring suppliers through our Certified to the Source® program, and if a supplier fails to comply we will not do business with them. Pacific Natural Foods utilizes an ingredient called Autolyzed Yeast Extract in select soups and broths. Autolyzed yeast extract contains a small amount of free glutamates. We encourage our customers who are sensitive to free glutamates to use our broths and soups that are free of this ingredient.

        Denature protein is still a food and whey hydrosylates are enzymatically partially digest and used in most designer protein. No pregnant women shouldn’t be drinking protein shakes, but athletes shouldn’t be relying 100% on belief for “peak” results. Muscle protein phosphorylation and growth rates have been shown to be directly affected by leucine concentration in the blood. Furthermore, the amino acids are clearly getting into the blood stream and being used by muscles. This has all been measured and is not under contention. The allergenicity of whey, even denatured whey is nothing compared to other components of milk (even raw and fermented milk products) produces from cows with the A1-allele variant that produce BCM7 (betacasomorphin 7) protein. There’s an excellent book called “Devil in the Milk” on the topic. I wrote about this earlier this year ). Whey in fact, even when taken in powdered / denatured form, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and protective effects.

        Again, I’m not saying that pregnant mothers should be drinking whey protein (they get zero benefit, unless they’re diet is drastically lacking in protein). They’d be better off eating half a dozen eggs from Free Ranger pastured chickens, or 200 g portion of grass-fed beef liver than drinking a whey protein shake. For someone doing 30 reps of squats at an average weight of 400 lbs, followed by benching, kettlebell swings, box jumps, etc not taking whey protein is a good way to extend your recovery time and increase risk of injury.

        June 8th, 2011 3:17 pm Reply
        • Smudge

          Denatured Protein is not a food. It is a food-like substance.

          August 26th, 2013 10:16 pm Reply
  • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Scott, there is some research out there about how eggs from free running hens have much higher nutrition overall. With regard to protein itself, there wouldn’t be much difference though .. about 6g per egg. The improved nutrition is in the yolk primarily for organic or free range/pastured eggs.

    June 1st, 2011 3:57 pm Reply
  • Scott Reasoner

    Let’s say I am bodybuilding and need lots of protein. I noticed you mentioned the egg in your protein boost after saying how bad protein powder is. How bad are regular eggs compared to organic eggs? Organic eggs are expensive too.

    June 1st, 2011 2:44 pm Reply
    • Emily

      As a free-range, pastured poultry grower and former CAFO regulator, I can give you an accurate illustration of the differences so that you can decide what eggs you would like to help fuel and nourish your body. “Regular” eggs (I know what you mean when you say regular, but have a hard time calling them “regular” since they are anything, but “regular”…anyway…), regular eggs come from hens in cages. The combs on these hens is a weird paste color, with just a tinge of pink, and just flop limply over the side of their heads.

      Friends of ours had three of these houses and realized that if they took out the cages they could squeeze in more hens per square food and sell them to Whole Foods at triple the price. Whole Foods then picks up these eggs (and others), drives them about 6 hours to Dallas, labels them as Cage Free, then drives them to other states, including to the WF about 25 minutes from where they originated. Now, when I visited these hens, they had pale red combs that more or less stood up, and were very active. I was amazed because I expected them to be about the same as the caged eggs, but the hens looked considerably better. But the family that grows these won’t eat them. They have their own family flock that eats different feed and lives on grass. That was very telling to me.

      My girls arrive as 1-day old chicks, live in a cozy brooder for two weeks, go out on pasture, and are moved to a fresh “salad bar” every two days. They eat a very high quality non-GMO feed and quality natural supplements. I blend the feed ration and can pronounce everything that goes in it. They eat all the bugs they can catch. The egg yolks (where most of the nutrition is contained) are dark yellow to orange depending one the time of year (green grass) and access to bugs. Sometimes I even have to stab the yolk with a fork to get it to break up (note that I eat the same eggs I sell). Right now the ladies on my farm are feasting on grasshoppers. Nearly every day they hear me and my children laugh at the silly things they do.

      So who’s eggs do you want to eat?

      And for science, Mother Earth News sent “regular” eggs and pastured eggs (from 14 different farms) to a lab to have them analyzed and found that the pastured (read “pastured” not organic or cage free) had by far the highest nutrition of all. Eggciting!

      June 3rd, 2011 1:00 pm Reply
      • Lakisha

        I sure wish there was a way to purchase your eggs. They sound dreamy. Keep up the good work.

        January 30th, 2013 2:04 pm Reply
  • Karen

    Thank you for posting this. The Gluten-free part was hard to hear. I have 7 children. I recently had 2 of them tested for allergies. Truly, they have the exact opposite allergies. My first one lost so much out of his diet – wheat, rice, oats, coconut, corn, egss. If it’s on the Weston Price list of most healthy, he can’t have it. Most of these things i have been learning to prepare the traditional way for a while now. I finally learned how to make sourdough and use Kamut the ONLY grain he can have. My 2nd child, is allergic to gluten and dairy (everything his brother can have.) The grains he is able to have do include rice and oats, not something the other can have. It’s been a frusturating week for me. I would really love to do the GAPS diet but I struggling to find foods that they can both eat together. I guess I am taking baby steps though. I currently have a beef stock brewing on my stove. I am working on making a lacto-fermented soda (since my yogurt went out the door. although, can’t you make yogurt out of coconut milk?) it’s just frustrating and my only option right now is some of the gluten free stuff. but I am working my way out of this as I figure out what we can eat that doesn’t make my kitchen feel like a restuarant and me a short order cook. thanks for sharing this. It’s increased my motivation.

    May 30th, 2011 10:52 am Reply
    • Ursula

      It looks to me like they both can eat meat, vegetables and fruit. Why not feed them those things and totally forget about grains and dairy? Nobody needs either of those.

      By the way, you can still use buckwheat, which isn’t a grain, despite the confusing name. Tapioca is from a root, you can use ground almonds and other ground nuts to bake with or to make porridge.

      You don’t have to cook differently for those two children. If you cook your regular meal of meat, potatoes and vegetables, everybody should be happy with that! Fruit is great for snacks, or even carrot sticks.

      You can cook quinoa as an excellent rice substitute. It is fabulous for stir fries, salads, even to bake with (and of course, there is quinoa flour as well).

      September 28th, 2012 6:39 pm Reply
      • Jessica

        Great suggestions Ursula. My boys were addicted to mac and cheese and everything like that. After getting used to the GAPS diet, they now view bananas or any other fruit as the ultimate snack, and just eat meat/veggie dishes for their meals. They went from refusing all meat to loving it. After a year off of grains, they don’t even care about rice/rice pasta when we started it again.

        September 29th, 2012 4:23 am Reply
  • Jo at Jo’s Health Corner

    Thanks for a great post! I went into my favorite local health food store yesterday when I went to “big” town and for every time I go there I find less things to buy. This time I ended up only buying one thing, which was coconut oil.
    It is so tragic to see all that bad food being promoted as healthy food. Gluten free and vegan/vegetarian food were heavily promoted. Most of the customers happily put processed, low fat and high sugar products in their shopping carts..It will be a long time before I visit that store again.

    May 29th, 2011 8:16 pm Reply
    • Diann

      Health food store: i buy coconut oil, avocado oil, butter (from a place up in Maine), wakame seaweed, Mycological brand dried mushrooms (half their profits go for forest conservation efforts, and I have yet to find a stem or anything I have to discard), ramps (in season this past month and wildcrafted), and organic herb plants to put in my yard. Eggs if I can’t get to my farmer’s markets, and only those local and truly free-pastured — I know the names by now.

      June 7th, 2011 9:44 pm Reply
  • Hilary D

    And how about Amy’s Organic soups? I don’t think they have msg:

    May 29th, 2011 7:45 am Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      The ingredients list says “spices” which is where msg is hidden. If MSG wasn’t in there, it would have no flavor. The folks at Amy’s may not even realize it as MSG is covertly called so many confusing names. Click on the link in the post to see the 50+ names for msg using in food processing.

      May 29th, 2011 9:44 am Reply
      • Emily

        The folks at Amy’s have always very honest and have fully disclosed their ingredients. I don’t eat any of their products, but do appreciate them saying what’s in them which allows me to decide whether it’s something I want to eat. I gave them a call this morning and the person I spoke with was very adamant that spices were simply spices. She was very knowledgeable about how MSG can be formed through processing methods and had a list of products you would need to avoid if you don’t want MSG because they contain hydrolyzed yeast.

        I know there are a lot of uninformed or seedy companies that sneak MSG into their foods, but wanted to clear Amy’s reputation instead of just assuming they are guilty.

        May 31st, 2011 12:18 pm Reply
        • Hilary D

          I also contacted Amy’s and here is the response I got by email:

          Many people ask if there might be some MSG or yeast extract hidden in the “spices”. For Amy’s the answer is always no. Our labels are always truthful and complete. If an ingredient such as yeast extract is used in Amy’s products, we always label it. Also, you might be happy to know that as new labels are printed we are adding the phrase: “100% pure herbs and spices, no hidden ingredients”.

          As noted on our package, Amy’s Kitchen adds no monosodium glutamate (MSG) flavor enhancer directly to any of our products however we do use some ingredients that naturally contain MSG. If you are extremely sensitive to MSG, you may want to avoid foods and ingredients that naturally contain MSG such as Parmesan cheese, soy sauce, yeast extract, tomatoes, hydrolyzed vegetable protein and other ingredients as recommended by your doctor. We do use all these ingredients at times in our products. All the ingredients are listed in the ingredient statements on our packages.

          We understand your concern about hydrolyzed proteins (HVP) and yeast extract if you are trying to avoid MSG. As noted, there is naturally occurring MSG in these products. We have done our best to remove HVPs over the years. The following products originally all contained hydrolyzed corn and soy protein.

          Vegetable Pot Pie
          Non Dairy Vegetable Pot Pie
          Vegetable Pot Pie in a Pocket Sandwich
          No Chicken Noodle Soup

          A number of years ago, Amy’s did a significant amount of work to replace HVP’s with yeast extract and tamari while still maintaining the long accepted flavor profile of our products. Unfortunately, we could not obtain the target flavor for No Chicken Noodle with tamari and/or yeast extract so we continue to use HVPs in the No Chicken Noodle Soup. We were successful at replacing the HVP with tamari and yeast extract in the other three products.

          June 3rd, 2011 7:39 pm Reply
          • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

            Great statement but again, misleading. Yeast extract and hydrolyzed vegetable protein are big sources of MSG and should be avoided. At least they admit that they use them.

            “Naturally contains MSG” as used here means that the item is so highly processed that the protein is denatured and MSG is formed. Not too “natural” sounding to me.

            June 3rd, 2011 9:04 pm
  • Hilary D

    What about Standard Process Whey Pro Complete? I’m not trying to advertise this product – I’m a mom that was about to start using it for my child. It says that it’s nondenatured:

    May 29th, 2011 7:42 am Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Whey protein is always denatured. It is denatured by its very definition of being powdered whey.

      May 30th, 2011 12:23 am Reply
  • Pure Mothers

    Agree on all but gluten-free foods. If you have celiac disease, repairing your gut is still not going to cure you! You must avoid gluten. Now you can do this by making your own gluten-free foods at home with coconut flour, sorghum, rice flour, etc. and avoid the processed fast stuff, but you still can not go back to eating gluten. Gluten sensitivity and celiac are two different things and shouldn’t be overlooked.

    May 29th, 2011 6:54 am Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      In Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride MDs book, she talks about celiac disease and how it can be healed by fixing the gut.

      May 29th, 2011 9:41 am Reply
      • Ursula

        But why wreck the gut again with gluten, which isn’t good for anybody, after healing it?

        This doctor is, in my opinion, misguided. I wonder if she won’t find that all the people she ‘healed’ of Celiac disease, who are now happily eating gluten again, won’t have a ‘relapse’ once their gut is damaged again.

        September 28th, 2012 6:14 pm Reply
        • CJ

          My brother-in-law tried everything — no processed foods, etc., etc. — and nothing worked until he was diagnosed with celiac disease and he removed gluten from his diet. Now he’s healthy. Gluten-free may be a fad for some, but it was a life-saver for my loved one, and “real food” almost killed him.

          April 11th, 2013 10:17 am Reply
  • Pavil, The Uber Noob

    The bottom line is that we can’t mass produce ‘real’ food, we can only mass produce knock-offs. Consequently, any edible product that comes from a factory is a tasty (and potentially dangerous) fake. Many traditional foods use natural fermentation in their old fashioned, cottage processing: coconuts, cacao, fish sauce, offal (sausage & oil), milk (cheese & kefir), veggies, grains, fruits. Almost everyone of these items has a fake counterpart for sale at the grocery store.

    Imagine how healthy we would become if we became locavores who preferred cottage foods over their large scale, industrial knock-offs. We would definitely reshape the economic landscape – enough to make the winged monkeys at the FDA obsolete.


    May 29th, 2011 6:43 am Reply
  • Keith

    Rebecca, tell your brother to just stop eating grains altogether. i was in his position years ago, and thought that I had to have an alternative to wheat bread. After a while I realised that all I had to do was stop eating grains! So simple!
    I do follow a raw food diet now(primal Diet) so there is no cooking involved. A healthy life can be very simple if you just make that initial effort. :-)

    May 29th, 2011 4:11 am Reply
  • Ryan

    Be very cautious about offering medical advice (or taking medical advice from a blog). Keep in mind that gluten allergy, celiac, and gluten intolerance are three very different things.

    May 29th, 2011 2:12 am Reply
    • Ursula

      Actually, if you do your research, gluten intolerance will progress to Celiac Disease if undiagnosed in many cases.
      Gluten allergy, Celiac and gluten intolerance are not VERY different at all. With all three you have to stop eating gluten. They’re three different manifestations of the same problem.
      Usually, when you’re diagnosed Celiac, you manifest symptoms mostly in your digestive system, while with gluten intolerance, your symptoms are more likely neurological.
      But people don’t appreciate how closely your brain and your gut work together. If you get symptoms like schizophrenia, bi-polar, depression, anxiety, ataxia, you also likely get diarrhea, constipation, ‘IBS’ (not a valid diagnosis)…… the bowel symptoms are just looked on as ‘normal’ in this messed up society.
      On the other hand, people diagnosed with Celiac disease very often also have fibromyalgia, depression, spaced out feelings etc.
      Not to mention that both Celiac and gluten intolerance will lead to other autoimmune diseases, like type I diabetes in children, if you escape that, later on hypothyroidism, cancer of the digestive system, osteoporosis……. there is a very long list.

      September 28th, 2012 6:10 pm Reply
      • laura

        As a psych nurse i am going to call you on your claims that people with schizophrenia, bi-polar, anxiety etc. get constipation, diarrhea or IBS. Its not true. There may be a few who do but most do not. And as a pediatric nurse I am going to point out that celiac disease does not lead to Type 1 Diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes typically starts in childhood or early adolescence (yes there are some exceptions). People with Type 1 Diabetes and celiac often develop diabetes first. There is a genetic link to these diseases, as well as hypothyroidism. Not a cause and effect issue.

        May 9th, 2013 10:21 pm Reply
  • Rachael

    It is ridiculous and irresponsible to imply that “healing the gut” will allow someone with Celiac to be able to safely eat gluten. I will be removing you from my feed. I hope no one is fool enough to listen to rely on you for advice in this matter.

    May 28th, 2011 11:03 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Hi Rachael, I personally know several celiacs who have healed by fixing their gut. I’m not just making this up .. it comes from Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD’s book on the subject of autoimmune disease of which celiac is one type. All autoimmune disease is rooted in gut imbalance.

      May 29th, 2011 9:46 am Reply
      • cassie

        yes- one with celiac can heal their gut- but they can NEVER eat gluten again. please learn before you blog

        June 26th, 2011 4:32 pm Reply
        • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

          I think your definition of celiac is symptom free which is not healing. Avoiding gluten and not having celiac symptoms is not necessarily healing. You still have the same gut issues which caused celiac symptoms in the first place and this underlying problem will spawn other autoimmune problems in the future unless you deal with them.

          June 26th, 2011 5:25 pm Reply
          • Ursula

            I have Celiac disease, my four daughters are gluten intolerant (I think my son is, too, but he isn’t ready to listen yet). All my grandchildren are gluten intolerant, too (again, my son’s kids likely are, too, but they won’t go there).
            One of my grandsons, if exposed to even the tiniest amount of gluten after weaning, would crumple to the floor, clutching his stomach, and screaming. He’d be sick for days. But then his reaction went over the top, to where he’d have projectile vomiting from SMELLING somebody eating a sandwich (his dad).
            My daughter took him to a naturapathic doctor, who took him off dairy, eggs, all grains (including rice), nightshades, legumes (which includes soy and peanuts). Plus he was taking a ton of tinctures, minerals and vitamins. It was very expensive, to say the least.
            After a full year of this, at the age of three, somebody invited them over for supper. This lady had a long talk with my daughter about gluten, and my daughter thought it was safe to eat her food.
            AFTER they ate the coconut chicken, she asked my daughter, “There isn’t gluten in flour, right?” It turns out she not only used coconut flour for the breading, but put a whole cup of regular flour in!
            After only ONE year of his gut-healing regimen, the only reaction my grandson had was, that he was somewhat grumpy for a couple of days. His little sister on the other hand was sick for a week (she was put on the regimen after that).
            BUT, and that is my big but, the naturopathic doctor has said that even though my grandson won’t show obvious problems when exposed to gluten in a few years, he should NEVER purposely eat gluten again. Because otherwise after a while he’ll get sick again.
            Gluten isn’t good for anybody. It damages the gut. We absolutely cannot digest it. So, to say that it is okay to eat gluten again after being healed is bad advice, in my honest opinion.

            September 28th, 2012 5:58 pm
  • Gina

    Thank you for saying that about the Gluten Free foods!! People think they are “healthy” just because they are gluten free, when in fact it’s just refined food like all the other problem foods in a regular super market. Trying to go gluten free by using these products doesn’t help any health concern improve. And, of course, like anything else, there are some exceptions, but if people don’t know they need to read and understand ingredient lists they won’t know the difference. Knowledge about what we are putting in our body and making sure it is real food, not fake food, is so important. Thanks for imparting your knowledge : )

    May 28th, 2011 7:45 pm Reply
  • Curious

    Are there citations for any of these claims? How can we blindly take your word for what you say?

    May 28th, 2011 5:29 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      I have quite a few links to additional info in the post plus a source for the soy info at the bottom.

      May 28th, 2011 6:47 pm Reply
  • Anastasia @ Eco-Babyz

    Awesome you are spreading real info around! I’m amazed at how many people think this type of food is healthy! :) Thanks!

    May 28th, 2011 5:07 pm Reply
  • Andy

    Agree on all the listed items, and would also add organic milk near the top of the list. The UHT pasteurized milk is such a waste, and when I check the organic milk nowadays, that’s all I see.

    I remember buying it when I first started towards eating real food. It’s funny looking back now. It’s raw from the farm or nothing.

    May 28th, 2011 5:00 pm Reply
  • LaRae

    Nice article Rachel.

    May 28th, 2011 4:47 pm Reply
  • jan

    thank you for the information. and i think we can learn alot from the comments also. i also agree, that unfortunately, not everything in “an organic food shop” is organic. u still have to read your labels.

    May 28th, 2011 4:26 pm Reply
  • Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama

    I so thought you were going to say things like “organic milk” and “omega-3 eggs” and all those other fancy terms for foods that really aren’t that much better than store-bought. Buy them from a FARM!

    Shopping at a health food store is really even more of a minefield than a regular grocery store. At least in a regular store you KNOW it’s junk. But at a health food store a lot of people figure, “If they’re selling it here, it can’t be TOO bad, right?” Wrong. There are exceptions, of course (anything that’s fresh; a FEW snacks, like Larabars), but generally — ehhh.

    If you’re gluten-free and craving pasta…buy yourself some spaghetti squash. It’s cheap. It’s slowly growing on me and my kids seem to really like it. And way, way healthier than any form of pasta you can buy.

    May 28th, 2011 4:05 pm Reply
    • Jill @ The Prairie Homestead

      Yes, I agree wholeheartedly. I think there are even more “traps” at the healthfood store than there are at conventional grocery stores! Mostly because people are lulled to sleep thinking that everything in a healthfood store is automatically healthy…. Argh.

      There are actually very few items I purchase at our local “natural” food store. I either go farm fresh, or order my grains/legumes/etc in bulk from Azure Standard.

      The other day I saw a guy with an entire cart FULL of soy milk! It was all I could do not to rush over to him and say “Stop buddy! You’re confused!” :)

      May 29th, 2011 11:42 pm Reply
  • Mikki

    Sarah, what about Vital Choice Salmon and Krill oil capsules? Them too even though Vital Choice is mentioned in our WAPF Shopping Guide? How about Green Pastures CLO capsules? Okay, or not? I sure agree on all the others and loved what you said about the “newbies!” I see these young moms with their carts just loaded with processed organic junk, lots of kiddie foods all prepackaged with great advertising gimmicks to hook the kids just like regular commercial junk.

    May 28th, 2011 3:24 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Green Pasture Products is the only one I would take as it is unheated. From what I understand, the krill oil is processed using high heat.

      May 28th, 2011 6:44 pm Reply
      • Mikki

        Thanks! I will ask Vital Choice about their salmon oil and let you know.

        May 29th, 2011 4:37 pm Reply
  • Rebecca

    More of my cousin’s passionate response. :)

    ‎”Organic MSG is still MSG”. False statement. There is no “organic MSG”. Organic soups would have no MSG in them since there would be no food additives (MSG) in said soup.

    I didn’t mean to start a war. :-) LOL

    May 28th, 2011 2:36 pm Reply
    • LaRae

      MSG is a naturally occuring substance in bone based broths as well as other foods that naturally contain the amino acid glutamic acid. If you eat soup, you eat MSG. Now, homemade soup made from organic, homemade bone broth will not have the massive amounts of MSG that canned soups will have, but MSG can, in fact be legally called *organic* because it can be produced from fermenting organic sugar beets, organic sugar cane or organic molasses.

      May 28th, 2011 4:38 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      All I can say is CLUELESS. Tell him to read the labels! Organic soups most certainly have MSG in them – he obviously didn’t even read the post thoroughly to see what I had to say about that.

      May 28th, 2011 6:43 pm Reply
      • Emily

        While I would never eat canned soups, I was just curious about what was in them and decided to read some labels. Here is Amy’s Organic Tomato Soup:

        Ingredients : Organic tomato puree, filtered water, organic cream, organic evaporated cane juice, organic onions, sea salt, organic black pepper.

        I can’t see where the MSG would come from. There were quite a few others like this. The Vegan “No-Chicken” Noodle soup (not organic), however, was really creepy. There were many chemicals and I think there were three different forms of soy. Ick!

        May 28th, 2011 7:04 pm Reply
        • Rebecca

          I have the Amy’s Organic Vegetable Soup and Amy’s Organic Alphabet Soup, neither of which has MSG, just a simple ingredients list. Maybe the author does not have Amy’s soups in her area?

          May 30th, 2011 10:16 am Reply
          • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

            There is an Amy’s soup ingredients list for a different flavor below which does have MSG in it. This one does look ok though. But, sugar in soup? I wouldn’t buy it for that reason alone and it’s listed before the onions even so it wouldn’t be insignificant.

            May 30th, 2011 10:37 am
    • davidb

      After the big initial scare about MSG, a lot of studies were done. Very few people have any kind of adverse reaction to MSG; it’s not anything most of us should be worried about.

      Monosodium glutamate is a common amino acid bonded to a sodium ion. That’s it. Neither of those are harmful unless if taken in large doses… in fact, they are both vital for life function.

      May 30th, 2011 7:33 am Reply
      • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

        Rats fed MSG get morbidly obese. I would suggest reading “Excitotoxins” by Dr. R. Blaylock. The naturally occurring form of MSG is NOT the same as the manufactured MSG. Not by a long shot.

        May 30th, 2011 9:28 am Reply
      • Lady Nova of Oz

        regardless of sensitivity or not MSG is a known appitite increaser .. I am quite fat enough so avoiding something that tells my body it needs more food regardless of metabolic requirement is just good sense.

        MSG as a trace nutrient would not be my concern but the fact that it is a byproduct of just about any protein, oil or fat processed food product when any kind of hydrogenising process is used means that the process food diet menu is very must overloaded with a chemical that will tell our pure brains to eat more … whether we need it or not

        August 26th, 2013 7:05 am Reply
  • Rebecca

    I put your article on my facebook page and my cousin responded with this: “Gluten free foods are not healthy and are not any better than regular store bought processed versions.”…I think this author has no idea what an allergy to gluten entails and completely skips over the reason some people have to eat glute…n free: Celiac Disease. There aren’t too many alternatives and the choices that are available require research to see what is sufficient enough to make up for the loss of nutrients that gluten contains. A gluten allergy person’s “real food” is corn, rice, quinoa, flax, etc. based. Not everyone gets to live in a perfect world (like the author) and eat gluten every day without fear of becoming sick from constant gluten exposure.”

    He’s obviously passionate in his response.

    What is your response???

    May 28th, 2011 2:30 pm Reply
    • Rachel

      My son is allergic to wheat – different from gluten allergy, but gluten free foods are by default wheat free. So we spend a lot of time in the gluten free aisle at the store. And about the only thing I buy in the GF aisle is rice pasta and flours for baking.

      The gluten-free foods Sarah is talking about are the granola bars, cookies, breads, snack-type foods, etc. – the GF version of mainstream processed foods. But people think they’re better because they’re GF. If you a have gluten allergy, then yes, you have to avoid the mainstream things. But don’t be fooled into thinking that the GF products you buy are healthier. The total ingredient list and how its made is what determines whether a product is healthy, not whether or not it contains gluten.

      May 28th, 2011 3:56 pm Reply
      • Dolores

        I just had to add to this. Sure, GF processed foods are still processed foods, but like Rebecca’s friend wrote, it is HARD to have Celiac’s disease. It’s not an allergy (as Rachel acknowledges), and no matter how gradually you build-up, if you have Celiac you will never be able to safely eat gluten. And that’s tough. My niece has it, and her symptoms were quite severe. (Diagnosed at 2 1/2, and she would not have lived another 6 months without a diagnosis.) For a 7 year old girl who has always had to be different, in a culture where food a real part of socializing, it’s nice to be able to give her the occasional pre-packaged GF snack.

        I agree with the main point here, which is that any processed food is unhealthy and being GF doesn’t change that. But I think I understand Rachel’s friend’s “passion.” It’s not enough to just eat real food and teach your body to tolerate gluten. With Celiac, it just won’t happen.
        (Full disclosure, I am getting tested next week and suspect I have it. So I guess I’m a little sensitive this week!)

        May 29th, 2011 1:09 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Eating corn, rice, quinoa, flax will only make a person allergic to gluten worse. These foods don’t heal the gut. Heal the gut, don’t treat the symptom which is what celiac people typically do by eating gluten free foods all the time. Tell him to read the book Gut and Psychology Syndrome

      May 28th, 2011 6:41 pm Reply
      • Dolores

        Again, a gluten or wheat allergy is not Celiac’s disease. The latter is not an allergy. My niece had eaten nothing but breastmilk. As soon as she started solid foods–not junk, my sister’s extremely healthy–her gluten intolerance manifested itself. Please be careful here. It’s hard enough to have to deal with Celiac without being, in a roundabout way, blamed for having it.

        May 29th, 2011 1:12 pm Reply
        • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

          Celiac is an autoimmune disease as are allergies.

          May 29th, 2011 3:18 pm Reply
          • Dolores

            Allergies are an autoimmune response, but they are not a disease.

            May 30th, 2011 3:43 pm
          • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

            Allergies are most indeed autoimmune disease just the same as celiac. An allergy to gluten can progress down the path to celiac if unchecked and the gut is not healed. Both can be healed. Autoimmune disease like celiac is not a life sentence which is why this gluten avoidance thing that celiacs follow is important but distracting from the main issue of poor gut health. If celiacs do not take steps to heal their gut they will become victim to even more autoimmune disease … autoimmune disease is a domino effect. One begets another then another then another. Fixing the root of the problem instead of simply avoiding gluten is very important.

            May 30th, 2011 3:49 pm
          • GF Jane

            I truly love most of your information, but this is not the first post to make a molehill out of gluten sensitivity/Celiac Reminds me of AMA misinformation. Allergies can result in death. Gluten sensitivity can result in death. Celiac, one subset of gluten sensitivities, can result in death. GS w/o CD can manifest in so many different ways and is not limited to gut malfunctioning. These can all be life threatening autoimmune responses, but these are so very different. Until you understand the difference between an allergy (immediate response) and a sensitivity (delayed response), please DO NOT claim it’s caused/cured solely by gut flora. Allergies can resolve, but not always. It would be easier, not less dangerous, to test for allergies. Food sensitivities are inherently a delayed reaction which may take days, weeks, months, or even years to determine the culprit because modern medicine is completely ignorant of this deadly and mostly “it’s in their head” misdiagnosed disease. Please learn more about gluten, ahem glue, before adding to all the misinformation about the ill effects of gluten. In my opinion those with GS are responding appropriately when their immune system encounters a manmade genetically altered protein.

            December 23rd, 2012 2:19 pm
          • Carolyn

            Both are autoimmune problems, but have different mechanisms. Maybe that’s where we’re all getting confused?

            Allergies create a histamine response that can effect that body in different ways. So ranging from breathing problems, skin reactions, behavioural issues (due to brain inflammation), etc.

            Celiacs destroys the small intestine and can actually result in the affected person starving to death because they can’t absorb nutrients anymore.

            So yes, both autoimmune (abnormal immune responses), but they “work” on the body differently.

            January 17th, 2013 12:27 pm
  • Debbie

    I disagree over the fish oil as well its like every thing in this world you get what you pay for, if you buy the cheep fish oil caps in the supper market or chemist goodness knows where its comes from and what process it has under gone but you can buy high end supplerments that are the real deal you just have to pay more for them.

    May 28th, 2011 1:52 pm Reply
    • Lady Nova of Oz

      I fear that an eletist “The cod liver oil I use cannot be bought at the healthfood store” attitude may well put people off doing the best they can. Even with an abundant source of pristine water and forragable and fishable coastline I am unable to eat seafoods due to phobic horror so supplimenting is my only option. With omega 3’s potential for reducing inflamitory response, diabetic potential and leptin and insulin resistance I would encourage anyone to just do the best they can …..

      August 26th, 2013 7:00 am Reply
  • Drea

    I’m also a bit confused on the Omega-3 part. We take cod liver oil daily. Isn’t that supposed to be good?

    May 28th, 2011 1:41 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Hi Drea, the answer depends on the brand. There are only a few cod liver oil brands that are decent. The best of the bunch is Green Pasture Products which is fermented and not heated.

      May 28th, 2011 1:51 pm Reply
  • barry

    Another good post. I wonder, though, if Omega 3s are so heat-sensitive, should we only eat raw fish? How is is that studies show a benefit from fish oil, when most of it has apparently been heated?

    May 28th, 2011 1:02 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Not all fish are high in omega 3’s. Those that are are (like salmon) best seared and not cooked to death. Eaten as sushi is probably the best way to go but then you have the risk of parasites potentially (though the risk is small) and so seared might be a good compromise.

      May 28th, 2011 1:53 pm Reply
      • Harold

        Freezing the salmon before eating it raw will take care of parasites

        May 28th, 2011 3:36 pm Reply
        • Anne M.

          Just some details about freezing fish from

          “Freezing and storing at -4°F (-20°C) or below for 7 days (total time), or freezing at -31°F (-35°C) or below until solid and storing at -31°F (-35°C) or below for 15 hours, or freezing at -31°F (-35°C) or below until solid and storing at -4°F (-20°C) or below for 24 hours is sufficient to kill parasites. FDA’s Food Code recommends these freezing conditions to retailers who provide fish intended for raw consumption.”

          May 30th, 2011 10:17 am Reply
  • Sue

    I’m confused about the Fish Oil supplements one. I’ve read previously on your site that you were giving your son cod liver oil to reverse a cavity. In your recent Vitamin D article (the fish roe one) there was a link to the Weston A Price site and their list of cod liver oil brands by country – which included Green Pastures fermented cod liver oil and Carlson’s capsules if that was not available. Is cod liver oil (liquid or capsules) considered a Fish Oil supplement or are you referring to something else?

    May 28th, 2011 12:34 pm Reply
    • D.

      Greern Pastures oils are not heat treated. That appears to be the big difference. It’s also quite expensive, though.

      In the past I have used Solgar brand fish oil (no burpy fishy aftertaste) and had no problems. It is made in the UK and, to my current knowledge, is no longer available in the US because of gubment regulations. I guess it was good stuff and our leaders don’t want us to know about good stuff! Solgar is a very reputable company and if their fish oil is ever available again, I’ll be using it because I can hardly tolerate cod liver oil. Makes me gag – sorry, it just does. It can be flavored however you wish, but it still burps up as fish – and I HATE fish. I’ve never liked eating fish and I don’t like taking the liver oil or skate oil either. But that’s just me. I know it’s healthy though.

      May 28th, 2011 1:02 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      The cod liver oil I use cannot be bought at the healthfood store (Green Pasture Products) and it is fermented ..not industrially processed like all the plain fish oil supplements at the healthfood store.

      May 28th, 2011 1:50 pm Reply
      • Meagan

        I buy Carlson’s. I used to buy Nordic Naturals but they molecularly distill it. I feel like Carlson’s is a good option, since it’s not processed much at all. What’s your take on this Sarah? I would like to switch to GP, but have been waiting due to the expense.

        May 28th, 2011 2:38 pm Reply
      • Sue

        Thanks for the clarification!

        June 4th, 2011 12:43 pm Reply
  • Ashley

    Ughhh add “organic agave syrup” and “organic expeller Pressed canola oil.”
    My mother buys the latter of those two. It’s so weird because she’s such a whole foodie in every other sense but refuses to give up her canola oil because the organic expeller pressed part of the equation and Indian people using rapeseed oil puts her mind at ease. There’s no changing some people’s minds!

    May 28th, 2011 12:26 pm Reply
  • tammyk

    I needed to hear this, specifically about the GF products. I have a child recently diagnosed with gluten intolerance and I kept wondering why people (who were normally anti-processed foods) were touting all of the processed foods my child could eat.

    May 28th, 2011 11:57 am Reply
  • Christy

    All great tips but I must say…. the Omega 3’s have helped my autoimmune and inflammatory issues. If I miss a day, I hurt like you can’t believe. They have changed my life and I do see benefit from them.

    May 28th, 2011 11:19 am Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Try a non rancid form of omega 3’s like fermented cod liver oil. The fish oils at the healthfood store are all rancid and I am not convinced they have more benefit than harm.

      May 28th, 2011 1:48 pm Reply
      • Lindsey

        Can you site your sources for this comment please, Sarah?

        January 5th, 2013 9:54 am Reply
    • James

      There are much better options for autoimmune conditions than rancid oil, which accelerates the aging process. Look up “lipid peroxidation”.

      “In experiments that last just a few weeks or months, there may not be time for cancers to develop, and on that time scale, the immunosuppressive and antiinflammatory effects of oxidized fish oil might seem beneficial.”

      In energy medicine, we seek to restore balance between the Sympathetic (fight-or-flight) and Parasympathetic (rest-and-digest) nervous systems. There are various techniques and technology that work really well. Donna Eden’s book is packed with exercises and routines that make a powerful difference in all types of conditions.

      Edgar Cayce frequently said that “mind is the builder, physical is the result”. He recommended the vibrations of carbon steel to harmonize the body’s energy systems, which complements everything else people do for themselves: diet, energy balancing exercises, attitude, etc.


      May 28th, 2011 2:09 pm Reply
  • Adrienne @ Whole New Mom

    You are so right about the gluten free foods.

    When we first went gluten free we would attend gluten free fairs. My husband and I always had “hangovers” after them from all of the sugar and refined flour.

    Once I even needed to pull off the road after attending one of these fairs in order to get some whole grains into my body as I was having trouble driving.

    People w/ celiac disease or intestinal issues need to build up their digestive systems with healthy foods — not with gluten free processed foods. That being said, there are a few companies trying hard to put out whole grain gluten free products. They deserve to be applauded for their efforts. I prefer to make my own, but at least they are doing their best.

    May 28th, 2011 11:15 am Reply
    • Cherrri Nelson

      It is misleading and may be damaging to many to tell people that once they get their gut health in order they can let go of being gluten free. They can try, but that won’t work for most of us who have no choice. At the least there should have been a consideration that this will only work if celiac or gluten intolerance is not a medical issue for you. And being a genetic medical issue for many there are severe consequences when eating gluten even in small amounts. Many of us can’t go back!

      May 8th, 2013 1:55 pm Reply
      • Lady Nova of Oz

        I agree Cherrri

        It is a tad presumptuous to assume people who are gluten intollerant are simply the product of a destitute menu.

        As a family we grow our own fruit, veg and herbs, eat only local, pastured ethical meats, dairy and eggs, forrage for local wild foods, including seafoods and sea vegitables and gluten and carbs are off the menu for reasons completely asside from gut function. MTHFR, histadelia and Autism spectrum do not do away with gut health innitiatives as our gut health is now for the long term well cared for.

        It would be neglegent when gluten and carbs cause siezures to pretend that if a bout of pro and prebiotics is adhered to all will be well and have breads .. even long ferment sour dough.

        The pain of breads and cakes and gluten rich (even home made from the best of intentions is not worth the pretension that if my gut is well I can do this .. I can’t, he cant .. we all cant

        August 26th, 2013 6:43 am Reply
  • Sue Schieman

    Darn! I didn’t know that about organic broths, thanks for the info!

    May 28th, 2011 11:10 am Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      I know .. such a bummer. A lot of the time I spend in the kitchen is making homemade broths, soups, and sauces because you simply can’t buy good ones.

      May 28th, 2011 6:48 pm Reply
      • Johnny

        That’s good info. I just looked up the Kroger-brand organic chicken broth, and 1 cup contains no protein, no vitamins, and 570mg of salt. That’s 24% of the daily recommended value. You’d be much better off just drinking water.

        May 8th, 2013 2:36 am Reply
  • Julie

    How funny! I was just talking about how if “organic maraschino cherries” were made with rice syrup, someone would undoubtedly tout them as “healthy!”

    Have a great holiday weekend, everyone!

    May 28th, 2011 11:00 am Reply

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