This post is dedicated to my friend, Alnoor, and all of you who are trying against what seems like impossible odds to stand tall against the various food industries to make a better life for yourselves and your families. Attempting to avoid genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), antibiotics, force-feeding and other questionable profit-generating methods used in the farming industry, as well as trying to use organically-produced ingredients in your meal preparation and avoiding ingredients with more than five syllables can all seem hopeless, not only to the newly-converted, but to seasoned “veterans of the healthy-living population”… Then… curveball!
What group do you fall into? Please comment to let me know. I’m among the latter group just mentioned and I got the wind sucked out of my sails so suddenly, I’m still reeling from the impact! Are you all nodding in agreement at my most recent experience, or perhaps it is one you’ve already had it yourselves? Have you had a mystery ingredient experience? Sign up to this blog and tell us about it.
Buried TREASURE? I’m reading the ingredient list on a carton of ice cream, your typical Maritimes-produced brand, seeing all of the usual foodstuffs. Cream, sugar, eggs… then, BAM… carboxymethyl cellulose!! What the? I look again and spell it slowly in my head …C A R B O X Y M E T H Y L C E L L U L O S E.. I’ve never used that in my ice cream! It has more than five syllables, so, therefore, falls under the category of “shouldn’t go into my body. I decide to research.
I don’t have a handy-dandy set of encyclopedias (for you younger readers… that’s a set of books used for old-school researching.) I, do, however, have the World Wide Web. I get a good hit right away. Carbooxymethyl cellulose is a cellulose derivative, commonly used as a thickening agent and sometimes used in products that relieve dry eyes, among other things… Yep, I can see the connection, there!
Science brings it home If that wasn’t enough science for you, get this… Carboxymethyl cellulose (aka CMC) is, in fact, the sodium… (Oh, heck. There’s no layman’s language for it). The description does include its use in ice cream, and as an emulsifier in toothpaste, personal lubricants and laxatives. Although it is considered a chemical, it is also generally considered non toxic and hypoallergenic! (Good to know!) So, I guess for an ingredient with more than five syllables, it isn’t that bad. For those of us on a journey toward better health, this carboxymethyl cellulose is one of those items unnecessary to our bodies and still a relative “unknown” by way of its long-term effects on our well being. I wonder if it is the off-putting flavour I detect when eating soft ice cream?
What, then, to do with carboxymethyl cellulose? For those of us standing tall for the betterment of our health. This biggy we’ll not beat anytime soon, but you do agree you don’t have to join ‘em? The occasional ice cream surely can’t hurt… it’s just a part of the journey, right? That voice in my head is saying, “Wait! You have to fight ‘em. If you don’t, who will? A consideration for another day, I suppose.
Upon further research, and finding that carboxymethyl cellulose is produced under the ingredient name “zanthan gum”, I discover I have used carboxymethyl cellulose in the past. I’ve used it to make gravy during a “low-carb” diet. I found it caused clumpy-like thickening, rather than the smooth effect you want when making gravy.
STAND TALL & STAY STRONG
Sandra M. Meers