I was doing some research for a client on the EWG’s website and I happened on the article called“Yoga Mat” Chemical Found in nearly 500 Foods. A few months ago Vani Hari, food activist and blogger, succeeded in petitioning Subway to remove a chemical additive from their sandwiches. Natural News reported it and it was all over Facebook. The shocking news was that the chemical, azodicarbonamide (ADA), used to make Subway bread is also used to make yoga mats.  It’s what gives both the spongy quality.  Nice.

Now, I don’t know about you but, unfortunately, I’ve eaten my share of Subway BMT’s.

The USDA and FDA approve it’s use.  But more distrubing is that it’s been linked to cancer, asthma, and allergies.  And it has been banned in the EU, Australia, and Singapore.

Cancer, asthma and allergies…hmmm, makes you wonder what else it’s doing to our body.

Of course, it’s not just Subway that uses it. It’s an industry wide practice. The Natural News’ article highlights 10 other fast food companies that use ADA. And EWG article lists the grocery aisle brand names that use it too.  (The articles are listed below and I urge you to read them over so you can check for any brand names that you use.)

But my point here isn’t really to point out the dangers of azodicarbonamide per se, but to highlight the importance of reading labels and knowing your brand names so that you keep chemical additives out of your grocery bag.  ADA is only one of many ingredients to avoid.  We know that some man-made chemicals can wreck havoc on our hormones because they are xenoestrogens (or endocrine disruptors).   The better job we do with understanding what’s in our food, the less risk we run that the food we eat will alter our hormone balance.

You’re probably wondering if it’s even possible to keep up and know all the ingredients on labels.  Before you throw in the towel, read these 4 easy tips to guide you in making better-informed choices in the grocery aisle. Hopefully, this will help you keep chemical additives out of your grocery bag.

#1: As much as possible, shop only the perimeter of the grocery store. Generally, this is where you find the fresh stuff. Fresh Produce, Dairy, Meat/Fish/Seafood, Fresh breads, Frozen fruits/vegetables (better option than canned), and Fresh Foods/Salad Bar.  Remember to look for things like organic, wild, grass-fed, anti-biotic free, and hormone free.

#2: If you are going to buy a boxed or processed food, buy the one with the least amount of ingredients. Let’s look at some wheat bread examples. I’ve listed the ingredients of two bread products on the right hand column. The first one is Butternut Bread. It has a super long list (– and one of the ingredients is azodicarbonamide). The second one is Alvarado Street Bakery. Its list is much shorter – and an obvious better choice.


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#3: If you can’t pronounce an ingredient or don’t know what it is, don’t buy it until you can and you do know what it is.

#4: Use trusted done-for-you resources. Who has time to research each ingredient or stand in the grocery aisle comparing labels? The EWG has a fantastic database of ingredients and rates/ranks products according to their ingredient list. The Weston A. Price Foundation also puts out great regional shopping guides, where they list products in best/good/avoid categories. (You get it free when you join/donate or you can purchase for $3 on their website.)

You can sign the EWG’s petition to have the makers of the 500 products remove azodicarbonamide from their products. Several companies have already stated that they will remove the ingredient as soon as they can. I invite you to participate.

Happy Informed Shopping,