Friday, July 22, 2011

Did You (Unknowingly) Consume Pork Today?

I am am very excited to introduce our guest blogger, TyKes Mom from the TheNorthForty! As a mom who has had to deal with babies who are very sensitive to certain foods, I was very interested to learn more about TyKes Mom's experiences with her daughter's food allergy. In addition, TyKes Mom is a wonderful example of how to save money while living a greener lifestyle, and we are thrilled to have her here with us today.

Hi! My name is Jennifer (aka TyKes Mom) from TheNorthForty and I am so honored to be a guest here at Why We Love Green. I am a stay-at-home mother of two (and one on the way!). My passion is keeping an organized, clean, frugal and green household. In my home, our meals are made from scratch, our cleaning products revolve around vinegar, and our little ones proudly sport cloth diapers. For more information on how to live organized, clean, frugal and green, please visit me at The North Forty.

Did You Consume Pork Today?

From the moment my daughter was born in June of 2010 she screamed constantly. Some people said it was gas. Some said colic. Some told us babies just cry. But I just could not accept that this was the way she was going to live. As a purely breastfed baby, I began looking at my diet and keeping a food journal to see what made her screams of pain worse. We realized she responded the strongest after we had pork chops. It was clear that she had a pork protein intolerance. From that moment, I cut out all obvious pork products: chops, roasts, bacon, etc. Her screams lessened, but she still seemed to be in constant pain. That is when I took to researching.

I found that pork was in almost everything my family consumed on a daily basis. Hidden by many creative and obscure terms approved by the FDA, pork was in everything from our bread to our vitamins, and even in our peanut butter. With the pork by-products came all of the pork proteins and hormones.



I wanted to share with you a list of the terms used to hide pork in many everyday products:
  • Mono- and di-glycerides. I have found this to be the most common term used for pork. You can find this ingredient in bread, wraps, prepared foods, chips and candy bars, cheese, peanut butter, and so many more. This ingredient can be derived from vegetable sources but the product will usually state this if it is the case. We even found a vegetable oil that contained pork.
  • Glycerin/Glycol. This ingredient is commonly found in medicines, vitamins, and health and beauty products, including shampoos, soaps, baby wipes (a fact we discovered after months of diaper rash), lotions, make-up and sunblock.
  • Gelatin. A more commonly known pork ingredient, this can be found in vitamins, Jell-O, yogurts, marshmallows and pudding. Pork-based gelatin can also be found in almost all current childhood vaccinations. Kosher gelatin does exist but, again, this is usually specified.
  • Stearate/Stearic Acid/Stearoyl. Another versatile pork ingredient, this is found in health and beauty products, prepared foods, breads, vitamins, and medications. This ingredient is also found in some of the current childhood vaccines. This ingredient may also be beef-based.
  • Natural and Artificial Flavors. The broadest phrase used, these blanket terms can include pork-based ingredients. The only way to be certain of whether or not the product contains pork is to contact the manufacturer.
A common misconception is that food coloring (specifically yellow #5) is made from pork. While this used to be the case, they no longer use animal products to make food coloring.

Please note, just because a product states that it is "natural" or "organic" does not mean that it is pork-free. Pigs are considered natural and can be raised organically. Also, if the product states that it is "vegetarian" it may still contain pork or other animal-derived products. The FDA uses the term "vegetarian" to refer to obviously meatless products. However, if the product states that it is "vegan" then you can be fairly certain that it is free of all animal-derived ingredients.

Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, Kosher, or just like to be informed about what you put in or on your body, I strongly encourage you to read all product labels and, when in doubt, contact the manufacturer. It is important that we take responsibility for our diets and educate ourselves on the various (and unfortunate) terms for hidden ingredients deemed acceptable by the FDA.

I am happy to report that, after a complete diet overhaul and a lot of emails to manufacturers, our daughter is healthy, happy, and pork-free.

Thanks for visiting,
Christine and Jennifer

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