While the U.S. used to be renowned as a melting pot culture when it came to food, that once-proud heritage has suffered extreme criticism in recent years as we've stuffed our products with a variety of potentially harmful additives, preservatives, and genetically engineered ingredients. Processed foods have become the basis of our nation, so it might come as a shock that a surprising amount of what we toss into our grocery cart isn't even legal around the world! If you're looking for some alternatives to those dangerous ingredients, check out the list below to learn more about some of our favorite choices when it comes to avoiding all those chemicals!
Avoid farm-raised salmon: In theory, we want to support the agricultural community, but in this case it is in your best interest to steer clear! Farm-raised salmon are fed an unnatural diet of grains, antibiotics, drugs, and petrochemicals that have not actually been approved for humans.
Try wild Alaskan salmon or sockeye salmon instead: These babies are not legally allowed to be farmed, so you can avoid contaminating your diet with all those unnecessary pollutants. Look for bright red fillets, as opposed to pink or grey ones, to guarantee freshness. You can also check out our 14 delicious salmon remixes here for a delectable weeknight meal!
Avoid ractopamine-tainted meat: The drug ractopamine is used to reduce the fat content in an estimated 80 percent of cattle and pig operations in the U.S., and that toxic chemical actually remains in our meat even after packaging and has been known to contribute to cardiovascular degeneration! Sure, the fat content might be lower in your next hamburger, but at what price? Over 160 countries worldwide have banned this nasty chemical to date, so we recommend keeping your distance.
>> Looking for an alternative to contaminated meat? Check out these 10 benefits of eating grass-fed beef!
Try grass-fed, pastured, certified organic or wild animal meat instead: We get that these cuts can get a little pricey, but when it comes to maintaining you and your family's health, it is well worth the sacrifice. You can also locate local farmers who may be more than willing to sell in bulk at heavily discounted prices. However, beware of markers like "naturally raised" or "antibiotic-free," as these are not regulated terms and carry very little weight! Want to add a little extra meat to your diet? Check out these 10 healthy and hearty meatball recipes!
>> Read more: 7 Most Important Things to Look for When Buying Meat
Avoid flame-retardant drinks: Getting off the soda bandwagon may seem like the end of the world, but the dangerous chemicals that are packed into your favorite fizzy beverages are causing some serious damage! Bromine, a food additive that has been classified as a flame retardant and is commonly found in these drinks, can cause a variety of health issues such as acne, rashes, loss of appetite, fatigue, and cardiac arrhythmias! For more reasons why you should avoid soda, click here.
Try sprucing up your water, tea, coffee or juices instead: Luckily for you, there are a ton of ways out there to kick your sugary soda habit. You can check out our favorite seven ways to add a little flavor to your water by clicking here, or give one of these four clean juice recipes for a healthy summer a try if you are looking for some inspiration! These options are the perfect way to stay clean, refreshed, and satisfy that sweet tooth without the added chemicals!
Avoid processed foods containing artificial coloring or dyes: This is easier said than done, considering the vast amount of coloring and dyes hidden away in foods. Boxed macaroni and cheese, any kind of flavored crackers and chips, and most cereals often contain dyes that could lead to birth defects, behavioral problems, and even cancer. Check your nutritional labels carefully for red 40, yellow 5, yellow 6 and blue 2 dyes, as these have been linked to health conditions!
Try skipping the boxes, bags and cans: One simple way to eliminate processed foods from your diet is to stick with fresh, natural ingredients. If that nutritional label contains more than five ingredients, or words you don't recognize, chances are you are straying into unchartered territory! If you are looking for a great way to kickstart your healthy lifestyle, check out our seven-day challenge without processed or packaged food by clicking here! You can also purge your pantry of these eight common processed foods for a clean start today!
>> Read more: 10 Foods You Should Never, Ever Eat. Not Ever.