I’ve been doing more internet “research” over the last few days on ingredients that I was unsure if we would use or not. I hate to call it research because I am just barely scraping the surface of knowledge that is out there, and I realize that internet knowledge often contains quite a bit of falsehood, rumors, and half-truths. I try to read articles from several different sources, and the main thing I am searching for is how a product is made. I am trying to avoid processing that seems extreme or involves the use of chemicals. Here are some of the things I’ve looked up:
Sugar- we will be using sucanat sugar and muscovado sugar. These sugars are minimally processed and still contain much of the original sugar cane in them. We will not use white sugar, or the brown sugar available at the grocery store.
Maple syrup- I’ve ordered some organic maple syrup, which I hope will have no additives in it.
Sorghum molasses – this is also a minimally processed sweetener. I have some I bought in Indiana that I will use. I should do more research on the source of it, but for now, I will use what I have on hand. (I would like to note here that as I searched for natural sweeteners I came away with the realization that no matter what sweetener you are using you should use it in moderation. Even these “natural” versions of sweeteners are not really good for us.)
Olive Oil – I’m using for now what I have on hand, but I am searching for sources for olive oil that I can be sure is minimally processed and actually pure olive oil. The certifications for olive oil are confusing and I am still trying to figure out how to go about determining the best ones.
Canola Oil – After doing some reading on this, and throwing out the completely bogus information that is out there, I have still decided to not use canola oil in June. Most of the canola oil available to me is most likely processed using hexane. There is some that is cold-pressed (similar to how the best olive oils are collected), which I might look for, but even then, there is a decent amount of extra processing to get this oil to a clear, tasteless oil with a long shelf-life. I’ve decided to avoid it for now.
Agave Nectar – Thanks to Heather, who shared an interesting article from Food Renegade with me, I’ve done more reading on agave nectar and discovered that unless you are sure you are buying from a source that extracts this in much the same way maple syrup is, it can also be overly processed. There is also some debate on how healthy this sweetener actually is for you. So we will not be using agave nectar after all.
Salt – I have ordered some sea salt that is collected by evaporating sea water and is minimally refined. It is grey in color and contains the extra minerals from the sea water, with no added ingredients (like anti-caking agents).
So, sorry if this is a boring post, but I know that there are some of you that have asked me specific questions about what we will or will not be using, so this is an update to the things I was still unsure about. I’m sure I’ll think of more things once we actually start the process. Tomorrow I plan on sitting down to make out my first week’s menu with the kids’ help. Once I know what we want to try to eat, we will start working up a plan to make sure we can have all the ingredients on hand.