Monday, February 7, 2011

Week 6: Additive and preservative free meats

A couple years ago, one of my friends was reworking her family's diet due to food allergies/intolerances.  One of the things she was really concerned about was sodium nitrite and nitrate added to their foods-particularly processed meats.  For a while when our income was larger, I went ahead and specifically purchased additive free meat.  But, as we had to tighten our belts, I started doing some reading as to why nitrites and nitrates might be harmful.  I needed to make an educated decision as to whether or not I wanted to prioritize my grocery dollar for this change. 

Through articles found on Six Wise and LiveStrong, I've found that sodium nitrite/nitrate has been linked to cancer, respiratory and digestive issues.  Anecdotally, I have learned, from a couple of people on forums that I read, that removing the additives (along with MSG) from their diet has also eliminated their migraines.  Given that my husband suffers from asthma, acid reflux and migraines, I decided that we would eliminate this for the most part.

I don't often buy lunchmeat, but for the times that I do, I will buy Hormel Natural Choice.  They also have a bacon and pepperoni option (pizza, anyone?).  I have already purchased bacon for this month, but for my next big grocery trip, I will price this and see how it compares in cost to what I already buy.  My big hurdle is bone-in ham.  I buy one ham per month and use it for probably 5-6 meals (baked ham when I first cook it, then ham and beans, and then chopped up pieces to use in chef salad or in ham and cheese omelets, etc.).  I saw on Hormel's website that they do offer a boneless ham option, but I really like the bone-in, so I'll have to do some researching on that to see if there is nitrite/ate free option and how costly that is.

Another friend is avoiding monosodium glutamate (MSG).  Since I'm getting rid of senseless additives, I thought I would include this one too.  MSG is a common ingredient in many processed foods including breakfast sausage.  I'm a sausage kind of girl.  I love sausage, egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches, sausage crumbles in my scrambled eggs or with onions and mushrooms on a pizza.  I found what I hope to be a great turkey sausage recipe that I will review tomorrow-only I will use pork instead of turkey (because, I'm not a ground turkey kind of girl!).


  1. we are also MSG and nitrite/trate free. Love Hormel pepperoni (only the refrigerated kind is additive free? annoying) though their business ethics are a bit shady so we buy Applegate Farms lunchmeats when possible.

  2. Yes, I would definitely agree with the questionable ethics of Hormel (along with Smithfield Farms, Cargill, Tyson, etc.). However, I'm finding it increasingly difficult to find the best food to eat without compromising our finances. I'm going to price compare with what Azure Standard can offer with their meats and see if that would be a good middle ground.

  3. Hormel does have coupons often, I used to buy lunch meat coupons off eBay and match with 2/$5 sales and get it for $1.50 or so a box at Kroger when they double a .50c Q. It freezes wonderfully. They also have pepperoni coupons pretty frequently.

  4. Foods like lunchmeat, pepperoni, and bacon are rare treats in my house because it is hard to fit the kinds I approve of in our budget. I will admit that I was curious about the ingredients in the natural choice line of products and was surprised to see that turbinado was listed as the sweetener. Be aware though that "natural flavorings" can often be a code name for MSG. Although the manufacturer did not specifically add MSG to a product doesn't mean that MSG wasn't produced during processing.

  5. Marishannon-I wonder if there is a way to find that out. Would I get a real answer if I emailed the company and asked about the "natural flavorings" and MSG specifically? Hard to tell, but I think I might go ahead and try.

  6. I don't think it would hurt to try. Some might just tell you the whole "we are MSG free" which they can legally claim, but you may just get lucky and get a straight answer!


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