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!).