I’ve been learning a lot this week so allow me to share some things with you. I don’t even remember what sparked my interest in this, I guess just curiosity. I’ve haven’t been a fan of food additives, preservatives, or artificial flavors for a long time. They really aren’t good for us at all and they provide us with no nutritional value. I plan on addressing some of the common preservatives/additives in future posts. Today I want to talk about Carrageenan.
I thought I was making a good choice by drinking unsweetened almond milk (I’ve been buying the almond coconut kind by Blue Diamond) but after learning about Carrageenan I will not be buying this brand anymore.
Carrageenan is a common food additive derived from red seaweed and is used as an emulsifier and thickener in foods such as ice cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, and non-dairy milks. (It is found it many brands of ORGANIC foods including Horizon, Silk, and So Delicious) Sounds ok right? I’m mean come on, it’s made from seaweed and that’s healthy right? Plus all these organic brands use it! Wrong. The way it is extracted and all the processing it goes through to get to the final product is a far cry from the original seaweed it comes from. I’m not trying to speak ill of any of these brands either. I mean come on I didn’t know about the negative side effects of this additive until recently, I don’t think a lot of people have. I have read that Stonyfield Farms and Eden foods will be removing this from their products. Hopefully others will follow.
Where is the harm though? Studies have shown that this additive “causes inflammation and that when we consume processed foods containing it, we ingest enough to cause inflammation in our bodies.” Chronic inflammation has been linked to heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and even Cancer. Scary stuff.
Many will say, ‘It’s natural, it must be safe!”
“Natural does not mean safe…Poison ivy is natural, but you wouldn’t put it in skin lotion. Given that carrageenan appears to do to your gut what poison ivy does to your skin, we urge all companies to remove this ingredient from the foods and beverages they sell.” (Source)
It is known to cause gastrointestinal issues, lesions, and colon cancer. People with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and other gastrointestinal disorders are warned to avoid this ingredient as it can make symptoms worse. Since I have a history of IBS this does not make me very happy. If you are interested in learning more and making your own informed decision read this PDF document by the Cornucopia Institute’s study on Carrageenan.
So I want to leave you with something fun and yummy. I will probably be making my own almond milk more often now since reading about this stuff about carrageenan. Luckily it’s so super easy to do!
I made some this week and used it in this delicious snack! Actually this was dessert the other night.
And in this one too! And this was breakfast this morning:)
Here is the basic recipe and the variations for both. Both of these recipes are great options for a breakfast, snack, or dessert:)
Basic Cacao Chia Seed Pudding:
- 2 TB Chia Seeds
- 2 TB Peanut Flour or Protein Powder of choice (optional, is good with out either of these)
- 1/2-1 TB of raw cacao powder or regular cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup almond milk, carrageenan free (or other liquid of choice)
- 1/2 Banana
- (additive free) Stevia to taste or about 1/2 tsp of coconut sugar or other natural sweetener
1. Place all ingredients into a bowl except the banana. Mix together then mash in the banana. Let sit for just a few minutes to let chia seeds absorb all the liquid. This makes it a thicker pudding. If you would like it to be thinner add more liquid!!
Variation 1: Peanut Butter Chocolate Puddding
1. Make the basic recipe first.
2. Mix in 1 TB of Peanut butter.
Add any other toppings you would like. I went with goji berries, cacao nibs, a little more PB, and more ice cold almond milk:)
Variation 2: Coconut Cacao Pudding with Spirulina
1. Make the basic recipe first.
3. Mix in 1/2 tsp Spirulina (read the benefits of Spirulina here)
2. Top or Mix in 2/3- 1 TB of Coconut oil and also about 1/2 TB of coconut butter if you would like!
Add any other toppings you would like. I went with goji berries and cacao nibs because why mess with a good thing?! I also had some blueberries mixed in.
Happy Sunday to you all.
What are your thoughts on Carrageenan?