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Author at Schuler Books, Eastwood (Lansing, MI)

If you read here often, you know that I eat healthy (mostly because of a long list of food allergies and sensitivities). I buy fresh ingredients, very few canned or frozen items, and I make things myself so that I am very clear what I am eating. I feel well when I do this, and often if I give in and buy at a restaurant I regret the choice.

However, I learned to read labels on food when I was just a child, before my food sensitivities took over my life. I am discovering that many otherwise well-informed people in my life never really look at what is in their food, even though it is right there for the reading.

I am always on the lookout for foods with one or two ingredients in the package. I have written about this search before, if you want to read an archived column. The ones which come to mind are pumpkin (for pie, but not the pie filling version), and tomato paste.

Even tomato sauce usually has citric acid added, which is funny because tomatoes have some citric acid in them naturally. I am guessing they use it to regulate the exact level of acidity in each batch. At least one brand doesn’t use it so the theory it might be needed as preservative would not be valid.

Citric acid is not lemon juice (though it sometimes can come from citrus fruit, it can also come from fermented corn and I can’t have mold or corn). Bet you didn’t know that!

Just to illustrate how little most of us know (until health requires us to be informed), here’s one source supporting what I just said… according to a supplement-information web page by Ray Sahelian, MD:

How is Citric Acid made?
Citric and lactic acids are produced by fermentation which utilized a carbohydrate source such as corn based starch and sugar beet molasses… Fermentation yields a crude purity product which requires further refining. One refining technique utilities a precipitation process, this process first uses lime to produce calcium citrate solids, this is then contacted with sulfuric acid which produces a partially purified soluble citric acid and calcium sulfate by product. Another technique used is solvent extraction…

Citric acid can be extracted from the juice of citrus fruits by adding calcium oxide (lime) to form calcium citrate, an insoluble precipitate that can be collected by filtration; the citric acid can be recovered from its calcium salt by adding sulfuric acid… and can be obtained synthetically from acetone or glycerol.

Yum. Yum? Now, the point is that for most people this is not an issue, but if you make your own food you don’t get the synthetic citric acid made from acetone (fingernail polish remover). I don’t like making my own food, I do it kicking and screaming sometimes, but I am clear my system is happier when I do it.

(For the record, Eden Organic Foods has canned “crushed tomatoes” that contain tomatoes and nothing else. It is essentially thick, beautiful tomato sauce. They also have Buckwheat “Soba” noodles that are 100% buckwheat… which I order by the case through their website. I love Eden Foods!)

SO… I just was checking out the Schuler Books website (because I’m doing an in-house promotion on Designer One-Skein Wonders at Eastwood, on February 28 at 7:30pm). And what did I find? This Thursday, local author Kimberly Lord Stewart is doing a presentation on how to read food labels. It’s at 7:30pm. Here is what the Schuler books website says:

Learn to read food labels with Eating Between the Lines
Award winning journalist, natural foods expert, and Lansing native Kimberly Lord Stewart is returning to give us a lesson in reading food labels, a topic that is rapidly gaining importance through the rise of food allergies and genetically modified products.

Her new book, Eating Between the Lines: The Supermarket Shopper’s Guide to the Truth Behind Food Labels, tells readers how to be discerning shoppers by breaking down the mystery and the marketing behind the countless food labels touting the health benefits of every food from potatoes to potato chips. Learn the tricks of healthy grocery shopping and have your own questions about food labels answered by an expert!

Thursday. January 24. 7:30 p.m., Schuler Books, Eastwood Towne Center, Lansing

The photos are of foods I have made and shared with you readers over the last several years. All healthy and with as few ingredients as possible, yet still tasty. And beautiful, no?

3 Responses to “Author at Schuler Books, Eastwood (Lansing, MI)”

  1. Leeann Says:

    How interesting! I had no idea. It’s amazing (and not really in a good way) how corn is in EVERYTHING, but I’m sure you know all about that. I hope the author talk is good – you’ll have to let us know if you find out anything else really astonishing.

  2. Kimberly Lord Stewart Says:

    Dear Lynn and Leeann,
    I thank you for your support and interest in Eating Between the Lines. I am looking forward to my talk at Schuler’s on Thursday. While my book does not go into the same depth as your discussion here on citric acid, I can recommend the book, A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives, by Ruth Winter, MS. It’s a wealth of information on various additives and how they are derived. All the best and I hope to see you at the signing. Kim

  3. Laurel Says:

    HOW NEAT! I didn’t know Eden Organic made 100% buckwheat noodles! Being a MOSTLY gluten free house, that would make a wonderful addition to our dining! THANKS!!!