ARE THE FOODS YOU’RE EATING SLOWLY KILLING YOU? PART 3: Ingredients

Welcome to Part 3…finally! 😉 I know it has been a minute, but if you need a refresher, you can read Part 1 and Part 2 and then come back to read all about ingredients!

So let’s jump right on in! As previously mentioned in my other posts, I don’t read the nutrition label…ever. I ONLY read the ingredients. The ingredient list tells me what my food mostly contains, if it is safe or full of cancer-causing ingredients, if it is clean or full of additives, etc. So what are some ingredients that you want to avoid? Let me start by saying that the ingredients label will now become your best friend. Ingredients are listed from greatest to least, so if an ingredient is first on the list that means it is most prevalent. The ingredients section is so much more important and informative than calorie content or fat content.

There are so many ingredients that can be added to our food and what I am sharing with you today is just some of the big no-nos. This is your basic list and a good starting point. I’ve used research from Vani Hari and the Dirty Dozen List of Food Additives to Avoid to compile this list (please feel free to visit their websites to learn more about any of the ingredients mentioned).

Carrageenan

Carrageenan is a carcinogenic (cancer-causing) ingredient found in most milk substitute products, infant formulas, toothpaste, deli meats, cottage cheeses, some flavored coconut waters, supplements, juice…the list goes on. Even if food is organic, carrageenan can still be in it!! It has been known to cause digestive problems and intestinal inflammation as well. For a detailed shopping list of specific brands to avoid that contain carrageenan and what products to purchase instead, see Cornicopia.org.

Artificial Flavors

Artificial flavors are just that – artificial. They are synthetic flavors made from chemicals. They are used to make fake food taste good. And we are not just talking a single ingredient either. Each “flavor” can contain hundreds of ingredients, including synthetic chemicals, preservatives, and solvents, parabens and more. 

Artificial Sugars & Aspartame

Again, just like artificial flavors, artificial sugars are just that – ARTIFICIAL. Just stay away from anything that says artificial. Artificial sugars stimulate the brain to actually want more sugar! Aspartame is the same way. It has been linked to an increased risk of brain tumors, lymphomas, leukemia, and heart disease. The University of Texas conducted a study that showed replacing sugar with aspartame actually increased hunger and the subjects compensated by eating even more calories…thus not so “diet” anymore, is it? 

BHT & BHA

BHT is a synthetic preservative (you will see a lot of synthetic preservatives in this list). BHT is an endocrine disruptor. BHT in particular has been shown to affect the signaling from the gut to the brain that tells us to stop eating. It has also been linked to cancer in some animal studies. The EWG has listed BHT on their Dirty Dozen List of Foods Additives to avoid, thus stay away! 

BHA, much like BHT, is a synthetic preservative that is also an endocrine disruptor and also linked to cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies BHA as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”. SO WHY IS IT IN OUR FOOD? If agencies and food organizations can show that an additive is cancer-causing, how on earth is it still allowed in our foods? More reason to just avoid heavily processed foods whenever possible. 

Canola Oil

Step away from the canola oil! Throw away this highly refined GMO-laden oil! If you are going to make one change in your cooking, make this your thing! Swap canola oil for organic avocado oil or organic grapeseed oil…but please, no more canola! Why you ask? Canola oil goes through a huge amount of processing with chemical solvents before you purchase it. The FDA does not require food manufacturers to test for hexane residue and canola oil is basically bathed in it. Switching to a healthier oil, like avocado oil, is super easy and no one will notice the difference.

Nitrates and Nitrites

Nitrates and nitrites are synthetic preservatives and are commonly found in deli meats. They have been linked to an increased risk of cancer. When purchasing deli meats, make sure it clearly reads ‘No Nitrates’ or ‘Nitrate Free’. Don’t assume “natural” means that it doesn’t have nitrates. Make sure to read the label!

Natural Flavors

Oh those good ol’ “natural” flavors! What are natural flavors? Well, it could literally be anything! Castoreum (or beaver butt excretions) is just one of the ingredients that could be called a “natural flavor.” We’ll never know what natural flavors are because the food companies won’t tell us as they consider this information proprietary.

According to the FDA, natural flavors can include:

“…the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional” (21CFR101.22).

Soy Protein Isolate

I know! You think you’re doing good buying that protein powder because ‘Soy Protein Isolate’ sounds so much better than others. Let’s first discuss soy. Soy can possibly cause hormonal disruptions because it has estrogen-mimicking properties and in women it can cause an increase in estrogen, thus increasing your risk for PCOS, breast cancer, cervical cancer and other hormonal-imbalance disorders. Soy is also almost always made from GMO soybeans (unless it is certified organic or Non-GMO Project verified). Most soy products are terrible for your health (this includes soy protein and soy milk) because of the phytoestrogens and being genetically modified, however, not all soy is bad. Organic (meaning no chemicals, fertilizers, or pesticides) fermented soy is actually good for you because of the increase of probiotics that occurs when fermented. Organic fermented soy is loaded with Vitamin K2, and probiotics. I personally like tempeh, a fermented soybean cake with a firm texture and nutty, mushroom-like flavor. When marinated, it takes on the flavor of the marinade and tastes delicious!

Stevia Extract 

I know many of you are confused…so let me state there is a difference between WHOLE LEAF stevia and stevia EXTRACT. I am passionate about avoiding stevia extract! If you don’t know if the product you are buying is using the whole leaf or extract, just avoid it. When I was shopping for protein powders, a lot of them list ‘stevia’ as an ingredient and I personally reached out to the representatives of a very large company to see what was being used (the extract or the whole leaf). They couldnt say! They said their information was “proprietary” so telling me if it was the extract or whole leaf I guess means I can basically copy their recipe, right?!

Back to the extract…

The extract is highly processed! We’re talking a 40-step method using chemicals to process the extract from the leaf, chemicals like acetone, methanol, ethanol, and others! And the chemicals they are using are known carcinogens! So again, when purchasing, make sure it says “Whole Leaf Stevia.”


I know this may seem overwhelming and for quite a few of you, shocking. But honestly, if you are eating organic, healthy, fresh food, you don’t have to worry about all those cancer-causing ingredients and additives. And, sadly, the list above is only about ¼ of the ingredients you want to avoid. Those are just some of my top ingredients to avoid, but certainly not all. If you are interested in a more in depth list, check out Food Babe’s list and also the EWG’s Dirty Dozen: Food Additives.


If you are needing a CLEAN plant-based protein powder that doesn’t contain any of those nasty ingredients mentioned above, then check out my girl Vani Hari’s company, Truvani.

I have shared a few recipes on my blog using her protein powder and I seriously LOVE it! It is clean, organic, healthy and tastes delicious! I drink a shake everyday and honestly start panicking when I am nearing the bottom of the bag!

If you want to snag your own Truvani protein powder, click here and save BIG when you sign up for a subscription. While you wait for your order to be delivered, check out my smoothie recipes here:

Vanilla Almond Smoothie

Y’all. This is my new favorite smoothie!! It is so so easy to make and tastes like an almond butter vanilla dessert. I can’t even describe it well because it tastes so dang good! You could easily swap the almond butter for peanut butter or other nut butter of your liking. I used only seven … Read More

My Favorite Chocolate Smoothie Recipe

Since battling Candida and other health issues (which I will address all of this Wednesday), I had to avoid most all fruit (until recently). Which meant I could not have my normal fruit-loaded smoothies. I also struggled to find a protein powder that tasted delicious and was safe for my Candida. That is until Truvani! … Read More

Not Your Traditional Vanilla Latte

I am loving starting my day with a smoothie and having so much fun playing with different smoothie add-ins and options! The other day I was missing coffee…which I haven’t had since November! My husband grinds the beans fresh every morning and the smell of fresh brewed coffee enveloped and consumed me! I decided to … Read More


Sugar-Free Pumpkin Cream Coffee

I was a DIEHARD Starbucks fan and when they released their pumpkin cream cold-brew…I was smitten! Now, I am a hot-coffee fan so the only thing that bugged me was that it was cold…BUT living in Texas, it’s nothing that would deter me from ordering. I LOVED it so much but I haven’t had Starbucks since last November when I found out about a bunch of health issues that my body was fighting. So that meant saying goodbye to my Pink Drink and Pumpkin Cream Cold-Brew. It was a sad day. BUT, my body feels SO much better and I will never go back! So that means that I have to adapt recipes and find stuff that will work for me. Thus, my latest fall coffee recipe was born! This is a hot coffee, with a subtle hint of pumpkin and you can kick it up a notch and make it a bulletproof version!

Without further ado…here is my Pumpkin Cream Coffee!

Ingredients:

Coffee Base

Make your coffee how you like! I prefer using my AeroPress with 1 scoop Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee with Lion’s Mane. I fill up my large coffee cup with water and microwave it for 3 minutes. While it is heating up, I add 1 scoop of coffee to my AeroPress and when the water is ready, I pour the water over the coffee grounds. I let sit about 2 minutes, then press it over my coffee cup.

Pumpkin Cream

  • 1/2 cup organic coconut cream or coconut milk (can)
  • 1 tsp organic pumpkin puree
  • 1/8 heaping tsp pumpkin spice
  • OPTIONAL: organic whole-leaf stevia

Using a handheld frother or small blender, froth/mix all ingredients for 1-2 minutes to build air and make the cream super frothy. If you like it sweet, add a drop or two of organic liquid whole-leaf stevia to taste before frothing.

Keto Coffee Additions

  • 1/2 TB organic grass-fed butter
  • 1/2 TB organic coconut oil or MCT oil

If adding the Keto coffee additions, use your frother or blender and mix these ingredients in with your coffee base before pouring over the cream.

Directions:

Once you have all ingredients ready, pour the pumpkin cream over your coffee and enjoy! I like to stir mine all together, but it’s pretty to look at when the cream is separated from the coffee. You could also make this a cold-brew but halving the water used to make your coffee and replacing it with ice. Let it cool a bit. Fill a cup with ice, pour over cooled coffee and top with pumpkin cream.

Did you make this recipe?

Tag #lifestylewithlauren on Instagram!


Truvani is giving away their new ceramic canisters with bamboo lids, FREE with any purchase of any powdered products (plant-based protein or marine collagen), now through September 15th!

Just click this link and get your free ceramic canister to hold your delicious Truvani powders!


Friday Favorites: Children’s Books

In a poll on IG stories I asked what you would rather see…some of my personal favorite chapter books or children’s books and 60% of you wanted to see my top picks for children’s books!

I have included an age-range, up to 6-8 years old, so here are some of my favorite children’s books (and note, these books are great for more than one age group):

Baby to 2 Years:

Ages 2 to 5 Years:

Ages 5 to 8 Years:


There are SO many books that I absolutely love and could seriously write many of blog posts about books. These are just SOME of the many that I love and again, these books are great for all ages and can span age groups.

What are your kiddos favorites? Comment below! Have a wonderful and safe Labor Day weekend!


What’s Up Wednesday – August 2020

It’s my FOURTH What’s Up Wednesday!

I am a week behind! I usually post my What’s Up Wednesday post on the last Wednesday of the month, but gracious! August just snuck past me and we are already in September!! Gracious!

Just to recap, I link up with Mix and Match Mama and share all the things! It’s a little food, a little family, a little what we’re doing, a little what we’re watching and a little bit of everything else, all in one post.

So let’s look at August 2020!

WHAT WE’RE EATING THIS WEEK:

Well, it is Wednesday and we’ve already had the Beach Bum Chili from Earthy Andy‘s exclusive recipe booklet from pre-ordering her new cookbook and it was delicious! It was completely plant-based and full of flavor! I loved it and will definitly make it again!

Monday we had crock-pot chicken and made tacos with them and had leftovers last night. Tonight I am making vegan cauliflower curry soup, which I made before and it is also so full of flavor and ridiculously delicious! Then Thursday we will have black bean burgers with sweet potato fries and leftovers on Friday…then meal planning all over again on Saturday!

I have also been on a little coconut yogurt kick for breakfast. I am loving starting my morning with a hot cup of mushroom coffee, then a few hours later I eat a very small bowl of plain coconut yogurt, topped with hemp seeds, coconut flakes, a few organic raspberries and walnuts. Then I make my smoothie for lunch or a raw salad, have a snack and then dinner is whatever I plan for the week.

WHAT I’M REMINISCING ABOUT:

I am already missing summer! How is that possible?! I feel like even though we went on the boat a TON this summer, it just wasn’t enough! And all of a sudden, we go from 105 degrees, to fall. In a week.

Seriously…Monday it was 105 and next week well be in the 70s and 80s. Goodbye, summer! We will miss you!

WHAT I’M LOVING:

I got a new planner and folio and LOVING it! I need seriously organization and my Plum Paper organizer helps SO much!

WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO:

A lot actually! We started week NINE of homeschool and I posted an update Monday, I’m a busy working momma now and I absolutely LOVE it! I love being an editor at Frisco STYLE Magazine! Everyone is super nice and like family already! My first issue as editor just came out and it is so rewarding to see it and read it and hold it in my hands! I am so thankful that God has given me this opportunity and I do not take it for granted for one minute!

WHAT I’M DREADING:

Hmmm….this one stumps me almost every month. I honestly don’t know what I am dreading. I am just thankful and feel grateful for every day that the Lord has given me.

WHAT I’M WORKING ON:

LOTS! Haha!

We are all hard at work crafting the October’s FSM issue, getting things set up with the photographer, getting articles in and editing, as well as writing one myself. I have started a new Bible study and hoping to get the book SOON so I can start working on it, I planted our fall veggies in our garden earlier this week, and just busy doing the regular day-to-day mom stuff + homeschooling!

WHAT I’M EXCITED ABOUT:

October is going to be a great issue and I cant wait to see it all come together!

We have booked a VRBO for Tennessee and I CANNOT WAIT to hike with my boys and be outside in nature, sitting on this patio, watching the sunrise and sunsets. I am so exited!!

WHAT I’M WATCHING/READING:

We have started watching The Umbrella Academy and y’all…it’s different! It’s weird but interesting and I just cant stop watching. If you like SciFi, mystery, Marvel-type superpowers, then you’ll love it!

I am also all caught up on the Housewives, so there’s that! 😉

I am sooo behind on my reading, but working on My Dearest Hamilton as well as listening to No Easy Day on Audible. I will finish one day, but right now I am finding my groove with everything going on and leisure reading really isn’t at the top of my to-do list at the moment.

WHAT I’M LISTENING TO:

During my morning walks, I am listening to the Bible App – the one year plan and enjoying listening to the NLT version. I am still rocking out to the Hamilton soundtrack while I cook and I ask Alexa to play Hillsong a lot.

WHAT I’M WEARING:

I have fallen in love with the magnetic eyelashes and I just cannot get enough! These KISS brand ones are so amazing, so easy to wear and apply and just so fast! I used to spend way too long applying mascara over and over, trying to get length and thickness…no more! Just a swipe of magnetic eyeliner and voila! IN LOVE!

WHAT I’M DOING THIS WEEKEND:

It’s Labor Day weekend…so that mean another weekend on the boat! We are actually going Friday afternoon instead of Sat/Sun/Mon because it gets pretty crazy out there on the holidays, so we will enjoy it the day before.

WHAT I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH:

Like I shared above, we will be going to Tennessee for the first time and I am so exited and looking forward to all the tree-hugging adventures! Please comment below your MUST-SEE places in Tennessee around Pigeon Forge area.

WHAT ELSE IS NEW:

Not much else! We have a few house reno stuff we are chatting about but otherwise just getting into the groove of being a FT working homeschooling momma!


August is in the books! How was your August? Share below!

Have a blessed rest of your week/month and make sure to come back on Friday to read my latest Friday Favorites!