You see, microwave popcorn and I…we have a bit of a history.
Years ago, when I worked in the hospital, our break room was more often than not filled with the delicious smell of popcorn wafting through the air. And it was the microwaved variety of course, because let’s just be honest, nurses are busy people and we’ve been known to look for whatever seems quick and simple to prepare.
But if I had known then what I know now, I would have made a fast track to the store for a super inexpensive hot air popper to place in our break room for everyone to enjoy.
And here’s the reason why…..
There are SO many ingredients hidden in that little bag that will sabotage your ability to get healthy and stay that way.⠀
The truth is, your health is about much more than calories. And that’s why it’s extremely important for you to always read the ingredients list on the products that you buy.
So let’s take a quick look at some of the most common ingredients found in a bag of microwave popcorn.
One of the first things you’ll most likely see listed is “natural flavors.”
Companies often use this phrase to make you feel like you’re successfully avoiding harmful ingredients. Even though it sounds nice, what you need to know is that this phrase definitely does not mean free from chemicals OR healthy. ⠀
“Natural Flavors” refers to ingredients that are added to boost flavors and smells that were lost during processing.⠀
The interesting thing is, when you choose less processed and truly natural food options you will find that these added chemicals are not at all necessary and shouldn’t ever be in your foods or beverages in the first place. ⠀
There are about 3000 different chemical additives that can fall under the category of “natural flavors,” so simply put you have no idea what you are consuming when you choose products containing them. Two examples of natural flavorings that are actually used in foods are MSG and brace yourself…..
Beaver Anal Secretions! Yes, unfortunately you read that right. (It’s called Castorium, and if you’re feeling disgusted right now, you should be!)
The point is, even though the word “natural” may sound healthy, it’s always in your best interest to run, not walk, from these “natural” additions to your food.
Now let’s talk about the bag itself, which is lined with a special chemical that breaks down when heated. When this occurs you are left with a new chemical called PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid). This is the same dangerous ingredient that’s found in teflon coated cookware.
PFOA is listed by the EPA as a carcinogen. Scientific studies have also linked PFOA to infertility and other diseases as well. When you heat your bag of popcorn this chemical transfers to your popcorn and can remain in your body for very long periods of time.
So now you’re probably wondering what other ingredients will you find lurking inside that bag.
The answer: Artificial ingredients, added colors, preservatives, GMOs, and extremely unhealthy oils just to name a few.
Does all of this mean you should never eat popcorn again? Well, of course not!
You always need to find healthy substitutions for the foods you love. This is a critical key for making healthy changes that will last.
The good news is you should be enjoying popcorn on a regular basis, but in the right form. That’s because popcorn is a great source of phosphorus, magnesium, and other vitamins and minerals. It’s high in polyphenols, an antioxidant that protects your cells from damage. And it’s also packed with fiber, which has been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
Our family often takes time to enjoy some super healthy and great tasting popcorn. And it is just as simple to prepare (if not simpler than) the very unhealthy microwavable pre-packaged varieties.
All you need is:⠀
-Some healthy Popcorn Kernels⠀
-Himalayan Pink Salt⠀
-And a little drizzle of Coconut Oil or Red Palm Oil. (If you would like to omit the oil, just lightly spritz the popcorn with a small amount of filtered water. It will help toppings to stick to the popcorn without any added oil!)
Here’s what you do:
Pop the corn in your Hot Air Popper. When the popping is complete, add a small drizzle of melted oil or lightly spritz with water and add some Himalayan Pink Salt to taste.
BAM! It really is just…that…simple.
And don’t be afraid to try some new herbs and spices to bump up the nutritional value and flavor too.
The possible flavor combos are nearly endless. You never know which one will quickly become your new favorite!
Now you know how to successfully avoid all the harmful ingredients that are hiding in that bag of microwave popcorn.
Once you try this very simple hot air popped method, I promise you’ll never…look…back!
Looking for a dreamy beverage to go with your fresh popcorn? Check out this Vegan Orange Julius Recipe.
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