Dr. Joe Tatta: Welcome back to the healing pain summit. I am your host, Dr. Joe Tatta. Today we are talking about food additives and inflammation. What you need to remove from your diet to decrease pain. My expert speaker today is Mira Dessey, otherwise known as the ingredient guru. She is a holistic nutritionist, a popular public speaker and the author of the pantry principle. How to read the label and understand what’s really in your food. She speaks frequently on how to navigate the grocery store is mammoth packaged through stock. How does decipher confusing food labels, understanding the relationship of food additives to poor health and how to find real food. Marie Jesse, welcome to the healing pain summit. It’s great to have you on this year and I’m really excited to talk about your topic, which is food additives and inflammation.
Mira Dessey: Hi, it’s so great to be here. Thanks for having me on. I’m really looking forward to it.
Dr. Joe Tatta: So you are a holistic nutritionist, which I think is just is fabulous and wonderful and I love that you have this angle toward figuring out what’s in our food, cause you have to kind of be one part scientist and one part detective. But I really would love to hear how you really got kind of started in this kind of specialty, this little niche that you have.
Mira Dessey: Sure. Uh, you know, for me it was a personal journey. I actually was in a totally different career and at one point in my life I got very, very ill and had a lot of doctors, a lot of medication was not able to function and nobody talked to me about my food. As I began to sort of wake up and do my own research, I realized that our food is much more important than we’ve been led to believe. And then from there I also began to realize that it wasn’t just what we were eating, it’s what’s in what we’re eating. And that became a game changer for me. And as I like to tell people, you know, I finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up. I love this topic and I love helping people regain their health by learning to take back control of their food.
Dr. Joe Tatta: Yeah, and it’s really a wonderful, incredible topic. I mean, if you go to the grocery store and look at the back of packages is a long list of ingredients, even things that we think are quote unquote healthy, there’s obviously added to them, but why are food additives in food? What is, what does that person,
Mira Dessey: you know, a lot of food manufacturers will tell you that they’re in there to keep the food shelf stable or to protect them in some way. Sometimes they’re in there also because it makes things look consistent. For example, artificial colors don’t need to be in anything. They’re there because the manufacturer gets a consistent color every single time. If you look at food, some of them are now being made with natural colorants like beets or carrots or other things like that, and the colors are sort of muted. They’re not even one piece to another. And somehow food manufacturers decided for us that that was what we needed or what we wanted. When it comes to the additives and preservatives, it’s for convenience. It’s for shelf life. I mean, let’s face it, if a Twinkie lasts 23 years, how good can it really be for, you know,
Dr. Joe Tatta: so you know, you, you’re talking about carrots and beets. So in my mind, and I think a lot of people go to the grocery store, think, well, okay, someone put them in the ground and grew a farmer, plucked it out of the ground, put it on a truck and delivered it to our store. And then, you know, maybe it was washed off and cleaned. But you’re saying that it is kind of sprayed or enhanced or there’s something put in a carrot or a beat that makes it all the same uniform color?
Mira Dessey: No, I’m talking about, uh, in that case I’m talking about colorants that are put in packaged and prepared foods when it comes to now, sadly with apples, they do actually add things to them. There is this horrible range of apples that has come out in the last few years where they sell flavored apples, grapes, delicious and bubblegum flavored apples and all of the, it’s horrible. They bathed them in this chemical VAT and then dry them off and sell them. And I’m not quite sure why you would do that. First of all, apples are so sweet and so delicious. I don’t think they need any enhancement on their own. And I personally don’t find the idea of a bubblegum flavor to Apple very appealing.
Dr. Joe Tatta: So you know, a lot of people would kind of just, you know, would say, okay, so if these, if these ingredients are only in prepared foods and I should only just shop the outside of the or the perimeter of the store where the whole foods are, does that solve the problem or the issue?
Mira Dessey: I love that you said that because it happens a lot and the truth of the matter is yes, the perimeter is a great place to shop. Unfortunately it’s not as safe as you might think. Part of it is understanding the quality of your food. So that carrot or those apples, those fresh foods that are in the produce section, some of them have been so heavily bathed in pesticides and they are efficient uptake vehicles for this pesticide residue that they are actually, you know, not good for your body. Those are the ones that you want to buy organic. That’s that whole dirty dozen thing that a lot of people have heard about and it’s important to stay on top of the dirty dozen because believe it or not, that list changes every single year. Uh, then we also have, in addition to the quality of some of the other things in the meat section or the dairy section or that kind of thing, we also have something that I like to call product creep. And this is where manufacturers are trying to sell as much as they can. And so they buy slotting fees to put their product in a section where you might not otherwise find it. Barbecue sauces appearing next to the meat that’s on the perimeter of the store. And so a lot of people go, Oh Hey yeah we should get that cause it’s here and they’re not maybe reading the label and not realizing that it’s there to tempt you to encourage you to buy more.
Dr. Joe Tatta: So you mentioned that the dirty dozen, I think you know a lot of people are aware of it, especially for people who are avid nutrition followers. But for those who are not, what is the dirty dozen, what does it mean and how can someone find out more information about that?
Mira Dessey: Sure. So the dirty dozen is those 12 fruits and vegetables that are most likely to be most highly contaminated in this year because it changes year to year with pesticides. And the way to avoid that pesticide residue is to purchase those things organic. So for example, and I don’t remember the entire list because it changes year to year, but the most common ones that are almost always on it are apples, peaches, tomatoes, grapes, those kinds of things. Strawberries are usually very high on the list. And then there’s the clean 15 those are the ones that are least likely to be impacted by those residues. And that would be things like oranges, coconuts, that kind of thing. And one of the ways you can find out what the dirty dozen is, very simply there is a free app put out by the environmental working group. You can download it and it tells you what they are. So when you’re at the grocery store and you go, Oh I forgot with cucumbers on the list, you can look it up.
Dr. Joe Tatta: So you know, people think that obviously foods were sprayed with pesticides. Why can’t I just take my food home and just wash it and then got rid of the pesticides and I won’t have to worry about it.
Mira Dessey: It’s not just what’s on the outside. These are fruits and vegetables that are what are called the efficient uptake. So they suck it up from the ground as well and it becomes part of that. Fruit or vegetables. Strawberries for example, happen to be very, very efficient uptake and they’re, you know, high moisture fruit. And when you have all of this pesticide residue that’s sprayed on them continually, they’re sucking it into the fruit and then you’re eating it. So it’s not a great choice. Unfortunately for a lot of people, you know, one of the big objections to purchasing organic is that it can be more expensive, but with the dirty dozen, I do strongly encourage people to do that because you’re just avoiding a huge toxic body burden by not having that. And for some people that added pesticide residue, that added chemical buildup can be problematic for them because it builds up in their system. And it can, for me, this was a perfect example. It caused pain, it caused fatigue, it caused weakness. I just had so many issues and when I began to remove these things from my diet, I began to get better.
Dr. Joe Tatta: So you and I really, you know, talking about, and we are promoting obviously a whole foods diet because that’s where you can find the least amount of additives. But occasionally, you know, it’s a busy life. We all have things going on and sometimes we may pick up something in a package or a can or a box if we do that, and obviously trying to be mindful of some of the additives that are out there. What are kind of the top three that we should really stay away from?
Mira Dessey: You know, I think it’s, for me, I have one particular set. Other people choose different ones depending on what their health issues are. A real big one for me is high fructose corn syrup, things that are high fructose, and so it, when I say that it’s because there’s actually more than just high fructose corn syrup. A lot of people are really crazy for a Gabi nectar these days. Unfortunately it’s actually higher in fructose than high fructose corn syrup. And then there’s something else called crystal and fructose, which, you know, the simple version of that is that it’s essentially dehydrated, high fructose corn syrup and significantly more fructose. What’s the problem with that? Well, it’s really bad for your liver and if your liver is not functioning well, if it’s not processing, if it’s not detoxifying the way it’s meant to, it can cause problems. There is actually a disease called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease that is from, you know, the liver having to work too hard, especially when it comes to a lot of that fructose and other things like that that impacted.
Mira Dessey: So that’s one. Artificial colors are huge. I just, I’m really passionate about them because they, we don’t need them in our food and they appear in so many things that you wouldn’t even think of artificial color in them. And uh, the other thing that I don’t like about them is they are very bad for brain health. Um, children who have attention related disorders are, their brains are overstimulated by these artificial colors. Some children who have neuro-biological disorders, the artificial colors can actually make them worse because it, those petrochemicals are just neurotoxic. And then the third thing that I find really overwhelming for a lot of people is MSG. The biggest challenge with that one is it has about 40 different names that it can hide under. And so you really have to be a detective. You have to work really hard in order to be able to find that and get it out of the system.
Dr. Joe Tatta: Yeah, I think MSU is a great one because MSG is known to be a really potent neurotoxin, which means that it’s toxic to your nerve cells and obviously your brain is, is consists of nerve cells, but it doesn’t not only synthesize it, but sometimes it actually kills them. So it’s really important as far as a lot of people on my summer talking about brain health and the health of your nervous system. MSG is a really, really big one. I think for pain it’s probably the biggest one. Um, can you tell us some other names that MSG might be under their sign? Others, you know, hundreds of them or maybe a couple that someone might see? You know, I think we think of them as sheep being in Chinese food and Chinese food only, but it does a number of other places.
Mira Dessey: The funny thing is you almost can’t find it in Chinese food anymore because it was such a big thing that they’ve removed it. Uh, what I tell people is the easiest way to start is obviously anything that says monosodium glutamate you want to avoid. Uh, unfortunately there are times when you will see a, where it says no added MSG. You really have to read the label. You can’t trust the front of package labeling because in the, in the back and the ingredients, you want to look for the words. The two biggest words are hydrolyzed and autolyzed. And those, uh, processes are very similar to what frees up those glutamates in order to have them impact the brain. So those are two really big ones. Calcium caseinate is another one. And so what I tell people is to start with just a few, learn those, learn to read the label, have a list on your pantry door so that when you bring things home, you can compare them to the, the what’s on that list.
Mira Dessey: And then over time you will begin to learn them all. And I promise you, you know, it’s a step by step process. I even some, I still have that list on my door because I occasionally make mistakes, you know, and, and that’s what I’m known for being the ingredient guru. Um, but I’ll buy something really quickly or I’ll just skim the label looking for something and not pay close attention. But if it’s something that I have not bought before, I always read the label thoroughly before it goes on the shelf and I will take it back to the store.
Dr. Joe Tatta: Yeah, it’s true. It’s, it’s a constant, um, journey to figure out what’s in your food and really kind of understand, you know, what, what’s in there and then to understand how it affects you. It was a whole nother journey. I actually talking, one of the things I’m thinking about is that, you know, we have a lot of checks and balance systems in place in our economy and our government that’s in our government or we see our food processes same and shouldn’t they, you know, haven’t they done a good job at saying, okay, this should not go in our food because it’s harmful to people. How come that doesn’t happen?
Mira Dessey: It’s a very complicated process and unfortunately it can take years for the process to change itself. And the biggest example of that is trans fats. So trans fats were allowed in the diet for a long time. There was a lot of evidence saying that maybe this wasn’t so good anymore. And then eventually, uh, in, I believe it was October of 2014, we were finally told RA trans fats are no longer generally recognized as safe. And that’s a term for we think a little bit won’t kill you or hurt you too badly. So we’re going to let it in the food. So they’ve decided it’s no longer generally recognized as safe, but it is not banned. It’s still allowed in the food. It’s just not approved. So how much longer are we going to have to wait? And we have studies that show that it just takes a very small amount of trans fats to begin to have a cardiac impact on health.
Mira Dessey: Uh, when it comes to other additives, that whole generally recognized as safe thing is sort of a misnomer because people think that that means that the FDA personally oversees each and every application for DRAs and they really don’t. Uh, what happens is the company says we have experts that have attested to the fact that this is generally recognized as safe. And so it’s allowed in. Sometimes the FDA will submit a request for further, sometimes the company will personally withdraw it. Sometimes the FDA will say, in this particular use you have to put on this statement or whatever. But there’s not as much oversight as you might think. And unfortunately that means that there are a lot more things in our food than we really think of. And the biggest challenge that I have with generally recognized as safe is that most of the studies are geared towards a 2000 calorie a day diet. And I don’t know that all of us eat 2000 calories a day or that all of us should eat 2000 calories a day. And then beyond that, no one’s keeping track of how many products that have, just a little bit that you’re eating. And so what is your cumulative impact of having just a little bit with a lot of different products
Dr. Joe Tatta: and what I find particularly interesting, especially about trans fat. So when they first passed that rule, we all thought, okay, they’re not going to be in our food at all. But the truth is it’s still in a lot of foods and very small amounts and those amounts are small, but the food companies and the package doesn’t have to actually label it that way. So you may not find it in one serving, but actually if you take three servings, then you may have, you know, one milligram, let’s say, or or whatever it is in there. So they don’t even have to really tell you exactly how much is in there if it’s below a certain amount,
Mira Dessey: correct? That’s correct. That’s what I love to call funny math. So if it is less than 0.5 grams per serving, and that’s important, we’ll come back to that in just a second. But if it’s less than 0.5 grams per serving, they can claim that there’s zero. In the case of trans fats, that means you really need to be smart about it. You need to look at the ingredient panel. That’s where all the ingredients are down below the nutrition facts label and look for the words hydrolyzed or sorry, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated, because that is a trans fat. You also have to look for the word Olestra because that is a trans fat and in spite of all the bad press Olestra got over the years, it is still in our food. So coming back to serving size, you know, one of the biggest challenges with that is that the serving size is not really what we eat. What we eat is a portion, what we serve ourselves. And I have, for example, seeing boxes of cereal where the recommended serving size is a quarter of a cup. I don’t know too many people that measure out a quarter of a couple of cereal. Most people pour it in the bowl and then go, Oh, I’m about that hungry. So that’s a portion and you could be getting significantly more and then all of a sudden you’re getting the impact of having much more than you think you do and it’s no longer zero grams.
Dr. Joe Tatta: Yeah, no, I think the transfer, it’s not to, not to continue with them, but there’s really so important, especially for cardiovascular health, but they also lead to, like you said before, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. And once you have that, you created very, very, really a perfect storm or inflammation in your body. And it’s not just your liver. When your liver is not functioning correctly, it’s not detoxifying all the ingredients that you’re putting in your body. And that inflammation circulates around your entire body, into your joints, into your muscles, into your brain, into every room, every system that your body has. So where should someone look for trans fats? You’ve talked about hydrogenated oils. Where do we, where do we find these? You know, even if they’re in those tiny small amounts and you don’t, you don’t really get a whole lot until the serving size is increased, but still really important to know what packages have those in there.
Mira Dessey: You know, the biggest place to find them is a lot of the baked goods have them, a lot of the snack foods have them. So that’s a, that’s a good start. But really I just encourage people read the label. It doesn’t matter what you’re buying. Don’t pay attention to the front of the package because they lie or they mislead. Well they don’t lie on the front of the package. They just don’t tell the whole truth. They get very deceptive because they’d go for buzzwords and things like that and, or they’ll highlight the one good ingredient in there and forget to tell you that the rest of it’s maybe not so hot. Um, so really reading the ingredient panel is huge. And if you are buying something currently that does have trans fats in it to take the time and look for something else that doesn’t and make a list, you know?
Mira Dessey: So if you’re, if you’re buying X Cracker and you want a different Cracker, then look for one that doesn’t have the trans fats in it. Make yourself a note so that you remember. Because unfortunately when we’re at the grocery store, we shop on autopilot. We know what we like and we just kind of zoom through those aisles. We know that aisle six is this and we throw it in the cart and we don’t pay attention. And even if we are consciously trying to make a change, we’ll forget. And so we, we need to be mindful of helping ourselves to change that habit.
Dr. Joe Tatta: Yeah, I think this is one of the wonderful information, especially for those who have fibromyalgia. And a lot of people follow me and my summit who have five myalgias. And once I started pulling out certain ingredients like you talking about these ingredients from their food, people just pain just starts to really decrease very, very, very rapidly. And some people actually don’t like leave it, you know, we’re stuck. You know, we’re stuck on gluten, we’re stuck on other foods that are inflammatory and they definitely had their place, you know, to look at or pull out of the diet. But obviously the ingredients or things that shouldn’t be in there really is the first place to start. I really urge people to start with some, just from your personal experience, what are some of the ones that affected you the most and once you pull them out, what symptoms did you see kind of, you know, go away rapidly?
Mira Dessey: Well, so one of the big ones for be turned out to be carrageenan. It’s a red seaweed and it’s highly inflammatory and it’s especially, uh, debilitating for people who have any sort of irritable bowel disorder, all sort of colitis, crones, IBD, all of that. And so removing that from the diet and you’d be surprised where it hides. It’s an ice cream. It’s in alternative milks. It’s in a lot of things. That was, that was a big one. And, uh, the other thing that was really big was a lot of these emulsifiers, you know, they’re, they’re in there to help make things stick together. And then, you know, also some of the preservatives, poly sorbet AIDS and things like that. Anything that ends in an ATV, if it’s not a real food and you don’t really understand what it is you of got to watch out for it because a lot of those are highly inflammatory and they really overwhelm or impact the system.
Mira Dessey: And when we remove those, you can frequently notice a difference in just a very short period of time because you know, our body’s always detoxing. It’s always trying to function well. And so the sooner we take out the things that are impacting our system, the more our body works to clear it up and keep going. So that’s really great. I mean, I, I have one story for example, of someone who was able to clean up their diet just a little bit. And within 10 days they had reduced swelling, reduced pain in small joints, that kind of thing. And, and that’s just 10 days and they’re going to keep getting better, you know, because they’re going to keep, I mean, that becomes its own reward. You, you keep doing it because you feel good. Um, but yeah, so, so watching out for things that you don’t know, you know that anything that ends in a number is not a real food. Cause food doesn’t grow by numbers. Uh, you know, the sore Bates, the galley eats, um, you know, anything that’s all letters too. That’s the other thing. TBHQ EDTA, BPA, all of those are just really high body toxin, body load accumulation, things that can impact you.
Dr. Joe Tatta: And is there a movement or is there a website that people follow as far as, you know, new new agreements that are coming onto the market or are pushed to get one ingredients off the market that um, someone could kind of look into?
Mira Dessey: You know, there’s, I don’t know that there’s any one particular website because there’s a lot of different movements going on. You know, the environmental working group is working to get people aware of the dirty dozen and the Institute for responsible technology is working on the whole GMO thing and getting people aware of that. My big thing is if, if people follow me and read my newsletter every week, I publish, you know, a few things I, I keep it really short. It’s usually just three or four things, stupid stuff they’re still doing to our food. What you need to know and it becomes a really great resource because then you can do that. And then of course there’s also my book, the pantry principle, how to read the label and understand what’s really in your food. It’s available on Amazon. It’s a really great resource and it’s easy to follow.
Dr. Joe Tatta: And where can people find you on your, what is your website? What is your URL?
Mira Dessey: My URL is the ingredient guru.com.
Dr. Joe Tatta: Excellent. So I wanna thank Mira De ssey, the ingredientguru.com for being with us this year on the healing pain summit. She’s got some great information this interview. Make sure you hit the button to share it out with your friends and family can share it on Facebook or you can share it on Twitter. Make sure to go into the healing pain summit support group and say a lot of mirror there, and we will see you on the next episode of the Healing Pain Summit.