Guest: Louise D’AlluraGuest Bio: Louise D’Allura, growing up in an Italian Family where food and vegetable patches are an essential part of life, Louise started her career at Nutrition Australia, then worked in corporate health wellness and later in occupational health. Louise now runs the business Meal Planning Your Way.
Louise is here to talk to us about Food Additives.
Health Professional Radio
Katherine: Thank you for listening to Health Professional Radio. I’m Katherine and today our guest is Louise D’Allura. In 2009, Louise started her business ‘Meal Planning Your Way’ as a consulting home economist and accredited expert professional organizer, helping busy people get organized for healthy eating with meal planning guides, consultation and workshops, including being Queensland’s Additive Alert Representative. Louise is here to talk to us about meal planning for low additive eating. Welcome to our show.
Louise D’Aullar: Hi Katherine, so delighted to be here.
K: I’m glad you’re here and I wanted to ask you what exactly is low additive eating? Is it as it sounds, is it making food from scratch?
L: I guess it’s a combination of things. As a home economist and professional organizer, a lot of the people that I’ve worked with are time poor busy and they will either be one of two types of people. It will either be they do a lot of cooking from scratch and they want to know how to be I guess a bit more efficient in the way that they do cooking from scratch. Then there are other people that do primarily eat a lot of pre-package products but I’ve notices an issue going on with their children and once they’d be able to make better choices and start doing a few things cooking from scratch. So low additive eating is simply saying, “You know where possible, let’s make some better choices.” If you’re purchasing some things in packaged products with the view to get a few more item cooking from scratch so you know what’s in the food that you eat.
K: Right. And that’s a good point to make because like you said, you can look up some of these additives and you can really vote with your dollar…
K: It’s like you know great brand that you like but there’s just something in there that you don’t like, you can reach out to them and say, “Look, I love your food but because of this additive, I just I can’t eat it.” … I’m just reading over some research that you sent me. Research shows that 46% of Australians tries to avoid food additives whenever they shop. And we consume about 5 kilos of additives every year. That’s a lot of additives and scarily, some of the additives in our foods are unsafe for young children and infants, yet they still eat it. I mean how do these things slip through the cracks? How do these get through our, which I consider we have a very strict food safety you know regulations in Australia.
L: Yeah, how did that happen? And I think that’s finally you know when I do talk around food additives and meal planning and all of these, the most common question is “Why?” Why in a country such as developed as Australia and progressive, this doesn’t make sense. And I think some of the things that we’ve identified and we had saying is the way that the regulations are identified and researchers is done. So one of the things that we know is that … well we’re seeing a lot the issues are around behavior, okay?
L: And the regulations don’t require specific impact on what is the behavior? Does it affect behavior? Does it affect learning? Those factors aren’t considered because it tends to be more of a purely physiological impact. Does it cause cancer, yes or no. And in some cases where it has caused cancer and this is where that it gets really controversial, if it causes cancer in animal or laboratory animals, okay?
L: And that is where it tends to be the idea of if it causes cancer in mega, mega doses in those animals then if we scale it back then it should be okay because the part where cancer develops is… like for example in rats if they’re the laboratory test animals it is in their forestomach okay? And as humans we don’t have a forestomach. So this is the part of where we go, “Well it causes cancer in animals but we’re not 100% sure if it causes cancer in humans.” So because we’re not a 100% sure that it will cause cancer in humans they do it on a risk assessment balance of probability scale, we scale it back fingers crossed, it should be okay.
K: Right, I see. And if people are in the supermarket and they’re shopping away, if they don’t know how to read a label – what are some of the resources that they can access?
L: Yeah. So one of the first things I would say is really think about I guess before they even getting into the supermarket, if people can start thinking about what are they noticing either with their own health or that it be kids to go, “You know it might be… is hyperactivity or are the kids they’re a little bit hypersensitive? Is asthma an issue?” So this thinking about what sort of healthy issues or behavior issues the family is experiencing, then they can have a look at you know some free tools like an additive alert. There’s an Additive Alert app that you can get from the iTunes. You can download, I think it’s in Google play for Android option and you know that’s a really fantastic resource because then as you do, you start to learn a bit more about food additives. You can have a look to say, “Oh actually this additives is really bad for asthma.” And then as part of an asthma management plan, you can start considering food as a strategy to go, “Okay maybe avoiding preservatives could actually be a very helpful thing to manage or lessen the likelihood of asthma attacks taking place.”
K: Right. Okay, so if people want to, I don’t know overhaul their house and I know you work as a professional organizer and help people with their kitchen and for those that are listening that don’t have access to you because they’re now base in Queensland – what are some of the practical advice that you can give to some of our listeners on how they can go about starting to eliminate some of the foods that contain additives that they suspect are not really helping them?
L: Yeah. And I think that I would definitely say notice, really look at what are those issues because a lot of times that will help to guide where you want to start.
L: I think the first thing that I would encourage people to do is really get clear on what is that your family eats. So in that first instance, jot down what the family eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and that in itself is a really good practice because then you can start to say “Okay breakfast, this is kind of what we eat.” Then when you’ve got a bit more time then you can have a look and say, “Okay what are the additives in this?” And I don’t recommend doing this in the supermarket, okay?
L: I could have mentioned that. This is what you do at home, before (chuckles) …
K: Yes (chuckles)
L: Okay? Don’t do this in the supermarket. Start your list at home when you’ve got a quiet momenta and it might be you do this over period of time and have a look what are the additives in there, which are the questionable ones. Try and identify those and then you go “Okay, based on everything that you ate, which products might you start looking for swaps for?” And it’s about doing it a bit by bit approach, really looking at if whatever the staples are. If the family loves eating bread, they eat a lot of bread or they have a particular lunch box treat that they like. If they’re eating that a lot, start with that. One or two things every week just look at what alternatives there might be and I guess one of the things that I’ve noticed is that pretty much every single product that has those … ingredients, you’d be able to find an alternative that has a better profile so that’s a really encouraging thing.
K: Yeah and it’s good to hear because I know some people that are listening, that they think the only way that they can really control what they eat if they make things from scratch but then they have that other issue of not having time to be able to bake cookies or bake cakes that only have 4 ingredients as opposed to 45 you know.
L: Yeah and you know, you brought up a such a good point there because it’s that, that question in your mind that’s going around to ask you may not decide to make everything from scratch and it’s that decision to go the item that they may choose to make from scratch might the be one thing and that one thing might be the one that is going to be the most expensive swap so they might go, “Oh my gosh!” The only potential swap is something’s that going to triple their food budget … or instead of costing this much, it’s going to be double. So then I’ll have to work out, well maybe if we invest the time to make that one thing from scratch, they could be saving themselves a lot of time and effort and money – that also is an opportunity to spend time with the kids and go, “Well this is for them, let’s get them involved in making the food.” And it’s a beautiful food educational opportunity with math and all of those fundamental skills.
L: It’s a great opportunity to look at it from that point of view as well.
K: I see and I don’t mean to confuse our listeners but not all additives are bad, are they?
L: Correct. Oh my gosh, absolutely. So something as simple as bi-carb soda, okay. We all use that in cooking, it’s got a number but it’s not bad so I think that’s a really good point.
K: Okay. So like you said, some other times we can’t remember this numbers and you’re in the industry, even you can’t at the top of your head remember.
L: Yeah, absolutely.
K: Everything will go whatever. So we have free resources at our finger tips that people can go to Additive Alert. Just search for it on the iTunes or the play store. If (both of those) you don’t have that on your phone, you can go to the website which is additivesalert.com.au for some reliable information because sometimes people consume information that not reliable which is another thing as well.
K: Yeah. Thank you so much for your time today. And for giving us some great hints and tips that we can apply straight away so thanks again.
L: My pleasure, thank you.