I flip and read the products I bring home. Why? Because manufacturers are liars Dear Readers! That's why! Products are labeled "Pure Vanilla Extract," for example. Someone please tell me what the heck corn syrup is doing in "Pure Vanilla Extract?' huh... OR, why brown food coloring is in balsamic vinegar, just sayin. Another product that can be labeled in a tricky way is sugar. Sugar comes from many sources such as cane or beets. Some people are allergic to one or the other so, what do I do? That's correct! I read labels!
I also read labels for sodium content. The same "exact" product can vary A LOT so read, read, read! In fact, don't just read, compare too! While we are on the subject of comparing products, compare prices too. I know you know this but I love an opportunity to lecture. Now, speaking of lectures, don't get enticed by labels that label products as something they already are; for example, "gluten-free" potato chips or corn chips. Dah! Potatoes and corn are gluten free. (A word of caution about "gluten-free," do your research and know what grains and flavorings are "gluten-free." This is important knowledge because you do not want to make yourself or anyone else ill.)
Additionally, know which products are actually organic and know the terms associated with organic. "Organic" is a very controversial term. The more I read, the more I question what is and is not organic. For example, I read there is really no such thing as a truly organic strawberry because all strawberries are grown from conventional seeds. Oh gosh... Strawberries are a "dirty food" so I still pay for organic and usually purchase them as a treat. (I grow them too.) Milk, meat and poultry products are another one I try to purchase labeled "organic." The problem is, I recently read about how these products are classified as "organic" and its kind of sneaky. What about MSG? Talk about sneaky. Know what MSG is and what other ways it's labeled. Hint, there are over 40 ways!
Bottom line? Read the fine print. Read anything you can about products and how they are produced. Get to know your local farmers and producers. Get to know your local Farmer's Markets. It's not just your money, it's your body too!
Avid home cook and passionate instructor