by Chelsie Savage
Last week I passed a Krispy Kreme, and there was a line wrapped so far around the building that there were police directing traffic down the street to control the flow. This spurred me to look into why there would be such a line, and I discovered they were giving away free donuts to any healthcare worker. While I believe their hearts and sentiments are in the right place, I invite everyone to look at the ingredients in a standard glazed doughnut from Krispy Kreme:
Glazed Krispy Kreme Doughnut: Enriched bleached wheat flour – (contains bleached wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine, mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), dextrose, vegetable shortening (partially hydrogenated soybean and/or cottonseed oil), water, sugar, soy flour, egg yolks, vital wheat gluten, yeast, nonfat milk, yeast nutrients (calcium sulfate, ammonium sulfate), dough conditioners (calcium dioxide, monocalcium and dicalcium phosphate, diammonium phosphate, sodium stearoyl-2-lacrylate, whey, starch, ascorbic acid, sodium bicarbonate, calcium carbonate), salt, mono-and-diglycerides, ethoxylated mono- and diglycerides, lecithin, calcium propionate, cellulose gum, natural and artificial flavors, fungal alpha amylase, amylase, maltogenic amylase, pantosenase, protease, sodium caseinate, corn maltodextrin, corn syrup solids, and BHT. Glaze also contains Calcium carbonate, agar, locust bean gum, disodium phosphate, and sorbitan monostearate.
It’s common knowledge that if you take poison and pour it into the gas tank of a car, it’s going to break down, but people continuously do this to their bodies day after day. Every single thing we put in our bodies either feeds disEASE or fights it. I’m not here to say proper nutrition is single-handedly the cure to a virus, cancer, or any other health ailment that anybody is facing. Still, you bet your ass you will have a hell of an uphill battle if you’re feeding your body garbage rather than whole, real, nutrient-filled foods. What will it take for consciousness to begin waking up to the fact that we are not innocent bystanders to our health but active participants and that the choices we make matter?
To be clear – as a foodie, I appreciate a good doughnut as much as the next person. To this day, one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten was a small batch, made-to-order doughnut from Pip’s Original in Portland, OR. They are “popped” in hot oil right in front of you and finished with handmade jellies, dark chocolate & syrups, and served to you hot to enjoy with their award-winning ghost pepper chai. (Sidenote: My chai is damn good – but theirs is one that could seriously shake a stick at it. Hats off.)
My concerns lie in the fact that as a nutritionist & chef, I don’t recognize the majority of the above-listed ingredients in a Krispy Kreme doughnut as foods. You don’t have to be a math wizard to understand that if you take non-food ingredients, combine them with other non-food ingredients, and process them with heat and time, you don’t magically get something fit for human consumption. Not a chef? Don’t worry. Pull out any cookbook or Google “doughnut recipe” – I guarantee you sodium stearoyl-2-lacrylate or sorbitan monostearate will not be listed in the ingredient list. Flour, yeast, sugar, salt, eggs, milk, & a non-GMO oil that is able to handle high heat for frying – that’s what is in a doughnut, and I’m 100% in support of these being a part of our culture & cuisine and enjoyed in moderation.
We’re humans, and it’s 2020. I can’t predict the future, but if history is any indication, food is not going away from what we enjoy in “culture” anytime soon. Seriously – name one culture where when you think of it, you don’t immediately think of the cuisine that’s associated with it. Food is meant to be enjoyed – all aspects of it – and yes, there is a place for fat, sugar, & salt to be a part of this. The nutritionist in me advises you to enjoy these in moderation as part of a nutrient-rich diet filled with tons of fresh produce and whole grains because that’s where all the superfoods & phytonutrients live that will supercharge your immunity and make you feel great – but I’m also not advising to take away dessert.
I’m also not here to combat DNA and innate human desires. What I’m here advocating for is to get back to REAL FOODS made with REAL INGREDIENTS and demanding businesses stop feeding us poison that is making us sick – even when it comes to sweets. In my restaurants, we make sweets – real sweets. The difference is we use whole grain flours, real sweeteners, no preservatives, no dyes, no hydrogenated oils, and no “food-like products” your body won’t recognize as food. Yes, it’s still a sweet and no it’s not necessarily going to improve your health like our Shiva Salad filled with organic kale, healthy fats, & medicinal spices or our Macro Grain Bowl loaded with sea vegetables and gut-enhancing probiotic ferments, or our Savage Garden cold-pressed juice packed with literally pounds of fresh, organic produce, or our #4 Smoothie made of fresh pear, tons of organic greens, almond butter, & blood sugar stabilizing organic cinnamon.
But it’s dessert that ticks all the boxes of a dessert without taking a toll on your health. Please don’t eat the whole six-pack of Macaroonies in one sitting – you probably won’t feel great. But the unsweetened coconut melted with dark chocolate, almond meal, coconut oil, & coconut butter is going to satisfy your sweet tooth while still including an array of healthy fats & low glycemic, whole food sweeteners. And our Spirulina Chocolate Chip Cookie, made of raw oats, walnuts, coconut, maple syrup, and the superfood Spirulina, a low-glycemic protein source that’s full of antioxidants, is actually going to load you up with nutrient boosting foods while satisfying your sweet tooth as well. Just really in the mood for a doughnut? We don’t make those because we don’t deep fry anything – but there are plenty of small businesses in town that do and are committed to using real ingredients! I’m not in their kitchens so I don’t know their exact ingredient list – but I encourage you to reach out and ask!
What I do know: that a Krispy Kreme doughnut is not an indulgent food to be enjoyed in moderation – it’s poison disguised as food and marketed to us as food. We are taught to “enjoy in moderation” when in fact, none of those ‘ingredients’ are foods your body would recognize as food and are not things any of us should eat in moderation, or at all for that matter. These chemicals and ingredients are used to make the production cheaper and the shelf life longer – but guess what? Something that has a long shelf life on the shelf is also going to have a long shelf life in your body.
Food is more than fat, carbs, and calories on a label, and not all fat & carbs are created equal. There is a huge difference in how our bodies process an unbleached, whole grain flour vs. an enriched bleached white flour. There is a huge difference in how our body processes (or doesn’t process) an organic sunflower oil vs. a GMO hydrogenated soybean oil. There is a huge difference between high fructose corn syrup (ever seen syrup dripping off a corn plant? Me neither….) and maple syrup, which literally is tapped out of trees and is one of Mother Nature’s sweetest treats.
So, what can you do?
Read labels: If your food is made up of ingredients you don’t recognize as food – that is not a food for you. Avoid any oils that are “hydrogenated,” contain food dyes with the “#” sign in the name (those are made out of petroleum products – yuck!), and anything that includes the word “bleached” in it – because yes – that does mean that ingredient had been doused with bleach.
Ask questions. Most chefs are not going to give away all the ingredients in their recipes – they’re a chef, and you came there to eat their food. Don’t ask for their recipe per say, but ask about the quality of their ingredients. What oils do they roast/fry in? What type of oils do they use in their salad dressings? Do they buy produce by the clean 15/dirty dozen? Are their flours & sugars bleached? What is their stance when it comes to preservatives? I believe these questions matter, which is why I openly speak to them and answer them on our website before you even come to dine with us – you can read about my stance in our mission statement listed on the “about” page of every restaurant in regards to what you can expect to get in your food: “We are wildly strategic in how we break the rules of proper cooking to bring you creative combinations even carnivores will love. Our scratch kitchen is chef-driven. That means flavor is at the heart of every healthy meal we plate, juice we squeeze, and cocktail we craft. We make our plant-based meals with farm-fresh, seasonal produce because it tastes better, and we source local and organic wherever we can. You’ll never find hydrogenated oils, food dyes, artificial flavorings, or preservatives here, and we always use the freshest ingredients we can find.”
Supercharge your diet with nutrient-rich foods the majority of the time so that when you do want to indulge, you have some space for wiggle. Why do I run plant-based restaurants? Because I have studied over 100 different dietary principles and body-types, and every path leads back to the fact that every single person can benefit from eating more plants & more whole foods. We opened up a restaurant to elevate the health of our Orlando community. We do that by taking those foods that are proven to improve health, put them front & center, make them taste damn good, and make people fall in love with them. It’s what I was up to when I operated my health practice, it’s what we were up to four years ago when we opened The Sanctum, it’s what we were up to when we expanded to Proper & Wild in Winter Park, and The Sanctum Coffee & Juice bar in Altamonte / Longwood, and it’s what we are up to now with the Virtual Farmers Market to bring health-promoting food to your kitchen table every single night, even when you can’t make it to one of our restaurants.
What we eat matters, and nobody can be as invested in your own health as much as you. Start asking questions, get educated, and get invested. When we feed our bodies garbage, we maim their ability to fight. When we eat the right foods, we supercharge our immunity, drain toxins from our bodies, and give our bodies the best fighting chance to combat anything that comes our way. We only have one body to live in in this life, and how you take care of it will determine its ability to take care of you.