Always read the label

You should always read the label!

One pillar of the paleo lifestyle is to eat real food. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors didn’t eat Ammonium Sulfate or Aspartame or cottonseed oil. Hell, no one ate these things a hundred years ago. No one was consuming aspartame until Donald Rumsfeld helped get the FDA to approve it in the early ’80s.

I don’t want to eat foods containing questionable substances either. That means I must do a fair amount of label reading.

This brings me to my first cautionary tale. I really like tacos. They are very easy to adapt to a paleo diet. One simply gets rid of the carb-loaded shells. I sometimes like the feeling of eating tacos with my hands. Solution? I substitute romaine or cos lettuce leaves. A bit of cheese is fine, so is a tiny bit of homemade salsa (recipe to follow).

So where’s the problem? The spices. I’ve experimented making my own taco spice with mixed results at best. I just haven’t been able to get the same taste as the Old El Paso Seasoning Mix for Tacos.

Morrisons: Old El Paso Garlic & Paprika Taco Seasoning Mix ...

What’s in the seasoning mix? In the UK anyway, Old El Paso looks pretty good in fact. It’s all spices except for some starch and maltodextrin.

Now maltodextrin is a highly processed sugar, but it seems to be safe. Starch, though “carby”, probably comes from potatoes or corn flour.

So no problem right? Wrong. I’ve noticed that after eating tacos I’ll wake up with relatively high blood sugar. This morning was no exception (7.9 mmol/L) though this is a better result than usual. I had been assuming that I was eating too much salsa which is mainly tomatoes.

It wasn’t the tomatoes. It was the seasoning. How do I know? I read the label again, but actually looked at the nutrition information, which I’ve never done before closely. How dense can one paleo diabetic be? Quite dense it seems. Each 25g packed contains 10g of carbs. Since we use two packets for two pounds of beef in my house that’s 20g of carbohydrates.

So this meal has a lot of carbs sneaked in if one uses an easy, ready made packet.


Even someone as fanatical as I am when it comes to reading labels gets it wrong sometimes. I must have read the ingredients on this packet a half-dozen times in the last two or three years. However, I’ve never closely read the amount of carbs per packet. Maybe I read the column which states that 1/8 of pack contains 1.3g of carbs. That sounds great except no one would actually consume only 1/8 of a pack during any meal. Maybe a small child perhaps.

So, the Old El Paso seasoning mix will have to go, which is unfortunate given its convenience. Back to the internet for me to find a good homemade spice recipe. I’ll share it with you when I find a good one.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s