Wednesday, May 02, 2007

out with the tim tams

I'm quite pleased to be Australian. There's something about our laid back, pragmatic view of the world that I find particularly appealing, which is a good thing really, since I had absolutely no say on which culture I was born into!

The other thing I like about being Australian is Tim Tams. I don't like to upset all you non-Aussies out there, but if you haven't eaten Tim Tams... well... you haven't lived!

Smooth chocolate bar centre layered between crisp chocolate biscuits, coated with a creamy outer layer of chocolate. Mmmmm, delicious. Even better as a 'slam dunk'... both ends bitten off, hot chocolate slurped up the centre, eaten just before all the chocolate slops through your fingers. Ahhhh, wonderful. Oreos, eat your heart out! When I was living in London I used to spend a small fortune on Tim Tams at the "Australia Shop" in Covent Garden. All for a Tim Tam taste of home.

You can therefore, imagine my despair when today I discovered just how bad the beautiful Tim Tam really is.

I've been half heartedly attempting to eat more natural, healthy food. (Until a craving for sugar or fat overwhelms me, at which point my self-discipline runs off somewhere else and I cave immediately) In my effort to be more health conscious, my aunt kindly sent me a little gem of a book called "The Chemical Maze Shopping Companion" by Bill Statham.

Well, I thought it was a little gem of a book. Then I started reading it! Within the pages of this book are listed all the food additives, colours and cosmetic ingredients of the world. OK, maybe not the world, but definitely Australia. Each mysterious number from the ingredients of packaged food is given a name and a rating: safe/beneficial to humans, safe for most, questionable, best avoided and hazardous.

What a great idea - to be informed about what I'm eating and how it might effect my health! I was so excited that I immediately ripped open the package and pulled food from the cupboard to check out exactly what I was consuming.

First stop Love Potion Tim Tams. (An even more amazingly delicious, limited edition variety)


Last stop Love Potion Tim Tams.

I forgot to read the warning on the back cover: Reading this book may seriously influence the choice of foods you eat and personal care products you use. Tim Tams are very, very bad for you. Fat and sugar aside, they are full of hazardous additives. I list some for your eating safety:

150c Caramel III - ammonia caramel. Potentially causes hyperactivity; may affect liver, stomach, reproduction; caused convulsions in some animal tests; blood toxicity in rats, lowered white cell count in rats.

129 Allura Red - Banned in some countries. Potentially causes asthma, hyperactivity; allergic reactions; hay fever; urticaria; aspirin sensitive people may wish to avoid; adverse reproductive effects in animals; carcinogenic

110 Sunset Yellow FCF - Banned in some countries. Potentially causes asthma; urticaria; hay fever; abdominal pain; eczema etc...

133 Brilliant Blue FCF (of previous green poop fame) - Banned in some countries. Potentially causes asthma, urticaria, hay fever, NRC, allergic reactions etc...

On and on I kept reading through the ingredients, checking out every little number listed, my horror growing with each revelation. Those delicious Tim Tams? Such a source of evil additives? How can this be?!

I will admit that I found a few beneficial agents, such as 322 Lecithin, but the balance was overall less than favourable.

Oh the dilemma. What to do? What to do?! I have three or four packets of Tim Tams in the cupboard (they were on special I swear! I'm very controlled. They've been there a couple of weeks already)... to eat or not to eat? Risk the bad additives or savour the deliciousness?

I don't know!

But just in case Arnotts reads this and decides to sue me for libel I'm going to say I'll eat them.

OK. I'm really going to eat them because I love them.
But I might not buy any more.

Unless they're on special.

Thanks Aunty G for a great book! I think it might change my life.

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At 3:51 am, May 03, 2007, Anonymous Leah said...

Heh! I can totally relate to your dilemma! It's scary what's in our food....and why does it have to taste sooo good? *stomps feet*

At 4:47 am, May 03, 2007, Blogger Cherie said...

Hmmm.....yes,a dilemma.

Perhaps if you break one up, lay it atop a bed of brown rice and vegetables, the goodness of the natural foods will over take the badness in the Tim Tams and the unhealthy additives will be neutralized?

Yeah, and wouldn't it TASTE delicious, too.

Ah, heck, just eat 'em. Moderation in everything.

At 6:28 am, May 03, 2007, Anonymous Sandy said...

I saw a dietitian on television the other day; she highly recommended dark chocolate and red wine, pinot noir to be exact. So if Tim Tams come in dark chocolate and you drink a glass of red wine with it then you’re all set. The alcohol will neutralize the bad chemicals and allow your body to absorb only what's good for you!

I must say that I am not one that has lived, I have not had the pleasure of Tim Tams. Maybe that blue dye has something to do with it.

At 6:29 am, May 03, 2007, Blogger Cherie said...

My husband Tom says, "Because of our concern for your health, you can ship your remaining Tim Tam's over here, and we'll dispose of them properly for you. (With hot chocolate and ice cream - they sound like they'd go well with ice cream.) We'll pay for the freight. We do care!"

At 7:01 am, May 03, 2007, Blogger Cecily said...

I'll happily ship samples overseas for all to try... but after a good night's sleep I've decided that those in my cupboard are all mine! ;)Frank doesn't eat them. I've never had Tim Tams with ice cream, but they'd go for sure!

Guess what - it's raining!!!!

At 8:43 am, May 03, 2007, Blogger Deanna said...

I'm happy for your rainy day.

And I think you should happily devour (at least) the remaining Tim Tams. Life's too short for guilt over them. :o)

At 8:57 am, May 03, 2007, Blogger Cherie said...

Oh, blessed RAIN!!!!!!!!

I hope you have a chance to go out in it and let it get all over you!

At 5:49 am, May 04, 2007, Blogger Sandy's Notes said...

Cecily, sorry you've been tagged again. I think this one will be fun for us to read.

At 3:00 pm, May 04, 2007, Anonymous luke said...

I can't help wondering what the worst-case scenarios would look like for all those drugs you dish out to patients every day ...


At 11:08 pm, May 04, 2007, Blogger Cecily said...

Ah now Luke... that's why I give the tablets out and don't take them myself! The side effects of most drugs are truly scary. But food additives are kind of snuck in without me knowing, so maybe it's time to stop taking them too!


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