A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from July 10, 2015
“If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it”

"If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it” is a saying that has been printed on many posters. The saying refers to the chemical additives in many foods—not to the difficult-to-pronounce foreign words. “Shoppers Must Know Chemistry and Math” by Philip H, Love was printed in several newspapers in 1963 and contained the quote:

“‘I heard what you said about chemicals,’ said an elderly man. ‘My motto is, if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.’”

The Consumer’s Catalog of Economy & Ecology (1974) by Jeanne Bendick and Robert Bendick explained:

“An axiom of health-food eaters when reading labels is: If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it. (The things you can’t pronounce are chemicals and additives.)”


12 August 1963, The Evening Star (Washington, DC), “Shoppers Must Know Chemistry and Math” by Philip H, Love, pg. B18, col. 7:
“I heard what you said about chemicals,” said an elderly man. “My motto is, if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.”

Google Books
The Consumer’s Catalog of Economy & Ecology
By Jeanne Bendick and Robert Bendick
New York, NY: McGraw-Hill
1974
Pg. 60:
An axiom of health-food eaters when reading labels is: If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it. (The things you can’t pronounce are chemicals and additives.)

18 July 1975, The Register (Santa Ana, CA), “Nurition, Disease Link Seen” by Kathy Baugh, pg. D1, col. 1:
“Read the labels on all foods. If you can’t pronounce it, then don’t eat it.”
(Jeanne McGowen.—ed.)

27 April 1978, San Diego (CA) Union, “Eating What Comes Naturally: Her Philosophy Goes With The Grain” by Jeannette Branin, pg. C-16, col. 1:
If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.

If the ingredient list on a food product reads like a prescription, avoid it.

Google Books
John Marino’s Bicycling Book
By John Marino
Los Angeles, CA: J.P. Tarcher; Boston, MA: Distributed by Houghton Mifflin
1981
Pg. 120:
Hal Bennett has a way of simplifying the whole issue of chemicals in our foods: “If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.”

OCLC WorldCat record
If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it : and other tips for health happy children
Author: Janet Tubbs
Publisher: Phoenix, AZ (3743 E. Glenrosa Avenue, Phoenix 85018) : Creative Concepts for Children, ©1987.
Edition/Format: Print book : English

Google Books
Health Metamorphosis
By Dori Luneski
Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Pub.
1997
Pg. 48:
CHEMICAL FOOD ADDITIVES IF YOU CAN’T PRONOUNCE IT, DON’T EAT IT! I can pronounce apple. Butylated hydrexyanisole, tertiary butylhydroquinone are chemicals used in some salad dressings, that don’t sound like words said around the old country wood stove.

Google Books
Live Raw:
Raw Food Recipes for Good Health and Timeless Beauty

By Mimi Kirk
New York, NY: Skyhorse Publishing
2011
Pg. ?:
READ FOOD LABELS BEFORE YOU BUY ANY PRODUCT
If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it! Most processed foods are filled with additives and stripped of nutrients. They are full of sweeteners, fats, colorings, and preservatives. If the ingredient is too difficult to pronounce or if there area long list of ingredients, walk away from that product.

Google Books
Paleo in 28:
4 Weeks, 5 Ingredients, 130 Recipes

By Kenzie Swanhart
Arcas Publishing
2015
Pg. ?:
The only way to really know if something is Paleo friendly is to read the ingredients and determine for yourself. Remember: If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Friday, July 10, 2015 • Permalink