Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal by Melanie Warner

Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal

This book made me angry, well… not really, but really. Let me clarify. I listened to this book on audiobook during my travels, and found myself completely immersed in the wise wisdom discovered here, that was until I got home, and proceeded to tell my husband about what I had learned, it was then that I got angry.

What was very strange was that I wasn’t angry, or even bothered when I initially listened to the book, the way it was written was very calming, very general, very real but at the same time matter of fact, this is how it is, accept it, move on.

So when I got home, and began to describe to hubby all the things I learned, and the things I want to research, I got angry. Somehow I was not able to replicate the calmness of the book itself, and instead, got frustrated because I felt cheated, tricked, lied to, the list goes on and on.


I’m an avid ingredient reader – I have to be! My skin tolerates nothing. one wrong food item and I’m spending weeks with creative hair do’s to cover up my skin, long sleeved shirts in the heat of the summer, and applying my host of natural remedies to help speed up the healing process of my skin reactions. It’s a horrible event when I get a reaction, and I am meticulous about making sure I prevent it in the first place.

While I’m not a fan of the FDA, I am thankful for the few rules that actually make sense that we do have in regards to food and personal care products. By few, I mean the rule that states that ingredients need to be listed. This has been a skin saver on many occasions. I know what my skin won’t tolerate, what it will react to, and what products to avoid. I know what I can eat that won’t make me ill.

But now I know why sometimes I still get a skin reaction or a stomach reaction to a product that seemed safe based on reading the ingredients. Even if I read the ingredients with utmost care, making sure not to rush, sometimes foods can still sometimes effect me. One bad ingredient and I’m hiding my skin for several weeks hoping no one notices my skin. Bad PR for my small business.

And that’s why I got angry. My husband and I are still developing our product line, and until that is complete, we still purchase a few products from the store. I often will spend more money than I should when purchasing items that I find the ingredients to be acceptable, for the sake of my health. Unfortunately I still sometimes have reactions to such products.

I used to attest that to the fact that most products are made on equipment shared with other products made on the same equipment. Like a person allergic to peanuts, here I am allergic to most chemicals. If I get a reaction, I just figure that’s why.

But thanks to this book, now I know better. While it still might be the facility or equipment contamination, the manufacturer could be just as at fault for contamination as anyone else, why? Because too many things don’t require that you disclose them!!!!

Examples as I learned from this book?

Vitamins made by genetically modified bacteria, nope, not required to be disclosed. Not even when added to certified organic foods!

Processing aids – in other words, ingredients used to aid in processing, but not disclosed because supposedly they no longer exist after the processing is completed.

Machine lubrication – oils used to keep machinery in full force even if those oils may come in contact with your food!

There is much much more information in this book, but those three really stood out, and as I was trying to explain to my husband about this, I just got angrier, and angrier, and angrier. Why? Because those processes or contaminants that don’t have to be listed, are the very reason I must go into hiding for weeks at a time when I have a reaction. I HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT IS IN AND HAS BEEN DONE TO PRODUCTS I USE, if for no other reason than my right to choose if I’m going to have a reaction or not.

Please read this book. It is rare that I find a work of art that I feel the need to share with everyone, but this is one of them. There are good books, great books, fun books, important books, and essential books. This one falls under essential. What is put in our food, our personal care products, we have a right to know. And if we don’t know, we can’t object, we can’t vote with our wallet, we can’t complain. In reality this is not very different than being covertly poisoned.

Melanie Warner did all the leg work for you, she did the research, the interviews, the attempted interviews, site visits, attempted site visits, the history, everything. She compiled all of this important information in a book for everyone to read. She made the information readily available to anyone that wants it. She made it so that you will have no one to blame but yourself. A must read indeed.

Nature's Complement is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. If you purchase products on Amazon through any of our affiliate links, we get a small percentage of the transaction, at no extra cost to you. We spend a lot of time writing the articles on this site, and all this information is provided free of charge. When you use our affiliate links, you support the writing you enjoy without necessarily buying our products. (However we would appreciate if you would do that too!) Thank you for helping to support our work, however you choose to do so.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information and/or products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.