Thanks for starting the thread, Lisa. I meant to do so yesterday but my connection went out for a while and then I got distracted with other things.
I read labels for things like food dyes (the red 40 is the main offender and hard to avoid entirely), partially hydrogenated oils (trans fat), BHT (another one that's really, really hard to avoid), and any label that contains a ton of ingredients that are unrecognizable and unpronounceable.
I watch for soy because of the GMO and because of speculation that it might affect hormones, but soy-something seems to be in a lot of products, so I can only do so much without quitting my job, moving to the country, and growing all my own food. I also look for canola for the same GMO reason (I tend to look for things with safflower or sunflower oils). The same goes for corn. Hubby and son eat a lot of tortilla chips (and I won't lie and say I never do), so I try to stock up like crazy when the organic ones go on sale.
I look for artificial sweeteners and I also look for anything that has white flour ("enriched flour") as the first ingredient, and usually there is a better choice.
I don't have any ideas for you on your meats, sorry; someone else might. I think Mern and Hope watch those things pretty carefully and they may chime in.
I'm interested in everyone's thoughts...we all have our compromises and things that are important and there's always a lot to learn!
"If you drop an egg, you don't say, 'Oh, shoot' and drop the other 11, do you?"
-Source unknown, but obviously brilliant
Reached goal 4/16/2010...but kind of afraid to look these days