Monday, July 8, 2013

Starving in the Land of Plenty

The other day I went to the grocery store (Wal-mart) with Eloise.  Our cupboards were bare and we were out of all the fruit we like.  I went without a list because Eloise woke up from her morning nap before I had a chance to make one, and while going without a list makes me nervous (I usually buy what we already have and don't get what we need), I was sure I knew what to get.

I left the grocery store feeling frustrated and with a mostly empty cart.  I went to another store (Kroger) because they have a good organic foods section and I no longer trust Gerber to feed my baby snacks because they have MSG in their products.  (Makes me so mad!  How can they claim to give babies what they need when they are killing brain cells as fast as I'm trying to grow them?!).

I got a few more things from Kroger but still felt like I'd hardly purchased anything when I got home.  Mostly things from the produce and meat section (and even the meat section makes me nervous these days with all the dyes, antibiotics and growth hormones in foods).  I was aggravated that I couldn't find anything suitable to feed my family.  I was aggravated that of ALL the things our government is regulating (ruining?), it isn't regulating that!  I mean, they are, but not very well.  I also felt like a spoiled brat because I have money to buy groceries and there is an abundance of food to buy in multiple grocery stores all around me and yet... I don't want any of it.

It made me think of something I heard in a food documentary a while back.  The doctor was talking about how even though we are eating (often times too much), we are starving our bodies of the nutrients they need.  So I'm in the land of plenty and I have an empty grocery cart because I can't find anything in the rows and rows of boxed and canned chemicals to eat, and I'm still wary of what I'm bringing home because of pesticides and the things in meats I mentioned above.

Eloise is starting real milk now, and while I'm relieved not to be buying $30.00 organic formula four times a month, I am nervous about this transition.  I purchased Horizon organic whole milk for around $5.00, but I'm willing to pay if it means there are no growth hormones in my baby's milk.  For Jason and I, I buy Purity brand skim and while they have a farmer's promise on the front of the carton, I am still unsure.  I am afraid to buy things that claim to be better because I am suspicious of the lingo.  MSG, after all, has several different terms now so if you are LOOKING for MSG, you might miss it.  Gerber baby products contain "yeast extract."  That's MSG.  No more Gerber in this household.

Last night I read something on Facebook about fish and other products coming from China. I haven't had a chance to check what was written, but I already believe it.  It talked about how foods and produce from China (and Vietnam and the Philippines) do not have to follow our FDA's (pitiful) health and safety requirements and the conditions they package food in, as well as WHAT they feed their produce is disgusting.  Not surprising.  I lived in China for a year and saw a lot (although, not that exactly) to make me believe these claims are true.  So, I went to my freezer and read about where my frozen fish from Sam's comes from... China and Vietnam.  I threw it all in the garbage.  Wasted money, yes, but I'm not willing to feed that to myself or my family.

Now my food issues are taking on a whole new level as I refuse to buy things from those countries.  Jason is supportive of this and I am glad.  I challenge you, dear reader, to also take a look.  Now we are not only reading ingredient labels, we are reading packaging and origin labels as well.  Is it a pain?  YES!  Is it frustrating?  Absolutely.  But I believe it is worth it.  The article on Facebook said this, and I think while it may be a tad naive, it is worth a shot:

"If 200 million North Americans refuse to buy just $20 each of Chinese goods, that's a billion dollar trade imbalance resolved in our favor... fast! The downside? Some Canadian/American businesses will feel a temporary pinch from having foreign stockpiles of inventory.

Just one month of trading losses will hit the Chinese for 8% of their North American exports. Then they will at least have to ask themselves if the benefits of their arrogance and lawlessness are worth it."

I don't believe for one second they will "ask themselves if the benefits of their arrogance and lawlessness are worth it" but I believe it would at least take away some of their profits and money is the only language that speaks in these countries (and our own for that matter). 

I really wish there was more I could do to influence the food industry and consumers around me.  This tiny blog is about it, along with conversations and my own choices in the grocery store.  I worry that one day I won't be able to find anything worth eating or feeding my family and since health care will be pathetic, we will all die of tumors, cancer, dementia, etc. (Yes, I am a tad over the top and paranoid, I realize this).  So I'm doing what little I can, and I hope you will too.

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