Musings

Born Again Crazy

I don’t like grocery shopping any more. 

I used to.

I used to love looking at ALL the choices.  So many. 

So much colorful produce.

So many cuts of meat.

So much seafood.

So many different kinds of…everything.

But now I eye this all with suspicion.

I have become distrustful of this jar, that package.

That’s the problem when the penny suddenly drops and you realize that so much of what’s out there is, despite the good-for-you promises on the label, poison.

I almost reneged on the word “poison,” but no, I’ll leave it.

It’s all just hitting me hard now.  All the fake food.  All the cruelty of feed lots.  All the genetically modified crops.  All the insanity.

I know.

As usual, I’m a bit late to the party.  (Actually, no, I’m usually EARLY to parties and things…just slow on the uptake.)

Or maybe I just didn’t want to face it all.

It’s so overwhelming, isn’t it?

And…depressing.

And creepy.

There was a commercial maybe a year ago, sponsored by whoever sponsors high fructose corn syrup.  A guy and his wife or girlfriend were having a picnic, and she brought out a popsicle or something like that, and the guy said “wait, don’t you know that’s made with high fructose corn syrup?” and she wrinkles her nose at him and says “so?” and he says “well, you know what they say about that” and she says “what?  that it’s fine in moderation?  that it’s the same as sugar” or something along those lines, and the caring guy is reduced to looking like a gasping fish.

Well you know what, wrinkled nose girl?

You know what gasping fish guy should have said?

That HFCS is fake.

It’s a fake thing.

It’s not a food, it’s an ingredient, and it was made in a lab, not in a field.

And, frankly, I’m so tired of it.

So tired.

So, I’m quitting.

Slowly, but surely, I’m quitting.

And I’m bringing my family with me.

One step at a time.

Of course, being me, I don’t want to do it in steps.

I want to go through the house and throw out all the bad, evil, wrinkled-nose-girl approved foods.  I want to throw away anything made of plastic.

I want to wave my arms and re-make our whole way of life.

But that’s not going to work.

Too sudden.

So…I’m reading labels more than I ever used to.

Shopping consciously and with conscience.  (I’ve been repeating that phrase to myself a lot lately.  It’s become my new mantra.  So much better than “Pick up your socks!” – which isn’t so much a mantra as it is a waste of words because apparently no one but me ever hears it.)

But I digress.

I’m SO looking forward to when “my” farmers market reopens for the season next week.

I’m SO in love with our gardens.

I’m SO glad I have both a sister and a friend who have chickens, and that they kindly give eggs to me.  Wish I could have my OWN chickens, but that’s not happening right now.

I also wish I could just pull up stakes here and have a farm.  Justlikethat.  I know, it doesn’t work that way.  “Have a farm.”  There’s so much more to it than that, of course.  I know that.  I still can wish, though.

I am reading.  More on that in another post.

I’m making a list.  A list of producers of foods that I can and will buy from. 

It’s hard not to feel overwhelmed.

In fact, I spend a good chunk of time feeling that way.

And then the pendulum swings the other way and I feel…like I’m on a crusade.

I even found myself discussing this stuff with Alex this morning.

Bill and I were talking about the estimated value of the asparagus we picked yesterday (chopped it up and put it in a salad, raw.  So good.)  See, we’re keeping a sort of balance sheet with garden-related expenses and estimated value of the foods we consume.  We’re using estimated farmers market prices for the food, which is the most realistic. 

Anyway, Alex asked why we were always talking about how much money a vegetable was worth.  (Disclaimer:  we don’t ALWAYS talk about it.  Just sometimes.)  And I started explaining the why…and that moved into a discussion (okay, a monologue) of how the stuff we grow, or buy at the farmers market, is SO much better – and better for you – than stuff that’s grown, say, in California or Chile or wherever, and has to travel thousands of miles just to get here.  And then THAT morphed into the beginning of a talk about how SOME companies put bad stuff in foods…like injecting chemicals into cows so they make more milk…only the stuff that ends up in the milk isn’t good for us…so WE buy milk that comes from cows that DOESN’T have that stuff in it.

The conversation sort of fizzled out, though, when I felt big long words creeping in, and knew I’d have to spend a lot of time figuring out age-appropriate definitions so he’d understand.

So I told them it was time for breakfast, poured them bowls of organic cereal with some rBGH-free milk on them.

Baby steps, right?

Hard, though, when I just want to leap.

Anyway, that’s my rant for the morning.

I feel so much better.

Well, sort of. 

17 thoughts on “Born Again Crazy

  1. It is overwhelming! And I also tend to go on “crusades” but I’m too frugal to throw out things I’ve already purchased so I use them up as quickly as possible and pretend I was never that naive.

    When I started reading labels, I was shocked that HFCS is in *everything*…spaghetti sauce, crackers, things you totally wouldn’t expect. One more reason to be happy that we make our own spaghetti and pizza sauce (we haven’t attempted a recipe for crackers yet LOL). At least we know what’s in it and can pronounce every ingredient.

    What a great example you’re setting for your kids!

  2. As a self-proclaimed kitchen witch, I stumbled across your blog the other day and am absolutely loving it! 🙂

    I just wanted to say kudos to you! I’ve been taking baby steps for years when I too have wanted to leap! Some days it comes down to choosing my battles, but I still do my best to shop with a conscience. I used to live in the sunny Okanagan (Canada’s fruit n’ veggie belt), and would always be irritated to see that the majority of produce in our grocery stores had been imported from the south – AND it was always so much more expensive than the farmer’s market up the road! I hope that when I have children, my efforts will become their habits — that making the best choice, such as buying local, organic, ocean-wise or free-range (if they choose to eat meat), will always be the obvious choice. By that same token, I also wonder if it’ll get harder for them in the future as more processed/GMO’d foods are introduced, or if there’ll be a public outcry that’ll finally turn this crazy train around before they reach adulthood? Time will tell…

  3. After spending a weekend perusing the contents of my parents’ fridge, I really feel this post.

    They own no real food. I can’t believe it’s not Butter, egg-beaters, lite this, low-fat that. And they both have serious weight problems. I just want to yell: “You’d be so much healthier if you just ate the real, satisfying stuff– just LESS OF IT!”

    And they have some weird political/religious (I kid, but not really) objection to vegetables (twelve years I’ve been a vegetarian, and they still give me grief for it.) J was desperate to eat something green for dinner Sat. night. Mom’s response was to put out a bag of pre-washed romaine, and two bottles of dressing– both of which were “lite,” both of which listed high-fructose corn syrup as their main ingredient. How is HFCS in any way healthier than olive oil and vinegar? And who wants to eat a sweet blue cheese? It was disgusting.

    Mom also got Pillsbury “Grands,” which are about as processed as it’s possible for bread to be.

    Later that night, J described this strange moment of clarity he experienced, watching Mom drown her lettuce in zesty corn syrup. “No wonder they don’t like salads, if this is what they think a salad is. How are these people still ALIVE?”

    All right, rant over. But I totally hear you on this one. I wish we could garden.

  4. I am not a “tree-hugger” by any stretch of the imagination, but I am very VERY inclined toward that exact position… that locally-grown, in-season (or freshly frozen or canned BY ME OR SOMEONE I KNOW PERSONALLY) is really best for me and my family. Call me a “crunchy conservative.” Or maybe a “crunchy libertarian.” I just want to be left alone. 🙂

  5. I think we should have a challenge! Let’s work together to learn to eat right again! Healthy, local, non-toxic food! Beware of Path to Freedom. They are a great group, but they have created such an ordeal that has really hurt the homesteading community by trying to patent the phrase ‘urban homestead’ and ‘urban homesteading’. Great for ideas not ideals 🙂

  6. Well you could be like us…recently my husband has had to go on Insulin for his now TYPE 1 diabetes (was Type 2 for a few years)…we of course like to blame this latest hiccup to his bout with cancer and mega doses of chemo. We can’t find a single doctor who will tell us…but I digress. We eat NO CARBS – well my husband doesn’t. I occasionally will have a sandwich, but we’re eating a bit of protein and mostly all vegetables and fruits. MOUNDS and MOUNDS of produce actually! And I’ve recently discovered Quinoa – late to the party in that – and the other day WHEAT BERRIES! I’ve ordered 2 vegetarian cookbooks which have not come as of yet. I try to spice up veggies in all different ways. And cooking is never quick – no more quick pasta dishes E-V-E-R again. And so it goes…but my husband is feeling a whole lot better and we are anxiously awaiting to hear if his A1C number has come down to a more normal range. It’s been a complete challenge for our WHOLE family. So if you were to come here looking a quick snack – sorry we literally have NOTHING but veggies. Not even Hummus – yep garbanzo beans are a CARB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. I could get on this crusade with you. I wish I could have a farm too, I wish I could just have a garden. I’m lucky to grow a few onions and my herbs. I too wish I’d started long ago, too late now they are all grown. Teach them while they are young… don’t just concentrate with the food, go green with everything else too. Slowly get rid of all the unnecessary paper goods and plastics. Switch to glass and cloth napkins and towels instead of paper and paper towels. Switch to a Diva Cup and start Julia with one when that time comes for her. Our kids may not have Social Security but at least we can help them be healthier and have a healthier planet to live on.

  8. You described my own thoughts and feelings about the conventional food system perfectly. How did it come to this? I pursue every alternative to grocery store shopping I can find. And I loved your rant! Thank you for speaking up!

  9. I actually don’t have an issue with GM foods. In general, I think they’ve done more good than harm (like what Norman Borlaug has done)and aren’t necessarily that different than how certain foods have already come about, just a little quicker. But I am SO with you on the warehouse farming and corn syrup. I expect to find HFCS in a Twinkie. I’ll assume the risks and eat it if I want it, knowing full well that it has no nutritional merit to it whatsoever. But apple sauce? Or bread? And since I just moved to an area with a great Farmers Market presence, I’m very much looking forward to shopping at those when winter finally ends (snowed again last night) and they can open. Eating locally as a staple makes so much more sense.

  10. Every small step is a success in this strange befuddled food world we now inhabit. None of us can afford labs in our basement to test what is healthy and safe in our food (and our environment), and what is not. We can only keep talking, keep sharing alternatives, and encourage each other. Good luck to you and please know that you are not alone. The frustration and confusion and sense of “crusade” and the rants and the definitions of chemical terms I never knew I needed to know goes on and on…

  11. I started with Simply Heinz, or Organic Heinz, and a new favorite (if you call three cans in a month a favorite…) Pepsi Throwback. All made with pure cane sugar and no HFCS. there are a lot of other things out there, though they are sometimes hard to find in most grocery stores.

    I was reading an article by David Lebowietz who was talking about weight and the French. One thing he noted, and it’s pretty major, is that in France it is expensive to eat junk food: McDonald’s, sodas, etc, and inexpensive to eat fresh foods and wines. Whereas, as we all know, the opposite is true here.

    So, I’m with you. I shop Whole Foods, and spend a bit more, even though I can’t always, or just do without some things. But not always, it’s difficult at times.

    Baby steps….

  12. That’s what I like to call “Frankenfoods.” Hate ’em, especially when they’re touted as healthier because they have less fat or fewer calories. I’d really rather eat less of the real thing, thanks

  13. Have you read “The omnivore’s dilemma”? That’s what’s on my nightstand right now and it’s all about this subject. Not an easy read but highly recommendable.

  14. Not to in any way disparage your food choices, but you do realize, I hope, that your body requires some carbs to function properly. Yes, garbanzo bean are a carb, but they are a complex carb, the kind your body needs to function. Without the starch and sugar in carbs, your body cannot, I repeat, cannot produce energy in order to run your metabolism, which in turn powers your heart, your brain and everything blessed thing you do. Those who simply cut out carbs without doing any research into what are the right ones and wrong ones are doing their bodies a great disservice. Eating a lot of veggies is great, more fiber, lots of nutrients, but your body just needs more than just nutrients. Without a good supply of complex carbohydrates and lean protein, your body has no way to process all those nutrients you eat and then they are wasted by passing directly through your system. I wish more people would actually pay attention to difference, it would save a lot of people time and tirade.
    But, good luck to your whole family. I know what it’s like to be faced with diabetes, it’s very scary and overwhelming (I had gestational, and my mother is Type 2). So, good luck to you all in overcoming any battle you are facing.

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