Saturday, January 1, 2011

America, WTF?

I've become increasingly suspicious of the ingredients in our food. While it's a tad-bit reassuring that I've become vegan, and therefore drastically-less exposed to "animal yuckies," I still find myself worrying about genetic modification, irradiation and ingredients that somehow fit together to comprise a food product that otherwise wouldn't exist. How is that safe/healthy/good?

This is something that's been rolling around in my brain for several months now, and I've just come across time to finish the thoughts over winter break. Spending time exploring these issues on the Web and through television and film has increased not only my concern but also my knowledge and desire to act, even to only the direct result that I benefit (seems selfish, but one has to begin somewhere, right?) Food, Inc. brought tears and anger; Killer at Large (about American obesity) also produced anger and regret. I feel somehow deceived, as I am sure MANY other Americans least the Americans who draw back the complacency veil and take a good luck at the food issues we face today.

I still haven't scored a copy of Diet for a Hot Planet by Anna Lappé, but it's on my immediate "need" list. Her blog and articles written for publications have been an intriguing glance into just this problem.

I spent the better part of today looking at ingredients in our bathroom products, items left in our cabinets (ex: a long-expired cake mix) and other things around the house. The result: I purged some of these items. Although I had found this out before, did you know companies add sweetener to our toothpastes? Sodium saccharin, which is the chemical name for saccharin (otherwise called Sweet 'N Low). WTF? I'm not an expert, so I may not have the full story on this, but it seems a bit misleading to throw that junk into toothpaste.

It just reminds my of old 1950s magazine adds for cigarettes: "4 out of 5 doctors recommend Brand X." Well, of course 4 out of 5 doctors would "recommend" a leading national toothpaste that contains sodium saccharin. It's job security! I switched to Tom's of Maine almost a year ago; Philip hates the taste of it, but I can't stand other leading brands--too sugary! No wonder I had 9 cavities one time when I went to the dentist in high school! Add that to the soda I drank, and all of the other items containing high fructose corn syrup that you don't think of, and you get an epidemic.

At this point, I am tired of it and increasingly aware of what I am eating, even more so now than in the last year of being vegan (Jan 16th is my 1-year date, woot!). It's just sad, and I haven't even scratched the surface of the government cooperation in factories selling us this complete trash.

If you aren't wanting to still be complacent and a part of the S.A.D. diet (Standard American Diet), then watch Food, Inc. Watch The Future of Our Food (though a bit more dry, still very informative). Pick up a copy of Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser (who is also in Food, Inc.) from the local library. Even if you don't become vegan, look into what you are putting in your mouth in general!

And will someone PLEASE explain Bill S510 to me??? What the heck are we doing there?


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