8.06.2007

Are They Getting the Message?

The weekly grocery shopping changes from week to week depending on what I need to get. If I need some regular items that the Whole Foods won't carry, then I'll go to the local HEB. If I need to buy a lot of meat products, then I'll go to the WF to get the free-range, organic, etc. etc. meats. They're pricey, but I'm a big believer in the health benefits, plus organic agriculture is easier on the planet.

So this weekend I went to HEB because I didn't feel up to the expense of Whole Paycheck, and just figured I'd try to make the best food choices I could from what they had to offer. There are two food ingredients that seem to be ubiquitous in regular commercial foods, and that I have a strict policy against bringing into the house (even in blessed Blue Bell Ice Cream): high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils. HFCS because of the association with early onset type 2 diabetes and other health issues, and hydrogenated oils because that stuff just adheres to your arteries like cement and is a prime suspect in neurological disorders (the body needs good oils for healthy nerve and neuron myelination and function). Particularly because there is a little being in my tummy growing a brain from scratch, I'm very very obsessive about avoiding bad oils and supplementing with good ones.

So I was walking by the bakery breads on my way to the produce and longingly looking at the deceptively natural, no frills looking wrappers and labels, knowing full well that anything I pick up will have one or both of the two verboten ingredients. But just for the heck of it I picked up a package of garlic-herb breadsticks, and guess what? Natural sugar instead of HFCS, and no hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. I was stunned. To make sure I wasn't dreaming I picked up a few more bread items, and, as expected, there were the culprits on the labels. But not these particular breadsticks. How fabulous! They are now waiting in the fridge to be paired with tonight's chicken parmesan.

Buoyed by this tiny discovery, I continued checking labels that I have been ignoring for years to see if there was any difference. Guess what? Eggo whole grain waffles? No more HFCS or hydrogenated oils! And ten in a box for less than the fancy-label organic variety. Yes, I know, I'm still supporting the corporate-industrial food complex, but every now and then you gotta save some pennies when you can. And of all companies, Hormel now makes a lunchmeat ham with no nitrites. Unbelievable.

So I'm not doing handsprings for Archer Daniels Midland, and Monsanto is still (not so) secretly run by satan himself, but at least I have a few more options for those times that I need to not empty out my wallet at Whole Paycheck.

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