deep thoughts in the grocery (and other) aisles

It can be a heavy burden sometimes, making a concerted effort to shop conscientiously.  I mean, I know in comparison to many of the loads and burdens carried by many others the world over, it's laughable.  I have food, shelter, water, medicine if I need it.  So I have the 'luxury' of spending my time and energy worrying about other things.  Taking them on as though it's my job to keep all the crap out of my little world.  Maybe it is.  It kind of is, isn't it?  But anyway...... here are some of the things that have weighed me down while shopping lately.  I know I'm not alone.

Palm oil and orangutans.  I am a big fan of great apes and of humans not driving them to extinction.  Orangutans have very little habitat left in the wild and palms for palm oil are dwindling that at an alarming rate.  We don't want hydrogenated oil.  Enter palm oil taking over in lots of packaged goods.  Well great, there go those pesky, nasty trans-fats.  But..... we do want orangutans, right?

Quinoa and the native Peruvians for whom it has long (way long) been an extremely important and nutritive part of their diet but who can no longer afford it because it's all being exported so that we can eat this 'ancient grain' and feel good.  Except for that part about stealing this food from it's original growers and consumers.

How about chocolate malts?  I love them.  So much.  We sometimes get ovaltine but guess who makes it?  Nestle.  (of course)  I don't want to give them my money.  I don't like the idea of a company 'donating' a shit ton of expired infant formula to third world nations for a tax right off, only to get the mamas and babes there somewhat dependent on their product and guess what?  they (those mamas who are lead to believe that this stuff is better for their babes than what they've got right there, for free) can't afford to keep buying it and so they have no choice but to water it down.  Way down.  With really friggin' dirty water, by the way.  I hear there are some good malted milk brands available online.  I'm going to find one.  One that doesn't give me a bad taste in my mouth by making me picture starving babies as I drink it.

Are clothes made in china and other sweatshop-heavy countries acceptable when purchased secondhand?  I feel like yes, yes they are..... like the damage is already done.  But I don't consider it much longer than the time it takes to think just that.  And I spend no time thinking about how that very same reasoning just doesn't hold for me in most other circumstances.

Then there's gas from Exxon- which I pretty much haven't bought in the last decade and a half except if it's literally all that's there and I'm way below E.  But they are all just as bad, I'm sure.  But I see an Exxon station and think, if you spill a bunch of oil in a beautiful (or any) place and then do a crap job of cleaning it up and mistreat and underpay the natives of that region to do the dirty work for you, and the whole world knows about it.... how do you still get to be such a big rich company?  Where's the justice in that? (I know, there is none- and it is naive to think that oil companies care about such trivial things as justice)

Mattress shopping.  Ugh.  I worried myself into headaches for weeks with fears that I was poisoning Claire by not spending three thousand dollars on an all organic mattress for her.   She spends no less than half of her life sleeping (at this point) after all.  In the end I did not in fact spend several months pay from teaching art classes part time on her sleeping surface.  Nope.  I got a regular mattress from the furniture store in town and then aired it out on the porch for over a month and covered it with a pvc/phthalate/vinyl-free mattress pad and called it a day.  But obviously I still think about it.

And body care? please..... I try sometimes to be like "oh I'll just get this or that and it's fine, really..." but then I read the dang ingredient list and consider the fact that you can rub garlic on your feet and then taste it in your mouth a little while later and that kind of makes me think about how my skin = a giant sponge, and do I want my skin or Claire's skin eating ingredients like antifreeze (which is basically what a bunch of that crap is), triclosan, urea, etc?  Nope.  I don't.  I really, really don't.

I remember hearing a few months ago about how we weren't supposed to let our kids play with the slippery cash register receipts.  Okay, check.  And then I recently read that it's because they are coated with a fine layer of powdered BPA.  For real?  So now I don't want to touch them either.  So out with the water bottles, out with canned foods.... out with receipts?  Good grief.

And I don't want saccharin sweetening anything either, if you please.  And don't get me started on GMOs sneaking into our food supply and making us all sick while we look the other way, often unbeknownst to us.  And about CFL bulbs really truly just being gross and nasty and dangerous even if they do save electricity.  (but at what cost?)

Sometimes I want to just go live in a little hole somewhere.  Not usually.  Not really.  But man, shopping in a way that I feel good about seems to get more difficult on a daily basis.

So there.  A little ranting.


  1. Just talk to my husband about how incessant I am about not buying anything but the highest quality food. The kind that is kind to our bodies and the earth and her other creatures.

    I haven't shopped for clothes in a retail store for myself in about 4 years. My mom gets the girls stuff at Old Navy now and again..and I let her. ; ) That as close as I get to retail.

    Honestly, I could write about 50 pages right now on how I feel about everything you've said.

    I'm in full agreeance and I love you for the post!

    1. thanks~ I knew I wasn't alone, and I actually thought of you when I wrote parts of this post, knowing that you'd know where I was coming from.....


thanks for taking the time to read and comment~