Consumer awareness


I am realizing just how complacent I am about the products I buy. Whether it is food or goods, convenience and addiction overrides my better judgement even when I know the truth. For instance, cigarettes. I have known that they are slowly killing me, I know that they are engineered to keep me addicted to them… and yet I gleefully light up. I have tried quitting several times, and even had one or two of those times result in success for a short period of time. Even being broke is no deterrent. I will buy cigarettes before I buy food. Cigarettes are one of my more obvious ways that I ignore the truth – but there are several less obvious choices I make everyday that are just as bad.

Now I talk a lot about my garden and the joys of having food that is good for me. The joy of growing it, and just knowing that I am saving some money and doing something positive for my environment. Even gardening  now needs special attention because you have to be aware of where your plants and seeds are coming from. If you don’t pay attention – you get the same things that you get in the grocery store (Genetically modified  vegetables) and you aren’t doing anything different or even eating healthier.

Now until all the press against Monsanto, there are many people (myself included) who had no idea what was going on with our food and products. The problem is that like cigarettes, we are addicted to many of the products that Monsanto makes or contributes too. Seriously. The list is scary. Here is a link to a printable list of food and products to avoid should you want to eliminate Monsanto from your pantry:

When you try to make these changes and you look at this list – it means reevaluating EVERYTHING. I mean in order to really get this stuff out of your home, you need to go back to the good ole’ days of making everything from scratch – and even then unless you are grinding your own flour for your homemade pasta, you are still using products that are changing our physiological make-up. While it seems like a losing battle – just like everything else in life that is hard, the changes will be worth it.

Just in the few changes I have made about eating I have noticed positive changes in my body. I am losing weight without trying, I feel better and have more energy, and I even sleep better at night. The only consistent change I have made it to eliminate fast food and beer. I think I would feel superhuman if I managed to change more. It is a slow process though. I eventually want to never have another canned product in my home. I want all my fruits and vegetables to be seasonal and either grown myself or purchased from a local farmer. I want to eliminate any product made with plastic from my kitchen. I want to be a consumer who is aware. Even if I ignore it like I do with cigarettes, I at least want to have the knowledge of what I am eating or using.

Last growing season I learned how to preserve my hot peppers and we are still eating them. We should run out about the time the ones in the garden are ready to pick. If we can do that with peppers, we can do that with everything. This year I am growing a ridiculous amount of tomatoes because I want to can and preserve diced tomatoes, make my own sauce and paste for cooking throughout the year, and ensure that we have enough to get us through. It is hard work, a lot harder than running to the store and picking up a can of Hunt’s (on the list). However, there is a certain satisfaction when we are running to the store and have even one thing we don’t need to buy because we already grew it in the garden.

Obviously as consumers we like convenience, that is why these monster companies have been so successful. This morning I looked in our fridge and noticed our convenience purchases. We have a “bag of salad”, you know the kind with cabbage and carrots in it. No real cabbage or carrots, and the lettuce always looks a little wonky – but its easier than growing cabbage, carrots, and lettuce then washing it, cutting it up… you see where I am going right? These companies have made it so easy for us that we don’t even realize (or care) where it is coming from or what is truly in it. Changing this addiction to convenience is a lot harder than it looks. It’s harder I think than quitting smoking. Of course ask a former smoker if the change was worth it and you always get a resounding YES! Hard – but worth it.

So we are trying to make the hard choices, knowing that it will be worth it in the long run. I don’t like being manipulated by these huge companies and now that I am more aware of just how much control I have given them, I am even more motivated to change.

9 thoughts on “Consumer awareness

  1. Congrats on your venture into canning your own tomatoes. You will never again want to eat another can of prepared and overly processed Hunt’s lol.

    I’m not sure if you like to get out of the city and into the New Hope/Lahaska area, but if so, I suggest you check out None Such Farms. It’s a great little shop supportive of our local farmers. Not all of their grown products are pesticide free, but they do put forth utilizing integrated pest management. It’s not perfect, but it’s a huge step in the right direction.

    It’s a favorite place of mine to stock up on plants, especially their peppers and tomatoes. The eclectic variety they have of both is obscene.

    It’s also a good excuse to get outside of the city and hit up the local wineries along the way too in my humble opinion :0)

    • Thanks for the encouragement! I will definitely go check out None Such Farms – any excuse to drive to New Hope is a good one! 🙂

      Do you preserve your own tomatoes? Have any good recipes to share?

      • Most definitely :0) Ha, I completely agree and it’s a beautiful drive over there this time of year should you take all the back roads.

        I do. I grew up in a family that does their own tomatoes, corn, chow chow, pickles, apple sauce, peaches, etc. I’m sure there’s a few I’m missing off the top of my head.

        I’ll dig some up and send your way :0)

        • I prefer a chunkier sauce consistency wise, but to each their own. This yields about 3 pints. Also, please please please use fresh herbs. I feel that if you’re taking the time to do this right, then do it to the fullest. It always seems to come out just that much better IMO :0)

          2 minced cloves of garlic
          1 chopped onion
          2 shredded carrots
          1/2 chopped green pepper
          2 bay leaves
          1/4 cup parsley
          2 tablespoons of chopped basil
          1 tablespoon of fresh oregano
          1 tablespoon of fresh thyme
          6 cups peeled and chopped plum tomatoes
          6 ounces tomato paste
          salt and pepper to taste
          lemon juice or vinegar

          Saute garlic and onion in 2 tablespoon of oil until tender. Add carrots and herbs and stir well. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove bay leaves.

          To can – ladle into hot sterilized pint jars to within ½” of top. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar per pint to assure acidity. Seal with sterilized lids and process full jars in boiling water bath for 35 minutes.

          Also, I’m not sure if you like them, but I adore roasted tomatoes as well. This isn’t an exact science measurement wise as I tend to play with whatever fresh herbs and wine I have available in my kitchen. I think they are too easy not to keep on hand though.

          I usually use a good amount of plum tomatoes, a cup of chopped mixed herbs to include but not limited to basil oregano thyme parsley and rosemary, garlic – lots of it!, about a ¼ of olive oil, whatever red wine I have on hand, salt and pepper to taste.

          I wash the tomatoes, cut the tops off, and slice them in half, lengthwise. I put the prepared tomatoes in a large bowl, add the olive oil, wine, and garlic and gently toss to coat. After that I lay them skin side down on lined cookie trays as close together as possible without them lying on top of each other. They will shrink to about half their original size. Sprinkle the chopped herbs over top.

          I usually throw them in the oven in the evening at 200 degrees and forget about them until I’m ready to leave for work the next morning. I try to give them at least 8 hours in there if at all possible, sometimes longer if I have the additional time.

          • Awesome! Thank you so much! I will try it and let you know how it goes! Also yes – fresh herbs are the best things ever and I wouldn’t ruin the effort with store bought herbs!! 🙂 I can’t wait for tomatoes to be ready now! GROW GROW!!

  2. The only way to eat a tomato is to eat one that’s home grown. Yum! I rarely buy any in the store these days, canned or fresh. I was happy to see that I have very few Monsanto products in my home – one case of Coke Zero (which I rarely drink), a box of Gen Mills cereal (only because it’s gluten free) and an almost empty bottle of Heinz ketchup. There were a ton of products on that list that I used to buy, like the Lean Cuisine. Thanks for the blog and sharing a link to that list. It will help me stay vigilant about my future choices in the grocery store.

    • I am addicted to Coke Zero. I think they put crack in it. Good for you though on making changes! When we checked our food against this list, well we would pretty much have to burn our kitchen down to get rid of it all.

  3. It is time-consuming to keep track of what pies Monsanto (and the Koch brothers!) has it’s fingers in. If you have a smart phone, check out the buycott app. We buy only organic and from local growers whenever possible, all fresh produce, and we are overrun with home-grown tomatoes! (Have you heard the song? “There’s just two things that money can’t buy and that’s true love and homegrown tomatoes”. It’s on YouTube.)

    • LOL Ruth! We grew tomatoes last year but in our area they didn’t do well last season (for anyone). I am hoping that this year turns out better. I am actually just starting to like tomatoes. I only like them in stuff – if I can identify it as a tomato I used to not eat them. I’m getting better LOL

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