Because Food Matters

And now for a small respite from baby talk – or at least from birth talk.

Food has been on my mind in a big way lately. I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions, but if I were to adopt some kind of goal for this year, one main goal, it would be to pay more attention to the food issues I care about. I really believe that food matters (as Mark Bittman says), I’ve just been lost in our insular world of adapting to each place we’ve moved to for the past four years and then getting pregnant and starting a family. But, finally, I’ve been able to poke my head out a little bit (mostly while nursing in the middle of the night) and pay attention to some of those things that I care about in life. After all that is why we moved to this small town. So we can live a better quality of life that focuses on what’s important to us – and that includes things like growing our own food, choosing locally produced foods, and eating foods that are minimally processed, etc.

Ironically, we had a gigantic garden in Denver, but won’t be able to have one here for at least a year, when we finally buy a house.

Denver Garden

My little sis trying to water the back edge of our giant city garden.

We are part of a CSA (community supported agriculture) here though, and we pick up a box of veggies every week.

Geodesic Dome

The geodesic dome at the farm where we get our CSA.

Geodesic Dome

Tim usually has fun figuring out creative ways to use up the celery roots, greens, and more squash and potatoes than I can count. That is, until the baby was born. Now we’re lucky if we can even pick up our weekly share. We’ve been eating a lot of take-out.

But what renewed my interest in food lately, was an article I stumbled upon, via Twitter, while breastfeeding in the middle of the night last week: New Organic Milk Contains Synthetic Hormone Additive. It’s about how Horizon Organic (owned by dairy giant Dean Foods – a fact which I didn’t even know before reading this article) is adding an illegal synthetic additive to its “organic” milk. They now include “organic” and “vegetarian” DHA, produced from “microalgae species that have never previously been part of the human diet, and that are fermented in a medium including corn syrup that is likely genetically engineered….

Maybe it doesn’t seem like all that big of a deal, except for all the other stuff surrounding it, all this Dean Foods and Martek stuff, and putting this DHA stuff into baby formula(!).

In addition to Dean Foods, a few other food processors and several infant formula manufacturers have included the synthetic additive, manufactured by Martek Biosciences Corporation, in organic products, despite their lack of approval. (Emphasis mine.)

It’s disturbing that big food corporations can get around the organics label – which essentially makes it meaningless. And its disturbing that they put this stuff in baby formula. And according to some studies sited in the article, its been giving babies diarrhea and other allergic reactions. And so here I was in the middle of the night all upset, that, (a) Horizon organic half and half is exactly what I put in my coffee, (b) I really haven’t been paying attention to food issues.

I’ve been mostly vegetarian since I was thirteen years old. I don’t eat beef, chicken, or pork, and I think drinking cows milk is disgusting and wrong. If I do eat cereal, I use soy or rice milk. But I’m not strict and still eat ice cream, yogurt, cheese, and put cream in my coffee. I do always try to buy organic dairy with happy cows and good business practices and all that, though.

And so I’m starting to question some of my lassitude now. (Whew, big word! I guess I’m not all “mommy brain” yet.)

Luckily the instant coffee I’ve been drinking – because it’s the only thing I can manage to fix for myself with one hand while slinging my baby on the other hip – has been tearing up my stomach, causing me to  switch to tea – so I don’t have to make the decision of what else to put in my coffee just yet. But I feel that I need to keep myself more informed about where my food comes from now that we are hopefully settling down for good.

All right, that’s deep enough for one night! I’ve got to get some shut-eye before the baby wakes up again.