Do you ever stop to think about how much the food we buy today is not the food we think we are buying? You read that right. The more labels and fine print I read, the more I realize that I have damned little control over my diet without super human vigilance and true obsessive compulsive label reading!
No. I’m not talking about the “chemical” ingredients we read in the contents label on “ready made” food, though that in itself can be confusing, if not downright frightening. How come I can make ice cream without cellulose gel, cellulose gum, carrageen or maltodextrine but the big companies that make it ready-to-eat can’t? Yeah, yeah. I know about cooking large, but wouldn’t ya think there would be somebody who wants to make “ice cream” ice cream? But that sort of thing has been with us for a long time.
What I’m reacting to at this point is that there is sooooooo much manipulation, obfuscation and subterfuge going on with our food today, it’s difficult to shop in a reasonable length of time if you have any sort of dietary restrictions that demand you get what you want without substitutions or at least without dilution and pollution.
Fruit juices seem to be among the leading offenders these days, at least on my radar. Try finding a bottle of cranberry juice that only has cranberry juice in it! VERY difficult! And with huge proclamations of “100% JUICE” plastered all over the label, how many stop to question what KIND of juice before they toss it in their shopping carts? Damned few, I suspect. The label on my Tropicana Apple Juice tells me that it MAY contain concentrates from Germany, Austria, Italy, Hungary, Argentina, Chile, Turkey, Brazil, China and the United States! “Nothing wrong with that,” you may say. But isn’t there? Thankfully, I am not yet “the norm,” but I have a lot of food allergies. Because of the nature of allergies, it is possible that someone may not be allergic to apple juice in general, but very allergic to apple juice from Hungary or Brazil. Soil components, and all that jazz. So they buy apple juice one time and everything is hunky dory, and then they buy it again and it brings them down! And just how are they supposed to figure out what’s going on?
Last week, I bought some acai berry juice. I’ve been reading a lot of good things about it and thought I’d give it a try. “Genesis Today Acai Berry 100% Fruit Juice,” it says on the label. And this one is my fault. I do a lot of “Click and Pull” shopping from Sam’s Club. Just go through the lists of what you want, add it to your electronic shopping cart and they go up and down aisles gathering it all for you. All you have to do is go in, pay, put it in the car and you’re done! A GREAT convenience. But it’s hard to read labels that way. This stuff contains acai, grape, apple, pineapple, pear, blueberry, pomegranate, cranberry & cherry reconstituted juices with added nutrients. And that’s just the fine print on the front label. When you check out the ingredients, it gets even more complicated. It doesn’t just contain “grape juice,” for example, but contains concord, white grape and red grape juice, plus all of the others. I’m VERY allergic to concord grape juice. So now I have about 60 ounces of the original 64 ounces left to figure out what to do with because I can’t drink it.
But it goes beyond the (hopefully) few of us who have allergies and have to be selective about what we buy. Think about what the skyrocketing fuel prices are going to do to my cute little individual servings of apple juice made from concentrates from Germany, Austria, Italy, Hungary, Argentina, Chile, Turkey, Brazil, China and the United States. How do you put a price control lid on that?
I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling like someone sitting out on a limb while the guy next to me is sawing through it and I can’t get past him to climb down safely! I’m looking around frantically for a ladder, but then, if I find one will I be able to reach it? Does anyone else find this scary?