Thursday, February 11, 2010

organic whole foods made in China

I just read through this and it may seem self-righteous - but at the same time - somebody needs to stand up and say what we are all thinking - and I guess today it is me.

So- a friend brought something I've been pondering to the forefront for in the world can a business like Whole Foods show their face when many of their 365 products are made in China?

I too was wondering this when I was looking to buy emergency apple juice sippers for the kids and they said CONC China or CONC Turkey - concentrate? really? um-okay take the oxygen out of my apple juice, add stuff and then sell it as HEALTHY??? Okay - I'll put those back. It isn't that I have anything against those places - China/Turkey - but how about - Made in USA? We grow apples, we can make juice, our country is hurting - how about you charge me a couple of dollars more and let's grow and manufacture our own stuff again? This is why I buy Martinelli's.

This brings up another argument I'm not going to get into - what we pay our people - because it is CERTAINLY more than the Chinese get paid. I guess Whole Foods figured out what many a technology consultancy has - if we farm out our production to a country where the costs are lower we'll make better margins. Is it really just about that? Come on!

One of the biggest issues I have is with regulation - it is difficult to correctly regulate anything within this country - think the e.coli scares of recent times or the salmonella scares with "scallions" etc. But what about regulating things that are grown, packaged, shipped from countries across oceans?

Speaking of shipping, REALLY? It is cheaper and more wholesome at the same time to grow, manufacture and ship goods to us? What is the impact on the planet? Would it kill us to just get used to having less?

Which is my point. We have really gotten used to having more and more right now. Our need for instant gratification drives situations like Whole Foods, Burt's Bees, and other companies to move their production overseas.

But it is our own superficial desires that drive and feed our own issues. We actually have a high dollar wage, but actually pay quite low taxes (in comparison to other countries that map to us in a socio-economic way). However, the more we make the more we want and the more we tend to buy. We want to make more money to have nicer things, more activities, more vacations, nicer cars, expensive bags, rare puppies, more pedicures, facials, diamonds - whatever. What would happen if we all had to give up a little of that lifestyle for a more WHOLE life?

The need for us to get paid more drives up the cost of the goods we manufacture here. I don't mean what you take home either - insurance, 401k matching,pensions - etc - all of the things that a business has to worry about when they hire (and fire) you. Many companies just can't make a profit manufacturing here - plus there's the cost of raw materials. We have so many more environmental regulations that make it hard on companies who want to make things that might have an impact - so instead of going to the trouble of checking out whether they should be making it at all - they just off-shore it - because of course, we demand it.

Well, I've come off the rails a bit and need to get back to the food dilemma. I read packages, I have to, being gluten intolerant and having a peanut allergy makes one read. Being aware of what we put in our bodies (and our children's), where it came from, and who's economy we're actually supporting should be something we all think about - even though it means taking some extra time out of our days.

Have you ever thought - what is really making me busy? Is it contributing to my WHOLE being? Maybe if the answer is no - it needs to be re-thought.

Maybe you don't need that bag of frozen spinach, you can get a packet of seeds, a few nice pots (although I'm growing spinach in a bag of dirt just to see if I can), and grow your own, fresh - this way you know where it came from. The cool thing about plants is that they take care of themselves for the most part.

When I shop at Whole Foods - I don't buy many packaged goods...little to none - because I know about the manufacturing dilemma (thanks Dad). 
We have a few things in the pantry most are made in the USA:
Martinelli's Apple Juice (I should juice my own - BUT i haven't found a juicer i like and can afford) (california company)
Rice and rice pasta from Lundburg (California)
Gluten Free pretzels (Canada - the only pretzels the kids will eat)
Cascadian Farms Cereal (Washington)
Authentic Foods flours (California)
Canned beans and other Eden products (Eden Foods - Michigan)
Sauces and Condiments - all over the world due to the nature of their culture - but many - made in USA.

I'm very pro USA going back to manufacturing our own products. If I never see another plastic toy from overseas it will be too soon. We need a shot in the arm, and it will take a change in habit to do so. Nobody likes change except for very very unhappy people - I guess we'll all have to get very very unhappy for our Nation to heal.

Well - I'm going to leave you with a REALLY yummy recipe:

Here's raw hot chocolate recipe from Emrys Tetu:
For a rich raw chocolate treat you can enjoy any time, and especially for warming up on a cool day, try this deliciously easy hot chocolate recipe:
 1/2 cup hot water (just heated to hottest comfortable drinking temperature, not boiled)
 1 tablespoon raw coconut butter or oil
 1 tablespoon raw wild honey, preferably local
 1-2 tablespoons raw almond butter
 3 heaping tablespoons raw cacao powder
 1/2 teaspoon raw vanilla powder or 1 teaspoon other form of vanilla
 Pinch whole sea salt
In a blender, combine the above ingredients until smooth, adjusting all to your palette’s preference. This makes a concentrated chocolate sauce, which you may then dilute and enjoy with others (it would be quite a lot for one person all at once!) or save in the refrigerator for use as desired. Before serving, thin the sauce by at least half with more hot water. I usually drink this at about 1 part the above recipe to 3 or 4 parts additional hot water.
By only heating the water to hottest comfortable drinking temperature the recipe remains raw, but is still satisfyingly hot chocolatey. Enjoy this healthy treat with my best wishes for your health and happiness!

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