When I go grocery shopping, I am one of those annoying people who stands in front of the display carefully reading the list of ingredients on the label. This started last year when I realized how ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup is. The end result is that you end up consuming far more sweetener than you would choose to in any ordinary circumstances because it's in pretty much everything, including things you wouldn't think of, like bread and pickles. So I started reading labels to find items without it, and have pretty much eliminated it from our day to day diet. I've been feeling pretty good lately about how I feed my family, until I read this article on salt.
I went grocery shopping yesterday morning, and I made it a point to read the labels and check sodium content on all the packaged foods I purchase frequently. It was shocking, disappointing, and quite frankly, infuriating. Two slices of whole wheat bread - 13% of daily recommended amount of sodium. A tiny 6 ounce can of plain tomato sauce - 17% of the sodium RDA in just one quarter of the can. Pancake mix - 18% sodium RDA. I could go on, but the basic point is that I thought I was pretty educated about food and making conscious, well-informed choices about diet, and here I was, unknowingly consuming a huge amount of sodium just through the (very) few packaged and processed foods I buy.
I left the grocery store feeling defeated (and without any tomato sauce or pancake mix). My ongoing efforts to eat a healthy diet and feed E a healthy diet seemed futile, especially considering all the concerns about BPA in food packaging and plastics. I want to feed my kid FOOD, not salt and chemicals. And as much as I love to cook and enjoy fresh foods, I don't want to feel like I need to start making my own bread to avoid excess sodium or canning my own tomatoes to avoid BPA. Because there are so many toxins in our environment we can't avoid, I feel I need to do everything I can to keep our food as healthy as possible, but it's a big job. It takes time and commitment, and it's expensive, but I'll keep plugging away. If that means I have to figure out how to make my own bread, then so be it - I've never been good at compromising, and this is one area where I'm not about to start.
What is an area of life that you refuse to compromise on? What changes have you had to make to avoid compromising in that area, and what areas of life have you been willing to compromise? How do you feel about the quality of our food supply? Do you think I'm crazy and just need to start my own farm?