Thursday, July 26, 2007

dead or alive? Depends.

This is mostly a post of assembled bits of thought that have popped up or arrived in my inbox over the weekend:

First, this: in this post, I note that Hain Celestial seems to be everywhere, and that the customer service folks who respond to me about food allergies and ingredients (Hain has lousy allergy labelling practices) all seem somehow similar... Well, they are. See here for helpful diagrams. Big Organic (to quote Michael Pollan), indeed.

Knowing who makes your food is important, as Pollan points out in his book, The Omnivore's Dilemma. Knowing how is also important, he says. But when can you trust them? When they're on the phone? My experience with the various Hain-owned companies has been less than enthusiastic. What about labels? These days, it seems as if everybody is putting 'may contain X' warning labels on, or obviously not putting them on, leading you to wonder...are they trustworthy? When do you trust - the people who admit to manufacturing peanuts somewhere, somehow - or companies like Tofutti, who clearly do process nuts and peanut products, but keep mum about it? The Washington Post has a suggestion: "tested 179 products that bore a variety of accidental-peanut warnings, and found 7 percent did contain peanuts _ some of them traces, but some enough to seriously sicken." Sigh. Back to square one: don't buy from those who are responsible enough to label, don't buy from those who are irresponsible enough to not label. Dang.
P.S. It's a good book. Read it.

Also, ever wonder about lead in your soil? Funky somethings in your water? The Wall Street Journal offered these sites: from the government, there's this, searchable by zip code. My zip code looks a little nerve-rattling, actually. I next looked here, and found that my county is, apparently, quite filthy. The people sneer at my county. They pity the poor souls who live here, and drink the water. So why on earth are housing prices so high? Bah, humbug - I shake my fist impotently and stomp my foot.

Who trusts Fox News anymore? Not me - but this appeared in a couple of different places, of which Fox is one. Sigh. The things we do in our insistence on perfection, the ways we seek revenge - it all makes me sad. So the lives of the children, the individuals are taking second place to revenge? There's nothing but pain here, people. At the same time, consider this case - take vengeance out of it, and you have a certain pragmatism: how are they going to be able to support this child?

Our society barely appreciates the mothers of the healthy children, while mothers of the more demanding kidlets simply have to run harder to keep up. Okay, so parenting these kids, parenting any kids isn't valued - in cash money, at least - by society. What I do (because you knew I was going to talk about ME, no?) is a luxury. Um, except not. Except yes, and the Man and I are honest about this: my ability to provide a safe home, to go to schools and advocate for our kids, help make classrooms friendly to our boys, prepare a balanced diet while walking our immunological tightrope, go to doctors' visits and oh yeah, do the laundry, is a luxury. Don't kid a Mama, people, this is the life. Putting it that way, I can understand the lawsuit. I can even respect the pain driving it. But I can't get around the damage being done to anyone who might grow up cognitively able to process the bare facts: their parents went to court to punish people for their children's lives.

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