Seeing toxins everywhere is another form of privilege

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It is axiomatic among quacktivists — anti-vaccine activists, organic food devotees, natural parenting advocates — that our world is filled with toxins.

But toxicophobia, fear of toxins, is really just another form of privilege. Only those in wealthy, industrialized societies who have access to copious food and clean water, and are protected from epidemics of infectious disease have the leisure time and financial resources to indulge in internet fantasies of being poisoned by toxins.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Only the privileged have the leisure time and financial resources to indulge in internet fantasies of being poisoned by toxins.[/pullquote]

Sadly, the people who are at highest risk of actually being poisoned by toxins — industrial toxins, lead in paint and water, or simple environmental pollution — tend to be poor, non-white, and too busy trying to survive to have the time, energy or money to indulge in toxicophobia.

What do privileged toxicophobes believe?

Toxins are everywhere. Sometimes these toxins are named; often they are not. In all cases, though, there is no evidence that anyone is actually being harmed by “toxins,” but, of course, proof is not a requirement in the fantasy world inhabited by devotees of quacktivism.

Vaccines supposedly contain “toxins” that cause autism. (N.B. Toxins always and only cause diseases and syndromes whose etiology is still unknown. No one ever claims that toxins cause strep throat, or sickle cell anemia, or gallstones.) Our food supply is purportedly contaminated by toxins too numerous to even bother mentioning by name. Our water supply is supposedly contaminated by the toxins in pesticides. If that weren’t bad enough, Big Farma now wants to flood our food supply with … genetically modified food. And, of course, all medications produced by Big Pharma have myriad secret and toxic side effects.

Poor people have no patience for this nonsense. Consider Whole Foods Market venture into Detroit.

Amanda Musilli, a white, well off Whole Foods employee, lectured a group of poor, black Detroit residents:

I do want to start this talk about what’s different here, because when comparing prices of things, it’s only fair to compare apples to apples,” Musilli said at the August class, standing at the front of the room. “It’s not a fair comparison to compare our grass-fed, organic beef to factory-farmed beef.” … Musilli listed the ingredients Whole Foods prohibits in food it sells: high fructose corn syrup; artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives; irradiated foods; MSG. Whole Foods’ 365 brand didn’t contain GMOs, either, she added, deftly introducing the store’s private label. “Now I don’t know if you guys know that genetically modified organisms are a concern,” she said. “We can talk about that. By 2018 … every product will be labeled and it’s going to be similar to a cigarette label, that this product may contain genetically modified organisms.”

Participants like Toyoda Ruff seemed unimpressed:

While Ruff wanted her family to eat a healthy diet, she wasn’t buying the premise that lies at the heart of Whole Foods’ ideology and marketing: that organic, non-GMO, and corn-syrup-free foods are inherently healthier than the alternative. When it came to grocery shopping, [she] subscribed to basic nutrition guidelines that haven’t changed much in generations: less fat, sugar, and salt, more fruits and vegetables.

“To just go completely organic seems crazy to me,” said Ruff. “If it was a little cheaper, if it was the same price as the other stuff, maybe. But to me, it’s overpriced.” Her usual rule of thumb for determining quality was more pragmatic than the criteria listed by Musilli: “As long as it’s not spoiled, molded, or expired, I’m good with it.”

Food isn’t the only difference. Poor people are not anti-vaxxers. Their children may be behind on their vaccinations because they can’t afford healthcare or couldn’t get to the pediatrician, but not because they fear the vaccines themselves.

Poor people aren’t buying colon cleanses and detoxes; they aren’t spending time steaming their vaginas as recommended by Gwyneth Paltrow. They’re too busy trying to feed and care for their children and themselves.

The ultimate irony is that it is the less privileged who are truly threaten by toxins. Consider the epidemic of lead poisoning as a result of Flint, Michigan’s contaminated water supply. Or contemplate the poor citizens of East Chicago, Indiana where the very soil is contaminated with massive amounts of lead.

Lead is a real poison, with real consequences including the intellectual impairment of children. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of poor children have been harmed whereas no wealthy children have been harmed by the plethora of purported toxins that so agitate their parents.

In truth, toxicophobia is an affectation by which the upper middle class distinguishes itself from the poor. Toxicophobes like to imagine that their effort to avoid toxins marks them as “educated,” when it simply marks them as privileged.

  • no longer drinking the koolaid

    I posted way farther down the thread about the Whole Foods near Wayne State. Here is a much better story about providing access to produce and other foods at a decent price while also helping farmers in the urban Detroit area and the local community.
    I also know one of the women starting this as we both became certified as farmers market managers at the same time. She has a vision of bringing fresh, affordable food to the community in a very underserved area.
    https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-farmer-s-hand-detroit-an-all-local-grocery-food-farm#/

  • Also, the irony of diphtheria and pertussis infections and the very genuine toxins they produce.

  • Laura J

    This is an interesting article. We had a guy a few years back wanting to dump sewage sludge in our residential area. The sewage sprayers would be in people’s backyards. He was very adamant about being an expert and that it was harmless. We have a mixture of well off neighbors and those that vary. I asked him some serious questions hinting that I was against it, and so were the neighbors who came to the public hearing.
    This guy was so slimy he tried to do it behind our backs. So I became proactive to stop this any way I could. Sierra Club was one. Research, research. I found so many people, kids and animals that died from exposure to the pathogens from the sewage sludge. I made my own news flyers, passed them around the neighborhood and they got so angry with this guy.

    It also happened that a lady of the county also heard of this, and the whole county joined together. We had petitions. We had lawyers. We also had the State Rep on our side. The sewage sludge application was stopped and we got a law passed throughout the state that prevents this from happening again to anyone else. NOt many are that successful. You have Texas, Florida that don’t think sludge is a problem. Farmers use them for their crops. They don’t see it as a problem.
    It’s sad there are toxins everywhere. We grow our own food in the summer, and just starting to try a winter garden. It is awful what happened in Flint Michigan.It’ll be a long time before it gets better. We need to be more vigilant to taking care of things put off. The soil used to be better, but with toxins made by us getting into the soils and our creeks and rivers it effects everyone.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      What “sludge” are you talking about?

      Sewage? Sewage is perfectly natural. It might stink, but it is natural. So what is the toxins you think are in it?

      The problem in Flint, MI had nothing to do with sewage or undefined “sludge” or unknown toxins. It was a very clearly defined chemistry issue.

      • Laura J

        yeah but I went against an engineer who said he was an expert. The whole county went against the EPA. We got a law passed through out the state. Oh I know about the Flint being lead issue. That is terrible. It will take years for them to recover. I talked to the farmer who lost hundreds of his cows to sludge from a city’s decision to dump sludge on his land. His farm is a 5 generation, now he is struggling to run a restaurant just to make it for his family. Sludge is the reminance of prescription drugs, commercial waste, and viruses/ bacterias used in spray fields after the water is filtered clean. If you read the countless deaths & illnesses from sludge waste, it is real. Not just the cows, but you get kids riding their bikes in that, and come home and get sick. It can be fatal, as I’ve read up on the losses. We were fortunate we had the county on our side and state rep, who is Republican to fight it for us. We also had an endangered species that we were able to use.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Sludge is the reminance of prescription drugs, commercial waste, and
          viruses/ bacterias used in spray fields after the water is filtered
          clean.

          Huh?

          yeah but I went against an engineer who said he was an expert.

          Maybe he knew that marsupials were mammals? That would put him one up on you.

          If you read the countless deaths & illnesses from sludge waste, it is real.

          Countless deaths? Oh please….

          Gotta tell you, given your track record here, I think you are full of it.

          There are legitimate issues that we have to deal with in our society. Your ignorant delusions are not among them.

          I think you should re-read this blog post. I don’t think it says what you think it says. In fact, it is talking exactly about loons like you.

          • Laura J

            LOl I’ll show you the article…then. HOld on to your weiner

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            If it’s an article you wrote, don’t bother.

          • Who?

            I thought you were all for natcheral. Nothing as natcheral as sewerage. Or maybe you would prefer it in its unaltered state?

            Or are you only into natcheral when you drive in your SUV to some overpriced Organic Mart to buy it in pill form?

          • Laura J

            Organic is fine, be horse or cow to mix in your garden.

          • Laura J

            http://www2.readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=129072

            Bill Boyce, the farmer

            http://sewagesludgeactionnetwork.com/people-are-asking-why-boy-died-after-riding-his-bike-over-some-sludge

            And the full definition of sludge

            Disposal of sludge in our oceans was banned in 1989 because it created deadzones in our waters.

            The entire definition of sewage sludge:

            “Sewage is the mix of water and whatever wastes from domestic and industrial life are flushed into the sewer. To retrieve the precious water, the sewage is then ‘treated,’ that is, ‘cleaned,’ in what are called ‘treatment plants.’ The ideal of the treatment plant is to take out of the sewer water all the ‘wastes’ that sewering put into it. The water is ‘cleaned’ in the degree to which the pollutants which had turned the water into sewage are removed by treatment-primary, secondary, or tertiary-and concentrated in the sludge. We must note that, though the aim of sewage treatment is to produce clean water, it is never to produce ‘clean’ sludge. Indeed, the ‘dirtier’ the sludge – the more complete its concentration of the noxious wastes – the more the treatment has done its job. If there are industrial chemicals, pharmaceuticals, hormones, nano particles, prions, hospital wastes including antibiotic-resistant bacteria – and there will be all of these – you want them to end up in the sludge. Every waste produced in our society that can be got rid of down toilets and drains and that can also be got out of the sewage by a given treatment process will be in the sludge. Sludge is thus inevitably a noxious brew of vastly various and incompatible materials unpredictable in themselves and in the toxicity of their amalgamation, incalculably but certainly wildly dangerous to life.” [1]

            http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Sewage_sludge

            A lot of people here have wells and they did not want them contaminated. We won our case and for the state of GA. I like loons good sleeping music on the lake.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I know what sewage is. I am trying to figure out the relationship between what you posted in your links and your claim about ” prescription drugs, commercial waste, and viruses/ bacterias used in spray fields”

            Sewage is what gets flushed down the toilet. The sludge is what gets filtered out. HINT: it’s mostly shit, although stuff like toilet paper is in it, too. They tend to remove things like used tampons that get flushed.

            Yes, farmers use it on their fields. They call it “manure.” People into organic farming love it for it’s fertilizing ability (it has an extremely high nitrogen content).

            Yes, if it is over-concentrated, it can be corrosive due to the high ammonia content, but when it is treated for application, it is highly diluted. Still potential odor issues, but that’s the main problem.

          • AnnaPDE

            Manure: That’s just the wee and poo. But when people are sick, it also contains nice bacteria, viruses and medications that you may not want in the ground or on food. (Fun fact: In times before artificial fertiliser was the default, strongyloidiasis used to be spread by farmers using human excrement as fertiliser for lettuce that was then used for salad. Washing only goes so far.)

            But it’s not just excrement we’re talking about here. Soap, toilet, bathroom and drain cleaners, various liquid household waste, waste water from the dishwasher and washing machine all go into the sewer, too. And that’s just a private household.
            You also have waste from businesses, e.g. paint and oil (the kind in cars), plus also all the nice dirt washed into the gutter from the road surface every time it rains. Typically this includes a nice proportion of heavy metals and other stuff that you don’t want in the ground, which is why sewage sludge is banned as a fertiliser in large parts of Europe.

            But ok, let’s ignore all the not-manure components and think for a moment about spraying manure in a residential area: That’s a bad idea, for the same reason that makes it a good idea to have sanitation in the first place. That’s not how you use fertiliser on soil. Because while whatever is in a healthy person’s poo is fine in their bowels and the ground, you do not want that stuff in anyone’s mouth/eyes/lungs or the scratches on their skin.

          • Michael McCarthy

            “Yes, farmers use it on their fields. They call it “manure.” People into organic farming love it for it’s fertilizing ability (it has an extremely high nitrogen content).”
            technically, processed “sewage sludge” would be biosolids (not manure), which are approved for commercial agriculture but banned in organics.

          • JoeFarmer

            Using biosolids in farming is relatively rare because treatment plants just don’t generate that much material. A treatment plant that serves 500,000 people only generates enough biosolid annually to cover about 1,200 acres.

            A modern plant will use up about half of the influent solids in the anaerobic digesters that generate methane for plant operations.

          • Michael McCarthy

            Do you think if it were more available, it would be used more? Given the “eew” factor, I couldn’t see it being used on commercial produce but it wouldn’t be so frowned upon in commodities.

          • JoeFarmer

            I dunno. There’s just not enough of it to make any kind of dent at all in commercial ag. For example, the entire population of IA is about 3.1 million. If everyone’s waste went to a modern treatment plant, that would only be enough to fertilize about 8,000 acres, or 0.0005% of our corn acreage.

            Milorganite fertilizer comes from Milwaukee’s waste treatment facility. Seems to be pretty popular for lawns, etc.

          • Michael McCarthy

            gives a whole new meaning to lawn duty (it is funnier in the spoken word)

          • I laughed.

          • Heidi

            Staph can be anywhere. There could be some hanging out on your skin right now.

    • Maud Pie

      It seems that you could have pursued this as under trespass and nuisance claims, which would not have required proof that the stuff was harmful. Briefly, you can’t spread noxious stuff on your neighbors’ property no matter how harmless it is.

      • Laura J

        Good idea, but this guy owned the land. The only way we were able to deter him was that there were zones in place for development. We were fine for a store, a park or such. We were the lucky ones and had the governor on our side. The sludge guy was also being sued by his own company. I am sorry about Flint, Michigan. There’s a new story out where people had to evacuate for some toxin in the soil.

    • MB

      Wow, your Republican politician sounds very progressive. What’s he doing about global warming?

      • Laura J

        He’s a good guy. We see him all the time in our county. Sometimes when we eat at the Japanese restaurant. I asked him if he wanted to go to Washington but he said he likes it here. He tried to push a gun law recently. He is very progressive. He is willing to listen to everyone and help them.

  • sdsures

    I love my mother-in-law very much. But she’s deep in the woo. She has honest-to-God,mushroom-coloured, fluoride-free toothpaste. I haven’t dared to try it.

    • Irène Delse

      Fluoride-free? That’s hardcore. My own MIL uses “herbal” toothpaste that is labeled “homeopathic” but also contains a normal dose of fluoride. Thanks for selective logic.

      • sdsures

        Her younger son, I believe, was a HB. I’m married to the elder. Both were very large babies, and have hypermobility and Marfanic skeletal features. Thankfully, both were thoroughly checked out by a geneticist early on, and they absolutely do NOT have Marfan’s.

        • Puffin

          Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome may be a possibility worth investigating, though, if they’re hypermobile and marfanoid. It is often missed but can have vascular manifestations that should be checked for.

  • mabelcruet

    The human body is generally pretty efficient at dealing with waste products-there is a lot of built in reserve and spare capacity. You can manage on 2/3rds of one kidney, one lung, 10% of your liver. Anyone with any basic level of understanding of human biology should know that ‘cleanses’ and de-tox diets are pointless. Its like the alkali diet-nothing you eat will have any effect on your body’s pH-the body has mechanisms in place to keep that between very narrow limits. If people feel better eating an alkaline diet, or following a de-tox diet then fine, eat it, but don’t pretend that there is genuine scientifically proven evidence behind it.

    • Irène Delse

      Damn right. And if something we do to our body managed to change that balance, we would quickly be sick.

    • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild

      Anyone with any basic level of understanding of human biology should know that ‘cleanses’ and de-tox diets are pointless.

      And there is the problem. These people have no goddamn idea how biology or science works.

      “Forget it, Jake. It’s Flat Earth Town.”

  • Nate Hoffman

    I don’t know about toxic, but a lot of processed foods give me headaches. There is a chemical in Taco Bell’s food that gives my brother migraines so bad he can speak right. Got them since he was a kid.

    • sdsures

      Food triggers are very common in migraine and have little to do with processed food. I’ve had severe migraines for over 13 years now and am being successfully treated by a top mainstream, woo-free neurologist with Botox and sodium valproate. Valproate is a nasty drug, one you don’t get to unless most others have failed to work.

      PM (or email? Don’t know how disqus feels about that) if you’d like to talk. I have a lot of experience.

      • Charybdis

        Food triggers suck. Aspartame and sucralose (Splenda) will kick off a migraine of massive proportions for me. I HATE that they now have the “Splenda for Baking” stuff, as people use it but don’t think to tell you about it. Flashing/flickering lights set mine off as well.

        • Lion

          I’m set off by bright light. Food doesn’t seem to be a trigger for me. Exhaustion definitely a trigger though too.

  • Deborah

    Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs comes to mind – only when you have the basic needs met can you move on to the next level. Poor and less socially advantaged people are too focused on getting their basic needs met to worry about the self-actualising preoccupations of the rich.

    • demodocus

      according to one of my psych profs, everyone can achieve self-actualization. apparently we’ll all be vegetarians when we are, too. And basically spent an entire semester on trying to improve our “critical thinking skills” (which were nothing like the ones my honors college taught me) so we could become self-actualized. We had 2 tests on information we never covered in class. Whole chapters!

      And then there was the girl who said “Hitler created anti-semanticsism.” He didn’t correct her “word” or her woeful grasp of history

      The teens in the class were fascinated. Us adults got eye strain from not rolling our eyes.

      • Deborah

        Good Lord lol

      • guest

        Anti-semanticism is a terrible thing.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          I am actually very anti-semantic. I look to the big picture and intent.

          • guest

            But I have three degrees in English literature, and it’s semantics all the way down.

      • sdsures

        *giggles* Former psychology student here.

      • Michelle

        Semanticsism? That just makes my soul hurt.

    • sdsures

      YES!!!!! Exactly this!

  • Jules B

    OT but I am seeking info, and y’all here are the smartest bunch on the Internet, I swear. I recently got into a “debate” with one of my sister’s pals who just had a baby (all her friends are having babies these days, before their ovaries pack up shop but I digress). Anyway, she was trying to tell me that the “latest research” now shows definitively that Cry It Out causes brain damage in babies. I thought she was referring to that study that showed elevated cortisol levels in a sleep lab situation, but she said that this is a new study. Does anyone here know what the latest research says on cry-it-out? Last I heard, there was zero differences in babies who had been sleep trained versus those who had not been sleep trained. Basically, I think she is wrong (hah) but Googling the subject has led me to some conflicting results, and it hard to tell what is the latest info. Help?

  • Maestro_Wu

    You try to get fancy with the natural products, and then stuff like this happens: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/16/us/politics/cosmetics-industry-congress-regulation-wen.html?mwrsm=Email

    It is enough to make me want to import all of my hygiene products from Europe forever.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      I was struck in reading it on how companies like Johnson&Johnson and P&G support the Feinstein regulations. While there is undoubtedly some self-serving political reason, they also note that they care about consumer confidence, and that unsafe products cause problems for that.

      Notice that they aren’t concerned about THEIR products, because they take that into account. It is the wannabees who come in with their bold claims but dangerous products that they want to eliminate.

      It turns it into a hard problem for the small companies. What is their defense? No, we want to be able to sell unsafe products?

      Then, I figured, hey it works for HB midwives….

      It’s as I’ve said – real professionals don’t have problems with oversight and regulations, because it makes everyone better. It is the rogue groups that fight it.

      • Young CC Prof

        The one the e-cig companies use is that of course their products are safe, but they cannot afford to document compliance. Which, I get that it costs money, but if you can’t afford to document compliance with basic safety regulations, you can’t afford to be in business.

        • Roadstergal

          I hear that about a lot of varied industries. “They’re driving small companies out of business with their… insistence on safety standards!” Wait, what?

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Interestingly, there was a group of undergraduate analytical chemistry students who recently did some analysis of components in e-cig liquids. They found that 3 out 12 cartridges had no nicotine in them whatsoever. That’s really hard to explain. The other samples had levels within normal variation, and then there were those that were blank,.

          Be that as it may…the comments to the article bring up an objection to such claims in this case. Small companies are spending millions and millions of dollars in lobbying efforts to prevent the legislation.

          Instead of, you know, testing their stuff to make sure it is safe.

    • Allie

      I swear my mild rosacea stems from a soap that I used briefly in the late 90’s or early 00’s, from Lush. I think it’s irresponsible to market products with high concentrations of supposedly “natural” ( read: “clearly harmless” – NOT!) ingredients. Since I was a kid, I have found it odd that some chemical compounds are labelled “natural” and others “artificial”. I always felt that everything that exists is by definition “natural.” I mean, we haven’t actually created anything from nothing – just recombined or purified things in ways that aren’t “naturally” occurring. Calling something “natural” doesn’t make it safe or healthy or nutritious. And BTW, we’ve been genetically modifying our food since the moment we stepped out of the primordial forest. We’re just a little more sophisticated at it now.

      • Allie

        Just realized after posting that this comes off as a bit condescending and pedantic. Not at all my intention, tone-wise, but I have a pre-schooler creeching in my ear, and it’s difficult to concentrate. Anyone know how to get a pre-schooler to sleep? I’ve tried everything – except all-natural, safe and organic opiates ; )

        • sdsures

          White noise machine?
          Read a story?
          Glass of warm milk?

          (Sorry, I’m not a mom yet; these are just the things I’ve heard of.)

        • Heidi_storage

          Let me know when you figure it out. Sometimes I tell mine that I don’t care whether she falls asleep or not, she just needs to stay IN HER DANG ROOM until I say it’s okay to come out. If she’s a hot mess, she usually falls asleep within 5 minutes or so, unless she hears the “Dr. Who” theme music. (Yes, we occasionally let our three-year-old watch “Dr. Who.” We know we’re terrible parents.)

          • Puffin

            I think Doctor Who is a pretty fantastic show for kids. It encourages the use of the mind over brute force. My five year old loves it. She has a little stuffed Dalek and a model of the Eleventh Doctor’s sonic.

          • Megan

            This is the approach I’ve started taking with my kid. I realized I can’t make her sleep or eat so I told her she has to stay in her crib quietly until her wake up clock lights up and at dinner she doesn’t have to eat but has to sit until we’re all done eating because it’s family time. Actually, once the pressure was off and she felt she had a choice, she usually ends up eating or sleeping anyway.

          • Hmm…not a parent but tried a bedtime routine?

            -Bath
            -Pajamas
            -Read a story
            -Lights out and bedtime

            Re: Staying in cot – stay in bed technique, maybe?

            -First time kid gets out: “It’s bedtime, darling.” put them back in bed.

            Second time kid gets out: “It’s bedtime.” – firm voice – put them back in bed.

            Third time or more kid gets out: You say nothing and just put them back in bed.

            (Yes, I stole this from Jo Frost’s show)

          • Wren

            Yeah…that can literally take certain children years to get with it. My daughter had a bedtime routine from birth, but spent the years from 2 to 7 getting out of bed regularly. She did stop coming to where we were, but instead would lay just inside her door and read by the light of the landing light or play a game. It is just impossible to make a child sleep (short of drugs). I spent many a night sitting outside her door to ensure she stayed in bed. It took hours some nights. [The best solution we have found is to keep her very, very busy and wear her out. Now at 9 she plays for 2 football (soccer) teams, is trying out for a third at school, does a 2 hour gymnastics class weekly plus an additional class at school weekly, an swims. She also plays the violin on her own, in the school orchestra and in a band she and her friends created and is involved in cub scouts. Now she actually sleeps.]

        • Cynthia

          If feasible, have a bed big enough for you to lie down too.

          We did the whole routine, ensured a last trip to the bathroom and allowed a cup of water near the bed. Then, the rule was that we would do a story BUT they had to be in PJS lying down with lights low. Then, after the story I would stay with them only if they stayed lying down with eyes closed. If a child is fighting sleep, this allows them to naturally drift off. As the kids got a bit older, I also started to give timelines. I told each child that they had a time slot and I would leave the room and be unavailable once time was up, so they learned to get into bed promptly if they wanted a full story and cuddle to sleep.

          If all else fails, even the worst sleeper will sleep like a rock as a teen.

      • Charybdis

        Which soap, if you don’t mind my asking? I love some of Lush’s stuff, but others? Yeah, not so much.

      • sdsures

        According to the Guide, the Earth is listed as “mostly harmless”.

        Does that help?

        • Charybdis

          That was the revision, wasn’t it? It was originally listed as “Harmless”.

          Don’t forget your towel.

      • sdsures

        I’m mildly skin allergic to stuff like foundation, blush and eye shadow. Makeup that comes directly in contact with skin that isn’t the lips. Lipstick is OK. Everything else makes me itchy until I wash it off. I wore minimal makeup for my wedding, and I did it myself.

        A friend once sent me supposedly hyper-hyper-allergenic powder makeup that was several shades of pink and foundation beige, with maybe some other colours, and you could use any of it as eye shadow too. It was a lovely gift.

        My skin threw a conniption.

        • Puffin

          Well, something being ‘hyperallergenic’ would be expected to cause a reaction, heh.

          (It’s ‘hypoallergenic’ that means ‘reduced ability to induce allergic responses.’ Hyperallergenic would mean the exact opposite.)

          • sdsures

            I meant to say “super-hypoallergenic”, even though that’s not technically a real term. It still irritated my skin even though it was supposed not to.

  • Dr Kitty

    I have a few rules when buying produce, meat and dairy.

    If I can buy local, I buy local.
    Living in Ireland this means apples, potatoes, cabbages, turnips, swede, onions, milk, lettuce, cheese, butter, eggs and meat with strawberries in the summer and local seafood and fish.

    If I can buy free range or higher welfare, I buy that.
    Irish cattle and sheep generally live in fields and eat grass, so the local lamb and beef thing helps here. I can get eggs from my sister-in-law who keeps chickens, or buy them from the farm down the road.
    I’m partial to goat from a local farm that rears male kids for meat, but I have yet to fully convince my daughter and husband. The goat bacon was not a vote winner.

    Otherwise I will buy what looks nice and works with my menu plan and my budget.

    I don’t think that is really so different to how most people shop.

    • Azuran

      Well…..I dunno. As long as the produces are fresh, I usually go with the cheapest. I take the cheapest chicken, beef or pork. Take whatever brand of tomatoes is cheapest that week. And never even bother to look up the organic aisle.
      We do have strict regulation about food safety, so I have little concern about it.
      But I’m a very cheap person.

      • guest

        Yeah, I go with the most affordable that I can choke down (because some of the stuff they sell here is just awful – mealy fruit, etc.). If I had more disposable income, I’d favor local production and animal welfare. I do it for eggs, anyway. Most of the time.

    • AA

      swede?

      • Dr Kitty

        Like an orange turnip?
        I think maybe you call it Rutabaga.

        Good in casseroles and stews, no so fantastic otherwise.

        • StephanieA

          I’m impressed you buy so much produce. The produce I buy usually wilts in the crisper before I get to it.

          • Dr Kitty

            Cooking (glass of wine in hand) is my after work relaxation. Even if it is just chopping things up for a slow cooker stew to eat the next day.

            My husband and daughter are both very plain meat and 2 veg types, but I enjoy trying to get them to branch out a bit.

            My daughter’s favourite food is a sort of hot dog pasta bake I invented- not exactly gourmet but it has tomatoes and peppers, pasta, cheese and protein, so all the nutritional boxes are ticked and I can make it in under 30minutes.

            #2 is still in the jars of baby food and a few finger foods stage. He seems happy to eat everything except eggs and avocado so far, with yogurt, digestive biscuits and peanut butter on toast being firm favourites.

          • Who?

            Bakes are great. I have several that take no time to throw together, or better still can be thrown together in advance and frozen for later cooking.

            Throw together, or defrost overnight, into the oven while life happens, salad, eat.

            Heaven.

          • LeighW

            That sounds like what my grandmother called hamburger/chicken Yum Yum. Meat, pasta, sauce or a can of tomatoes, cheese, and whatever left over veg was in the fridge. Always a little bit different but always good.

          • Dr Kitty

            I make this by frying up onions and garlic, chopped up hot dog weiners, chopped red or yellow pepper in a big skillet, then add a tin of tomatoes, tomato puree or passata, seaon to taste (I tend to add a pinch of sugar, some balsamic vinegar and some Worcestershire sauce), add some cooked pasta to the skillet, sprinkle with grated cheese and put under a hot grill or in the oven until cheese is browned, melted and bubbling.

            I don’t vary from this because husband and daughter like this particular dish so much, but if I’m making it with bacon, chicken or minced beef instead of hot dogs I’d probably add a few different veggies and throw in a few herbs or some sundried tomatoes.

            It works well with mushrooms or lentils instead of meat and couscous instead of pasta (just add stock to the skillet and cook the couscous once the veg is softened).

            Not fancy, but filling and tasty and not expensive.

          • AA

            passata, that’s another new word to me as an American. I googled it and that tomato preparation is not nearly as common here.

          • sdsures

            I make something similar. Worlds easier now that we always have a supply in the freezer of frozen beef or lamb mince and frozen diced onions.

          • sdsures

            I’m in Salford, Greater Manchester. Can we meet someday?

          • StephanieA

            I love to cook. My toddler and baby have kind of ruined the enjoyment of it, though. It becomes a chore when someone is fussing in the background. Maybe I need to start drinking while I cook.

          • sdsures

            Cook’s prerogative!

          • Laura J

            Port wine is a favorite or ours.

      • Deborah

        Gorgeous hot man with Viking heritage?

      • AlPe

        Rutabaga.

    • Laura J

      Love Ireland. Free range is the best, grass fed beef. I am a gourmet cook at home, so I tend to keep to a 5 ingredient meal. I will buy beef sparingly, but more with Bison. I tried to be vegetarian, but semi is all I can do…lol! My husband loves his corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day.

  • Sean Jungian

    A few months ago Panera started advertising that they will be going to 100% “clean” food this year and I will no longer ever eat there, I don’t care how delicious they are.

    Stuff that “clean” eating bullshit straight up your ass, Panera.

    • Roadstergal

      I no longer eat at Panera or Chipotle. Panera does the Food Babe “Isn’t it so nice to eat things you can pronounce?” bullshit.

      I stopped with Chipotle because of the non-GMO thing, but it turned out to be a good move overall. :p

      • Sean Jungian

        We don’t have a Chipotle out here on the prairie but if we did I wouldn’t eat there, either.

        I just CRINGE every time that stupid Panera commercial comes on.

        • Laura J

          I can make any salad Panera makes…and I can see what I put in it myself.

      • BeatriceC

        I don’t eat at either place because they’re not safe for my allergies, but if I could eat there, I wouldn’t now.

      • Stephanie Rotherham

        We shop at Lidl’s, and they have slogans on the cart handles (I think they’re trying to be posh, which is just adorable), and one of them is ‘Why not try something you can’t pronounce?’. Mostly this is because they sell a lot of ‘foreign’ food in the UK, but I quite like that kind of attitude.

      • Sean Jungian

        Another commercial series that makes me CRINGE are the new ones for Perdue Chicken – “No Antibiotics EVER” is the tagline, and they have a couple of spokesdorks talking about how they put oregano and some other herbs in the chickens’ water and that’s supposed to be enough to keep them healthy.

        OH TOXIPHOBES!! You do know that a sick chicken that can’t be treated with antibiotics is a chicken that is suffering and spreading disease, right? And that, at least in the U.S., there is no meat allowed to be sold that has antibiotics in it?

        It makes me crazy because it is totally promoting pseudoscience (herbs are just as good or even better than life-saving antibiotics!) and pandering to the fearful.

    • Maud Pie

      I’m not boycotting Panera because I like the food and it’s convenient for various reasons, but the anti-GMO and woo crap really irritates me. I try really hard to avoid eating out unless it’s for a type of food I can’t prepare at home. If a restaurant styled itself as serving Panera-type offerings while enthusiastically embracing technological advances, I’d go there at least once weekly.

      • Sean Jungian

        I didn’t go there terribly often, maybe a few times a year. The food was okay but where we live we have to go to the “big” city to find one and there are many other more desirable choices for us there.

        • Maud Pie

          The convenience factor I mentioned is that Panera is a satisfactory compromise between my foodie self and my dining companions who lack any sense of culinary adventure and cling to the security and familiarity of chain restaurants.

          My problem is that I love fresh, local produce, artisanal foods, non-mainstream ethnic cuisine, heirloom varieties–the whole Portlandia thing–but my motivations are aesthetic and hedonistic. I don’t buy into any of the woo or natural-worship. It’s hard to find companions who share my enthusiasm for sourdough bread and homemade pickles but who also share my disdain for pseudoscience.

          • Heidi

            I’m right there with you. I’ve been fermenting lately, and all I want is information on how to do it correctly! Right now, I’m making tempeh. I’m either killing myself with soy or saving myself with fermented food or so says the internetz. I don’t think I’m keeping myself from getting cancer, food-bourne illness, populating my gut with magical microbes, shielding myself from diabetes or anything like that with kefir, kimchi, or tempeh.

          • Roadstergal

            Tempeh tastes good, has good mouth feel, and has protein! Why does it have to be more than that?

          • Heidi

            And it’s a lot easier to make and less wasteful than tofu! Making my own tofu was fun, but then again it wasn’t when I had this huge mess to clean up, soy whey and way too much okara than I could ever hope to use. I turned a little bit of the okara into veggie corndogs, faux crab cakes and sausage (recipe courtesy of The Farm, yes the Ina Mae Gaskin one) but it was arduous and it ain’t happenin’ anytime too soon with the baby.

          • MB

            I’m not into all the woo. But I have to admit, that sometimes perma-bread does weird me out. I swear I had some hot dog buns this summer that were sitting on our counter un-eaten for over a month, AND THEY WERE STILL NOT MOLDY. I mean, you have to at least wonder how the hell they do it, when they throw out the bagels at einstein after like two hours. Granted, I still ate those bastards, b/c hotdog. I also prefer organic milk, only because it lasts so much longer than regular milk (otherwise we spend double throwing out milk we didn’t use) and I do think it tastes better. Is it because it is “ultra-pasteurized”? Srsly, why does it taste so much better? Is this psychological? I swear it tastes better.

          • Sean Jungian

            I don’t know about the milk but I’ve experienced the perma-bread phenomenon. We have a local bakery that makes really great buns and they go bad in about 2-3 days, because there are no preservatives.

            I think stable shelf-life is awesome for bread, because a lot of people (like me) don’t have a large enough household to use an entire loaf or package in one or two days. But I am lucky in that I have a freezer so I can freeze bakery buns and they’re still pretty good when thawed.

            There are no doubt many people who don’t have a freezer or a local bakery option that are probably pretty grateful that bread can last a few weeks without getting moldy, though. It’s part of our privilege that we don’t *have* to eat it if we don’t want to.

          • MB

            I was making my own bread for a while. Mine didn’t make it really more than a day or two without going stale, but whoa man, it was delicious fresh out of the oven. Now with baby, no time for all that.

          • J.B.

            I stopped doing this while second kid was a baby but now that she’s older have gotten back into making a big batch of dough for no-knead bread, then baking a loaf periodically. And using it for pizza, etc.

          • Heidi

            We used to get the organic kind, too, before I started making kefir because we weren’t going through that much milk. Now we have smoothies everyday and kefir extends the life of milk. I can’t recall them tasting that differently but my friend hated how the UP organic milk tasted.

            I wonder if your house was dry? I’ve bought bread and not had such luck.

          • MB

            UP – unpasteurized? I didn’t even know you could actually buy that? I thought it was just a hilarious Portlandia skit.

          • Heidi

            Ultra-pasteurized. Ha.

            You must be able to buy it somewhere. I heard some people at the co-op going on about the virtues of raw milk. Presumably, you can buy it under the pretenses that you are going to make cheese with it, but I’m sure some farmers will sell it to you knowing you are going to drink it as is.

          • MB

            Unpasteurized milk sounds kind of dangerous though? I might be traumatized from that scene in Boardwalk Empires where the woman comes in the hospital miscarrying her baby and bleeding all over the place from an infection of listeria which she caught from drinking unpasteurized milk. BTW, thanks HBO for random PSA about food safety in a show about Prohibition-era violence!

          • Heidi

            It’s definitely dangerous to drink. That doesn’t keep certain kinds of people from consuming it. I wouldn’t drink unpasteurized milk! I’m sure if they do get sick, they claim it’s their body detoxing. “It’s the Herxheimer reaction!”

          • Monkey Professor for a Head

            They sell it here as “bath milk” and it’s marked that it’s not for internal consumption. I’m pretty sure that that’s just to cover their asses, and that it’s mainly bought by woo antics for drinking. It’s absolutely ridiculously expensive too.

          • Monkey Professor for a Head

            Woonatics, not woo antics. Damn autocorrect!

          • At least in some states, you can’t buy raw milk as such, but you can buy a share of a cow, which entitles you to some portion of said cow’s milk, which you can take unpasteurized. (My aunt was considering learning to make cheese. Finding out raw milk was illegal in her state was one of many things that changed her mind.)

          • Inmara

            So kefir is supposed to be the new superfood, eh? It’s a staple food in my region, yet it doesn’t seem that we’re an overall healthier population than others.

          • Sean Jungian

            What? A new superfood? I haven’t even embraced kale yet!

          • Heidi

            I’ve got some super superfood for you! Organic kale I grew myself (well, I was pregnant, wasn’t touching kale because nausea and vomiting, and didn’t even try to tend my garden. A lot of kale managed to survive after replanting itself and I finally picked it.) that I made into kimchi, which is filled with sewwwwper probiotics. I bet if you were to put it into a Nutribullet with some chia seeds and turmeric, you could gain immortality.

          • MB

            Fiber: It is the one true superfood. Let’s be clear. It has changed my life.

          • J.B.

            There was an article about crickets and health bars made from crickets taking over from kale. Doesn’t that sound exciting?

          • J.B.

            Although I can’t wait to see the equivalent of the Kale sweatshirts (styled like Yale just dumber) for crickets.

          • Stephanie Rotherham

            Whenever I see kale touted as a ‘superfood’, I keep coming back to the fact that it’s my rabbit’s favourite greens; she manages to be both greedy and fussy (and would totally eat junk food if I let her), and kicks up a tantrum if she doesn’t get it daily. I do not understand any obsession with kale.

          • Roadstergal

            I… kinda like kale. Young and tossed in a nice tart citrus dressing…

          • Monkey Professor for a Head

            Kale chips are nice, but I’m not sure you can count it as healthy when you cover it in oil and salt.

          • demodocus

            I like it sauteed with garlic and blueberries

          • Laura J

            Love a good kale berry salad with feta cheese…

          • Heidi

            It’s either a super food or a super killer because you know, dairy.

          • Charybdis

            No, no, no. Once it is inoculated with the kefir grains it transmogrifies into a healthy superfood. Because cultures. And fermentation.

          • J.B.

            If I could get my super skinny lactose intolerant kid to drink it that would be awesome. (Fermentation does pretty much digest the lactose.) Alas, no luck so far. I must keep packing expensive meats in her lunchbox.

          • MB

            True dat.

      • Mel

        Fritos Chips has the words “Made with Genetic Engineering” on the back.

        LOVE IT!

        • BeatriceC

          *runs off to read the ingredients of Fritos to see if I can eat them*

          • MI Dawn

            Can you??? Oh, I hope so! (little joke: Lover hates fritos and threatens me and other GF that we won’t be kissed if we eat them until 4 days have passed. So you know we both eat them in front of him… 🙂 )

        • Charybdis

          Do they really?!? That is OUTSTANDING. And means more Fritos for those of us who don’t mind/care about the GMO’s.

        • Sean Jungian

          While I don’t eat snack chips very often, I do *LOVE* Fritos crunched up in cottage cheese mmmmmmm

          • Charybdis

            Frito chili pie topped with sour cream!

        • Roadstergal

          Ooh, I have to switch to those, now that Kettle has gone all “Non-GMO!” and “Gluten-free!” Oh, you didn’t add gluten back to your potatoes? Nice to know.

      • Allie

        I live in Canada, four blocks from the U.S. border. We recently got a Carl’s Jr. in my neighborhood, which I love, because it is correctly punctuated. Strangely, I’ve noticed mostly Washington-plated vehicles there. Really? You come from country with the best processed food in the world, and you have to eat Carl’s Jr. either just after leaving home or just before returning?

        • Maud Pie

          I’m in the Detroit area. I’ve never been to a Carl’s, but I like some of the novelties of Canadian chains, like poutine and wine at Swiss Chalet. Our equivalent chains, like Big Boy, are alcohol free. (I hope I’m not committing some international faux pas by comparing SC to Big Boy.). I know many people who insist the Canadian Tim Hortons are superior to the American TH. So the Americans your see at Car’s might be perceiving some unique Canadian virtue that’s hidden in plain sight for Canadians.

          • MB

            Detroit area here too. Yes, I swear the Canadian Horton’s is way better than in the U.S. Recently I was discussing this with one of my very good friends who is a transplant here from Arizona. She was like, “Oh, I just read this article about how BK bought up Tim Horton’s and the headquarters in Canada!!! Can you believe that? How dare they put Tim Horton’s HQ in Canada?” I laughed hysterically “Um, you know Tim Horton’s is Canadian, right?” Clearly, she did not. She just thought it was our shit all this time. Her parents visited from Arizona, and literally, all they wanted to do was go eat at a Tim Horton’s. Eff the Detroit Zoo, we want some of them sub-par breakfast sandwiches!

            I think it must be how we in Michigan felt about Sonic. They had all those constant delicious commercials for years, but the closest one was Indiana/Ohio. Back in college at Kalamazoo, it wasn’t uncommon for people to get baked and then go on a soul quest for Sonic burgers and fireworks, Indiana border being only an hour away. Ah, the good old days. Now Sonic is just down the street and legal fireworks means the hillbillies next door can scare the shit out of my cats year-round with their constant fireworks. Srsly, what’s up w/ blowing up fireworks in the middle of the day on any given Thursday?

          • demodocus

            I hear you. My best friend came over and we were going to a nice local Lebanese place, until we passed an Olive Garden

          • I’m usually a bit of a food snob, but when I was pregnant Olive Garden was Manna. From. Heaven. So weird.

          • demodocus

            eh well, pregnancy is weird.

          • MI Dawn

            MB and Maud Pie: where in MI? My ‘rents are in Royal Oak and I’ll be out there end of the month…would be fun to have a meetup if I can get it in!

          • Maud Pie

            I’m in Macomb County. Is there a way to PM on Disqus? If not, I have an “extra” email address for such purposes.

          • MI Dawn

            Oh, you’re not too far. I don’t think you can PM on Disqus but I don’t know. Email me at Dawncnm at aol dot com

          • sdsures

            A giggling Canadian-Brit sits here. 😀

          • sdsures

            “I could never get the hang of Thursdays.” ~Arthur Dent

          • Bombshellrisa

            We don’t have a Tim’s anywhere close, so I can’t weigh in on the American vs Canadian ones, but we have been known to eat lunch just before we cross the border and bring a couple dozen donuts back. There is something very Canadian about the whole experience.

        • Heidi_storage

          Coming back from a high school church group trip to Mexico, our first stop was at a Taco Bell. A deplorable commentary on American tastes–though I must add that our Cuban translator seemed to be enjoying his food the most.

        • Wren

          Yes. To be honest, Carl’s Jr. is one of the fast food places I miss the most being in the UK. In’N’Out and Taco Bell (I know!) are the others.

        • Bombshellrisa

          Oh Carl’s! The closest one to me growing up was in California. Then when I was a teen, we heard there was one in Oregon and would drive hours to eat there. Now there is one less than ten minutes from me, and having that western bacon burger available is such a nice thought. Carl’s is pretty tasty!

      • Bombshellrisa

        I am boycotting Panera because it’s so expensive, otherwise the toddler and I would probably do tomato soup and mac and cheese there every day in fall and winter.

    • LaMont

      Ugh I’m addicted to Chipotle or I’d boycott over their GMO fearmongering. I just… it’s everywhere. And so delicious…

      • BeatriceC

        If I can live without tomatoes, potatoes, oranges and chocolate, you can do this! Boycott them! 🙂

      • Charybdis

        I love Chipotle…barbacoa bowl with rice, pinto beans, barbacoa, corn salsa, lots of sour cream and cheese- SO GOOD!

        But ever since they started the GMO fearmongering, I haven’t been indulging. That, and the problems they were having with e.coli (or was it listeria?) made me leery of eating there.

        • Heidi

          I think it was e. coli and norovirus.

          • Roadstergal

            I’m sorry, I think you meant all-natural, organic, free-range e. coli and norovirus…

            Also, just for fun, from the CDC page on norovirus for food workers:

            Food can get contaminated with norovirus when:

            infected people who have stool or vomit on their hands touch the food,

            it is placed on counters or surfaces that have infectious stool or vomit on them, or

            tiny drops of vomit from an infected person spray through the air and land on the food.

        • Roadstergal

          I’m lucky to live in a place where I could heave a brick and hit 10 Mexican restaurants. Chipotle is not missed.

    • Charybdis

      I hate those “clean eating” commercials. Last summer they had one that talked about something like “tomatoes should be ripe, lettuce, dirty.”

      No thanks. I want clean lettuce in my salad, thank you very much!

    • PrimaryCareDoc

      I was over them when they stated advertising their “gluten conscious” choices. I mean, WTF does that even mean?

      • Heidi

        Ah, so they aren’t actually making food a person who truly suffers from celiac or a wheat allergy can eat!

        • Irène Delse

          Which was the whole point of the gluten thing, at least at the start…

      • Roadstergal

        Every time I see ‘low gluten,’ ‘gluten conscious,’ or ‘no added gluten,’ I think, “Oh, a place I can’t take my 1 friend with actual celiac, and a place I wouldn’t take myself to for my own mental heath.”

        • Azuran

          No added gluten? Who just randomly ‘adds’ gluten in food?

          • Young CC Prof

            Pizza dough has added gluten to make it shape better. And some vegetarian products are pure gluten. But yeah, if you have celiac, it doesn’t matter whether the food has a little gluten or a lot, it’s still off the menu.

        • demodocus

          the strangest things have no gluten labels right now. Thanks, I’m glad my tea wasn’t made with wheat. o.O

          • Monkey Professor for a Head

            I can kinda justify the gluten free labels for random things, as it indicates that there’s no cross contamination going on. And gluten does end up in some random places.

            I have come across tea with barley in it – luckily I checked the ingredients and didn’t drink it.

          • demodocus

            Plain Assam is not supposed to have anything else in it.

      • Charybdis

        They bake BREAD for cryin’ out loud! “Gluten conscious” bread, bagels, rolls and pastry…”would you like that with high, medium or low gluten? Gluten free is in the line over there.”

        Reminds me of 91, 89, 87 octane choices, plus diesel at the gas pumps.

    • Laura J

      I can make any of their salads at home, and better too. We are getting a Panera bread up the road. Although I like it, their coffee is good…

  • Mrs.Katt the Cat

    My first thought on that picture- “Are you my mummy?”

    • Roadstergal

      Oh, that ep was creepy. Great Captain Jack, though.

    • demodocus

      me too…

    • Irène Delse

      Same here ^^°

    • Stephanie Rotherham

      I want to know where some of these stock images come from…

  • Heidi

    So back a few years ago, I found myself unemployed and in pursuit of a new hobby. I got into “DIY” cleaners (really it’s mixing a bunch of pricey stuff like Bronner’s castille soap, citric acid and vodka). At first, it was homemade laundry detergent, then dishwasher detergent, but that wasn’t good enough – homemade dish soap, glass cleaner, dust polish, floor cleaner… The laundry detergent was okay, although I ended up using Zote because you can get it for $0.90 a bar, which according to some people was sewwwwper toxic. I got tired of my dishes being scummy, figured I could probably block the pipes and tear up a major appliance, couldn’t bring myself to go to the liquor store and fork over $15 for a bottle of vodka that was considered safer than the cheap rubbing alcohol, and I climbed right out of that rabbit hole. I’m back to Dawn and Tide – well, actually the generics mostly.

    • Roadstergal

      I’ve noticed that vodka really does make the place look cleaner. If I drink enough of it.

      • Heidi

        Yeah, there’s no way my “cleaning vodka” would have lasted. My husband would have raided the cleaning cabinet.

        • BeatriceC

          I thought “cleaning vodka” was the stuff meant for consumption while cleaning so as to ward off discouragement from the absolute disasters created by teens and parrots.

      • sdsures

        *maximum gigglesnort*

    • Irène Delse

      The chemists at the cosmetic companies really earn their salaries.

    • BeatriceC

      I don’t use a lot of commercial cleaners because of the birds and their sensitive respiratory systems. There’s a reason why miners used canaries as an early warning system for gas leaks! I have nothing against them for regular use though, and will occasionally send all the birds outside to be able to use the better smelling cleaners inside, when I just don’t want to deal with the smell of vinegar. I use regular laundry and dish soap though. Those areas are far enough away that I don’t worry about them getting sick.

      • guest

        I use a lot of vinegar for cleaning with the birds. But some child messes require bleach. #pottytraining

        • BeatriceC

          Yup. That’s exactly the type of situation when the birds would get an unplanned trip outside.

        • MB

          I have a guilty pleasure for those “bleachable moments” commercials. Also, I like the smell of bleach. Confessional over.

          • Charybdis

            “What are those lines on my bathroom floor?” and the kid mopping the floor using water from the toilet are my two favorites.

          • demodocus

            Toddlerboy is quite fond of swishing the toilet water with a toothbrush. 🙁

          • sdsures

            Really ticklish mental image there!

        • sdsures

          And a bottle of vodka? 😉

      • Heidi

        If you aren’t using organic vinegar that isn’t made with GMO corn, then don’t worry, you’re being just as toxic! Worrying about GMO corn in a cleaning product is where I drew the line, even when I was misinformed about GMOs.

        • Charybdis

          I thought vinegar was made from apples and apple cores….

          • Young CC Prof

            Vinegar can be made from many kinds of alcohol. Apples => apple cider vinegar, but white vinegar, made from distilled grain alcohol, is preferred for cleaning.

          • BeatriceC

            I actually use both in my house. White vinegar is for cleaning, and apple cider vinegar (with a drop of liquid dish soap) is used for fruit fly traps. Birds eat a lot of fresh fruits and veggies, and if it sits out for more than a few minutes it attracts fruit flies, so I keep a bowl of apple cider vinegar nearby to kill the little suckers. It’s cheap and effective, and won’t also kill my birds.

          • sdsures

            My mom uses white vinegar to clean her automatic coffee machine. One cycle of vinegar, then do 3-4 (?) cycles of water. I’m not sure about the exact number of water cycles because I use a French press that is easily cleaned by rinsing.

          • Sean Jungian

            I’ve even heard that wine will turn to vinegar if you don’t finish the bottle.

            Luckily I’ve never had the opportunity to test that theory. In my house the rule is that if you open a bottle of wine, it has to be finished that evening.

          • Young CC Prof

            It most definitely will. In fact, if you take fresh unpasteurized grape juice (like squish some grapes) and leave it in your refrigerator, in a week you’ll have really bad wine and in two weeks you’ll have vinegar.

            Not that I’ve done this or anything. The next time, I learned to store the juice in the freezer until the entire harvest was done and I was ready to make jelly.

          • sdsures

            Similarly, vodka can be made from almost anything.

      • Mrs.Katt the Cat

        I clean with vinegar, MrKatt uses the bleach and harsh stuff when I am out of the house because it makes me feel sick.
        I still remember when I went to college and discovered All dye free, scent free detergent. Magic! Clothes aren’t supposed to itch and make you sneeze! What? My hatred of clothing was really about soap all along?
        Maybe I was a bird in a past life 😉

        • BeatriceC

          I recall the same discovery of perfume and dye free detergent! As a fair skinned redhead, my skin has always been sensitive. Things were so much more comfortable after that.

          And yes, perhaps you were a bird. 🙂

          • sdsures

            Ditto! Tesco makes a nice sensitive skin laundry powder detergent and softener. I once tried their version of liquid detergent and nearly threw up.

  • Young CC Prof

    Also, let’s not forget that the real problem with most (actual) toxins is occupational exposure, not consumer exposure, which is orders of magnitude smaller. Want to know which pesticides are safer? Ask a farmer, they’ll tell you that glyphosate is pretty harmless to mammals, but the stuff it was invented to replace was incredibly harmful to work with. Other consumer products? Ask a factory worker.

    • Roadstergal

      Leaded gas was pretty bad for consumers, but it left workers dead and insane…

    • Mel

      A friend bought an old farmhouse in the country and was digging around in their backyard. They found a discarded, large container that was filled with a reddish sludge and called my spouse and I to ask what to do. We asked what had been grown at the farm before they bought it. They replied “Oh, it was an orchard.” My husband told them -to go in the house, shower, put their clothing in sealed bags and to call their local non-emergency line to find out how to have industrial poisons disposed of since the chemical they found likely involved arsenic.

      • sdsures

        OMG!

    • Steph858

      Ah, but you’re forgetting The Homeopath’s Rule: the lower the amount/concentration, the stronger the effect. Therefore, lower levels of exposure are MORE dangerous! Or more effective in treating the effects of high-level exposure, I forget which way around it is …

  • CSN0116

    I have a friend who insists on boiling animal bones for hours and hours to make marrow broth that she *attempts* to feed to her two toddlers (and hides it in their foods too). She fully believes it can protect their immune systems or some shit. Her kids are sick fucking constantly and have had far more hospitalizations for pretty severe illnesses in three years than my five kids have had in the span of eight.

    Her husband is an ER doc, too. He thinks she’s nuts but lets her go…

    • Amy

      I make my own stocks, too, but not because I think they have magical healing properties. I really can’t bear to waste food– when we’re done with our roast chicken, tossing it into a big pot with some water is an almost-free way to get stock. And it tastes way better than the stuff that comes in a can or a box.

      My kids are rarely sick, but I think that’s because I make them wash their hands all the time!

      • Sarah

        Yeah broth with bone stock is amazing! Another example of things beloved by woo-heads that are great because they’re tasty, not for the reasons they think they are.

        • Irène Delse

          Myself, I’m a fan of osso bucco. Bone marrow is food for the gods!

        • Amy

          Same with chia seed pudding and heirloom tomatoes. Both really tasty, neither magical. Food from scratch is almost always (I’d say always but I’m sure there’s an exception somewhere) WAY better, but it’s like the ultimate symbol of privilege: money to afford fresh ingredients that spoil easily and don’t store well, a well-enough-equipped kitchen to prepare everything you want to make, and TIME to prepare the food and actually enjoy the whole process.

      • Sean Jungian

        I thought that whole “bone broth” fad had died out, ugh. I, too, make my own chicken stock/broth because I have a slow cooker, I use a lot of broth when cooking, and there’s no reason to waste the carcass. But I don’t have an issue using store-bought broth or stock if that’s all I have on hand.

        There was a push a couple of years ago in NCB that bone broth (omg it’s just broth or stock, people!) was an acceptable food for infants. That was pretty far out on the fringe of the woo, though.

        • Monkey Professor for a Head

          Like Pete Evans and his paleo baby formula. *rolls eyes*

          I’m considering making tonkotsu ramen broth this weekend. But I’m only hoping that it’ll be yummy, I’m not expecting it to be magical.

          • Sean Jungian

            I hardly ever have pork bones to use in stock 🙁 I’ll bet it’s very tasty.

            I was trying to think of why I use so much chicken stock but I think the main reason is that I cook a lot of brown rice and I like it better if it’s cooked in half water/half chicken broth or stock. It’s good for a lot of sauces and gravies, too,

            I love that natural gelatin from homemade – when I have it I try to make several chicken pot pies because it’s so delicious that way. It makes sauces so velvety and rich without adding butter or fat.

      • Sean Jungian

        Nope, I guess feeding infants bone broth is still kind of a thing, as a quick Google search showed me:

      • BeatriceC

        I make my own stocks because my allergies make it impossible to find any store-bought stocks that won’t kill me, or at least make breathing a tad bit difficult for a while. I make nearly everything from scratch, not because I want to, but because I really, really like breathing, and making things myself seems to be the only guaranteed way to avoid my allergens.

        • MI Dawn

          I almost always make chicken soup or turkey soup this way. I don’t freeze/store broth because of space issues.

        • Amy

          Yup. Another really important reason. I like to make a treat for my students every year. Last year I had a student who was allergic to…..pretty much everything. So I made the kids chicken soup from scratch.

  • Amy M

    Science Vs (podcast) has a good episode about organic food this week. They looked for evidence (via studies) concerning if organic food was more nutritious (no), more environmentally conscious (yes/no depending on which aspect you are discussing) and if the pesticides they use might be safer than conventional ones. There was no answer for that last one, because they couldn’t many studies about the safe levels of most pesticides (in terms of the trace amounts left on produce).

    Personally, the toxicophobes drive me nuts. No thanks to them, the idea that “feeding your children only organic is healthier/safer/better” has become fairly mainstream. People don’t even question it—they just associate organic with better parenting.

    • guest

      It’s harming neighborhoods here, too. Commercial rents are so high here that everyone wants to capture the more affluent members of the community, which means most of the new stores are vending “organic” products as much as possible, to get higher prices. But it means many others in the community can’t afford to eat at local restaurants, or shop at local grocery stores. Many people rely on public transportation, so it’s not easy to just travel further to reach the non-organic options (esp. for grocery shopping). And then the organic store closes because they couldn’t make enough profit, and it creates and impression that if they could profit at *those* prices, the next place needs even higher prices (or so it appears, to me). Whatever happened to selling a lot of produce very cheaply?

      • Roadstergal

        One of the good things about our neighborhood is that the local Hispanic market is full of fruits and veg at very affordable prices. They don’t have signs trumpeting “Organic!” and “Non-GMO!” Because fuck that noise – the selling point is that it’s affordable, fresh produce.

        • Guest

          That’s what I want. Affordable, and tastes good (we have freshness issues at all price points in the city).

          • Roadstergal

            Yes, we are at a bit of an advantage for that, living in NorCal. The difference between the farmers’ markets and the independent local markets isn’t huge (except the farmers’ markets sell to a more affluent and whiter clientele, and therefore do have “Organic” scrawled on their signs).

          • demodocus

            Yeah, one of our farmers had his no-GMO sign up, because apparently someone thinks squash, lettuce, and onions are likly GMOs.

          • sdsures

            Something people often forget: organic produce IS treated with pesticides, too. Give me my more affordable non-organic freshies any day.

        • BeatriceC

          We have a middle eastern market that’s sort of like this. They do cater to the organic crowd a little bit, but this is SoCal. Still their organic produce is cheaper than traditional produce at the regular supermarkets, and their traditional produce is insanely cheap. For example, onions were $1/pound at the regular store last I checked. They were 10 pounds for a buck at the middle eastern market. Broccoli was 50 cents a pound at the middle easter market and nearly 2 bucks a pound at the grocery store. I could go on and on. I have to be pretty desperate to buy produce at the regular grocery store. It’s worth the extra half mile, even if I’m walking, to go the the small market.

      • demodocus

        Using public transport when you’re grocery shopping with just a pair of able bodied adults can be an annoying pain in the rear. Add a small child or two or a mobility issue, and it gets borderline crazy

        • guest

          Tell me about it. I only have me, a mostly able-bodied adult, to get the groceries in for my two kids and I. We have a granny cart and when I have time, I just trundle it down to the store I want to shop and and fill it up. But the “when I have time” part is key – my kids can’t walk very far, so I have to go alone to shop at my preferred stores, or else do this while they’re with the sitter. I ended up using a grocery delivery service *a lot* when they were infants. I can afford it, but not everyone can. (And I really shouldn’t, but it was a lifesaver in the beginning.)

        • sdsures

          I use my mobility scooter for grocery shopping, so what we do is do large orders online, and I pick up the little things during the week when I go out for coffee, prescriptions, etc. I can manage about 4 bags’ worth by hanging them on the handles. Thankfully, I don’t have to scooter far, so I don’t need public transport, but it would definitely be a pain if I did. Maneuvering a scooter onto a bus is a lot easier without groceries because they make the scooter, effectively, wider.

          • demodocus

            Us the last 2 years , only with a big stroller and a person who needed to be held on the bus.

    • Science Vs. had a great episode on attachment parenting too.

      • Amy M

        Yep! I heard that one, it was good!

    • Allie

      I don’t even understand why someone would wonder whether organic was more nutritious. Of course not. Duh! Why would it be?

      • Nick Sanders

        Because a lot of them have been convinced of lies about how soil depletion works, and believe that plants can somehow grow and bear large, attractive looking fruits, heads, etc even when they are deficient or even devoid of various important nutrients.

        • Amy M

          That and they have no clue what “organic” really means. It’s become short-hand for “better.” If its better, it must be healthier, better for the environment, safer, etc.

          • Who?

            One of my organic mad circle buys the less fresh organic in preference to the fresher ‘regular’, on the basis that more stale organic must be better than ‘fresher’ regular, even when she’s going to then take it home and fridge it for a week.

            And she cheerfully acknowledges that even if it isn’t better for the environment, so what, as long as she gets what she wants.

        • Sean Jungian

          They also seem to believe that “organic” = “no pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizer” for some reason. Even though many of the pesticides approved for use on organic crops are far more toxic than those used on conventional crops.

          • Poogles

            “They also seem to believe that “organic” = “no pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizer””
            Yes, this is a very widespread misconception from what I have seen; so, so many people believe that organic means no “chemicals” – that no pesticides/herbicides/fertilizers are used whatsoever.

  • Irène Delse

    One woman I knew once was strongly toxinophobic. I was surprised as she was a struggling single mom and couldn’t even afford fresh fruit and vegetables sometimes. But then she mentioned that she worked for a “natural products” store! The kind of place who sells you expansive supplements and “detox”products. And what a coincidence, she was always lecturing about the evils of factory farming, and how even organic produce was depleted in vitamins because years of factory farming had depleted the soil…

  • no longer drinking the koolaid

    I used to work at Wayne State University/Hutzel Hospital which is across the street from the Whole Foods in Detroit.
    I was glad to see it go up thinking it would provide access to more fresh produce. However, the minute I walked in I knew it was going to be out of reach of a lot of people that lived in the area. The offerings and pricing are the same as you find in the Ann Arbor stores. The proportion of white to POC was a little more even than most Whole Foods, but most of the POC were buying basics, not the organic, non-GMO stuff.

    Props to Wayne State for having a summer farmers market on their campus.http://www.detroitmarkets.org/Market/Wayne_State_University_Farmers_Market

    • guest

      We called it Whole Paycheck in grad school.

      • Roadstergal

        My brother, who works in high-tech and is far from poor, still calls it Whole Paycheck. :p

      • Amy

        That’s what we call it too.

    • MB

      Wasn’t there a recent article about the lack of fresh produce for ppl living in Detroit? The only one I could find was one from 2009. I thought there was one more recent than that though.