Grocery Store Confessional


I bought Tostidos the other day, as in last night when I was getting home from the library at midnight and I wanted more than just veggies to eat...ARGH 711 how you tempt me! So I am thinking each week I will document what I buy to keep on track with this 80% local thing and then I will try to look up the other 20% and see what company makes/processes it and what their general status is in terms of "goodness"...My guess is Tostidos made by Frito Lays is not going to measure up nicely.

The package said "All Natural" though which made me actually laugh out loud...Nothing "artificial" in the bag, just on the crops that make whats in the bag.

SO lets call this Week One in Project Be a Conscientious Consumer: We can start with Friday- September 21st, 2012

I was supposed to celebrate my 6month anniversary with the boyfriend and I looked up local/organic restaurants to eat at YAY...except not yay. For a myriad of reasons including illness and a looming test said boyfriend had, AND looking up and going to the WRONG restaurant we ended up just driving turning around and coming back to my apartment. Disappointed and dressed up, I ran into Dominick's to get my comfort guessed it: cereal and chocolate. So confession item #1:

Rice Chex, & Chocolate Rice Chex

Saturday: Determined to celebrate in some fashion I bussed it to Elmwood Park to study with the bf at Starbucks (ew Starbucks I know not good) BUT after study sesh we went to his house and his mother had just gotten back from Wisconsin where they are building/built a house, and have started a small farm. She promptly gave me tomatoes, carrots, and apples! The apples she bought from a neighbor, also a non-pesticide using farmer, and the rest they grew! So amazing, so yummy.

Sunday: I went to the Glenwood market! Super cute, one of the vendors was selling soup made with ingrediants from the stand right next to his!  If I had more mula I would have bought more delicious treats, but I only picked up some Arugula! 

Monday: LOYOLA FARMER'S MARKET! bought a gluten free pumpkin treat, made gluten free, vegan...Haven't asked the vendor about her ingredients will get the details next week! Local Radishes, and  Cucumbers grown by the Loyola Students/alums on our very own Loyola Ecology campus in Woodstock.

Tuesday: I do not buy anything...but consume some candy from the candy jar at work.

Wednesday: I ran out of coffee! SHIT, could have bought some at the farmers market- ARGH...I look up True Nature grocery and check it out on broadway. Pretty cute, not all local aka they have bananas and oranges etc. BUT local and organic coffee- check, $13/lb a little steep but morally it felt good, and rent wasn't due yet so money was no object...that's how that works right? I also bought some organic rice snacks NOT local...but organic so I don't know how that factors into my pledge.

Thursday: Rent is due soon so I should not be buying food I don't need. Day off from spending.

Friday: I WENT HOME! yay. About going home: love it. Also I am not going to be the person at the family party who refuses to eat until she knows where the ingredients came from. My mom shops at farmers markets occasionally but being the party pooper is not my game here. I ate the delicious salad (with lettuce grown from my mom's garden...I refrained from asking if they use miracle grow because I want to be blissfully ignorant, at least until next time I visit) and gobbled up some roasted acorn squash. Delicious.

Saturday: Had my friends over who just got engaged. Perk of going home for a family party: leftovers.

Right now I am not counting eating any packaged goods I have/had before this experiment because I am not in the business of wasting that is what I am trying NOT to do, so the pasta I cooked for my guests Saturday, and the veggie chili I have in my freezer are all things that will be consumed more or less guilt free.

SO How'd I do this week?

Estimated totals:

$10 on boxed evils (cereal was on sale+ bag of chips)

$7 Questionables: organic $4; Pumpkin pie treat $3 OH and I bought 3 luna bars...hmmm that was $3 which I am not sure what category since they SAY 70% of the ingredients are organic I will have to research that...SO $10 questionable

$19 Undoubtedly local+ the apples, and carrots that I didn't have to pay for that are local which hopefully cancel out the at home dinner that I also didn't pay for, that wasn't local.

So 80%  in dollar amount...not achieved it was almost 50%

This is not easy.

-Until next weigh in-

Time to do some homework....

-Slightly Unsuccessful Student


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  • Slightly related to the "questionables" are the Whole Foods Market "vegetable chips." Sure there are vegetables in them, but the predominant one is potatoes. Apparently enough of the juice of others to color them green or red.

    Also, slightly related to this post is that there was a show on channel 7.2 last night, basically about making junk food without junk ingredients.

  • In reply to jack:

    Yes, well there was a bill about 18 years ago proposed to tax these "junk foods" it is commonly referred to as the "twinkie tax" that advocated for the taxation of these items to curb consumers from, well consuming! And more likely over consuming. The bill ran into multiple problems one of which is how do you define food? Honestly, I don't consider a bag of chemicals with maybe one real food ingredient I can not only say but also spell food, but you say Potato I say Acrylamide.
    Anyway the bill wasn't passed in IL instead another bill passed that raised the tax on cigarettes so I guess that one was kinda a win too! But with a recent push to try to combat our obesity and general terrible nutrition this idea of taxing these products is back in play. We'll see what government does. Honestly, our problem isn't the chips, it is the food system as a whole, the farming and the use of chemicals on not only our "potato" chips, but our potatoes.

  • I didn't say anything about taxes. However, Illinois PA 96-34 raised sales taxes on what it defined as candy and pop to pay for digging up the Dan Ryan Red Line and other projects touted by Quinn. It was said that the definition of candy was somewhat fluid, i.e., if it had flour in it it was a cake. But don't think it hasn't been tried.

    My only point was that Whole Foods Market food isn't necessarily what they claim, although it supposedly is "natural."

  • In reply to jack:

    Oh for sure,
    I was mentioning the tax because as I am sure you have noticed my thoughts are scattered and it seemed relevant! I definitely know they are trying to get legislation on board to: one up revenue in terms of taxing; but also in a "greater good" sense to steer people away from obesity, diabetes and other fun nutritional diseases that come with extra large sodas and supersized french fries.
    That being said people argue the government isn't our mother, and I'm honestly just glad I had a mom who was a nurse and was educated and knew to give me apples and bananas and say no to the fifth piece of bacon.
    Also Whole Foods and Trader Joe's are both stores I have become disillusioned with for the very reason you mentioned. Their marketing campaign is great, but their products aren't necessarily. We have to read and know what we are putting into our bodies whether we buy it at Whole Foods, True Leaf Grocery, or Jewel... which is part of the reason this project has been such a challenge!

  • That's true. Several nutritionists have told me always to look at the government label.

    For instance, Trader Joe's is the only place that sells low sodium tomato sauce where the label supports that (i.e. 4% of daily requirement for sodium, as opposed to 25-33% on just about every other brand).

    On the other hand, I once looked at the label on the bottom of a Big Mac box, and one was about 50%. That sort of got me not looking again.

  • In reply to jack:

    Yeah, sad fact in the US most packaged food here has more added sodium than in other countries with the same packaged foods. BUT don't not look! It's depressing but it is so interesting to really start knowing what we are putting in our bodies... unfortunately it has made me come to conclusion I will just eat the lettuce and arugula I buy at the farmer's market becaue everything else is controversial!

  • Please do not refer to yourself in any way as unsuccessful! You are what 99.99999% of the population is not (yours truly included) that is AWARE and TRYING to be a conscientious consumer. It is a process.
    I will take credit for your awareness and Any and All good you bring to the world because I used re-usable grocery totes 20 years ago as you slobbered on the County Fair Grocery cart!!
    You make me laugh!

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