Tuesday, October 19, 2010

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Louboutin and the bargain basement sale

Every time I enter a grocery store to do a big shop for the Monster House, I have a disturbing visual of being at a bargain basement shoe sale frantically hunting for that elusive pair of brand new Louboutins. Let me explain.

Walking into a super Wally world, or a standard grocery store, you are immediately smacked in the face with smells of freshly baked french bread or frying chicken or cupcakes. There is a reason the bakery and the deli are down front.

There are three miles of aisles looming in front of you, packed and crammed to bursting with corn syrup, wheat, nuts, eggs, dairy, soy, and artifical colors and flavors all done up in pretty little packages that say "part of a nutritious breakfast" , "buy one get one free" , "low sodium" , "organic", "free range", "multigrain", "Kid tested, mother approved" and "25% less sugar than other national brands".

I feel the urge to don khaki shorts, hiking boots and a hat, and start bush whacking my way through the store with a machete until I find things Logan can eat. Why is it, with such humongous stores that carry thousands and thousands of different brands and options in food, that the most I have found is perhaps an eighth or a tenth of a shelf dedicated to gluten free brands? In the dairy cases, why is it that there is ONE shelf with rice milk, almond milk, and soy milk all squashed together, when there are literally a hundreds of gallons of cow's milk in a variety of options? Chocolate, strawberry and even banana milk, 1%. 2% and 1/2% milk stretching out for miles, followed by whole milk for the next 40 miles, GOATS' milk for a few yards, and then 3 feet of space for rice, almond, and soy milk.  Combined.

There is ONE brand of hot dogs Logan can have. Soy free Hebrew National (YUM!!). They are usually buried beneath something else, and the location is always different. Chicken that hasn't been corn fed? Good luck.

What?!? You want juice that is corn syrup free? Pitch a tent in the juice aisle and start reading labels. I have irritated more than one cart driving granny while reading labels, I have been shoved aside, cursed at, and at one point, another customer started tapping their toe and looking at their watch. I'm a mother of seven. None of this makes an impression upon me, though I will scoot over while still reading so they can get their item.

It has gotten to the point that I have memorized the location of a few certain brands and I hit those aisles first. This is why it has become so vital that I learn to make so many things at home... so Logan will always have something safe to eat, even when the grocery store does not have much to offer.

I am still looking for a decent gfcfsfcf bread mix, which seems to be lurking in the not too distant future, through the generosity of friends, family, and corporations that care about their consumers.

I have to wonder... how is it that standards for good, nutritious foods have reached this low point? To my way of thinking, really, anyone would be better off with whole foods that have no corn/soy fillers, no added corn syrup in our juices, jelly and canned/bottled fruits, no hormones in our meats or dairy products.

To have the kind of panic I had when we started this whole gfcfsfcf journey is crippling. I literally thought my child would starve to death. Thank goodness for benadryl and fresh bananas at the beginning, because I didn't have a CLUE that xantham gum was derived from corn, or that soy and corn oils are just as dangerous for Logan as a fresh ear of corn on the cob from the garden. I didn't know that it would be near impossible to find a decent loaf of bread for him, or that it would cost me $7 a loaf for an inferior product that tastes and feels so wrong, he refuses to eat it.  I didn't know I would cry when I couldn't find something right away to substitute for his peanut butter and jelly.

I was lost until some sweet woman told me to cook like our great grandmothers cooked. There were no frozen dinners full of allergens at the store when they were cooking for their families. There were no processed "cheese foods". When Great Grandma was cooking, it was organic veggies, REAL mashed potatoes, healthy fats like real butter ( thought at the Monster House, Logan has Earth Balance soy free spread), her jams and jellies were homemade and free of preservatives and colors. Really, it's all about going back to basics. So, I went off shopping, while playing a role.

This is how it helped me: I pretended to be my great grandmother, shopping for the family, and I only bought things that would have been available in 1935. Not necessarily the same exact companies of products, but the same quality. Does that make sense? What an eye opener! I did  not buy ben and jerry (sniffle), or almond roca, or any of that. I just bought..... groceries. What a concept.

Try it.. I promise you'll be amazed. First do some internet research, then pack up the checkbook and go to the store. Plan to be there overnight. I'm exaggerating, but you'll be there a while, reading and learning, and becoming enlightened. And then, I'd be honored if you'd share your experience with me!

2 comments:

ShesAlwaysWrite said...

Amen sistah! My BFF and I are always lamenting the chemical laden absurdity of what passes for food these days. Thankfully our immediate family's dietary restrictions aren't as severe as yours (though my MIL's are), but I can easily spend 2 hours at the grocery store reading labels and putting things down in disgust.

I try really hard to cook as much fresh as possible (often from the local farm stand), but I own a business too so sometimes it's just not possible when I have to be gone for work events at night. And with Bear's limitations, all the time reading labels at the store can rarely happen.

Now we belong to an organic produce coop delivery for fresh, and belong to a buying group ordering with UNFI.com for stuff like canned and frozen organic, natural cleaning and toiletry options, etc. They have a pretty large selection of gluten, casein, and all the other 'free' products that many of our members order. You might want to take a look at UNFI.com, see if there's a coop available near you. It's wholesale ordering by the case, so it may be necessary to do it with a group (especially for dairy items with expiration dates - can't make it through a case soon enough). It's the only place I've found frozen organic grass fed ground beef. Really worth looking into.

frazzledmomma said...

I'll have to investigate! Case lots are not a problem for our family of nine, and I have written a little about case lots in "Bottles, bags, boxes, and cans". Thanks so much for the info!

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