Monday, December 3, 2007

Easy being green? I don't think so... #5

As we approach the darkest day of winter, I think it's important to recognize the darker more frustrating side of going green.

Let's take grocery shopping, for example:
Let me first explain my personal shopping strategy. Foremost, shop without the kids! I love them like crazy, but I get tired of fending off the pull of the mass-marketing vortex. We got burned by that last time when in a weak moment I bought Raisin Bran cereal, stupidly thinking my son would eat it after a long talk about the fact that just because Jack Sparrow is on the cover doesn't mean it tastes good! He ate nary a bite, mate.

Not to mention that with the way I'm reading labels these days -- scanning for high-fructose corn syrup (a word elevated to profanity in our house), the packaging (plastics 1 or 2, please), and checking from when it's been shipped (from North America would be nice) -- it takes me more than an hour to shop and by then the kids are slugging each other!

My secondary strategies: I won't gas guzzle around shopping at five different grocers. I try to keep it to two stores, max. twice a week (drive less); I make a menu; and I buy local and organic when possible.

But I drove away feeling the dark side of trying to "eat green" after my venture to Whole Foods Grocer, which many people believe has the largest selection of "local" foods.

I couldn't find a single Virginia apple in there.

So I lowered my expectations to this side of the coast. No can do. I would say 90% of the vegetables were shipped from California.

Now I need eggs - but my head again starts spinning because I recently learned that "free-range" doesn't mean that the chickens get to roam just anywhere they want. You want the "pastured" variety. Nothing with that label, so I opt for the free-range with the highest Omega 3's.

Next, I roam the canned-food isle looking for chicken broth and I notice the majority of the broths and soups come in Tetra-paks which I just learned are non-recycleable except in England. My husband would probably believe it if I saved the tetra-pak for recycling during his next trip there, but...alas, I buy the aluminum cans instead.

It's enough to make someone crazy!

But I've got to remember this: I'm aware and I'm trying. And I'm trusting that this tide that is turning as we speak, will one day succeed in making healthy choices for me, my kids, and the environment a lot easier. And it's not about being a "Perfect Pollyanna" it's about being a "Better Betty"!


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