I get a number of crazy newsletters -- not surprising, since I'm more than just a bit odd. I get the usual homeschooling newsletters, Christian women encouraging each other newsletters, tree hugger newsletters and, of course, Healthy Living newsletters. This article was in the latter of these categories.
I receive a weekly (actually far more frequent than weekly) newsletter from Dr. Mercola. I'm not really certain exactly who Dr. Mercola is, but a friend recommended him and as far as my research has shown, what he says is on the money. Today I received one of his newsletters and the second article was entitled: "New Stealth Chemicals Hidden in Your Food" This caught my eye and, skipping over the first article on B12 absorption, and noting the third article on how to stop men from missing the toilet, I headed straight to find out just what is hidden in our foods... more MSG? Sodium labeled as something else??? Perhaps some GMO veggies/grains or cloned animal products... No -- this was even beyond my wildest imagination -- I can't imagine WHO thinks this stuff up, but I sure wish they'd stop!
It appears that some company (innocuously named "Senomyx") has developed some chemicals that, as I understand it, block, excite or otherwise confuse your taste buds so that things don't taste like what they're made of. This is being used to allow food to have less sodium, sugar, etc. but still seem like it tastes good... So, the food you eat can be made of, I supposed, virtually anything and it will taste good to you! And the best part is --- drum roll, please -- they don't have to list the chemical as anything more than "Artificial Flavoring." AND -- they didn't have to do much testing on the safety of the chemical, because it only take a tiny bit of it to be effective! WHAT?? Now we can't even rely on our taste buds to help us discern whether food is edible?
Well, needless to say, I checked good ol' Dr. Mercola out -- I mean, come on, certainly the FDA tests this stuff -- maybe Dr. Mercola is being alarmist. No, this is exactly what's happening... and here's how Senomyx couches it, (quoting from their Website as of April 29, 2008)
Senomyx is using proprietary taste receptor-based assays and screening technologies to discover and develop novel flavors, flavor enhancers and taste modulators for the food, beverage and ingredients industries.Taste modulators?????
I don't know about you -- but this just sort of freaks me out! I guess it's just that this is on top of all of the unlabeled genetically modified grains that we get, the unlabeled cloned meat that is coming (ok, to be "fair" they probably won't sell actually cloned cows, but progeny of cloned cows...ewwwww) which is on top of the hormones, antibiotics and other chemicals they inject into our meats and the saline, dyes and other solutions the "butchers" at the grocery chains pump into the meats to make them look good. Not to mention the fact that virtually everything we eat is now made substantially of corn... because it's either actually made of corn, enhanced with corn syrup or fed corn. And, this all on top of the (alarmist, but possibly true) reports that surmise that mad cow disease is rampant and that virtually ALL beef world-wide is infected hereditarily and that this could be linked to Alzheimer's....
What's an eater to do???
Well, we've already gone almost totally organic. We've stopped shopping at the local "regular" grocery store and started shopping at Whole Foods, which isn't perfect, but it's better. We've planted a larger garden than we ever imagined and we'll eat off of that as much as we can. We buy organic grains (wheat, kamut, rice, oats, etc.) in bulk from a local, trusted supplier and we make our own bread. We buy raw "Pet" milk (more later about raw milk -- don't get me started!) from a dairy with grass-fed cows and we've been looking into splitting a grass-fed cow (for meat) with some friends. The only thing left is to move to a farm and raise all of my own stuff... but I'm not sure this city girl is quite ready for milking cows and swiping eggs from angry hens.
In the meantime, I'll just keep reading my weirdo newsletters and getting myself worked up and making whatever changes I can to what we eat, drink, breathe and put on our skin. And, I suppose I'll pray. That's probably the best protection from all of this insanity.
If you want more info on any of this, here are some links:
Dr. Mercola's Site
The Article Referred To Above
Article About How Keep Men From Missing the Toilet
"The only thing that interferes with my education is my schooling" -- Albert Einstein