I’m feeling a little outside-the-box tonight. Actually, the box was nothing but a cage in disguise anyway. No, I’m not thinking of lighting off a packet of Black Cats or anything like that. My own personal Tea Party (which has zero to do with the GOP or Fox News, in case you were fixin’ to ask) takes on a slightly more granola DIY vibe.
I know I mentioned I’d like to unchain myself from Whole Foods Market; often, you end up paying twice the price for some of the same questionable ingredients, except that they make a bigger deal of the natural ingredients they do contain, and they’re cloaked in a hipster “green”-looking branding scheme.
Pillar #1: DIY
Whole Foods Market is notorious for pretending to pander to the crunchy granola set. Make no mistake: they’re actually courting the ultra-hip zip code shameless-consumer set that drives a Hummer SUV and whose income hovers around six figures. Why do I suspect this?
Take a look, for example, at mosquito repellent. They’re happy to sell you watered-down pre-made stuff that may or may not work. If they truly catered to the granola crunchers among us, they’d post guides of how to use essential oils throughout your daily home activities, including the fact that citronella has established bug-repellent properties.
Another example: diapers. If Whole Foods crunched any real granola (or even trail mix, for that matter), they’d be pushing cloth diapers made of chlorine-free organic-cotton. And don’t get me started on the pre-packaged organic-yet-still-processed convenience foods that make vending machines look like bargains.
This small-potatoes demonstration of commercial disobedience has motivated me to seek alternatives to the pre-packaged products and opt instead for the DIY mode. Simple Google search strings reveal blogs-a-plenty that go to great lengths to show you how easy-as-1-2-3 it is to make your own household products (such as detergents, disinfectants, sprays, etc), dehydrate your own kale chips and dried fruit snacks, soak/sprout your own nuts/seeds, and build your own Paleo pizza crusts.
Pillar #2: Local
Whole Foods Market has also allegedly made a big show of carrying “local produce” that wasn’t exactly local. Farmers whose pictures WFM displays on its list of sources they claim to buy have actually stepped forward to say they’ve never done business with WFM, neither currently nor in the past.
Regardless, buying produce from Whole Foods (or any such supermarket) means a middleman is always in the picture, taking its cut. Sure, a grocery store means convenience, variety, and reliability of supply, but for those wishing to direct their financial support directly to those who provide the goods in the first place, farmer’s markets can be a better option. Many of these are held on a regular basis. Some of these markets’ larger regular vendors/participants have their own websites from which you can buy directly from them.
In many cultures, it’s a given that you personally know and have a relationship with those who supply you with your food. This anonymous grocery store-centered setup is bass-ackwards to them, and rightfully so. When it comes to something as crucial as your food, it’s ideal that the anonymity be dissolved and a personal relationship be at stake. This keeps the providers in check and not beholden to stockholders. And it supports the local economy as well.
Pillar #3: Expanding Dietary Horizons
Duran Duran reminded us to “dilate your mind” in their song “Too Much Information“, and I took that rally to heart, applying it in various ways throughout my life. It’s boring to eat the same things over and over again. It’s also risky in terms of optimum health, because eating the same things creates nutritional deficiencies, nutritional excesses, and possible development of food intolerance/hypersensitivity reactions.
A wider rotation that encompasses a much more expanded dietary variety, however, can go a long way in preventing those problems. Just this month, we conquered some of the less popular foods like cabbage and Brussels sprouts. Up next is spaghetti using spaghetti squash, and hopefully soon, organ meats (yikes!)
Time to let go of the chains of pre-packaged goodness and chemical conveniences. Time to venture away from the sanctuary of the Utopian upper-demographic health food stores. Time to support the local economy made up of the Little Guys who grow good food on a first-name basis. Time to eat something besides the same five dishes. Time to invest in binders and page protectors for yet another endeavor: recipes and how-to instructions.