We, as consumers, trust so many things to so many people! People we have yet to meet–people who govern, or sit on boards, or are simply the inventors of products–and of course, the people who set our own country’s standards at the FDA etc. People who may or may not have our good in mind when they sell us things–or may have their own greedy, and money-lusting endeavors in mind. I’m not hoping to do a broad generalization here, but I think it’s important to question it all when it comes to your own decisions and money.
I long for the old days. Yep–I long for sacred Amish crafting, creating, and building. Because when you build something yourself, when you’ve made it with your own two hands, all you have to trust is your own abilities–and you already know the process that went into crafting that particular item. You don’t have to think long about how you made a homemade pie, or worry that some stray ingredient somehow landed in there. Conversely, you DO have to think about the assembly line that put together your child’s crib–and whether that crib was sprayed with chemicals, dyes, preservatives, whatever… that could one day create an issue for your child’s developing and growing body. Scary, indeed, especially for a pregnant mama.
Why do we trust so much? I think the key to this question is convenience. We trust because its accessible. Kind of like gossip–if you heard the news yesterday, and you heard it from numerous sources, the story must be how it went down, right? Not always. I think the same is true for so many different things we buy–we figure, well, I can buy this here, and here.. and there. So it must be good. Or this line of thinking: Everyone else is buying this brand, or this kind, or whatever it is… so it must be the trusted way to do things. I like simple when it comes to what I’m buying. I want the thing to BE what it says it is. I like understandable. So when I go looking, I want to come to the facts pretty quickly–and I’m sometimes shocked when I analyze a “trusted” brand or “trusted” way of doing things… to discover the ingredients or process of creation are far less than appealing.
Let me dare you to do something, with me. Become a conscious consumer. Become aware–even though it isn’t the convenient thing. Think about how the cleaning/cooking/household products you buy impact the environment (when was the last time you heard about vinegar hurting wildlife? Or.. baking soda causing unnecessary deaths in China?), and in turn, how those products can impact your body and your childrens’ bodies. Are you educated about what you consume? Simple questions. But oh–such tough answers.
Here’s the ultimate dare: Take one product from your kitchen (oh, it could even be mac n’ cheese), then take one product from your bathroom (maybe your shampoo?), and lastly take one product from your basement or garage (wherever your store all of those tough-job manly items such as caulk, paint, car cleaners, etc.) and take it upon yourself to look through the list of ingredients. If you’re really brave, enter some of the longer “methy-alca-bla-bla-bla’s” that you can barely pronounce into your search engine and see what comes up. I doubt the answer will have you asking to have a platter served up of said ingredient once you learn what it really is. Anti-caking agents. Binding agents. Yuck, yuck, yuck.
The biggest problem I have with all of this is people who simply accept. “Well, they put it in there, so it must be there for something!” I’m all about holding big-money corporations to their promises–and to strict guidelines. Often, the only reason they put something in there is because it’s the CHEAP way to do it. And gain a huge return, monetarily, because of it. There have often been no longitudinal studies performed about so much of this (how the chemical additives, or simply cheap additives, in our food and other products affect our bodies long term)–why would you risk it if you have a proven, safe alternative in front of you? Wouldn’t it be so much nicer to simply avoid exposing yourself, and your loved ones, to chemicals if you could? You can. I can. It may take a little creative thinking, or a little time, or some energy, but you can. I’m committed. This isn’t just the crazy nature mama (which I also am, sometimes) speaking. It’s also just common sense, pure and simple. I only hope to think a little harder when smacking down some cash–”What am I really buying? Can I make this myself? Is this healthy?” Nobody is looking out for you, but You, on the consumer side of things.
If you’re looking for some good recipes to make your own products at home, I’ve gone searching and found a few cool recipes. Passionate Homemaking always has amazing stuff, check it out! http://www.passionatehomemaking.com.