Tag Archives: food

worst Quaker product I’ve ever put in my mouth

This past Friday and Saturday was the health and fitness expo for the Seattle Marathon.  I had to go to pick up my race packet.  The expo was crowded and overwhelming.  It was hard to tell who was selling and who was giving away and how much of your personal information you had to give out in return for the freebies.  So I didn’t spend long there.  Anyway, Monday morning after the race I decided to sample the free snacks included in my race packet.  Now I am quite the fan of the caramel-flavored Quaker Rice Cakes, so Quaker Mini Delights Caramel Drizzle didn’t sound like much of a stretch.  I ate one of the little nickel-sized snacks and oh it was terrible!  I thought maybe I just need to get used to the flavor, so I waited a minute and ate another.  Nope, they are officially “the worst Quaker product I have ever put in my mouth.”  Possibly the worst sweet snack food I have ever tried.

On the other hand, my race packet also contained a bag of Corazonas Heart Healthy All-Natural Potato Chips.  40% less fat than regular potato chips and tasted just as wonderful.

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An epic lack of foresight

Because our country didn’t seriously pursue alternative energy sooner:

We are facing global warming and poor air quality.

We are dangerously entangled with the Middle East.

The Pentagon needs a bigger budget. For example, a Stealth Bomber gets 0.7 miles per gallon.

Fuel prices for airlines are also out of control, and they are taking a number of measures to compensate. They’ve started charging for every little extra: the snacks onboard, checking your luggage, headphones for the movie. My ticket for going from Seattle to St. Louis at Christmas this year cost 20% more than last year’s and I bought it months in advance. American Airlines is cutting many of it regional flights on the American Eagle network. American is also asking flight attendants to go on voluntary unpaid leaves to avoid having to make layoffs.

Home health care workers aren’t getting reimbursed for their driving expenses at a high enough rate, so many are reconsidering their careers to go to work in hospitals and other facilities closer to their homes. As a result it will be harder for the sick and elderly to stay in their own homes.

Food prices are rising because fuel is required for planting, harvesting, and distributing food. Other consumer products will probably follow.

NPR talked to a homeowner in the Northeast who will probably give up her home because she can’t afford her mortgage payments plus the cost of heating oil this winter.

The sudden, intense demand for biofuels is reducing the price difference between organic and conventionally-grown crops. Since raising organics doesn’t produce such a premium for farmers anymore they are switching back to the conventional methods of growing to have a bigger yield and sell to biofuel refiners. This is shortening the supply of organic food choices, which I believe is healthier for our bodies and the environment.

Lots of businesses, not just the ones I mentioned above, are suffering by uncontrollable fuel costs, so they’re cutting what they can cut: labor costs. And anytime that workers are being paid less, they spend less, which is no good in America where consumer spending makes up 1/3 of the entire economy.

I’ve lost my faith in the forces of the market. It’s true that now that gas is four and a half dollars a gallon people are driving less and getting more fuel efficient cars, but it’s pretty much too late for Detroit’s Big 3. I heard yesterday that of the three, Chrysler is likely to fail. There’s a lag in research and development. Truck and SUV plants are closing down, because they’re not ready to turn them into factories for plug-in hybrids just yet. Only a few months ago, I heard an industry representative insist that powerful cars like the Ford truck series and the Dodge Magnum are “what Americans want.” Gas prices are proving that there’s a difference between what Americans want and what they can afford to have. Why didn’t Detroit see it coming?

On the bright side:

Rising fuel costs are finally forcing conservation and innovation. And hopefully rising food prices could help out our obese population. Too bad the cheapest foods are the most processed…

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Progress? example #2

I have been thinking about this idea for a while, but then I heard author Paul Roberts (The End of Food) on KOUW and he said exactly what I’ve been thinking. Is our industrialized food system really progress?

On one hand, we have to be happy that not everyone has to participate in subsistence-agriculture to survive, so that people can follow other pursuits in their lives. But do we really have to go so far that an E. coli outbreak on lettuce produces a nationwide recall? Almost 400 have gotten salmonella from tomatoes and the FDA still doesn’t know where they came from.

Crop rotation probably started in Roman times and has been refined through the centuries, until the Green Revolution of the 1940s-60s. Many farmers left crop rotation behind for monoculture, which led to higher yields but also an increase in the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides and a loss of biodiversity, among other problems.
In the U.S., cheap grains have led to obesity and sensitivities to soy and gluten due to overexposure. I could go on and on about this… I haven’t even mentioned the factory farming of animals.

I’m not an expert but I can think of a few ideas to solve these problems. If the government is going to give farming subsidies, maybe they should be for making healthier foods like fruits and vegetables more affordable rather than grains. Buying locally is an obvious way to cut down on the carbon footprint of eating, and also a way to be able to more quickly identify the origins of tainted foods. Animals raised for food on grass rather than grain live in more humane conditions and their meat is leaner.

There’s more problems and more solutions, but I’m done for now.

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