As I grow older, I find myself increasingly pissed off with the effects of globalisation. It appears to equate with land grab, money grab, law of the jungle, scary monopolies (think Monsanto), and the poisoning of both the planet and us. And that's just for starters.
As a result, I have decided to act with my credit card in my own small way. The cost of organic food has come down so I now do nearly all my food shopping in a local organic supermarket and buy mainly local, seasonal fruit and veg. Most of the best nutrients are to be found in the skin of fruit and veg, it's a shame that with non-organic produce you have to peel it because that is where the concentration of pesticides and other toxic chemicals is highest.
You can no longer rely on some labels such as country of origin. I saw that a Chinese company bought a Provençal tomato factory that made tomato purée. The tomatoes are grown in China where there are few regulations (and we all know how reliable the Chinese are when it comes to food safety), transformed by a factory nearby, then shipped to France where the purée is conditioned in pots. It's labelled Produce of France but is about as French as Peking duck.
For meat, I've decided we should eat less but better quality. No more supermarket meat from animals kept in horrific conditions god knows where, and slaughtered god knows how. I go to the village butcher who can tell me where and how the animals were reared, and that they were slaughtered humanely. When we don't eat meat, I try and create vegetarian meals that appeal to my carnivorous sons. They moan about the lack of meat, but eat up anyway because they are actually pretty tasty!
I'm fed up with industrialists taking the piss, endangering our health and the environment for profit and power. Fuck 'em.
Bleach is an environmental and health bugger. I didn't use much before, but I've now stopped buying it totally because there really is no need. We don't need to live in a sterilised home and become prey to the slightest bug. Even my stained white sink can be whitened with lemon juice.
The other day my stock of Carrouf eco dishwasher tabs had run out. Should I buy more or make my own? I decided to test out a recipe I found here on the internet to make either a powder or tablets. I got a large preserving jar and poured in the washing soda, citric acid, baking soda, and sea salt. Muggins here used 'dirty' salt which, I realised once it was too late, has a high humidity content.
The ingredients reacted to the water and bubbled up. It was terribly impressive, a bit like a white lava flow as it poured out over the top of the jar. I had to keep prodding it back to stop it taking over the sink. Eventually it calmed down and I was able to shovel it into ice cube trays, leave it to dry and then shake them out and store in a jar.
They work really well. Used with white vinegar as a rinsing agent, they are just as effective as anything else, and do not harm the water system.
When my current eco house cleaner runs out I'll make my own (p.21), and washing up liquid too.
Not only is less money going to the Big Guys, but DIY products costs much less to make than buying the commercial stuff. Less for them, more for me = win-win!
I'm impressed Sarah. Inspired as well. I've been worried about all the crap I (and this household) consume - and trying to make little changes. I think some bigger changes are called for... Thanks for this...ReplyDelete
It feels really good to stick one middle finger up at the companies that want us to consume crap and fill our homes with toxic chemicals. We will not be poisoned! Good luck with the changes. :)Delete
You had me at "fuck". Its funny here how excited people are about British clothing stores selling their stuff in the US (L>K>BENNETT!!!) and in the UK very excited about the opening of US stores, but really its just more...stuff...ReplyDelete
Yes, we are exhorted to buy ever more stuff! I got rid of a lot of mine when I got divorced and have not really replaced it. Stuff needs maintaining, dusting, washing etc. It enslaves us!Delete
Funny too about the health thing. My friend's kids who eat rubbish all day long asked her if their cookies were Gluten free. They also eat red vines all day which have on the label 'Fat free"Delete
Frighten them with this link :)Delete
These foods probably make up 90% of their intake!
Haha!! will do. The funny thing is the friend is studying nutrition, think it might be just a holding phase! Globalisation issues raised in the movie Captain Phillips which was tragic. Somali fisherman turned to pirates after all their seas fished out. True story. Very sad.Delete
Leo read about a batch of 'eco' blueberry jam supposedly from Italy which was tested in Japan.ReplyDelete
It turned out to be over the top in caesium and was traced to Bulgaria.
It strikes me that the EU is a leaky sieve for any rubbish to be fed to us - with all the paperwork and regulations as whitewash to keep small guys out of the market.
Good for you making your own cleaners....I use vinegar and lemon juice a lot - and they work.
Goodness, glad I make my own jam now even if it is a tad runny... :)Delete
Once you have a stock of the basic products, it's amazing how much cleaning you can get done. I use soap nuts too. A bag lasts 12 months!
Bloody well said, Sarah. You speak for so many of us.ReplyDelete
I buy almost no processed foods, apart from cheese, and replaced fabric conditioner and dishwasher rinse with vinegar about six months ago - they work brilliantly. I'm going to try the DIY washing powder too.
For household cleaning, the microfibre e-cloths do a great job just with water, no need for nasty chemicals. Also I put lemon halves in the dishwasher after I've squeezed out the juice; they make everything come out squeaky clean.
Talking with friends the other night, we all agreed that you cannot trust the labels on anything any more. "Pure beef" that turned out to be horsemeat was the tip of the iceberg. It seems that anybody can stick anything on a tin or packet, but it means nothing. I won't buy anything containing palm oil,or anything containing unspecified "vegetable oils."
Keep up the good fight! We're behind you.
The government is working to make it harder for the ordinary man to produce his own food.Delete
"On peut ainsi voir que cette nouvelle invention fiscale du gouvernement dévoile un autre objectif tout aussi préoccupant : la fin de la possibilité d’indépendance alimentaire des Français."
Agree with you right down the line! I use white vinegar for most of the cleaning (the rare times I do it, that is), and no longer buy fish, meat or veg in supermarkets - it's local producers or nowt. I get a lot more out of buying at the local market than I do from being yelled at by the surly cow at Intermarché.ReplyDelete
Our local market is rubbish and has no organic veg. I don't see the point of paying the cost of organic if it isn't organic! We have a really posh greengrocer in the village. Lovely fruit and veg, but costs a fortune and you still have to peel everything!Delete
We're fortunate to have local butchers who even tell you which farm the meat has come from. I buy virtually no processed foods, though have never yet tried to make my own cleaning products. You've inspired me and i shall have a go.....ReplyDelete
Go for it, Perpetua! :)Delete
I had a nice chat with my butcher yesterday about the origin of the turkeys they sell as I bought some turkey breasts. They had been running around the fields of Lozère apparently. :)
I've been using our local butcher regularly over the last few years and we've just had a new farm shop open by a farmer who has his own sheep and beef cattle. Huge difference to my shopping. Using the supermarkets far less. I could do with being more eco-friendly in the house though - may try some of your ideas.ReplyDelete
Many household products contain nitrogen, phosphorus and ammonia which are not removed by waste treatment processes. "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency names phosphorus, nitrogen, ammonia and chemicals grouped under the term "Volatile Organic Compounds" as the worst environmental hazards in household cleaners."Delete
I don't do as much shopping in Carrouf as I did, but I still buy stuff like loo rolls there, so I have to go there, then to the organic supermarket and then to the butchers instead of doing all my shopping in one place. It takes up much more time to shop like this which I can only do because the boys are bigger and aren't as time-consuming. :)
I think that buying local products make more sense. As for doing my own tablets, well, I am not there yet...ReplyDelete
You don't need to make tablets, just use dry salt and you'll can make dishwasher powder. Takes a few minutes! :) One tablespoon scoop in the dishwasher and Bob's yer uncle! :)Delete
This is great! You should check and see if you have one of these farm co-ops in your area: http://www.laruchequiditoui.fr/. It's amazing -- the farmers are the ones who load your orders into the car once a week, so you get the chance to talk to them about their work, the products & everything. I am a vegetarian but live with meat eaters, and I have no problem buying meat from a guy who can tell me exactly (to the minute!) when it was slaughtered and what it was fed. If they've got to eat meat, then they might as well be eating the good stuff (but less of it, as you said).ReplyDelete
I haven't tried the DIY cleaning products yet but might give it a go -- we can't seem to get a load of dishes clean and we're all sensitive to most detergents.
Thanks for the info abut La Ruche, Amber. I just looked and I have one in a village nearby, but I can't get any information about them on the site. If they have organic produce I'll be interested, but if not, I'll carry on going to BioCoop.Delete
I hope the dishwasher powder/tablets work for you. You can change the recipe to suit your water hardness. It's probably best to use dry salt and make the powder which you can adapt as you go along.
I know that ours has organic produce. It depends what kinds of producers are within where you live, but I would be shocked if there wasn't at least one.Delete
I use washing up liquid to clean the cooker (it's designed to cut through grease and works a treat) and it's also a brilliant stain remover on clothes, especially grease spots. Just dab it on, rub a bit and bung in the machine.ReplyDelete
Vinegar for descaling the kettke and coffee machine and cleaning the windows.
Bicarb for most other cleaning jobs.
And those microfibre cloths are brilliant.
The one bio thing that isn't so good sadly, at least not around here, is bio wine. It simply doesn't have the depth of flavour that traditionally made wine has.
I can find a nice bio St Chinian wine, €7.10 for 3litres! What a bargain. It's pretty tasty and meaty too. Domaine de Bugadelle, or something.Delete
Sorry if this appears twice - Blogger's playing up. Donlt know if you heard about the meat scandal over here recently when halal meat was found to contain pork and many other products turned out to have horse meat in them. I know the French eat horse, but the Brits are mighty squeamish about it and the provenance of it was unknown, although I think some was traced back to Eastern Europe (what a surprise). It's all about money - "them" trying to squeeze as much as they possibly can out of us, sadly.ReplyDelete
Oh yes, I remember that scandal. I don't buy ready meals or ready-made burgers, but I stopped buying supermarket made mince just after that. I now get it from the butcher's and she does it in front of me.Delete
As usual, it's all about money, you're right. Money and power are at the heart of most examples of consumer abuse.
Wow! I'm thoroughly impressed. We use bleach to get rid of the awful smell coming from our sinks and toilets. Nothing else works.ReplyDelete
As for organic veggies and meats, they're almost as expensive as a tank of gas. Really. We purchase locally too, and try and avoid the big chain brand stores when possible.
I admire your effort and I wish more people would do the same.
Hi DD, I don't suppose the Middle East is much interested in organic. You just have to do what fits where you are.Delete
Only I oil.Delete
Oops, I meant to say only in oil....Delete