Friday, July 1, 2011

It's a smelly world

For about the last 2 year I have tried really hard to live a clean life, eat clean, keep a clean and environment friendly home and yard. During this time I have experimented with a few different cosmetics like deodorants, shampoos, soaps, laundry and dish soaps. I had a successful soap making experience a few winters ago and have been able to use my own soap for showering, I do use it for my hair during the week when I am working but I find it doesn't leave my hair very soft and manageable at all and after awhile it tends to look a bit stringy even after using a conditioner of lemon juice and vinegar. So I bought a bottle of rather expensive clean shampoo at a health food store a year ago and use it o n the weekends, that seems to balance it out. During the week I am rarely social, the only place I go is work so I really don't care how my hair looks. On the weekend I clean up and put on my "good" clothes, even though I am still not overly social but I prefer my hair to not feel and look like I have a burnt hay bale on my head. This morning I ran out of "weekend shampoo" so I rummaged through my sink cabinet and found an old bottle of "unclean" shampoo (also found many other things, I need to rip that cabinet out) so I used it and I was overwhelmed at the smell in the shower and have been able to smell it all day. It was just plain shampoo, no fancy scent like Herbal Essence Passion blast or explosive fruit bomb or anything like that, just normal shampoo. (supposedly not scented) When you stop layering all kinds of scents everyday you tend to be more sensitive to the scents out there, I am often overwhelmed at other people's smells as they go by. It seems the whole world is over scented. I smell it all now, it may just be a deodorant or a scented body lotion, perfume and aftershave is almost intolerable to me now, I almost have to stop breathing when someone walks by me leaving behind a wiff of that. Yet I can clearly remember having a bath with a scented bath oil and washing with a scented body wash, maybe even using a scented body scrub (how dirty was I anyway back then) and then the scented shampoo and conditioner, once out of the shower using a scented body lotion and then a deodorant and the make up and finally ending with a good dousing of perfume...yikes,how people didn't fall over in my wake is beyond me. At the time I obviously didn't smell all that. Now I smell it all, I smell toxic cleaners in people's homes , I smell fabric softeners and laundry soaps. I never used to notice any of these things which just shows how we slowly become everything, television, the media, food addictions, money, greed, the language around us. It happens so slowly that we don't realize it. Monster size changes can happen in our lives but if they happen slowly enough we don't even notice. Things in our environment can happen and we don't notice....or do we? Are we noticing now that we are running out of oil? Or will there have to be no oil before we notice it, like I had to go to no scents before I even noticed them? Monumental things happen ever so slowly, things like Monsanto and Genetically modified food. We slowly got used to our food being modified and changed to something that isn't food anymore. Not only did we get used to it slowly we are even liking it and are demanding it....yup. We want bigger strawberries in the grocery store in December and we don't care          how they get that way, we want cheap meat and we don't care what's in it. We have compromised taste, quality and health for convenience, aesthetics, quantity and affordability, and we didn't even notice what we compromised. I seems to me that you could fool us North Americans into almost anything if you did it slowly dangerous is that?
I once heard a story of a pastor in in a very staunch and rigid church in Europe somewhere that wanted to move the church piano from the left side of the stage to the right (have no idea why) but he knew the congregation would not except such a huge change so he moved it over 1 inch every week until it was on the the other side and no one noticed.
Are you slowly being moved? I know I've been, and I am trying to make my way back, by wearing a burnt hay bale on my head ........ only during the week.
Check out The Story of Cosmetics. The Story of Stuff is good too. I love these videos, they are made so that all of us can understand them.

Here is a story on that shows what can happen when we don't pay attention and compromise way too much. I'm using the word compromise because I just can't seem to find a word that explains what we have done to end up here. If you have a better word let me know.

Check out what happened to the tomato while we were sleeping, or being too busy developing new perfumes.

How Industrial Farming 'Destroyed' The Tasty Tomato

Florida workers harvest what they can from the DiMare Farms tomato fields, a month after the January 2010 freeze that caused a statewide crop shortage.
EnlargeJoe Raedle/Getty Images
Florida workers harvest what they can from the DiMare Farms tomato fields, a month after the January 2010 freeze that caused a statewide crop shortage.
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June 28, 2011
If you bite into a tomato between the months of October and June, chances are that tomato came from Florida. The Sunshine State accounts for one-third of all fresh tomatoes produced in the United States — and virtually all of the tomatoes raised during the fall and winter seasons.
But the tomatoes grown in Florida differ dramatically from the red garden varieties you might grow in your backyard. They're bred to be perfectly formed — so that they can make their way across the U.S. and onto your dinner table without cracking or breaking.
"For the last 50 or more years, tomato breeders have concentrated essentially on one thing and that is yield — they want plants that yield as many or as much as possible," writer Barry Estabrook tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "They also want those fruits to be able to stand up to being harvested, packed, artificially turned orange [with ethylene gas] and then shipped away and still be holding together in the supermarket a week or 10 days later."
Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit
By Barry Estabrook
Hardcover, 240 pages
Andrews McMeel Publishing
List Price: $19.99
Read An Excerpt
Estabrook, a freelance food writer whose work has appeared in The AtlanticThe New York Times and The Washington Post, looks at the life of today's mass-produced tomato — and the environmental and human costs of the tomato industry — in his book Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit. The book was based on a James Beard Award-winning article that originally appeared in Gourmet magazine, where Estabrook was a contributing editor before publication ceased in 2009.
Estabrook says the mass-produced tomatoes in today's supermarkets lack flavor because they were bred for enduring long journeys to the supermarket — and not for taste.
"As one large Florida farmer said, 'I don't get paid a single cent for flavor,' " says Estabrook. "He said, 'I get paid for weight. And I don't know of any supermarket shopper who tastes her tomatoes before she puts them in her shopping cart.' ... It's not worth commercial plant breeders' while to breed for taste because their customers — the large farmers — don't get paid for it."
As a result, customers have become accustomed to the flavorless tomatoes that dot supermarket shelves, says Estabrook.
"I was speaking to a person in their 30s recently and she said she had never recalled tasting anything other than a supermarket tomato," he says. "I think that wanting a tomato in the winter of winter — or wanting a little bit of orange on the plate ... is inherent in a lot of our shopping decisions. We expect an ingredient to be on the supermarket shelves 365 days a year, whether or whether not it's in season or tastes any good."
Let's Call The Whole Thing Off?
Though most of our tomatoes come from Florida, the state isn't necessarily the best place to grow the crop, says Estabrook. Most tomatoes are grown in sand, which contains few nutrients and organic materials. In addition, Florida's humidity breeds large populations of insects, which means tomato growers need to apply chemical pesticides on a weekly basis.
Barry Estabrook is a former contributing editor at Gourmet magazine. He currently blogs at
Trent Campbell
Barry Estabrook is a former contributing editor atGourmet magazine. He currently blogs
"In order to get a successful crop of tomatoes, the official Florida handbook for tomato growers lists 110 different fungicides, pesticides and herbicides that can be applied to a tomato field over the course of the growing season," he says. "And many of those are what the Pesticide Action Network calls 'bad actors' — they're kind of the worst of the worst in the agricultural chemical arsenal."
Florida applies more than eight times the amount of pesticide and herbicides as does California, the next leading tomato grower in the country. Part of this has to do with the fact that California processes tomatoes that are used for canning — and therefore don't have to look as good as their Florida counterparts. But part of this also has to do with consumers.
"It's the price we pay for insisting we have food out of season and not local," he says. "We foodies and people in the sustainable food movement chant these mantras, 'local, seasonable, organic, fair-trade, sustainable,' and they almost become meaningless because they're said so often and you see them in so many places. If you strip all those away, they do mean something, and what they mean is that you end up with something like a Florida tomato in the winter — which is tasteless."

Interview Highlights

On tomato nutrition today versus 40 years ago
"My mother, in the '60s could buy a tomato in the supermarket that had 30 to 40 percent more vitamin C and way more niacin and calcium. The only area that the modern industrial tomato beats its Kennedy-administration counterpart is in sodium."
On working conditions on tomato farms
"Of the legal jobs available, picking tomatoes is at the very bottom of the economic ladder. I came into this book chronicling a case of slavery in southwestern Florida that came to light in 2007 and 2008. And it was shocking. I'm not talking about near-slavery or slavery-like conditions. I'm talking about abject slavery. These were people who were bought and sold. These were people who were shackled in chains at night or locked in the back of produce trucks with no sanitary facilities all night.
"These were people who were forced to work whether they wanted to or not and if they didn't, they were beaten severely. If they tried to escape, they were either beaten worse or in some cases, they were killed. And they received little or no pay. It sounds like 1850. ... There have been seven [legal cases] in the last 10 or 15 years ... successfully brought to justice in Florida involving slavery. And 1,200 people have been freed. The U.S. Attorney for the district in Southern Florida claims that that just represents a tiny, tiny tip of an iceberg because it's extraordinarily difficult to prosecute a modern-day slavery case."
On undocumented workers
"I've seen estimates that nationally, 70 percent of the low-ranking farm workers are undocumented people from southern Mexico and Central America. These people arrive in this country — they're often shipped here from their home villages — and they arrive in a land where they certainly don't speak English. Many of them don't speak Spanish because they're indigenous so they're more comfortable in these indigenous languages.
"They're stuck in the middle of the Everglades in some trailer camp. They don't know where they are. They're frightened to go to the police because they're here illegally and also because back home, the police are often thugs and you don't want to go to them anyway. So they're completely vulnerable. They don't want to make any noise — they just want to work, make a bit of money and that leaves them totally vulnerable."
On how the Florida tomato industry is improving working conditions
"There's a group called the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) that's named after a small city in Florida. And the CIW is this loose, grass-roots collection of people who've been working, really since 1993, to improve labor conditions. The growers had steadfastly refused to as much as speak to these people until last November when the growers came forward and said 'OK, we will sign off on what's called the fair food agreement,' which gives the workers the right to get an extra penny per pound of tomatoes they pick. They're paid on a piece basis. A penny a pound — big deal. But that's the difference between making $40-$50 a day and $70-$80 a day for a tomato worker — the difference between barely able to feed your family, if that, to a crummy, but OK wage. In addition to that, there's such radical concepts as time clocks in the fields ... the requirement that they put up tarpaulins so there can be a shady area in these fields where people can have lunch and other breaks, which is also a new concept."

A little disclaimer here; I mention every once in awhile that I work at a golf course during the summer, before you jump on me about golf courses being an abomination to the environment let me defend myself by saying that I try to live as clean and environment friendly in my home and yard as I can to atone for my environmental sins at work. I guess I hope it buys me some environmental brownie points. Plus, the course I work at will not be visited by Tiger Woods anytime soon and will never be on TV (unless Tiger does come of course) and so we do not have the money for all the expensive chemicals that makes courses on TV looks so pristine and perfect. We actually have dandelions...plenty of them , should really start making dandelion wine.

1 comment:

Contessa said...

Don't wear makeup but I do use shampoo & conditioner but as natural as possible. I do grow tomatoes here but in Mazatlan we just buy them and they are so yummy.