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Conscious Consumer

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.”
Margaret Mead, Cultural Anthropologist, 1901-1978

Conscious consumerism is about shifting our spending habits to effect change in the marketplace. If we care about our health, our family's wellbeing and the environment, we need to change our patterns of consumption. Making conscious choices means buying wisely, consuming and wasting less, as well as thinking through the consequences of our purchases.

Navigating the Yogurt Aisle

Yogurt has long been considered a ‘health-food’. It can make a great dessert or mid-morning snack. It’s also easy to throw in your child’s lunch box. So it’s important to pick a yogurt that actually delivers on its promise. That can be challenging particularly when advertising claims don’t necessarily correspond with nutritional facts. The choices can be overwhelming but after a little investigation, you’ll quickly discover that not all brands are what they seem.

Pass The Salt

Campbell’s newly appointed CEO, Denise Morrison, announced recently that she had a new strategy to bring sales and taste back to their product. Her plan? Bump up the salt.

“For me it’s about stabilizing company sales first and then planning growth beyond that.” Morrison said at an annual investor meeting at the company's headquarters in Camden, New Jersey.

Now It's in the Blood

For all the empty promises the bioseed corporations have made to try and convince consumers that GMO food is safe, a study from University of Sherbrooke, in Quebec, Canada is perhaps the most telling.

Genetically modified crops include genes extracted from bacteria to make them resistant to pest attacks. The toxin is derived from a soil bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). Corporate scientists who engineer these bioseeds claim there is no danger to the environment or to human health maintaining that the Bt toxin poses no danger to human health as the protein breaks down in the human gut. But the presence of this toxin in human blood clearly demonstrates that this does not happen.

Summer, Your Lawn and Your Liver

Ahhh Summer. There's nothing like it. And, for those who like to putter in the garden during the long days of summertide, there's nothing finer than the gratification of a finely manicured lawn. Unfortunately cultivating that fine patch of green may be detrimental to your health.

Used in yards, farms and parks throughout the world, Roundup is the most widely used weed-killer in the world. Invented in 1976 by Monsanto, Roundup is a highly toxic herbicide.

Advertising Food

"...advertising directed toward children is inherently deceptive and exploits children under eight years of age."
The American Academy of Paediatrics

Canadian GE BioFoods

GE Crops Canada
It's been 15 years since genetically engineered biocrops and biofoods were first introduced into Canada without public debate. Today, over half of Canada’s corn and soy is genetically engineered(GE). The majority of canola grown in Canada is GE. The vast majority of GE biocrops are in used in processed food as ingredients such as corn starch, soy lecithin and canola oil. There is no law requiring the labelling of GE ingredients.

Palm Oil

Few food crops illustrate the problems in the global food chain as well as palm oil. Squeezed from the tree’s plum-size bright red fruit, oil palms are remarkably efficient producers of food. Only sugar cane produces more calories of human food per acre. But this globally traded agricultural commodity that is used in 50 percent of all consumer goods takes a great toll -- heart disease, rainforest destruction, threatened extinctions of animals, serious greenhouse emissions and human rights violations.

Mitsubishi Cornering World's Bluefin Tuna Market

Japan's sprawling Mitsubishi conglomerate has cornered a 40 per cent share of the world market in bluefin tuna, one of the world's most endangered fish.

A corporation within the £170bn ($26B USD) Mitsubishi empire is importing thousands of tonnes of the fish from Europe into Tokyo's premium fish markets, despite stocks plummeting towards extinction in the Mediterranean.

Good Food -- Getting Started

Who should you trust? Yourself. Where to start? Buying local is important. This is probably one of the most difficult steps, but by giving up your dependence on conventional supermarkets your options open up considerably. Limiting yourself to the organic section or natural foods section of your grocer is a great way to pay too much for your more wholesome food selections.

Do some research. These days there are tons of places to buy organic or natural foods. Besides the supermarkets, you can find them in health food stores, specialty stores, co-ops, gourmet delis, farmers' markets, community-supported agriculture programs, convenience stores and even vending machines. Have some fun exploring your community and beyond.

Pillars of Salt

As consumers, we have two distinct choices when we purchase salt. Unrefined and refined. Both are sea salt. Unrefined salt is 85% sodium chloride and 15% other essential minerals. Refined salt is 97.5% sodium chloride and 2.5% chemical additives.

Only 7% of refined salt goes for food; the other 93% goes to industry. Industry requires chemically pure sodium chloride for manufacturing explosives, chlorine gas, soda, fertilizers and plastics. In essence, you can consider the refined table salt you are ingesting as a production overrun.