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Monday, October 4, 2010

Jeff Tweedy, naturals products and my head is going to explode!

Kinda OK hair here, Mr. Tweedy
It is fairly safe to say, that I know more about Jeff Tweedy than green labeling, ingredients in products or natural certifications. I have often considered opening a twitter account just based solely on the fact that Jeff Tweedy has had ridiculous hair since he exited rehab for his pain killer addiction in 2004. Why do I know so much about Jeff Tweedy? I've been following his career since 1995 when I was handed Wilco's AM CD when the music director at the station I was interning for didn't want to air it (thank you Allison Steele). Oh and this beautiful thing called The Internet.

I've been struggling over understanding labels, certifications and ingredients for a month now. Last night, I almost had to take a xanax to get to sleep it was stressing me out so bad. Then I started thinking there had to be a way for me to make money and talk about Jeff Tweedy's hair. JUST KIDDING. Eventually, I fell asleep and when I woke up, I obsessed about it some more and some more. Then it hit me, why do I know so much about Jeff Tweedy? Well, I've been wasting my time over 15 YEARS reading* about him. It was then I decided that I needed to stop stressing about this and just start relaxing. 

I usually don't buy ice cream because I usually make a batch but I had put my ice cream maker away for the fall (usually only need it in the summer) and I was craving a scoop of vanilla on a fig galette I made. I ended up going with "naturally flavored" Tillamook which is an Oregon brand. As I was scooping it on my galette, I decided to take look at the ingredients and sure enough, I didn't pay close enough attention. It contained corn syrup and carrageenan (a Vaseline-like food additive and carcinogen). Going green FAIL.

The thing that ticks me off is how loosely the term "natural" is being used. At work today, I saw some hand lotion labeled "natural" on one of the nurses stations and I turned it around and noticed parabens, phthalates (artificial fragrance) and then acronyms like PEG-100 and a statement that said "only 70% of the ingredients used are natural." (note: this lotion was someone's personal lotion). How can a company consciously call a product like that natural?

My son loves vanilla wafers and graham crackers. Try finding one at your local grocery store that doesn't contain high fructose corn syrup. No joke, I spent 30 mins in the cookie aisle at Fred Meyer until I gave up and went to Whole Foods.

So where is a good place to start to learn about ingredients and labels? The EWG cosmetic database and the Bubble and Bee's blog have been a great resource for  learning about ingredients. I have come some way since starting this blog but I still don't quite understand some things. And this is where I need your help.

I'm not an expert on any of this and sometimes I'm not sure what to believe when I'm on the internet. I'm just learning and well, it's been a little frustrating seeing that my natural toothpaste also contains carrageenan.

Where do you go to learn about labels and ingredients? Who do you trust? Who do you not trust?

Hopefully, 15 years from now, I'll be able to say "I know more about natural products then I know about Jeff Tweedy."

*I just want to make this clear, my love of Jeff Tweedy has nothing to do with his looks but it would be nice if his hair was combed once in a while.

1 comment:

  1. You gotta remember that it's all about small changes over time, and not stress about the things that you haven't figured out yet. That's what Practiacally Green promotes, right? If your kid has a favorite snack that has HFCS - it's not the end of the world. Sometimes you have to "take a break" from making green changes and allow yourself to get comfortable with the things you've changed over the last 6 months. If you try to do it all at once, you're going to be overwhelmed and burned, out... right?

    Pick an area - beuty products, foods, paper products, recycling, etc and just focus on that for a while. Once those changes become second nature, then you'll be ready to tackle something else. We're still working on the food thing. I have a whole list of other things, I'd like to change, but I'm giving myself grace to tackle those things at another time.



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