Category Archives: Organicanize

Four who make the sun rise for me

I had to take a bit of reprieve from posting as of late, while I dug deep into other work, some of it social change development and some of it artistic development. But over the last few days, I’ve tried to sit back a moment and let my mind run where it wants to run.

It takes less than a second to land on four people who leave me breathless with gratitude.

My kids, of course. In that way, I’m the biggest of cliches. All parents think their children are one rung below the sun.

Still, I can’t help but think mine really are.

I feel like my life’s top pursuit is like this guy in the photo above: I’m going down the tracks of life, camera in hand, capturing what they do. Then in quiet moments I flip through the images and live them all over again.

Again, this is Captain Obvious stuff, right? Dad loves kids, film at 11. No breaking news here. But, when I do take the time to flip through the images of our lives together I feel again how they inspire me. And I miss them. They are my best friends. I can never have them around too much, even when they annoy the hell out of me (actually, we all know its more the other way around).

I silently cheer when my son almost convinces me to take the Libertarians seriously this election (almost… but, no…) and then backs that up with a remarkable post about a homeless lady and dog. I recall memory after memory where his huge heart shows through.

I swell when I think of my oldest asking me for connections to volunteer in her new community before she seeks a job. I recall the mountain of memories where she’s reached out to help others, including all of us in her family.

I connect back to a recent time when my “favorite” daughter (as she calls herself) recites vows to her new stepchildren on her wedding day, and I tear up again for the 17th (and counting time).

I glance again at The Youngest One, who is so determined to meld classiness, art and impact into a career path that won’t be easy, but I know… I know… will be thrilling and important and delightful and I couldn’t want anything more for her. Screw the backup plan, I whisper again. Life your life.

My kids may fly close to the sun in my eyes, but they are nowhere close to perfect, which relieves me. I see them for who they are, not characters I want them to be, and I admire them all the more. They have rough edges (as their incredible spouses can lovingly attest) and dichotomies and some ugly traits too, because, after all, they are my kids. I see my fingerprints on them and wince.

But when you stare at the beauty of the sun you don’t fret too much about the edges. They will figure all that out. That’s not my job.

My job is to cheer them on and enjoy my place in the audience of their lives.

I love my job.

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The Sting: Californians give water to billion dollar companies

Remember the movie The Sting?

Coolest hustle ever. Made the shysters look like heroes. As a kid I thought it was the best con ever. It holds nothing on the con the billion dollar businesses like Coca Cola have pulled off. They are making billions every year, taking water from one of the dry-est states in the US, and selling it to people with plenty of water, causing severe environmental impact while doing it.  Now that’s a con. Californians are the one getting stung, but know it, and continue to give our money over to the corporations who have more of it than we will ever see.

I know it happens. I see it. I just can’t get my mind around it.

Mother Jones helps in that regard:

Bottled-water drinkers, we have a problem: There’s a good chance that your water comes from California, a state experiencing the third-driest year on record.

The details of where and how bottling companies get their water are often quite murky, but generally speaking, bottled water falls into two categories. The first is “spring water,” or groundwater that’s collected, according to the EPA, “at the point where water flows naturally to the earth’s surface or from a borehole that taps into the underground source.” About 55 percent of bottled water in the United States is spring water, including Crystal Geyser and Arrowhead.

The other 45 percent comes from the municipal water supply, meaning that companies, including Aquafina and Dasani, simply treat tap water—the same stuff that comes out of your faucet at home—and bottle it up. (Weird, right?)

But regardless of whether companies bottle from springs or the tap, lots of them are using water in exactly the areas that need it most right now.

I still recall the first time I went to the movies with a pastor friend of mine and they charged us for water. He looked at them increduously and then looked at me and then back at them.

“You want to charge me for water? That’s free right over there in that faucet? … Is this cause I’m black!” he asked.

The idea that we’d pay money for free water was absurd not too long ago. But somehow they convinced us that its absurd to drink the free stuff. Free must equal bad, or unsafe. Perhaps that made sense when the names of bottled waters were exclusively Evian or Perrier because the rich tend to think paying more equals better. But Dasani? Dasani is tap water put in a chemical-laden plastic bottle made of fossil fuels and shipped with fossil fuels to places that routinely have better tasting water than the tap they poured in the first place.

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Dasani is Coca Cola by the way. Tap water. By a giant soda maker.

Now that’s absurd. Yet we play along paying billions every year … what’s worse is we KNOW it and STILL do it.

To organicanize your kitchen, I have become more convinced than ever that these are the absolutely vital first steps. I will go so far as to say it is nearly unconscionable NOT to take these steps.

1) Use tap water in the house. Never bring another bottled water in the house again. If you think it tastes bad, then buy a purifying in your home. A simply water pitcher made by Brita will save 300 plastic water bottles.

2) Spend $20 on a good, non-plastic water bottle and start taking it with you, just in case you get thirsty. We use to have water fountains everywhere. Cities got rid of them, like pay phones, because we didn’t use them. So have a spare. If you are one of those who likes water in your car at all times, fill a couple of bottles, put them in a carrier and bingo.

3) If you are like me and like sparkling water invest the $100 for a soda stream so you can make your own. Cut a lemon, blast your tap water in the little machine splash it with the lemon and you have great sparkling water.

That’s it. Remove the environmental blight of water bottles. Remove the cancer causing plastic bottles from your kitchen. Remove the con that tells us we are less than if we don’t buy water that until twenty years ago would have been absurd to buy.

My future grandkids and every other native Californian like me thank you.

Go back to first love: the cast iron pan

My slow-paced quest to Organicanize my kitchen circled to the cupboard with all the skillets in it.

I love my skillets. I do my best work in them. But like an old romance gone stale, I’ve lately noticed all the things about them I don’t like. Cancer, for starters.

That wonderful “non-stick” surface that has shown signs of wear and tear is a source of consternation in the blogosphere over how safe it really is. I never really wanted to take a hard look at this. I had a crush on those silky smooth surfaces that let the food glide right out.

But the romance has faded. The more I looked into the issue, the less enamored I came to be.

Here’s the central question: What’s the point of buying high-quality organic food only to cook it in a chemically heated and treated hotbed of contamination?

I decided to look deeper into the matter. I found compelling evidence that Teflon poses both health and environmental hazards.

Click here for a teflon guide in plain English that makes a fairly convincing argument. For those that like the mumbo-jumbo argument, I haven’t forgotten you (even if I can’t understand you! I nearly failed science):

Non-stick surfaces are metal pans (such as aluminum pans) coated with a synthetic polymer called polytetrafluoroetheylene (PTFE), also known as Teflon, a DuPont brand trademark.

Toxic fumes from the Teflon chemical released from pots and pans at high temperatures may kill pet birds and cause people to develop flu-like symptoms (called “Teflon Flu” or, as scientists describe it, “Polymer fume fever”). Ingesting particles that flake off scratched non-stick cookware isn’t toxic because solid PTFE flakes are inert.

Manufacturers’ labels often warn consumers to avoid high heat when cooking on Teflon. But EWG-commissioned tests conducted in 2003 showed that in just two to five minutes on a conventional stove top, cookware coated with Teflon and other non-stick surfaces could exceed temperatures at which the coating breaks apart and emits toxic particles and gases.

So, let’s boil this down: Teflon is fine if it doesn’t scratch and doesn’t get over-heated.

Uh… is it just me or am I the only one using my skillet over FIRE?

“There’s a whole chemistry set of compounds that will come off when Teflon is heated high enough to decompose,” says Wolke. “Many of these are fluorine-containing compounds, which as a class are generally toxic.”

That can’t be great if you ask me.

So what alternatives are out there?

Stainless steel is a terrific alternative to a non-stick cooking surface. Most chefs agree that stainless steel browns foods better than non-stick surfaces.

Cast iron remains a great alternative to non-stick cooking surfaces. Lodge, America’s oldest family-owned cookware manufacturer, refers to its cookware as “natural non-stick.” Cast iron is extremely durable and can be pre-heated to temperatures that will brown meat and will withstand oven temperatures well above what is considered safe for non-stick pans.

I’ve always loved my cast iron. It has its limitations (don’t even try to make an alfredo in it) but its the old standby that never leaves my cook top. I got it from None along with my hand crank grinder and I use both all the time. Just one more thing my grandmother knew far more than all the innovators around.

I opted for one concession. My egg pan. I’ll stick with non-stick for this only and be careful to use lower heat on a pristine surface and discard at first sign of imperfection.

The quest to organicanize moves on!

Removing the ‘stuff’ from food stuffs

I got a little side-tracked in my quest to organicanize my kitchen. The distraction came with this ongoing, evolving ah-ha moment of old-school kitchen reflection. It hit me the other day looking at my cucumber seeds as I planned our garden. I had just bought a massive jar of pickles for The Bride (no, she’s not pregnant, she just likes pickles). I am admittedly a city guy, born and bred. That’s why sometimes some real basic stuff about food eludes me. Like this: I didn’t realize cucumbers were pickles. Just plain didn’t know that.

Then, it dawned on me for the first time that we could actually make pickles this summer when our cucumbers mature. We could can them and not have to buy pickles where the last four ingredients on the list is weird “stuff” we don’t know. We’d prefer our pickles just be cucumbers and ingredients we know. Maybe there’s not a thing wrong with those odd sounding ingredients, but thanks, I’d prefer to skip ’em if we can.

That simple desire to remove as much “stuff” form our food in the hope of also removing any hope that cancer finds fertile soil in our cells is why the quest to organicanize our kitchen began in the first place. The more I pay attention, the more I realize I can remove so much stuff — like eating my yoga mat — from our food just by making it. So the list of things I’ll make from now on has grown:

Most of these are so ridiculously simple that you really don’t save that much time buying them with all the stuff in them than you do making them with ingredients you choose.

My shifting from buying to making these evolved slowly over time. Now part of my week is just replacing the items rather than running to the store, by making them from scratch. Part of it is scheduling a fun few hours of making and canning stuff that will last me months.

Today was meant to be one of those days. I set aside plenty of time to make jars and jars of homemade strawberry jam, using the first fruit of spring to bring some loveliness into my kitchen.

Turns out I forgot how easy it was.

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I filled up several jars, had plenty leftover for strawberry shortcake (so I whipped up the buns and ice-cream from scratch… oops add that to the list above… I never buy ice-cream anymore or whipped cream for that matter) and still didn’t use all the time I set aside, so I went ahead and made some tortillas for fish tacos tomorrow night.

It’s not that hard. The food tastes much better when its food, not food stuff. And there’s this thing called “pride of place” I think about a lot during times when I’m making my food rather than buying it.

My kitchen feels far more organicanized when I take all the bad stuff out of the basic foods I eat every day.

Take Action: BPA is Back

If reading yesterday’s post on BPA’s insidious and pervasive presence bummed you out as it did me, take heart (and if you missed it, double-back and check it out. I think it’s pretty important). Folks are taking action. Check out this email I received from the Environmental Defense Fund:

BPA is Back.

The shocking truth? It never left.

It might not be used in baby bottles anymore—but you can still find this dangerous endocrine disruptor in everything from cash register receipts to measuring cups.

Take Action: Tell Congress to protect our families from dangerous chemicals.

You may think you’re already protected from dangerous chemicals, but you’re not. In fact, many common household products—from household cleaners to computers to carpeting—could expose you and your family to potentially toxic chemicals.

There are tens of thousands of chemicals on the market. An estimated 1,500 of them are recognized as potential endocrine disruptors, like BPA. They can lead to a suite of health issues, from learning disabilities to obesity to infertility. And they are so ubiquitous that they are even found in the bloodstreams of newborn babies.

Take Action: Make sure your members of Congress know that protecting American families from exposure to harmful chemicals is important to you!

Thank you for your activism and support,

Heather Shelby, Action Network Coordinator

via Take Action: BPA is Back – 

The Scary New Evidence on BPA-Free Plastics | Mother Jones

“Pick a disease, literally pick a disease,” says Frederick vom Saal, a biology professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia who studies BPA.

via The Scary New Evidence on BPA-Free Plastics | Mother Jones.

Remember the obnoxious rich guy in It’s a Wonderful Life? 

“Plastics! I’m telling you… plastics!” he yelled into the phone, before his signature “heehaw!”

Well, it’s plastics alright. And apparently they are of the devil.

As I’ve started to organicanize my kitchen — paying as close attention to the tools I use to prepare, cook and store my food as I do the food itself — it has become increasingly evident that the 800-lb. carcinogen in the room is plastics.

As Dr. Jen Landa wrote just last week, the studies the FDA touts that downplay the health risks of BPA are most often done in rats while actual studies on humans are ignored.

“A large study reviewing the effects of BPA on human health was published in December, 2013. The authors concluded that there is ‘increasing support that environmental BPA exposure can be harmful to humans’,” she wrote.

The more I look into it the worse it gets. And the more I become aware of it, the more I see it everywhere.

  • The containers I store my food
  • The containers that store the cleaners
  • The utensils I use to prepare my food
  • The vessels I use to drink
  • The packages that wraps my food

And on and on and on… An NPR article documented still another problem:

“Many plastic products are now marketed as BPA-free, and manufacturers have begun substituting other chemicals whose effects aren’t as well known,” the article stated.

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Frankly — to be clear — it freaks the living shit out of me. The more I try to rid myself of it, the more I see it everywhere.

Thankfully, I am not completely nutty nor am I alone. The above sourced, compellingly thorough, Mother Jones article documented one father with similar angst who each morning felt a twinge of guilt when he handed a so-called BPA-free sippy cup to his young daughter Juliette:

The center shipped Juliette’s plastic cup, along with 17 others purchased from Target, Walmart, and Babies R Us, to CertiChem, a lab in Austin, Texas. More than a quarter—including Juliette’s—came back positive for estrogenic activity. These results mirrored the lab’s findings in its broader National Institutes of Health-funded research on BPA-free plastics. CertiChem and its founder, George Bittner, who is also a professor of neurobiology at the University of Texas-Austin, had recently coauthored a paper in the NIH journal Environmental Health Perspectives. It reported that “almost all” commercially available plastics that were tested leached synthetic estrogens—even when they weren’t exposed to conditions known to unlock potentially harmful chemicals, such as the heat of a microwave, the steam of a dishwasher, or the sun’s ultraviolet rays. According to Bittner’s research, some BPA-free products actually released synthetic estrogens that were more potent than BPA. …

So much for BPA-free, where much of the information is blitzed in a PR campaign that Mother Jones compares to the same tobacco strategies employed for years.

“It can be difficult for consumers to tell what is really safe,” the vice president of Eastman’s specialty plastics division, Lucian Boldea, said in one web video, before an image of a pregnant woman flickered across the screen. With Tritan, he added, “consumers can feel confident that the material used in their products is free of estrogenic activity.”

In March 2011, the Environmental Health Perspectives paper by Jordan and researchers from CertiChem and PlastiPure appeared online. They’d tested 455 store-bought food containers and storage products, including several made from Tritan. The results? Seventy-two percent leached synthetic estrogens. And every type of plastic commonly used in food packaging (polypropylene and polystyrene, for example) tested positive in some cases, which suggested there was no surefire way to avoid exposure.

Are you starting to see the picture here?

It’s actually very clear once you take just a moment to wipe away the steam on the window obscuring your view because we’ve seen this page played out so many times.

Remember cigarettes? They were once ubiquitous. Everyone smoked in ads, TV shows, movies, cocktail hours, bars, etc. And for years and years health advocates argued that this thing was killing people. “Study” after study contended the risks were negligible.

I recall plainly moving from the West Coast to tobacco country in the south. A news editor of a daily paper told me he only smoked eight, carefully counted, cigarettes each day because of a study that said eight or less had no adverse health effect. This was in the year 2001, not 1971 and this was a very, very smart guy. Such was the nature of the propaganda.

It was also no coincidence that in 2001 a pack of smokes cost about $2.50 in Virginia and $6.00 in New York. Which stated had virtually every politician receiving campaign financing from tobacco companies? Any guess?

Eventually the trial lawyers attacked. Billions in lawsuits settled made a lot of lawyers wealthy from money paid by very, very wealthy tobacco companies, who paid for political lobbies to pad campaign election accounts. Everyone got paid, including the state governments who sued the companies for a piece of the action adding tobacco lawsuit money to its budgets. Everyone got paid… for a very long time except for the millions of people who died.

Asbestos? Same thing, though there the lawsuits and death tolls so significant companies actually went belly up from the pressure of the lawsuits.

And so it goes from one product or chemical to the next with money circulating among the wealthy while everyone else gets sick and dies. Saturation always delays the eventual push back. The more we need a product, or believe we need it, the less likely we are to listen to the health risk it causes, just like the news editor I knew.

Look around your house? What do you need more than plastic?

BPA may well be the next asbestos or tobacco. As the professor said, “Pick a disease, literally pick a disease.” 

No thanks.

BPA

It won’t be cheap to replace all these things. Finding safer products that still work won’t be easy. I welcome your ideas in the comments below. Environmentally safe storage containers aren’t cheap, especially ones that are truly safe. Taking more time to heat food rather than hyper-heating a BPA-leaching product in the microwave is a hard habit to break.

In days to come I’ll rid and replace one by one until the kitchen is truly BPA free, or at least close to it. Before I replace my spatulas I’ll research the most cost-effective solution and post it here. So too my rubber scrapers and plastic storage containers and travel mugs and water bottles and … you get my point. This isn’t going to be easy… or cheap… or convenient.

But the health of me and my family is worth it. Yours is too. I hope this helps.

Composting easy first step to organicanize my kitchen

Last week I owned up to my cancer phobia and decided to do something productive about it. This I call Organicanize. Step by step I am going through my kitchen and removing items that are harmful. I will pay as close attention to the things I used to cook and store my food as I do to the food itself.

The rules for this pursuit are simple:

1) It has to pan out. I’m not looking for sensationalized, preaching-to-the-choir hype, over-generalizations or political spin. I’m also not going to wade through miles of research. The idea is as a reasonably intelligent person wanting to make reasonably intelligent choices, I should be able to figure stuff out.

2) It has to be affordable. Sure I can spend $30 for a single spatula compared to the three-for-a-buck package in the Dollar Store. But it’s not feasible for most people. What’s the best option?

3) It has to have some mileage. I’m not fad-chasing. Anyone who has read my emails about Quinoa can attest I’m not a fan of the latest “thing” that social media dredges up. I want some staying power.

With those three rules in mind, let’s get started. My quest begins under my sink, the foulest part of my mostly immaculate kitchen. I hate under the sinks. Monsters lurk there I am sure. Ours is especially frightful because it has a nasty old water filter that doesn’t work and looks, well, nasty. More on both water and the filter later. To the right of that sits the trash.

I don’t much like trash. It seems oddly out-of-place in a room with such delightful fragrances and tastes. I recently priced a monster deluxe trash can that looks spiffy, could sit out on the floor, open with a stomp of my foot and seal down tight as my neglected bill clip. But it never rose to the top of the “needed” expense list so we still have one of those cheapy open-air plastic things that we never clean very well. We hide it under the sink.

Now I don’t really know what germs lurk down there and what cancerous boogiemen are down there. I’d rather not, frankly. I’m working up to it. For now, I decided to go in a more positive direction. I decided to compost.

I’ve always wanted to compost. I never, ever have for one very practical reason. I’m never in one place long enough for trash to turn to compost. I have planted three gardens in the last seven years and never once made it to late summer in the same place to harvest them. So composting just seemed out there like the stars… a light I see and think fondly of, but had no plans to actually embrace.

Until now.

As it turns out, there is delightfully little controversy about composting. It’s great. Nobody really argues over its merits or health risks or impact. The merits are so numerous we will save that for last. The health risks are fairly straight forward: Rats. They love certain compost piles and they aren’t a welcome visitor to most homes, certainly not one like ours with The Bride’s rampant spider phobia. God forbid what an actual encounter with a rat would do to her.

Rats are attracted to proteins, like fish bones or meat scraps. But neither are very helpful to your compost, according to a wide swath of resources I checked out. They take longer to break down, they smell and they attract rats, which seems to suggest its best not to compost these items. If you insist, then an enclosed compost pile is in order.

I’m sticking to the basics of composting science: Nitrogen + carbon + water = compost.

Nitrogen is the live “green” stuff: grass clippings, fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds. Carbon is the dead “brown stuff: leaves, twigs, shredded cardboard, pine needles (which my ground is covered in!) newspaper. The water is self-explanatory, but rain rather than hose when possible just makes plain good sense. Egg shells are relatively neutral, so I’m putting them in. I just smash them up before I toss them in the compost bin.

For a good list of items, check out EarthEasy, which has a nice chart. Avoid Organic Gardening. Frankly, I just removed them from my bookmarks. I didn’t find their information near as useful and I detest needing a virtual machete to hack through pop-up ads and subscription requests. Hey, I have a couple of websites and love to make money off them. But some of these sites are just plain insane and Organic Gardening has tipped into that realm for me.

As for the trash situation under my sink, I realized that I couldn’t just let green composting stuff pile up any which way, so I went out and bought a small, very economical trash can that looks pretty, opens up with my foot and seals pretty tight. I bought 100 percent biodegradable bags to put into the small bin and I now love using it.

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The under the sink trash is much cleaner and far less in use. I am motivated to finish cleaning under there and ridding it of any foul, noxious or potentially cancerous materials.

My neighbor and I garden together. They have the room and the sun and I have the human power. Plus, it helps I don’t mind weeding. So I’m now working to clean up their neglected compost pile, which once turned their garden into the most beautiful, healthy soil I’ve ever plunged my hands into. I also got a smaller bin for me, that I can easily compost my material in.

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I love my used compost bin! Together we will have plenty of healthy soil for our collective garden, herbs and flower projects this year.

So let’s touch on those health benefits, briefly, because I want to spend one of the blogs on the actual evidence for healthy bacteria and probiotics in our stomachs that help fight free radicals and cancerous cells. I could go on and on but I won’t. For now I’ll explain the benefits thusly: The healthier soil I have, the more I’ll grow. The more I grow, the more I will can these items for winter. The less I buy in winter, the less exposure to industrialized produce treated with God only knows what chemicals.

Compost is, therefore, a vital first step of organicanization.

Perfect right? So easy. I felt damn proud of my effort. I looked around the kitchen and thought, “soon… very soon…” it would all look just as clean and healthy as my trash. Then I noticed the label on my little trash compost can. It looked unsightly. I peeled it off carefully. Then I noticed another smaller label, a clear one, I hadn’t noticed in the store. I read it: “The state of California has found that chemicals used in making this have been known to cause cancer.”

FML, as my kids would text. FML, indeed. Back to the drawing board. This isn’t going to be as easy as I thought.

FOR SALE: PRETTY LITTLE TRASH CAN. BARELY USED.

Argh.

NOTE: For a list of 30 items you should not compost, check out this link to Mother Nature Network.

The quest to organicanize my kitchen begins now

The Bride fears spiders. I fear cancer. My phobia seems far more realistic than hers, which pisses me off. I wish I could just Man Up, grab a flip-flop and smash cancer.

I like to think I’m going to live to be 120 or so, still snowboarding at 95 and jogging my codger-like shuffle when I’m 110. My heart is good (If I could, I would frame my blood-pressure test of two years ago of 108/52, but that was after I cut off all coffee and sodium for a month, neither of which I’ll likely do again.) I’m pretty fit. I’m convinced that radical anti-aging discoveries in biology will reverse the decay of telomeres and allow people to naturally extend life.

But the big C, well that’s the deal breaker. It pops up anywhere on anyone, no matter how healthy. Consider Australia. Now there’s a pretty fit country with an active lifestyle and a healthy food culture. But guess what’s killing them off? Yep, the big C. It’s a bad-luck-kind-of gotcha illness. If it doesn’t straight kill you, the treatment alone nearly does. Scares me to no end.

Rather than obsessively worry or fixate like The Bride does with spiders, I put a fair degree of time into removing toxins from my life. First we tackled the meat we eat, a monster culprit for ingesting cancer-causing materials. In addition to our steer, we have booked a pig for June and will soon add organic local chickens to our freezer.

Gardening our vegetables will bolster what we can get from our vibrant farmers’ market community, all of which keeps untold pesticides from our kitchen. Certain foods, like all vegetables in plastic packaging for example, are banished from the kitchen. The Bride has even begun experimenting with DIY beauty products to make sure we’re not rubbing toxins on our skin.

But despite all this, it hit me the other day as I overheard a webinar The Bride listened to from her school (she’s studying contemporary holistic medicine). The presenter talked at some length about the types of kitchen tools we use. My reaction was pretty much the same as when The Bride saw a spider in the tub, only my scream was on the inside.

It dawned on me that I was virtually ignorant about the types of products I was using to cook the food I had tried to be so careful in choosing. This feeling could best be described as a pot of cold water tossed over my head during a hot shower.

I woke up, I’ll tell you that.

So in the weeks to come, I’m going to completely dive into the facts — not the hype or my paranoia-induced theories –about making my kitchen as organic and pesticide-free as my food. I’m going to consider every tool I use and get past the hype to find out what has to go and what can stay.

The hype factor is no small thing, because in case you haven’t noticed, getting reliable information these days is not so easy. The Super Highway of the Internet is a virtual L.A. traffic jam of misinformation, hype, conspiracy theory, fad-of-the-day “facts,” political spin and plain ole fashioned bullshit.  You look across the landscape of information and you feel a bit like…

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Sifting through the morass to find legitimate facts and useful, realistic solutions isn’t easy, which I suspect has contributed to my ignorance. I just didn’t want to get stuck in this particular traffic.

Also, the solutions can’t be so expensive only the uber-elite can afford them. It’s no coincidence the poor are more susceptible to illness and death. They get the full brunt of society’s harmful products.

This rich/poor chasm is a big reason why I don’t subscribe to the lefty lib-dem elitist political agenda that has it roots dug deep in my beloved San Francisco. At the core I share the same values, but like the wonderful Slo-food movement and so much localvore eating and so many other trendy healthy movements, they are often disconnected from the realities of surviving on a lower class income. If you haven’t gone to a grocery story and agonized about the extra dollar for the organic milk you really shouldn’t be spouting off about the food choices of the poor. If you’ve never had to shop at Wal-Mart because it was your only hope of not spending the last few dollars in your account, you’re not paying attention to the real issues at hand.

So with the goal of realistic inclusion I begin my investigation. I will report the findings here. I am going to delve into a whole array of hoof-to-head health, like best kitchen utensils, essential choices when buying ingredients holding the cost and the health factors in balance, and even gardening to maximize inexpensive food alternatives.

I’ll file these under a new category, called Organicanize to make it easy to reference in the future.

Some of you have expertise on these subjects, so please comment below and feel free to point me in respected directions. I appreciate all the guidance you can offer.

I want to kick the Big C out of my life as best I can, knowing I can never fully win. It still feels better taking a healthy swipe with the flip-flop than just sitting around being scared.