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Supply Side Expo: my reactions to ingredients in “health food” products

Supplyside2012_west_exhibitorI went to Supply Side West in Vegas in November. It was the same night that my family, the Romney clan, was SUPPOSED to be having a Mitt Romney victory party at the Venetian. That’s where I was staying and where the trade show was being held. As you know, the party didn’t exactly work out. My parents and siblings were in town volunteering on the campaign last-minute.

I was attending the show to learn more about suppliers of natural-product ingredients. Specifically the things that GreenSmoothieGirl is now making:

Our own line of protein powders. My favorite minerals product I call Ultimate Minerals. Sprouted superfoods to add to your smoothies. Our drink mixes.

I left educated about, and dismayed by, what goes into 99 percent of products being sold to consumers. Even stuff flying under the banners of “healthy” or “natural.” What’s done to a natural “food” to get it into a pourable, packageable form.

dance bananaThere are complex processes to mill a food, deodorize it, purify it, “mask” tastes (like any bitterness), enhance “mouth feel,” prevent caking, improve pourability and viscosity, change the color, make it sparkle, twirl, and sing an aria.

All of these require chemicals, processes, heat, altered states.

The more standardized our tastes become, the more processed our food supply becomes. And vice versa. It’s the classic “vicious cycle.”

I wanted to talk to less than 1 percent of the companies there. Companies bragging about their “pharmaceutical-grade purity.” The fact that it has “pharmaceutical” in the title just makes me wonder if a drug company owns it. Did you know that drug companies own more than 70 percent of the vitamins on the market? So it’s sterile and standardized (pharmaceutical grade). But is it good for me?

cornyrxI want my food to be…..FOOD. Out of the dirt. Where tiny organisms live that give us Vitamin B12. Food with fiber. Food that fed my ancestors.

Seeing what processed food looks like from a manufacturer’s view, made me that much more committed to eating real, whole foods.

Down the hall from the Supply Side convention, the Burger King convention was sponsored by Pepsi and Del Monte. An incestuous relationship of fast food and processed food industries.

A guy on the elevator with me in the Venetian struck up a conversation and told me he was a BK franchise owner. I confessed I’d never eaten at BK in my life. He said, “WHAT?” Just to make it simple, I said, “Well, I’m a vegetarian, not my thing.” He invited me to come on in for their veggie burger.

It’s a start, Burger King offering a vegetarian sandwich. Too bad I don’t even have to try one to know that everything ELSE about it will be bad. Don’t fall for the idea that “vegetarian” means “good for you. Here’s what I predict: lots of preservatives, white-flour hybridized wheat bun, bad fats in the goo they put on it, lots of refined salt, maybe even some GMO soy product as the “meat” replacement.

Maybe someone reading this will chime in telling me if I nailed that guess? I have other research I want to do, more than finding something edible on the Burger King menu.

grow_your_own_article_A1More than ever, after spending a day looking at food manufacturing…..I want to grow and make my own food! And never have anything on this site that is less than outstanding.