Fear & Loathing on Facebook

by Sally on May 22, 2013

Here’s what I’ve been learning lately on Facebook:

  • Packaged bread is poison so you should make your own. But wheat is also poison, so don’t bother.
  • You should never, ever, ever drink milk. Unless it’s raw, then maybe it’s okay. Never mind, it’s bad.
  • If you’re feeding your kids non-organic fruit while slathering them with drugstore sunscreen, you may as well be giving them cigarettes for dinner.

My Facebook news feed has become a very scary place, filled with dire and sometimes conflicting warnings about the poisonous food we’re feeding ourselves and our kids.

But it’s not just the usual suspects–like soda, fast food, and candy–that are being targeted. When I posted this photo of my son with a giant bag of frozen mango I got at Aldi (for the bargain-basement price of $3.29!), one reader immediately asked “Is it organic?” (No it’s not, I replied.) Another accused me of buying a bag full of GMOs. “This isn’t nutrition, sorry,” she said. So now food doesn’t have any nutritional value unless it’s organic?

Frankly, I’m worried about the climate of fear I’m seeing on Facebook about food, a place where eating fruits and vegetables isn’t enough unless they’re local and organic–or better yet, grown in  your own backyard (because we all have the time and acreage for that). A place where food is routinely labeled as “toxic” or “poison”. A place where you can instantly feel bad about your choices because even though you’re trying really hard, it’s not hard enough. (I know that some children have serious food allergies and intolerances that make certain foods dangerous for them. I empathize with parents who have reason to fear the food their kid gets at school and camp and church. That’s not what I’m  talking about.)

I’ve long considered my eating habits and my family’s eating habits works of progress, but I generally feel pretty confident in my choices. I’m concerned about synthetic pesticides, antibiotics, and growth hormones. I’m increasingly concerned about genetically modified organisms and support labeling. I shop at the farmer’s market when I can. I buy some organics when I can–and try not to feel inferior when I can’t afford it (read “Organic Mom“). But when our budget is feeling tight, I also have to reign in some of my food spending. And I know some people just don’t have the access to or budget for local meat or organic farmer’s market fruit.

I’m also okay with my kids having processed junk food on occasion when they’re out and about (read: “My Kid Likes Junk Food and That’s Okay“). I advocate for improving the snack culture for kids because the junk food is excessive (and I don’t think it’s healthy to associate achieving in sports or gathering in a group with eating junk). But I don’t think Fruit Roll-Ups themselves are “poisonous”–otherwise, I wouldn’t let my kids have those foods occasionally at a party or a friend’s house (read: “The Mom I Can’t Be“).

These are my choices. They may not be yours. But we both love our kids and are trying. I’m continually learning–and tinkering with the way I feed myself and my kids as I learn more (read: “Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes“). But I’m tired of the one-upping. I’m tired of the fear mongering.

I just want to enjoy my toxic mango smoothie without being judged. Is that too much to ask?


Remember my raging insecurities about Organic Mom?

Well, she may buy all of her produce at Whole Paycheck, but I don’t have that kind of coin. So I pick and choose and do the best I can. By now, we all know that certain fruits and veggies–like apples, celery, and peaches–tend to harbor more pesticide residues than foods like pineapple and asparagus (you can download the Environmental Working Group shopping guide here).

But some of that pesticide residue can also be washed away. Vigorously washing fruits and vegetables can reduce pesticide deposits by 30 percent, according to a recent research review published in Food and Chemical Toxicology. (What’s vigorous? Either rubbing produce or swirling it in a colander under running water for at least 15 seconds.)

My husband has a thing for our Norwex Fruit and Vegetable Scrub Cloth, which he uses each morning to meticulously wash the Granny Smith apple he packs in his lunch. There’s a rough side for removing dirt and pesticides and a smooth side for polishing.

I’m a huge fan of Norwex and have eliminated nearly all of our toxic cleaning products in favor of a slew of their cloths. My friend Carrie, who introduced me to Norwex, is giving away a Fruit and Vegetable Scrub Cloth ($13.99 value) to one of you!

To enter, leave me a comment with your best money-saving tip for buying fruits and vegetables and “Like” Norwex Cleaning Girl on Facebook.

The contest will end next Wednesday, October 26th at noon ET. I’ll use to select a winner.

While you’re at it, check out Carrie’s often hilarious blog about cleaning with Norwex. I especially enjoyed this post about the cleaning Hell that is her new white bathroom (oh, the humanity!).

Good luck!



Organic Mom

September 14, 2011

Organic Mom was in line behind me at the grocery store the other day. Full disclosure: I have this really bad habit of looking at the contents of other people’s grocery carts. I’m not judging them. Okay, sometimes I am judging them. Mostly, I view it as “research”. But when Organic Mom was behind me […]

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June 8, 2010

Nitrates in hot dogs, BPA in cans, pesticides on produce. Anyone else notice how crappy the news has been about food lately? When I consider the stuff I grew up on, apparently I should feel lucky just to be alive: canned tuna by the case, countless non-organic apples and peaches I was too lazy to […]

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