What was I thinking? I was trying to throw together a quick brown-bag lunch on this first day of the Food for Change Challenge, and I discovered I already was messing up.
Breakfast was OK. I had 100% organic cereal (so far, high-fructose corn syrup doesn’t qualify as organic) with Iwig milk, coffee, orange juice. Note: If a food is “made with organic ingredients” it could contain HFCS. (Here are the USDA organic labeling standards, a PDF.)
As I was scooping a portion of Anderson-Erickson Old-Fashioned Cottage Cheese into a container for lunch (along with my local tomato, local bread, leftover local peach dessert (more on it later) and more Iwig milk) when it occurred to me that although A-E doesn’t use milk from cows treated with rBGH or rBST (read about it at Sustainable Table), it’s probably still fairly intensively produced, even if relatively local. Plus, the ingredients list was discouraging:
Cultured Grade A Pasteurized Fat Free Skim Milk, Milk, Cream, Salt, Guar Gum, Mono And Diglycerides, Xanthan Gum, And Locust Bean Gum.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest’s helpful food additives list gives some insights. The guar, xanthan and locust bean gums stood out. According to CSPI, they are “derived from natural sources (bushes, trees, seaweed, bacteria) and are poorly tested, though probably safe…. They are used to thicken foods…” Then there’s the mono and diglycerides. CSPI says they’re emulsifiers and are safe.
Not exactly what Granny would have used, and I’m going to count the cottage cheese as a relatively minor slip. But if I’m going to eat Food for Change, I’d better find a more local source for my cottage cheese or make it myself from local milk. Here’s Alton Brown’s cottage cheese recipe. It’s easy, and I don’t need to look up the ingredients: milk, cream, vinegar, salt. I even have those on hand! Then, if I get ambitious, I can save the leftover whey and try the uses for it discussed at Chowhound.
How’d your day go?