September 11


The Not What You Think Shopping Guide for Going Green

By Sue Ingebretson

September 11, 2012

bread, GMO labeling, hamburger buns, mold, money, preservatives, purchasing power, Shopping

I love how everyday life creates fodder for my blog posts. I have enough ideas to blog every single day (but I won’t). In today’s post, you’ll learn one personal thing, one gross green thing, and one good green thing.

Here’s the personal thing right off the bat. It might be earth-shattering news to you, so beware. I happen to be short. Or, you could say that I’m under-tall, however you wish to put it.

Now on to the meat of the matter.

Backyard partyMy daughter (who is actually quite tall) had a reunion party of her law school friends at my home in July. It was a wonderful event and everyone enjoyed the pool, the BBQ, and lots of laughs. My daughter brought over most of the food that she served including burgers and buns.

Over Labor Day weekend, we entertained again and my hubby fired up the grill preparing to serve  a smorgasbord of steak, fish, chicken and veggies. As he rifled around the top shelves of our pantry (way out of my sight and certainly out of my reach) looking for a grilling pan, he found a bag of hamburger buns.


We both groaned knowing they’d been there for the past two months. Gross! My first thought was of a 4th grade science experiment where we had to grow mold on bread and look at the spores through a microscope.

But, wait … were the buns moldy and gross? Nope. Rather than green and hard as rocks, they looked as if they just came off the store shelves. There wasn’t one speck of mold. They were neither stiff nor dry.

Why is that, do you think?

Could it be that they’re processed and manufactured to resist mold, stay super soft, and be shelf stable for eons? Yep. Do foods work that way in nature? Nope. Is all that manufacturing/processing good for you? It apparently doesn’t matter since it’s good for the bottom line of the bread manufacturer.

I actually don’t have anything against the bread manufacturer. He can make his products any way he chooses and I uphold his right to do so. I’d just choose to make a different selection in how to spend MY hard-earned money. If I were to buy bread, I’d buy it from a company who knows full-well that their products will spoil at some point soon after its “best by” date. I’d buy it from a baker who cares about using whole, healthy, natural ingredients.

That’s my choice. And, for having the right to make that choice, I’m grateful.

So, yes, I’d want my bread to get moldy. If I forgot about it, didn’t eat it, and found it long after its prime, I’d expect it to be a green, fuzzy, moldy mess — a biodegrading mass of verdant goo.

That would be nature doing its thing.

I get to do my natural thing, too. I get to go to stores, shop online, and recommend products that fit within my personal shopping guidelines. It’s more than simply plucking something off the shelf because I’m hungry.

Just to name a few, I look at products for these ideal characteristics:

1)      Ingredients – are they whole, natural, and free from the toxic chemical stuff I don’t want?

2)      Does the manufacturer oppose GMO labeling? (See this article for a list of food manufacturers who are NOT getting any $$ from me.)

3)      Does the manufacturer care enough to use the highest quality ingredients?

4)      Produce – was it grown locally and organically or was it shipped in from Chile and Argentina?

5)      Meat, eggs, dairy – is it organic, grass-fed, cage free, free range, unprocessed, etc.?

These are just starting points. What would make your list? We get to use our GREENBACKS to give back to the community and beyond. Don’t forget that our dollars speak volumes!

And speaking of dollars, you may as well do the GreenBack Boogie while you shop. Don’t bother trying to figure out the lyrics. They’re completely intelligible, but this Suits TV show theme song ditty is positively infectious.

What does your currency have to say about you?





  1. So many preservatives and who knows what else? Very scary story, Sue. I’ve been reading labels for a long time but now I’m going beyond the vitamins and things like fiber and fat. Now I’m looking for non-GMO …sigh

  2. You make a great observation. We think may think we are eating healthy because we purchase products that say they are healthy. But that’s just big business changing their marketing strategies. We don’t know how much of those preservatives and chemicals that are in our foods are in our bodies. If we could eat totally natural healthy foods, we would probably see a decline in chronic disease or medical conditions.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    1. Cindy — thanks for your input. You’re so right, and as we do our best to seek out healthier sources of food, our health does improve!

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