Sunday, May 25, 2008

Read the labels.

I have become quite the label reader. First it was food. And at first it was calories and fat grams. Then it was carbs and sugars. Now I am looking for real ingredients. No hydrogenated oils. No high fructose corn syrup. Unpronounceable ingredients and lists longer than 10 ingredients or so are starting to freak me out. Less complicated = better.

But then there are things I LOVE that have just a tad (or maybe more than a tad) of those evil things in them. Gotta love an Oreo (and if you read the label, they have cleaned up their act and they are actually mostly "real"). Or a granola bar. Or Mac & Cheese - the good orange kind. Yum.

I have been working my way through the book In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto. And I have bored people to tears telling them about it (sorry!). But it is truly fascinating how what we eat has evolved from "food" to "food like substances".

But real food is so much more complicated, involving peeling and chopping and real honest-to-goodness cooking. Oy. I am a victim of convenience. But I am trying.

Anyway, then my label reading extended to things I put ON my body (and the bodies of those I am responsible for). And again, leaning toward the "real" ingredients. Which is why those are the things that are in Stuff for Sprouts.

There are lots of things on the market "infused with" natural oils. Or just "with" them. Which I have learned means that somewhere down toward the end of the ingredient list (and honestly, anything after fragrance is less than 1-2% of the total product volume). But up at the top of the list are mineral oil. And petrolatum. And unpronounceable ingredients. And sometimes the lists of ingredients go on and on forever.

And I think again, simpler is probably better.

But there are things I love and can't quite give up on. And for me, the feel and the scent of the products is key. If it feels gross or smells weird, I am out. As are the kids. Not interested in the best stuff EVER if it smells medicinal or old-lady-ish.

So that is the balance that is achieved with Stuff for Sprouts. The scents and great texture that you want combined with all the good "real" ingredients that you know you really should be using.

And that feels good to me. Mom me and label-reader me. I hope to you, too!

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