Friday Five!

Hi friends! Happy Friday! As promised, here’s another rendition of my Friday Five!

1. Sugar

As you probably know, I’m not a fan. I avoid refined sugar about 98% of the time, and as I expressed on The Rebel Grrl Kitchen facebook page last week, I feel outraged by the fact that sugar exists in practically ALL packaged food. I defended my feeling of “outrage” by framing this as an issue of food access: who buys more packaged and processed food? Poor and working-class folks, that’s who! So they are getting all the sugar because it’s cheaper.

It just so happens that there has been talk about taxing sugar in the US as a way to prevent medical issues things  to sugar, like diabetes and heart disease. The Healthy Hipster shared some thoughts on this (along with this link to an article about it in The Guardian), and Keeping It Real Food also had a post about the regulating sugar debate.

Part of me feels really “pro” this idea of taxing and regulating sugar. I think the stuff is horrible and I think that there are ways to eat healthier on a limited budget, and that maybe making it less accessible would force folks to find ways to buy whole food.

But, as he tends to do, my partner reminded me that it’s a bit more complicated than that. While it might be a small step in the right direction towards the health and well being of poor and working class people in the US, it may be devastating to the sugar farmers in other nations that depend on US consumption of the export to support their economy. Darn it, Mike! Stop dropping your insightful reminders about global capitalism all over my un-nuanced opinions!

What are your thoughts about sugar regulation?

2. Chocolate Mousse Pie (::Drool::)

This recipe from Kathy at Healthy Happy Life has some stuff I usually try to avoid (soy, some cane juice in the chocolate chocolate chips), but I think it’s probably totally worth it. Think I’ll make it this weekend!

PS: I love that Kathy’s a cat person, because every time I visit the blog I know not only will I get to stare at amazing food, but also adorable kitties. WIN.

3. Trader Joe’s/Coalition of Immokalee Workers

The Coalition of Imokkalee Workers have been close to my heart for years. During my formative political years at DePaul, the activist group I was a part of worked with them on a campaign against Taco Bell, who refused to pay fair wages for their tomatoes. It was the first group that I met that really got me thinking about labor conditions in a critical way.

I was delighted to learn today that Trader Joe’s—-an affordable natural food grocery store that’s not exactly known for fair labor practices—-signed the Fair Food agreement with CIW! The Fair Food Program  combines the Fair Food Code of Conduct – a set of labor standards developed in a  collaboration among farmworkers, tomato growers, and the food industry leaders who purchase Florida tomatoes – with a small price premium to help improve harvesters’ wages. Very exciting!

4. Summatime

I’m thinking of splurging on one of these for the summer*. Which do you think I should go for? *(the first one, I’d do a purple/black combo; the second in buff pink).

5.”The Book of Love” (Magnetic Fields)

A beautiful song and (food-related!) video for you in honor of Valentine’s Day.

7 thoughts on “Friday Five!

  1. Arv says:

    I have many thoughts:

    1.) From a purely health perspective, I love natural ingredients. But my dad (who is diabetic) will often say, “sugar is sugar,” and there is some truth to that. Dessert is dessert, and should be eaten sparingly no matter if it’s all-natural, vegan, or otherwise (need to take that advice more often, thanks). It is still calore and carb laden — regardless of whether the sugar has been processed or not.

    2.) Discard point one. That pie looks amazing.

    3.) So having read Barry Estabrook’s Tomatoland not too long ago, it’s great to see Trader Joe’s support of the coalition. I, too, remember boycotting Taco Bell in our DePaul days, but I didn’t entirely understand the issue at the time. Now I boycott them because that ish is nasty.

    4.) Depends how tan you get in the summer. If you darken up, def the pink one.

    5.) The book of love is long and boring indeed. Perfect for V-Day! ;)

    • raechel says:

      Ah, Arv such good responses! Yes, I hear what your saying about sugar, but I guess for me–because I do like dessert so much–I’d rather ONLY be eating sugar (in any form, but usually in natural agave or coconut sugar or dates or whatever) for a special dessert and not in a “healthy” bag of trail mix or whatever the case might be.

      Good call about the bathing suit. I get more tan than one might imagine, but it tends to fade pretty quickly, even during summer months, sooo….hmm.

      Lol re: reason for boycotting T-bell.

  2. absolutely ayurveda says:

    I am so happy you wrote about the sugar debate, as it reminded me to talk about it with my partner and turned into a wonderful conversation about food politics, cultural appropriation and ways of queer familiy-making…huzzah!

    About the sugar: although I hate the stuff and am always enraged that it is in everything, (especially all of the cheap, processed foods that poor and working class folks are often forced to consume), I don’t think the taxing of sugar (or sugar-added products) benefits working class peoples. In fact, it will only raise the price of sugar and sugar-added items which, without alternatives in place (and highly accessible ones at that) will just force poor folks to shell out more money for those products. Like with cigarettes, even though the taxes have gone through the roof, people still buy them, it just hits their wallet harder.

    But I think the main problem I have with the regulating and taxing of sugar is that it lacks a serious alternative and/or a systemic change to our food production system. The reason Big Macs cost less than a salad are because of certain food subsidies in this country. If there was a switch to subsidizing organic fruits and vegetables, whole grains etc., what people would be eating would look radically different.

    Of course, I don’t believe something of that scale would happen overnight (i am not even sure if it could happen pre-revolution) but that would definitely be a direction worth fighting towards.

    Also, re: the international workers, I do agree with Mike. The taxing wouldn’t stop people from buying sugar products here but it sure would affect sugar workers around the world. Mass lay-offs, transfer of companies to places with cheaper labor and/or wage decreases would definitely happen.

    Sorry this was so long! Food justice stuff makes me ramble :)

    Also, I am a sucker for one pieces but both suits would look great on you!

    • raechel says:

      Totally good and important points. Mike said the same thing about the tax being regressive, and I totally realize this, but that’s why I described this as an un-nuanced (and, uh, reactionary) opinion. sugar makes me so mad that it makes me have backwards politics! agh! thank you for engaging on it!

      [PS: i hope the four of us can have a double date someday….mike always hears stories about my awesome radical soul sister in SF, and said your comment about sugar was “exactly right.” (not that you need his–or anyone’s–validation, but, ya know, you, me, and our partners would have a pretty rad evening of sharing food and conversation, right?) :) ]

      • absolutely ayurveda says:

        i totally understand about the rage, sugar makes me SO ANGRY, ugh! and yes, we will definitely have a double-date of radical awesomeness in the future!


        your radical SF soul sister :)

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