This month, Chile has challenged her readers to quit something. In trying to decide what I would like to quit, I wanted to make it something that I really shouldn’t have in my life. Of course I thought of foods first. Should I quit pie? Ice cream? No, those are too typical… not to mention I don’t want to imagine my life without pie or ice cream. I wanted to make my banned food something that makes an impact, not only in my life but in the environment. Immediately, I thought back to Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma and the first section that has to do almost entirely with corn, and the industry of corn.
Do I want to quit corn? Nope, I love corn on the cob, and July is when our native corn starts to come into season. I love it boiled with some pepper, hold the butter. I plan to freeze it and have a “Corn Week”, much like Strawberry Week. I’m not quitting corn. I want to quit industrial corn. But, I’m going to take baby steps.
Why not quit industrial corn all together? Well, if I were to quit industrial corn, I’d have to quit everything that has corn in it. That includes beef, pork, and chicken that is fed grain (which is most of what’s available to me). That also means I’d have to quit milk and eggs, and cheese, and yogurt, and ice cream… unless I could find the meat and dairy and eggs from grass-fed animals. Which is impossible on such short notice (not to mention not so easy with a lot of notice). I’m not vegetarian, let alone vegan, so the idea of skipping all of these foods is not realistic for me, and not something I want to do. This realization makes it more difficult, but I finally came to the conclusion that I can make a smaller change than quitting all industrial corn, and still make an environmental impact.
I will start by quitting corn sweeteners, like high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). I’ve been trying for a while now to use natural sweeteners in my cooking, like honey and maple syrup, to replace the sugar I used to use. Getting rid of corn sweeteners is another step in the right direction, as far as I’m concerned. Not to mention, quitting corn sweeteners will make me skip soda, candy, junk foods.
Now, while I don’t regularly drink soda, eat a lot of candy, or eat a lot of junk food, there are foods that I eat that contain corn sweeteners. I’ll have to replace or skip those. After making this decision, I went to the fridge to find out what I’d have to leave behind. Fortunately, my favorite salad dressing, Annie’s Naturals Cowgirl Ranch, is sweetened with sugar, so it can stay. However, the Newman’s Own Lightly Sweetened Lemonade that I’ve become so fond of is out. Too bad, since I just bought a half gallon of it today.
Well, maybe I’ll have to make my own lemonade. Which sounds better, lemonade sweetened with honey or maple syrup? Um, I guess I’ll use some regular old white sugar. Now I’m wondering… what else am I going to have to live without?