Tuesday, September 30, 2008

You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman

We have a new wool-blend area rug in our living room. The color is "Toast," although it looks more like "Whole Wheat Toast." It is lovely and thick and cozy, and it sheds abominably. I have been reassured that this will stop, eventually, and our living room will no longer look as if it is home to daily sheep-shearing contests. In the meantime, Helen spends most of her time crawling around the floor looking for balls of wool I miss with the vacuum that she can delicately pick up with two fingers and push into her mouth. At least two times a day, I hear a choking-on-a-hairball sound. Years from now, she'll be telling her therapist, "I keep having a recurring dream that I'm choking on wool. What does this mean?"

On the way to dance class yesterday, Katherine explained to me how much she likes exercise: gym, recess, swim lessons, dance. "Exercise makes me feel comfortable." I am so proud of her attitude, which she SO did not inherit from me. She is my exercise role model. Speaking of exercise, what's up with Lifetime taking Denise Austin off the air? I know she can be a bit hard to take, but I liked her routines, and the times her shows were on in the morning fit into my schedule perfectly. Dumb move, Lifetime.

When Scott made pie this weekend, he was going to use Butter-Flavored Crisco, which we have used in the past. Now the label says "natural and artificial flavor" instead of just "artificial flavor," so we weren't sure if the Crisco had dairy or not. Scott called the 1-800 number and was told that there was no dairy in the Crisco.

Yesterday I read an article in the September issue of Everyday Food about the label "natural flavor," which said that the FDA defines natural flavors as "any flavoring derived from 'a spice, fruit, or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof.'" Broad definition much?

The article goes on to say, "People who avoid meat, dairy, and fish for any reason should pay mind to products labeled as containing 'natural flavors.' These additives can come from meat, eggs, dairy, seafood, and poultry; yet their source does not have to be disclosed,* except--ironically--when they're included in meat and poultry products, which are regulated by the USDA." When did our food production get so messed up? You know it's bad when we have shows that explain where our food comes from, and even "100% juice" can have "natural flavors" of a questionable origin. (Thanks to Go Dairy Free for the juice link.)

*I put the words in bold.


  1. That "natural flavor" thing made me angry, even though my household is all ok with dairy (so far). There are so many people these days that have restricted diets of one kind or another, it seems like food manufacturers could just list EXACTLY what is in their product. Shouldn't be that hard!
    P.S. My crawling baby also likes to search for wool balls from the rug. They shed so badly when they are new, don't they?

  2. It's official. Katherine is my hero.

    And!! What the heck, Crisco?!?!?!?

  3. This labeling thing is driving me crazy. What also kills me is when they label something as totally dairy-free, but then manufacture the product in a place where milk is also processed. As in soy milk.

  4. Again, I ask, how is this legal?! Not only for allergen reasons, which are medical. But also for lifestyle in the case of vegetarians and vegans. But religious as well for people eating Kosher or other religious restrictions.

    It's not like adding all allergy affected families, all vegetarian/vegan families, and all religious diet families together is a SMALL percentage that should be ignored.

  5. I despise "hidden" ingredients like when they say 'natural flavors' and oh... it has milk, or wheat! OUCH.

  6. Is anyone else wondering WHY this is so freaking hard? Food should not be this complicated.


  7. I know what you mean -- the natural flavor thing makes me mad too. I'm trying to do the vegan thing, and it's frustrating not to know what you're buying. Why, exactly, don't they have to specify? Not being a rabbit, I can't live on produce alone!

  8. I called Crisco about the butter flavored version a few years ago, and the person I spoke to hemmed and hawed about how the protein went through a process and there was no milk in it. Finally I got the rep to admit that the protein came from milk originally. It is completely unacceptable that the company thinks its ok to tap dance about something that is potentially life threatening to my child. Libby

  9. Natural flavours - geez. Now I'm depressed.
    My babies did that, too! STOP PUTTING WEIRD STUFF IN YOUR MOUTH, BABY!