Ten years ago I was the poster child for poor nutritional habits. I pretty much lived on pizza, donuts, rocky road ice cream and Dr. Pepper. I had no concept of what constituted a balanced diet.
Then I became pregnant with my first child. For the first time I began to wonder if I should maybe be taking a closer look at what was going into my body. After all, I wanted to give this new life inside me its best chance at a healthy, strong beginning.
So I started reading about whole foods and additives and the effects of processing, and pretty soon I’d decided to make some changes in my eating habits. And it didn’t take long for me to discover that the better I ate, the better I felt. One change led naturally to another, and within a few years I felt stronger, more energetic, and just plain healthier than I had since I was a kid. Whole grain breads and cereals, fresh raw produce, organic whenever possible, staying away from artificial flavors, colors and preservatives, no more soft drinks — these things dramatically changed the quality of my life. Not that I’d ever had any serious health problems before, but the new sense of vibrant health was incredible.
One of the smaller changes I made was to stop using regular commercial baking powder. I used to use Clabber Girl, which like most commercial baking powders contains aluminum sulphate as an acidifier. Consuming aluminum has been strongly linked to developing Alzheimer’s disease, and man, I just can’t see taking chances with that.
For a while I was making my own homemade baking powder with baking soda, arrowroot powder and cream of tartar. But the packages of arrowroot powder always passed their expiration dates before I’d used even half, and it seemed like a waste of money (and arrowroot, although to be honest I’m not really sure what that is). But then I found Rumford Baking Powder at my favorite health food store; it’s a “premium, aluminum free” baking powder that uses monocalcium phosphate as an acidifier. Monocalcium phosphate is generally recognized as safe, maybe even good for you depending on who you talk to, and Rumford Baking Powder isn’t that much more expensive than the regular kind, so I started using that instead of making my own.
So this morning I was making waffles for the kids, and I got to reading the fine print on the Rumford label, and discovered that it’s made by the Clabber Girl Corporation. I absorbed that info for a minute, and then wondered, “Why would a company acknowledge the strong connection between an ingredient and a disease, develop and offer a safer version of the product…and then keep on providing the original, probably dangerous version? I mean, why not just offer the safer product as a “new and improved” version of Clabber Girl Baking Powder? It works just as well in recipes. And not everyone shops in health food stores, or knows that consuming aluminum might seriously hink with the quality of their future life. Should there be some ethical responsibility taken here? Seriously, does it ALWAYS have to be about making a few extra bucks by using cheaper ingredients, even at the expense of your customers’ health?
Clearly I was never meant to be a mover and shaker in the world of big business, because these kinds of choices never make any sense to me.