I don’t think I’ve ever ranted on TRD yet, so I guess this will be the first. But can I just start by sending a gigantic amount of appreciation and respect to those who live clean? No really, I commend you, because it’s a gong show out there. Amid marketing labels, PR spin, and a slew of contradictions you somehow find a way to cut through all the crap and pick the right product.
If any of you are out there and reading this, please tell me your secret.
I mean it’s one thing to choose whole foods over processed, which is generally a fairly easy discernment, but enter into the natural health products world and I feel like I’m in Harry Potter trying to decode potions and figure out what they do without having them turn me into a morphed Frankenstein creature.
Everyone has something to say about natural products, and everyone’s product is the best because they’re not like the other products. Where’s the truth people?! I know I can’t demand honest advertising because that ship sailed long ago, but even the “experts” can’t give straight answers, and the more research you do the more confusing it seems to get!
I think the thing that gets me most though is labeling. Let’s say you’re reading an ingredient list – being the informed consumer you are – and it all seems to check out until you come to the bottom and see “natural flavour”. What in the world is “natural flavour”? Could it be a more ambiguous term?
It turns out it could be a host of things, and apparently there’s nothing necessarily natural about it. According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the term “natural” means that the ingredient has been “derived” from a natural source (in other words, you can process it until kingdom come) and has not been “significantly altered” (whatever that means). And according to the U.S. FDA, it can come from pretty much anything, from spices, fruit and vegetables to meat, poultry and dairy.
So what’s really hidden under that pretty-sounding label? Hell if I know…
Even beyond the disaster of labeling things are just generally really confusing, and any alternative option will have people advocating for and against it, leaving you with a headache and no clear answer as to which is the best choice.
I understand that different options will each have pros and cons, but debates on these things often just seem to go in circles, and what seemed to be a simple question (which type of protein supplement, if any, should I use?) turns into a complex answer with umpteen variables (protein in whole foods provides certain nutrients that supplements can’t, but supplements are easier and quicker to digest; dairy-based proteins might not be the sustainable choice and are an automatic no for vegans and vegetarians, but plant-based proteins aren’t complete so you have to have a mixture of the right ones; and you have to find one that doesn’t have unnecessary additives or false marketing claims).
Oh and the WORST is when you think you’ve found the right product, and then some scandal or recall emerges and you find out that you’ve once again been duped by marketing, and you have to either accept the product’s flaws or start again from scratch.
Since when does it take investigative journalism to help us figure out what to eat and what to buy?
And if clean living is all about simple and natural, why is shopping for it so complicated and exhausting?!
How are we supposed to make the right choices if people are preaching to us from every angle? I guess it comes down to who you can trust, but the Internet makes that very difficult because you can’t really tell who is typing behind the words or the credentials they have to back up their claims. And although I wish we could, you certainly can’t place all your trust in a company because they will always be biased.
What’s a clean-and-natural-seeking girl to do?
Although the urge to hide under a rock is sometimes quite tempting, I guess all that can really be done is to keep searching and hope that you can find that product that will demystify your world and solve your natural health woes.
And until then, blowing off steam through words also seems to help a little.