Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Puzzle Pieces

Over dinner, Penguin told us about her day.  She's learning nutrition, and a little bit unhappy about the milk info.  (It's not good for you if it makes you sick.  I agree with her.  But the coursework insists that there's a "Dairy" group, not a "calcium foods" group.) 
She also learned "something gross". 
She learned that many supermarket foods are coated in or gassed with ethylene. 
Of course, this is where I pipe in that ethylene is often corn derived...and she nods, uh huh, they learned that. 
It's also a plant hormone. 
I find this intriguing.  I want more info.  Hmmm....a plant hormone.  We know that corn is an endocrine disruptor.  We know that the majority of participants in online discussion of corn reactions are women, and that corn reactions seem to make 'that time of month' that much worse.  We know that corn allergy does not follow the typical allergy path, and that those of us reacting have a variety of inexplicable sensitivities and tolerance levels.  Could the fact that a derivative is actually a plant hormone be significant? 
I tell her that it is gross.  That it's terrible that 'they' can play with our food, that it looks normal but 'they' don't have to tell us that it's been gassed, or waxed or treated if it's an "industry standard".  She agrees.  "It's a plant hormone!  They put it in all our food, the fresh food.  The kind you buy in the market and it's not labeled." 
I'm impressed.  She gets it.  She's outraged at the duplicity, the fact that the industry doesn't trust us, the consumers, with knowledge.  She's indignant. 
"I mean, it's a hormone.  A plant hormone.  Everyone thinks it's gross." 
The next generation might just make a difference after all. 
And then it occurs to me.  She's...12.
"Is it gross because it's a hormone?"  I hesitantly ask, but she doesn't even have to open her mouth to answer.  My husband chokes on his snack and stands coughing over the sink. 
"Yeah...she's 12," he says, still chuckling, "The teacher said the word 'hormone' in class, in front of the boys." 
"It was so, so...gross!" Penguin repeated. 
Well...her reasons may be misguided, but her reaction is still right.  Treating our food, especially our farm fresh produce, with plant hormones for farmer's convenience is just...well, gross. 
And I have more puzzle pieces to research. 

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