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Abrazos! xox Penny

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sustained by Foraging

My dad always told me I was part to go foraging! Last week was an explosion of opportunity. While this is a longer than usual post, lots more than usual happened. On Thursday I went to both a presentation on environmental toxins and to the Little Rock Sustainability Summit, the latter held at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library. I loved being there. The meal was incredible and I wondered what influence Bill Clinton's vegan lifestyle has had on the Clinton Library's restaurant, Forty Two. The lunch was amazing and full of fabulous veggies.

Grilled portabello with rice pilaf, corn and sweet potato "hash", grilled zucchini and spring greens salad with grilled baby patty pan squash, radishes and goat cheese!

There are a great many wonderful green changes happening here and it was exciting to learn them. The summit's keynote speaker was from L'Oreal and sadly I was not so amazed. Came home really unsettled and feeling it was even more important than ever to keep learning and sharing with those willing and eager to lead a cleaner, greener life.

I felt like the Center for Disease Control's report here (the 2009 report was updated in Feb. 2012 with the addition of 34 new chemicals) and real risk that children now being born will not lead as long and as healthy a life as we have, in part because of all the chemicals sabotaging their well-being, were more subject to economic review than to the more precious (my opinion) human and environmental costs. (In all fairness, this was not a summit specifically on human risk, either consumer or workplace, but on the economics of sustainability. I was impressed by all the intra-company efforts towards sustainability, though, but my interests rest primarily with the Natural Environment and Healthy Communities in this model below).

I am trying to write logically here and not get riled. Calm and steady. Calm and steady. I very diplomatically (I thought at least) asked a very simple and fair question about L'Oreal's plan to examine and reduce any harmful chemicals that may exist in their 23 brands (they use several mentioned in the CDC report) because there has been so much consumer interest in this critical topic, especially given that 34 new chemicals were just added in February to this report.

I was genuinely curious and instead of listening to heresay, I thought it was a great opportunity to ask a direct question from a sustainability expert of one of the largest cosmetic companies in the world. Perhaps they had a 5 year plan to move all their products into truly greener, "non-toxic" formulas avoiding some of the chemicals popping up on the news, listed in reports, found in breast cancer cells, spilling into waterways, etc? I also asked about a highlighted bullet point in her presentation...something called "eco-label".

Here is the answer I got: all products were safe. No answer on the "eco-label".

The speaker even commented on the lead in lipstick issue and said they were not very concerned about their products' contribution (Note:L'Oreal brand had 5 of the top 10 highest lead-containing lipsticks tested) because lead was "ubiquitous" and was in the glassware on the table, water I was drinking and, then incredibly, in my opinion, she added that "we  may get some on our napkins, but we really don't ingest lip products". Really? We don't? I know I do every time I lick my lips. And, how about planting a kiss with lead-based lipstick or lip balm? What about the toddler or pup who gets into mom's makeup bag and eats a tube of  lip color? After all, isn't it about bio-accumulation day after day, exposure after exposure? I think Mother Earth can answer that one for us!

I am sticking to my mission.that "cleaner and greener"  food whether eaten through my mouth or body's pores means better health for me, my family, my community and Mother Earth and lots less to worry about. Boiled down to the basics, I am what I eat and what's eating me and I would like to remove some of the 219 chemicals the CDC says I am exposed to every day because I have the choice to do so.

On that note, Saturday I hit the streets with my pals and went to lots of local farmers' markets. Such delicious, foraging fun and I will have much more on my finds! Here is a pix of some of the goodies...

Delicious strawberries, Swiss chard, flat leaf parsley, Portuguese cookies, eggs, fresh garlic, amazing ice pops, lemon vinegar and absolutely sinful toffee

Here is a real quick recipe...thanks to The Divine Miss M and Mark Bittman!  In the interest of space, I will give the link here: yummy soup. The Divine Miss M, a fabulous cook herself, uses veggie broth instead of water and adds in more beans. Speaking of which...I have something great to show you Friday!! xox

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