Consider This: Gum

    Thanks for making it to my part of the site. I was a city girl and mother of three, who finally found her true home on a 150 acre organic farm. My summers are spent gardening, preserving the bounty and looking after our fold (that’s what they are actually called) of highland cows, chickens, pigs, dogs, and cats. My winters are filled with days trying to ward off frost bite while I fill water troughs.  And well, I have an opinion or two that I would love to share with you. I hope you enjoy.

    If I poured you a tall glass of poison and asked you to drink up, would you? I’m guessing most of you wouldn’t. Now if I took that same cup of poison and poured a little on a few plates of food and asked you to enjoy, would you? Again, I’m pretty sure you would politely decline. What if I simply told you that a lot of the food you buy and eat contains some of that same poison? Would you believe me?

    For most of us, our days are filled with decisions and choices we make without giving much or any thought as to what we are buying and consuming. Do we know how a stick of gum is made, or exactly what is in that air freshener, or whether or not the apples we are feeding our kids are really healthy? Do we care? Should we care?

    Well, the fact is, yes we should care, and yes we should know how our decisions impact our health, our environment, and the lives of both humans and the animals that we share this planet with.

Today, let’s consider this… Chewing Gum!

    Each year Americans spend over 2 billion dollars, and worldwide trillions sticks of gum are made, and yet most of us know very little about that addictive minty stick we so quickly put into our mouths.

    Chewing gum has been around for thousands of years and was first commercially made in 1848. Up until WWII these sticky treats were made from natural ingredients like tree resins, saps or waxes, and were flavored with licorice or mint oils and sweetened with real sugar. Today, most of our gum is made from synthetic rubbers like butadiene-styrene rubber (used in the automotive industry to manufacture tires), polyethylene (the most common plastic in the world), and polyvinyl acetate (used in white glue and considered as possibly cancer causing). It is preserved with butylated hydroxyanisol (BHA-another possible carcinogenic) and then sweetened with Aspartame (considered by some to be one of the most dangerous products out there-me included). Basically the average American is consuming about 300 pieces of this minty chemical shit storm each year. You should also know that chewing gum is forever. It never biodegrades and it is not digestible by humans or animals. It costs taxpayers millions of dollars each year to clean up. It kills young birds and other animals. It creates over a million metric tons of garbage each year, and last but not least all of those discarded wads we try to avoid on our sidewalks, are drenched in bacteria and germs-ewwwww.

    Don’t get me wrong, chewing gum has its merits. Studies have shown it can improve concentration and memory and it helps out with our daily stresses and anxiety. It can help with those annoying ear pains on flights during landing. It definitely comes in handy after we’ve eaten that garlic laden lunch and are stuck in a face-to-face meeting with our boss. And what kid doesn’t love blowing those face sized bubbles?

    But maybe we should consider this… there are many alternatives to the chemical laden sticks. All natural gums are easily available at your local health food store (We like Chicza Mayan Rainforest Chewing Gum); we can choose to chew on other foods like apples, nuts or even honey comb; drinking water, chewing parsley or even munching on carrots can be a substitute; and organic mints and licorice can help with the bad breath. I guess, we could also follow after Singapore and Disney World and ban gum altogether.

    Whether you decide to chew or not to chew, always consider this… Each of us needs to recognize exactly what we are buying, using and consuming. Knowledge, when applied, is the ultimate influence over the companies who want our money and our loyalty. Ignorance is their power and knowledge is ours.