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Fri, Feb. 28

Column: Ubiquitous chemicals cause of supermarket disagreements

I wear lipstick. And I dye my hair. There, I have said it - all secrets are out - I am admitting to you, Dear Readers, that some of my "beauty" comes from a tube and a bottle. Guess I am not alone. But I have a grandson (hope you are not reading this column, Sean) who has sort of gone off the deep end. Suddenly, all chemicals are bad and only natural and organic will do.

Of course, he is probably right and we are killing ourselves with chemicals, sprays, cleaning and beauty products, GMOs in the foods we eat ... the list goes on and on. Oh, and we are also ruining the planet. This bothers me the most.

Sean has "gone green" and it better be natural or he won't use it or eat it. When I told him some folks I know (me) like lipstick, mascara, gel nails and hair dye he said "No one needs any of that." Ha! This is coming from a kid in his 20s, who might not recognize his Grandmother if she went "natural!" Also, red meat and dairy are on his hit-list. Well, I pointed out to him that his Great-Grandma Floss is 93 years old, survived lead-based paint, insecticides, hair perms, eating red meat and butter and she seems to be okay.

Sean is also big on taking lots of vitamins. So I went to my doctor the other day and he said my cholesterol was a bit high and I should take Fish Oil. I told him I would rather take an acid bath than take some health-food fad like fish oil tablets which so far have no scientific evidence that they do a darn thing!

He laughed and said, "You crack me up." Then he said I might take Vitamin D too, since it seems every person in the world has "low levels." Well, I don't take supplements! There I have said it. Now the emails will be flying my way and even my doctor will be calling me.

I do agree that it is better to know what we are ingesting, what dyes and chemicals we are using so we can make better choices. Clearly, we all realize we cannot keep polluting the air and water without grave consequences. We don't want a bunch of poison sprayed on our crops! Honey bees are dying. Wildlife is struggling. There seems to be an epidemic of autism, breast cancer and other illnesses at higher rates than ever before. So I appreciate my grandson's efforts.

I have tried going natural. Like spraying peppermint to keep spiders away (doesn't work), or putting cayenne pepper on plant leaves to keep the squirrels at bay (they could care less) and citrus in the barn to ward off flies (why bother). And natural cleaning products are pretty good, organic fruits and veggies are on my list and I only buy eggs from the neighbors who have wonderful, healthy chickens.

I was in the grocery store and witnessed a couple fighting over the organic fruit. The man said anything "thick skinned" doesn't need to be organic because according to scientists it is a waste of money. Things like cucumbers are thin-skinned and they can absorb pesticides and should always be organic. The wife yelled, "I only will eat organic" and the husband screamed back, "that's because you love to waste money!" People, stop arguing in the produce section! It may upset the tomatoes, or those of us who are "thin-skinned."

I did overhear two ladies sort of sparring over eggs. One lady was grabbing a dozen white eggs when the woman next to her said, "Those eggs are from abused, caged chickens. You need to buy Happy Eggs (a brand of brown eggs) that are healthier for you and the chickens." The lady with the white eggs hissed, "I don't have $4.75 for 10 eggs so chickens can be happy." A few more words were exchanged but I moved on to the canned good section, where I figured I would be safe from all conflicts and fist fights.

Not so sure about that, because my grandson claims everything in a can is "poison." Oh yea, grocery shopping can be a real drag these days when you have to carefully read the labels, watch people argue and wonder what chemicals you will be ingesting.

Sean did call me and ask if I ever thought about using henna on my hair. No! And any more mention of hair coloring and I might be "seeing red," which is a lot worse than "being red."

Hmmm ... more research is required on how to live chemically-free. I will report back to you, Dear Readers, after I try out some natural beauty products. Right after my nail appointment.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local Realtor. Have a comment or a story? Email Judy at

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