Letters to the editor, July 2010

This article was originally published in July 2010

Young opinions

I am a fourth-grade student at Wilder Elementary School. I am writing to thank you for good food at low prices. PCC makes really good food at the deli. Almost every time we go out to eat it’s at PCC.

My favorite dishes at PCC are macaroni and cheese, sandwiches and pizza. My favorite dessert is baklava and the white truffles. My little sister enjoys the new play corner at Redmond PCC and my dad is addicted to kombucha!

I also am writing to thank you for being a green store. My brother Alex Amela has enjoyed working there, too. Sincerely,
— Isabel Pulse, Woodinville

Bakery too sweet

How wonderful PCC’s products are: how thoughtful, healthy. That’s my honest opinion whenever I shop at PCC. I’m also a member of Japanese cooperatives for daily shopping since I’m from there. I always talk about PCC’s high standards for product selections whenever I have a chance to discuss your product quality with Japanese co-op’s employees. Most of them are quite interested and I am proud to introduce PCC’s good services even in Japan.

However, I have one problem with your PCC Bakery products; I find them way too sweet. I know in general that in southern countries, people prefer sweeter tastes but the U.S. “sweet phenomena” is more than that. Also, in the U.K., which I believe you think of as your “peer country,” its baked goods are not as sweet as the U.S. ones. 

I presume too-sweet products are unhealthy since they have too many calories. This fact does not change, no matter how much one tries to find “natural” ways to sweeten baked goods. Also, “calorie-zero” products are not for me.

I need products using natural ingredients but not too sweet! I think it is time to set your taste buds to a standard closer to the world standard for health and not to those that in general people prefer to eat. Continue being a “pioneer!”
— Setsuko Montgomery, Seattle


It may sound radical but I believe the protein model in health (Protein: How much is enough, or too much? May Sound Consumer) is a myth. I feel fantastic when on a low-glycemic, vegan, raw, organic food diet as much as possible. I say low-glycemic as you have to limit fruit intake.

I find animal-based protein sources as a quick fix is like an addiction. Animal parts belong in the animal and not in our freezer or to clog our digestive tract. One doesn’t have to be 100 percent vegan raw but replacing one or two meals daily (i.e., a green smoothie for breakfast and a large salad for lunch or dinner) will give a lot of benefit. 

For the most live, vital, nourishing diet on the planet, raw vegan foods can perform miracles.
— Eileen Weintraub, Lake Forest Park

Author Tom Ballard, R.N., N.D., replies: I certainly agree that a live, vital, nourishing diet can perform miracles. I’ve seen it happen many times. The goal is to find the diet that works for you and to realize that one diet does not fit all. It’s not a myth that a portion of that vital diet must contain protein. The question is “How much do I need?”

The article does not promote animal or vegetable protein, rather protein in general. The best way to find our protein need is not to fall victim to misinformation (“animal [proteins] … clog our digestive tract”) but to take a serious look at our own health and assess our individual needs based on science.

Comparing chicken

I’m looking for a recent Sound Consumer item regarding chicken testing results. It had something to do with Foster Farms’ chicken having some of the highest amounts of antibiotics, or something like that. I’m unable to find this on PCC’s Web site and wish that all copies of the Sound Consumer and its entirety be available, especially the Dear Editor format. Please forward, or tell me how to research online more efficiently.
— Cynthia Prather, PCC member

Editor replies: I believe you were looking for a Newsbite in the January issue — that Consumer Reports magazine had tested fresh, whole broiler chickens from 22 states and found two-thirds of them harbor salmonella and/or campylobacter, the leading bacterial causes of food-borne disease. Tyson and Foster Farms chickens were found to be the most contaminated.

The test also found most of the disease-causing bacteria from the contaminated chickens were resistant to at least one antibiotic. Store-brand, organic chickens had no salmonella at all and were among the cleanest.

In the future, you can use the search function for Sound Consumer articles archived online at pccmarkets.com/sc/archive/. Using quotation marks around your keywords, such as “Foster Farms,” helps limit results.

Green cleaning

Thank you for the refreshing Green cleaning article (April 2010 Sound Consumer). Those of us who are sensitive to chemicals always are delighted to know that more people are using nontoxic ways to clean. We appreciate any effort that others, including PCC, make to help us live in a less toxic world.

If there are folks who are struggling with chemical sensitivities and would like to meet, there is a Multiple Chemical Sensitivities group in Seattle. Email fragrancescentfree@yahoo.com or call 206-523-5285 or 206-784-7117 for more information. Thanks again for the inspirational article.
— Karen, Seattle

Delicious, healthy, cheap beans

As a PCC cashier at the Redmond store, I’m on the receiving end of many healthy conversations. I noticed one of my customers had purchased many bulk items along with my favorite pinto beans. I told her I wished I had more time to make my meals from the dry bulk state and she said it was easy and gave me a favorite family recipe.

I enjoyed making my pinto beans in a crock pot. This recipe was simple and I didn’t even have to soak the beans. My family said I made the best rice and bean burritos they ever tasted. My husband thought the bulk price ($0.89) to make the meal was amazing. I wanted to share this easy crock pot recipe with everyone:

Crock Pot Pinto Beans

  • 4-quart crock
  • 3 cups pinto (or black) beans, rinsed and sorted
  • 3 teaspoons salt (optional)
  • 1 onion quartered or chopped
  • 9 cups water

Put all ingredients in crock, stir, then cook on high about 7 hours. Serve as is, cold on top of salads, or mashed in burritos. If mashing, drain and reserve 1 cup of liquid after cooking and add slowly while mashing beans to desired consistency.
— Julianne Hine

Two-sided receipt tape

Whoever came up with the brilliant idea of printing the receipt on both sides of the register tape should be commended. I have yet to see any other business do this!

Here’s an idea to save even more paper: We recently shopped at a natural food store in Eugene, Ore., and the checkers there default to asking each customer if they even want a receipt. They ring up the sale, of course, but don’t necessarily print a hard copy for the customer. This would be especially appropriate for the lunch crowd. How many people want their receipt for a sandwich and drink?
— David Luxem, member since 1991, Seattle

Store Systems Specialist Dennis Stoddard replies: There are many register systems, each with different features. The one we chose met our needs but it cannot print receipts on demand.

While it may seem that some receipts aren’t necessary, receipts can become handy when you think you don’t need one. Receipts settle disputes over being improperly charged and, without receipts, returns can be challenging.

Considering how short our double-sided receipts are for a couple items, it’s doubtful that we’d save a significant amount of paper and not nearly enough to justify replacing our systems. But thank you for asking!

Also in this issue

Bicycles for Education: the girls speak

Since 2004, Alaffia has distributed more than 3,000 bicycles to students in Togo. This has helped them stay in school — a critical step for their communities to get out of poverty. Here are the profiles of three bicycle recipients and their thoughts on how it has impacted their lives.