Letters to the editor, January 2016

This article was originally published in January 2016

Missing PCC from the Midwest

I live in the Midwest now but still find it a touchstone into a more familiar reality when I find my Sound Consumer in the mail every first of the month. I do so miss the Northwest and what PCC stands for.

When I have the opportunity to share, those with whom I do so are amazed at what you guys do … and rightfully so. And then they wonder why it isn’t happening here. I could offer only speculation and the suggestion they look for what they seek. In time, perhaps, there will be a shift in the mindset here that would make something like a PCC viable. I cherish you guys and relish in the connection back up thataway.

— Fred Mullett

Natural, effective deodorant

We want to thank PCC for so many things, one of which was the recent 25-percent-off day on vitamins and personal care products. I’m grateful that over the last few years PCC has adopted new standards for personal care ingredients and worked with vendors to upgrade the safety of their products. On the sale day, we decided to try a new deodorant that would be safer than one that is popular elsewhere as a “natural” deodorant.

We asked for advice from a PCC staffer and she quickly pointed out a deodorant by “Schmidt’s” (small glass jar with black top; different scents including unscented, but the scents are very mild). She said “it works” and pointed out it’s a little messy putting on (use a finger), but we have adjusted with no problem. I have looked up each ingredient (all recognizable) at the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep website and all ingredients came out as “1s!” (That’s as low and safe as you can get on EWG’s scale of 1 to 10.) Best of all, this product really does work! And it works better than any deodorant we have ever used, even the old awful ones.

Thank you PCC!

— Stephanie Roche

Kids eat what they need

Re: “How flavor drives nutrition” (November), on the subject of children’s refusal to eat healthful foods, I certainly can see the loss of flavor in the good stuff and the addictive additives in the bad stuff as part of the problem. The real obstacle to a child’s enjoyment of a variety of foods, however, comes from parental interference with what should be the child’s own business. This was the most significant finding in the children’s study by Clara Davis mentioned in the article.

No one did anything to encourage the babies to eat one food or another, or to eat anything at all. They were completely free to choose what to eat and how much to eat. Unless there’s a physical illness or abnormality, every child will eat what his body needs when his eating is totally self-directed.

When dessert is used as a reward for eating veggies, the veggies are seen as inferior or why else would we get “paid” for eating them? All this hullabaloo parents make about eating destroys children’s appetites or distorts them into the habit of overeating and making poor food choices.

— Shirley Luxem

PCC nutrition educator Marilyn Walls replies: The study you mention took place in 1926, when Clara Davis, a Chicago pediatrician, took 15 young children and let each decide what he or she wanted to eat, based on a list of 34 foods that included potatoes, cornmeal, barley, beef, lamb, bone jelly, carrots, turnips, haddock, peaches and apples. One kid had eggs, bananas and milk for dinner. Another had liver and orange juice for breakfast. One child with a severe case of rickets drank cod liver oil of his own volition until his disease went away.

Kids will eat when they’re hungry and having a “war” about food misses the point. Research shows that the best method for getting kids to eat healthful food is modeling. Children learn from what their parents do. In today’s world, making meal times pleasant from the beginning sets a positive tone for family and food.

Also, have patience. Studies have shown it may take children more than 10 attempts to accept a food. They need to get used to the smells, colors and textures. While bribing with food, especially dessert, isn’t a good thing, children in studies have responded to rewards, such as stickers, praise, or books about how their bodies work with food, by voluntarily eating vegetables months later.

Protein powder

First let me say that after some 40 years of shopping at PCC I’ve yet to have anything but good experiences all the way around. We are so fortunate to have this resource in our community.

My question: Can you educate me a little on protein powders? Are they missing any of the amino acids or other constituents of a complete protein? If so, does the purchaser need to make up the deficit, and how is that done?

— Amy

PCC replies: Powders that are complete proteins include whey, egg, hemp and soy. These are the proteins that contain all the essential amino acids that our body cannot produce.

Beans, nuts, peas and grains are examples of incomplete proteins. They do not have one or more of the essential amino acids. Pea, rice and vegetable protein powders therefore would be incomplete.

The current consensus is that these amino acids do not need to be consumed at the same meal in order to supply your body with the needed protein. For instance, it once was thought that rice and beans had to be eaten together to provide a complete protein, but that is no longer thought necessary.

The Utah Department of Health says, “Incomplete food protein sources do not have to be eaten at the same meal to be considered complementary proteins. As long as they are eaten over the course of a day, they are considered complementary proteins.”

It would seem unlikely that protein powders would be your only source of amino acids. Even if you are vegan, you can get enough protein each day with a whole foods diet. Protein powders can be a good addition.

Grapefruit safety

I really am shocked by the juices at your Issaquah store. You have one juice that has grapefruit and that’s very dangerous if someone is taking medications.

— Lucy

PCC replies: Yes, grapefruit can interact with some medications and it is the prescribing physician’s responsibility to inform patients fully about any dietary restrictions.

We sell many foods with ingredients that must be avoided by some shoppers for various reasons. In these situations, it’s our responsibility to see that foods are labeled correctly and the shoppers’ responsibility to read ingredient labels and avoid any specific ingredients. If you have questions, consult with your health practitioner before consuming.

Humanely raised foods

Since giving up animal products 10 years ago, I have a hard time getting full. It is amazing how satisfying a meal becomes with the addition of a little cheese! But, alas, I had resigned myself to never experiencing that sense of fullness again.

Then a green-and-white container in PCC’s dairy case caught my eye! It was Green Valley Organics Lactose-Free Cream Cheese, Certified Humane Raised and Handled! I nearly fell over with joy! And now there’s humanely raised sour cream, too!

I also buy your lovely Certified Humane eggs.

Humane Farm Animal Care is an organization working hard toward upholding stringent standards of animal care and handling. These folks are taking the time to make a tangible difference in farm animals’ lives.

Thank you, PCC, for being a place where wonderful change like this is taking place! I’m so grateful you give me and others the opportunity to support Green Valley Organics and other Certified Humane products and significantly improve the lives of farm animals. Thank you!

Please consider making even more Certified Humane products available at PCC and, equally important, please consider informing your customers that these products are hiding here and there on the shelves of your stores. So many people don’t even know.

With sincere appreciation,

— Fay L. Harris

PCC replies: In addition to the cream cheese, at PCC you’ll find Green Valley Organics yogurt, Redwood Hill Farm cheeses and yogurts, and eggs from Wilcox, Stiebrs and Pasture Verde that are Certified Humane. Rumiano cheese is American Humane Certified. You’ll find all these products labeled humane on the package.

For more on our animal welfare standards, see the August 2015 article Animal welfare: PCC standards.

Corn in supplements

As someone with numerous food allergies, I often do research to find out more about the sources of foods I consume.

I was pretty alarmed to discover that many vitamins, supplements and processed food products contain corn that’s not mentioned on their labels. These products either are manufactured directly from corn or include binders or other ingredients derived from corn.

An example is vitamin C, which I never would have expected to come from corn.

In searching for a non-corn Vitamin C, I couldn’t find one at my local PCC so I found a tapioca-based product online.

Would you please consider carrying tapioca-based vitamin C and other non-corn-containing vitamins?

I’d love to see you address this issue in an article so more people can be aware of the problem (and start pressuring legislators about transparent labeling).

I’d also like to see PCC encourage its suppliers to voluntarily label whether their products contain corn residues or residues of any other potential allergens.

—Tess McMilla

PCC replies: We’re bringing in the Source Naturals brand of vitamin C, free of corn. We also offer MyKind Organics Vitamin C Spray and Vitamin Code Raw Vitamin C from the brand Garden of Life — both free of corn, soy or other binders or fillers. Both also are certified organic and Non-GMO Project Verified.

We’re aware of how many companies add allergens, but there are alternative offerings in most categories. Feel free to request certain products or brands, or look for guidance from our health and body care staff.

Also in this issue

Soil & Sea: reports from our producers

Learn why beekeepers and cod fisherman are worried, why cows are flying on aircraft to China, the future of faux "shrimp" and more!

"A quiet crisis": The rise of acidic soil in Washington

Wheat farmers across the inland Pacific Northwest say their soil is acidic. The culprit appears to be the abundant use of synthetic nitrogen to increase crop yields. Now farmers and researchers are looking for innovative solutions.

Quality standards update

Recently PCC updated our quality standards for several controversial ingredients — caramel color, titanium dioxide, silicon dioxide and carrageenan. We also asked FDA to define "grass-fed" for dairy.