what we do ingest, is no joke…

Surely I am not the only one that has noticed the current trend in milk products, arrogantly labelling themselves as “permeate free”

I first saw this flag a few months back, on my organic milk bottle. I subsequently felt proud that I was not ingesting permeate.

Ew yuck permeate, imagine what sort of unhealthy, ignorant heathen would knowingly take permeate with their milk?

It wasn’t until I saw the same declaration on the Barista milk I use for work…followed by the cheap 711 carton that I grabbed at midnight, preceding a desperate cup of tea before bed…that the little consumer bells in my head started to ring. What the hell is Permeate? And why the sudden need to be free of it? I worried for a while, and would not buy any milk that did not have this clearly printed on the bottle/carton. My worry soon diffused however, when I realised it was almost impossible to find a milk that did not have this grand statement plastered all over it.

Phew, no more permeate. I am safe from permeate.

Despite the fact that I largely drink soy milk, it had still become a concern of mine. And hell, as if a girl like me, with constant trivial concerns bouncing around my most powerful-brain-muscle, needed another one. So I made it my mission to find out exactly what the the elusive permeate is.

Thank goodness I did. As it is essentially nothing. It is simply a watery by-product of milk,  extracted during the production of cheese, that they put back into the milk. It is used as ‘filler’, as a way to cheapen the costs of the final product… I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t sound so bad. I mean it doesn’t sound awesome, but by no stretch does it allow us long-lived lactose guzzlers the authority to be bumptious about our consumption of cow juice; just because it is now free of the dreaded permeate.

But, that’s what we want, isn’t it people? A right of passage to go on buying the products we rely on; without feeling as though we are being irresponsible to our sacred ‘organ containers’. We just want to be confident that we are not willing, nor will we be willed, to pour anything down our gullet that may harm us. We trust that Mr Market will keep us informed of such concerns.

Well, thank you Mr Market, but I will do my own research from now on.

I do not trust advertising or heed to market trends as a rule, but it is hard not to get sucked in at times. These loathsome labellers are geniuses at knowing how to get us to buy. That is all well and good for entertainment or other such gratifying ways to spend our hard-earned. ..We all have consumer choices, and the choice to occasionally ignore our ‘sensible-sally‘ and ‘ethical-eddie’ inner spending police. And. when it comes to purchasing products purely for our enjoyment, we need not feel too guilty–> These purchases  can’t really harm our health (not directly anyway), so we can afford ourselves a little ignorance when it comes to buying a TV, or a pair of shoes.

But food, not so.

We really need to be aware of what we are buying, eating and feeding to our families. This is our responsibility and our right. It is fundamentally necessary for us, as eaters, to be savvy and aware of our eats.

Let’s for a second pretend we are animals, in the wild, hunting our prey. We are not going to just close our eyes and wander throughout the jungle, allowing the monkeys in the trees to tell us what to bite and drag back to our cubs. So why are we acting like such dopey sloths when it comes stocking our fridges and pantries? Why do we, when we have so much consumer choice, rely on the little green lights on packaging to steer us toward a purchase? Because we have become lazy.

I know not all of us are lazy. And I know a greater amount of us wish not to be ignorant. I know because I myself, who is generally an intelligent and ethical consumer, have been guilty of resting on my laurels in the past, and subconsciously trusting the hype. But, there is no use crying over spilt permeate. I have a chance now, and a reason, to wake up and smell the fair-trade coffee.

mission: to know what i eat.

So, from here on in I will make it my mission to begin, again,  actively researching everything I ingest.

Starting today, if there is any sort of permeate penetrating my label I will know what it is and where it comes from. And I will decide if I need to be worried. I will also make my own decisions about when to adhere and when not to adhere to the well-being of my vessel. I may occasionally decide to close my eyes in the jungle if I am feeling a little gastronomically destructive… but it will, from now on, be and educated decision.

My glass may be half full of permeate, but at least it will not be half empty when it comes to knowing it’s source. And once I have decoded their packaging, I will be able to have my permeate free milk and baked-not fried cookies, and eat them too…