Part of the reason I’m so cynical about these newfangled products and whatnot is because I grew up in my grandparents’ home, and they had some pretty conservative ideas.

Like eat your damn peas.

And stop shufflin them feet.

And walk like a prince or you’ll get treated like trash.

That kind of conservatism. The kind that was based on giving and getting respect, supporting local, mom-and-pop grocers, listening to and respecting your elders and NUMBER ONE, ABOVE ALL, EATING WHOLESOME FOODS.

Always choose fruit over candy. Never buy a packaged product when a fresh one is available. Chocolate bars do nothing for you. Pickle everything. Fast-food isn’t food. Learn to cook. Forget to eat out. Dessert isn’t necessary. Vitamins and minerals are. Don’t watch TV all day. Go outside and play. The world is your gym and your determination is your gym pass. Swim. Run. Climb. Cycle. Make friends. Play.

This wisdom had followed me into adulthood and I think often about how fortunate I was to have grandparents like mine. While my friends ate junk food and instant meals, I was in heaven, though I had no idea. I thought all those kids were lucky to get fast food and preservative-laden, heart-stopping, likely-to-survive-nuclear-holocaust edible garbage. I didn’t realize that the diarrhea-inducing pondscum they were eating was collateral damage from a dual-income family who had no choice but to throw quick meals at their loved ones before rushing out the door in order to keep up with their subdivision suburban mortgages and SUV car loan payments.

The truth is, my grandparents were TRULY conservative- they were conserving all they could! They had only one car, a tiny, fuel-efficient vehicle. They rarely used indoor heating. Their pension income may have been low, but their consumption was also quite low. They truly embodied the doctrine of non-materialism, a doctrine which is a dirty word in many 21st-century discussions on economics.

In Korea, I’m pampered. There are these guerilla gardening grannies who will take fertile land in the hills and just plant stuff. Then they come down to the open market and sell everything from grains and beans to fresh fruits and vegetables.

With plenty of westcoast seaweed and kelp, there are enough b-vitamins and iron to forsake most traditional protein sources. If you just cook at home in South Korea, you have the option to eat a healthier and more economical diet than many places on earth.

There’s only one problem. No one is a peninsula entire of itself. Industrial pollution still affects us all, the quality of the food we eat, and in turn the quality of the lives we lead.

There’s nothing conservative about environmental destruction. Or supporting Monsanto. Or opposing climate science and the post-carbon movement. That’s just ignorance.

Who would have guessed that what’s good for the body is good for the environment, and vice-versa?

My grandparents would have. They’d have told me that was good old fashioned common sense. I think they’d be proud that I was interested in keeping things wholesome. I think they’d agree that we deserve better.

Better than what?

Proctor and Gamble





General Mills


We’re reasonably smart monkeys. We have the Internet. Just stop using what these guys are making as best as humanly possible and encourage others to do the same.