Thank you, makers and distributors of parmesan cheese, for making my case for me.

With Healthy Reminders, my weekly video series that is designed to help you thrive, I want to have a conversation about things that we buy and use everyday that might not be good for us, but we use and buy them anyway, because we didn't know they were bad for us.

Example: You know smoking is bad for you. That info is out there.

Did you know apple juice is bad for you? Not the actual juice from an apple, but store bought apple juice. Yeah, not so good for us. It is very similar in nutritional value to soda.

That the high sugar content in juice is bad for us is making its way to common knowledge, but there are so many other stories of marketing, or lying, to create myths or perceptions that a food product is good for us. Or, that it at least isn't bad for us.

At the bare minimum, we hope that the food we are buying is actually what it claims to be, right? It often is not, but to show to what lengths companies will go to save themselves a few bucks, and how long they can get away with it, we have the wonderful story of wood pulp in the parmesan cheese, broken by Bloomberg Business and reported by Time, Fox, et al.

Food companies somehow discovered that they could substitute some types of wood filler or cellulose for paremesan cheese. I'd imagine the reason would be the reason for just about everything—money.

These are huge, scaled operations who put huge efforts toward finding ways to cut costs and increase their profit margins. They found a way to use a non-food to pose as food. And actually, if they used enough salt and sugar, probably didn't have to try that hard.

It just goes to show that can help to be aware of what we are buying.

I don't believe that something called parmesan cheese that isn't actually parmesan cheese is serving me. I haven't seen any studies that show me that wood pulp is terrible for me. It might be just fine for me. But, since it's not food, I don't want to eat it. I have a choice, and I'll take food over wood, thank you very much.

So I now have to find a new source of it. That brings me back to conscious shopping.

I introduced the idea of conscious shopping in a former episode. It involves a pretty simple process.

  1. Look at what we're eating and consuming
  2. Identify the items that are bad for us, or aren't serving us
  3. Find a suitable replacement
  4. Buy it instead of the old product

These companies who will do such things have never had to deal with the connectedness of the Internet before. Where we were once powerless, we now have power. And all we have to do is open our eyes, be curious about the products that we consume, and be willing to make tweaks and changes to what we buy and use.

I always recommend double checking the information (including mine) that you find on the web. It's just as easy to find bogus info as it is to find good info. With discernment, though, I think the Internet can be more of an asset than a liability.

When we take these steps, they empower us and make us healthier and happier. Plus, they send a clear message to these big companies. That message is "Stop lying to us, or we won't buy your stuff."

Watch how quickly they change their ways when we stop giving them our money. Vote with your wallet and be heard!

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