Breakfast beverage choices complicated

Freed from equally unsatisfactory choices, I asked myself whether I need juice from distant plantations to start my day.

When people are prescribed blood pressure medication these days, they are told to stay away from grapefruit juice. In our household, when my husband received that message, it meant that our demand for orange juice for him went up by 100 per cent, while our demand for grapefruit juice declined by 50 per cent. Multiply that change by the hundreds of thousands of aging Boomers being prescribed blood pressure pills and you can expect effects in the marketplace. Sure enough, the availability of grapefruit juice went down. But grapefruit is not the instigator of the new dangers, the pills are.

First I got angry with the pharmaceutical companies pushing all the pills and the doctors prescribing them. My anger increased when the bottled organic grapefruit juice I had bought for years disappeared from local grocery shelves.

I tried unorganic, metallic-tasting, frozen juice until I remembered that that product is owned by a massive corporation we boycott for various reasons. The cartons of fresh grapefruit juice suggested by a helpful grocery store clerk are produced by a company owned by one of the two giant, global pop corporations.

The last straw came when I looked at the ownership of the bottled juice company whose grapefruit juice is gone. I learned that they are now owned by a major manufacturer of sugary and salty spreads and syrups whose management actively campaigned against GMO labelling in the U.S. The only reason to oppose labelling is the intention to use ingredients that consumers might not want to buy.

Finally, I realized that the cosmos is sending me a message: ‘Simplify your demands!’

Logically, the Occam’s Razor principle (when faced with a seemingly equal balance between choices, choose the least complicated) is the best tool to break out of decision paralysis. Freed from equally unsatisfactory choices, I asked myself whether I need juice from distant plantations to start my day.

Already I have replaced much of my beverage intake with water. I will replace my morning juice with water.

This decision reminds me that care for water resources is a vital local responsibility and that exporting water takes many forms.

We are currently much exercised that next January our provincial government intends to start selling B.C. water to Nestlé for less than $2 per one million litres, far less than the price in any other province. But do we care that Californians face water rationing while their state produces 80 per cent of the world’s almonds? The constantly increasing purchaser is China.

It takes a gallon of water to produce one almond, so you might say the world is sucking water away from California. According to Mother Jones, “the Sacramento-San Joaquin River delta, a critical engine of coastal biodiversity, stands at the edge of biological collapse. The state’s once-prolific salmon run, which depends on water making it all the way to the ocean, barely persists; more than 90 per cent of marshes have been drained.”

Isn’t it ironic that almonds originated in China?

Marjorie Stewart is past chairwoman of the Nanaimo Foodshare Society. She can be reached at

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