Way back during my green year, I made a few changes that had to do with juice: One was to not consume anything that had HFCS or any other modified corn derivative in it (which a lot of juices do); another was to not buy any drink that came in disposable packaging, which all juices do. So basically, I had to make my own from scratch, using whole fruits that came from within Canada and the U.S. But to be honest, I’m not much of a juice person anyway. Smoothies with yogurt, ground flax seeds and ingredients that make it more of a meal I can understand, and the occasional peach, plum or pear will satiate the rest of my sugar cravings. Every time I drink juice, though, it just tastes too sweet and I think to myself, “If I’m going to be ingesting this much sugar, I might as well be drinking wine.” (Is this the first sign of alcoholism? Oh well).
However, my lovely boyfriend — who I will call J from now on because he doesn’t want all of his Google hits bringing up posts about lemon trees and Diva Cups — is a juice fiend. He is obsessed with Allen’s apple juice, primarily, but also likes a good youngberry juice from Ceres, and will occasionally throw some Tropicana cranberry or orange juice in there for good measure. I’ve been trying to wean him off the Allen’s because it’s less than $2 for a full 1.5 liters of the stuff and that just can’t be good (not to mention the possibility of BPA lining the cans), and the Ceres comes all the way from South Africa, which leaves quite the carbon footprint. I have generally felt that Tropicana is all right, despite being owned by Pepsi, as it’s not from concentrate, it’s an American company and it tastes pretty close to the fresh-squeezed stuff.
But man, oh man, have my opinions changed.
Have you heard about this new book, Squeezed? (Note the author’s stainless steel water bottle in the pic! And she’s Canadian!) Here’s the gist of what it’s about, according to the publishers:
Alissa Hamilton explores the hidden history of orange juice. She looks at the early forces that propelled orange juice to prominence, including a surplus of oranges that plagued Florida during most of the twentieth century and the army’s need to provide vitamin C to troops overseas during World War II. She tells the stories of the FDA’s decision in the early 1960s to standardize orange juice, and the juice equivalent of the cola wars that followed between Coca-Cola (which owns Minute Maid) and Pepsi (which owns Tropicana). Of particular interest to OJ drinkers will be the revelation that most orange juice comes from Brazil, not Florida, and that even “not from concentrate” orange juice is heated, stripped of flavor, stored for up to a year, and then reflavored before it is packaged and sold. The book concludes with a thought-provoking discussion of why consumers have the right to know how their food is produced.
And you can watch an interview with Hamilton on the CBC here:
So what do you make of all this? Is OJ especially evil when it comes to chemicals and preservatives, or is the same as any other juice on the market? Are certain companies or brands better than others? And can we check for certain labels or ingredients to make sure we get the best juice, or has the industry found a way to circumnavigate all the rules and guidelines about labelling? What juice do YOU drink??