WIC and Organic Foods - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 30 Old 01-16-2003, 05:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just need to vent a bit here. Does it seem fair that because I want to receive WIC assistance that I now must compromise on the foods I choose? I cannot choose Organic milk, cage-free eggs, soy milk, etc. I was told this is b/c the food is chosen by price. I would think that since the goal of the program is to help with the nutritional status of women and children, that the gov't would be in favor of me making healthier choices. The stupidity of our leaders apalls me at times. Has anyone else run into this and is there any way to question this at a higher level? It also kills me that I could get free formula if I were bottle feeding. Did it ever occur to these people that it would be in everyone's best interest to strongly support BFing? I understand that some people just cannot BF, but I think that is the exception, not the rule. I also would have received more assistance if I were drinking, smoking or using drugs, as I would then be a "high risk." I am the only one failing to see the logic here? So, b/c I try to do all the right things for my kids, I am not high risk, just lower income. Excuse me, isn't that in and of itself "high risk"? The nurse also looked at me like I was totally insane when I said we were choosing not to vaccinate at this time until I could do more research as to the safety/necessity of vaxes. She reminded me several times that DD was due for shots and did I want to do that today. I simply restated that I was not vaxing at this time...blah blah blah...If looks could kill, I would not be here now!

I guess I just need to get this of my chest and see if others have had a similar experience.
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#2 of 30 Old 01-16-2003, 07:03 PM
 
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I had similar experiences while on WIC. Luckily : DH was undergoing cancer treatment while we were on it, so I had a medical reason not to vax... As for the food, I was that I received tuna and carrots as a supplement to my breastfeeding, saving the county untold $$$ by breastfeeding and not accepting the free formula I would shop at the mom & pop groceries, hoping they were not as particular about the WIC guidelines ~ I would only buy the natural peanut butter (the sheet said *refrigerated* was not allowed so I got the stuff on the shelf), and I would buy filet tuna and the organic baby carrots. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't, if it didn't, I didn't get that item ~ which really sucked!
The very worst part of the program was the attitude of some checkers in the grocery stores... there were women who loved my kids, would chat up a storm one day and the next time I came thru with WIC checks, they would rudely ignore me & the kids! I started *forcing* DH to come with me, with his shaved head and giant scar, people could see for themselves why we were in the position, breaking the stereotype and shut them the hell up!!!!
Okay, I realize this probably doesn't make you feel any better, but I hope you're glad to know you're not alone!

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~diana google me: hahamommy. Unschooling Supermama to Hayden :Super Cool Girlfriend to Scotty . Former wife to Mitch & former mama to Hannahbear
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#3 of 30 Old 01-17-2003, 01:51 AM
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WIC's big contribution to bf'ing is providing women on WIC with free, good-quality breastpumps if they breastfeed and work. Of course, many women on WIC do work, as many MUST work, and the breastpumps retail for about $180 or so - far beyond the reach of most low-income folks.

The program is not all bad - not by any means.
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#4 of 30 Old 01-17-2003, 11:18 AM
 
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Ds gets WIC too and it is very frustrating. He gets milk, eggs, peanut butter, cereal and tons upon tons of juice. He does drink the milk but I would love it if I could get organic milk for him instead. I did find that the Super Wally in my area does carry it. Ds won't eat eggs. The only kind of juice he will drink is orange and I don't give it to him on a daily basis because it's not good for him. We have a cupboard full of WIC juice. Peanut butter isn't even recommended until the age of two so I just sendit to my MILs. Dh and I do eat peanut butter but not an entire container a month. Ds has been eating cereal lately so we have been using that, otherwise I would also send that to my MILs. I have heard that in other areas WIC offers vouchers for the farmers market to get fresh veggies but there is nothing like that here. The is an option on one of his checks to get 1 lb of cheese instead of a gallon of milk but he drinks all of the milk that they give him. I think it is terribly wrong that WIC will not offer to let you use organic or soy alternatives to the dairy products they supply.
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#5 of 30 Old 01-17-2003, 11:37 AM
 
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hahamommy -- I've seen what you are talking about with the check out clerks WAY too often at my grocery store. It makes me furious!!! Inevitably they make moms with kids wait for manager approval, for ages. The kids get crazy, then they are rude to the kids for being rowdy. Or they screw up the transaction multiple times, or "forget" how to process the vouchers. Which I know is crap because there is *always* someone using vouchers to shop when I am there, so I know it is not uncommon. It is just rudeness. They yell loudly for the manager, and shout accross aisles about what the problem is, and then every customer in line will look over at the woman. And they argue over every item and whether or not it qualifies in very loud voices, and rudely. As if the woman is trying to steal from them or something. GRRRRRRR. I *hate* it.
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#6 of 30 Old 01-17-2003, 11:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Marlena, I know the program is not all bad. I was just frustrated that I try to do the right things and it seemed to me like that was not good enough. Obviously I would not use it if I thought it was worthless.

I now see what I have to look forward to when I actually go shopping. At least I know we are not alone.
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#7 of 30 Old 01-18-2003, 08:40 AM
 
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I live in Ohio, and I know the program is administered by the state, so maybe each state does things a little differently. However if you are willing to raise hell, you might be able to get what you want. First, the dollar amount on the coupons is a guideline-WIC even tells you that it may sometimes go over the amt, but you are not required to pay the difference or put anything back.

In Ohio, we get this color-laminate brochure with all the things we are allowed. So, i was SOL on cereal, as it specifies brand & type. I went for the bean only option because it says 18oz jars only, & I have never seen the real stuff in that size, especially not in a grocery store. If you can find a store with plain 1-lb bags of org beans, it fits the requirements. This I couldn't get at the grocery store-the only organic beans were in cans or included sesoning packets.

Certain juices, such as orange, allow any brand-it says exactly that on the brochure, so I got Cascadian Farm Forzen Org OJ, that was the only organic one the store had that fit WIC's list. I was on the cheese only option, don't drink cow's milk(can't do any dairy now anyhow, so I gave up on WIC, but that's another story). Anyway, with cheese only they were giving me 7-lb per month, any brand of specific flavors. The supermaket carried three types of Org Valley cheese, two of which were WIC-approved. Same with carrots, any brand 1-lb bags.

Eggs were a problem, it says any brand, but has to be white 1 doz cartons, & the supermaket only had brown in Org, so I was stuck on that one. The milk is supposed to be 1 gallon jugs only, & I've only seen Org milk in half gallons, so that wouldn't have worked anyway.

This is how I did it: First, I went to the store & just tried to get it with WIC. The mgr was a jerk of course, so I refused to get anything, went home & called the state 800# to complain, they directed me to the county administrators office. They told me that Organic is allowed as long as it is within the guidelines (eg-can't get Feta cheese cause it's not an approved type). They suggested going to the store during business hours so if I ran into a problem again, I could demand that the call WIC then & there. I did that, but I also went to the cust service desk instead of the checkout, since I knew it would be a problem. They rang me out there, & told me to come up to the desk in the future. Eventually, after like six months, they put the items in the computer as WIC approved, so I could go through the checkout like a normal person.

The way it worked for me was that I went to the same store all the time, so after a few months of dealing with different people all the time & constantly re-explaining it, they were finally "trained" to allow organics with WIC coupons. I will warn you, tho, people will be jerks (to put it politely) whether or not they give you what you want, & you will probably have to argue with alot of people. The key is that it is not the store's choice as to what is WIC approved. If they choose to accept WIC, they can not set rules as to acceptable brands, except where the state has set rules, such as cereal & some mixed juices as well as size requirements. Other than that, you get to pick the brand. That was how I was able to get Organics, but you may even have to report a store, if they are not complying, in which case they send in state inspectors to make sure all WIC-acceptable items are being allowed.

Another thing, & this is why I chose to use my coupons at a chain, anything over the suggested amt on the coupons is payed for by the store, not the state, but as a requirement of taking WIC, stores have to agree to that, although the management often fails to educate their employees about that, which is why cashiers often think you have to pay the difference. Again, I dion't know how your state operates WIC, but I would call themain county office & try to talk with the county administrator. The people at the other offices are not always as knowledgable.

Also, the reason we can't get things like soy milk is because the federal gov determines what foods are WIC elegible, & soy milk is considered to be to high in sugars. Why they won't approve an unsweetened one is probably because they subsidize dairy so heavily. It was suggested to me that I write a letter explaining why I couldn't eat any dairy, & why lactaid wouldn't help, and also put in info about benefits of soy, etc, which they would forward to the county, then state & federal level. I was told that it carries a lot of weight when they get letters, & maybe if they get enough requests they might do it someday. So you could try that too, it might help someone down the road, if not us.

Soory this is sooo long, I think I got carried away. Any way, hope this helps.
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#8 of 30 Old 01-18-2003, 06:32 PM
 
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I'm just going to say now that I found it very helpful, since I'm going down to the office next week to apply for WIC. I wasn't going to bother because I don't drink milk or eat sugary peanut butter, or most of the cereals they provide, etc. I can by no means afford a lot of organic, but I find it ironic that they don't allow soy milk for its sugar content then allow some of the cereals, juices, and peanut butter they do!

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#9 of 30 Old 01-18-2003, 08:31 PM
 
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We can get farmer's market vouchers here, which is great.
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#10 of 30 Old 01-20-2003, 01:16 AM
 
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i remember they were very big on 'juicy juice'- a nestle no-no. that frustrated me no end. juice in a can- great, but soymilk is too high in sugar. gotcha.

reilly's mama, sure wish i'd seen your post way back when- maybe i woulda got ballsier about complaining.

suse
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#11 of 30 Old 01-20-2003, 09:40 PM
 
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We were on WIC for awhile too, and actually, I thought the program was pretty good, at least in my office. They were really supportive of bfing, made a really big deal about how great it was and encouaged all the pg moms to come in for bfing support, and this was really a shocker to me- were positive about my tandem nursing . They also gave farmers market coupons. Personally, I can see why they do not let you buy organic. Dh has a good job now, and still, we cannot afford to buy organic milk for 6 bucks a gallon when I can get two gallons for $3.50 of the regular stuff. We were getting 8 gallons of milk per month on WIC. That would have been $48 a month on milk alone, which I personally feel is excessive. Until the price of organic can come down, I consider it a luxery, but I know that I am in the minority here. I do think you should be able to substitute soy or rice milk, and get something in place of peanut butter if the child is allergic.

The clerks in the store (and the other customers too) were a different story! I used to turn beet red trying to get my items. They would take forever and some of them made me feel about two feet tall. They do not know the whole story of why you are on WIC, and should not make snap judgements . All you are doing is trying to get your kids taken care of!
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#12 of 30 Old 01-30-2003, 08:07 PM
 
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I get WIC, too, and have had the same complaints. We've had to compromise a little, but I usually just don't get the eggs at all. We live in Appalachia Ohio, so the clerks don't treat us rudely, because it seems like almost everyone around here is on assistance. It's so silly that you can only get peanut butter in an 18oz jar, and not anything less. And why is all the natural peanut butter in a 16 oz jar??? Seems like some kind of evil plot!! But we found a natural ORGANIC peanut butter that comes in an 18oz jar- Arrowhead Mills. Look for it in your grocery store's health food section, you just may find it. There are 2 different stores in my town that have it. Sometimes you just gotta try different grocery stores.
I know WIC is supposed to help, and it does to an extent, but whoever recommends the selections needs to look more in-depthly into what HEALTHY actually is.

-Lisa
Mama to Elijah Henry 05-00 and Ivan Fowler 01-03
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#13 of 30 Old 01-30-2003, 11:36 PM
 
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Several years back I served on the NYState WIC board at the consumer level, in many ways I ofund the program to be out of whack! Most of the consumers (recipients) who volunteered wanted organic, soy, vegan options, but it's all about the $$ and just never happened. The dairy council and formula companies rely on these programs for BIG BUCKS, it's ridiculous. The gov't says there is no proof "natural" or "organic" is better and being it is considered more expensive (although not always the case!). You may get allergic exemptions for some things but rarely. As for the peanut butter, the "natural" has less sugar (none!) and is technically NOT allowed in most states (NY and NJ specifically state on the card for all items, no "natural, organic, etc.") but the non computerized stores let this slide. The Prez. (well she resigned as I became a member) of the NY board was wonderful, she also ran my local WIC, i felt if she was able to stay on the program may have improved! She was all for breastfeeding and taught me that WIC is NEVER Supposed to automatically offer formula w/o talking to you about bf-ing, its benefits, etc. (Now we all know THAT is RARE!). Her/my WIC office was quite forward in regards to bfing and "free milk" as many recipients referred to formula. We had a rowdy bunch there (we had to close more than once when violence broke out in the waiting room!) but the worker (who worked behinf plexiglass-some of them that is-lol would respoond "Your baby needs "milk" (ABM) NOW? Look down, ya got 2 of them, try to use them!" LMAO Of course this was NOT done to women who could not BF, and/or were polite!

Currently, I amn in NJ where my local WICconstantly asked if I was sure Istill breastfed, keeps doors propped open with cases of carnation formula, and refuse to offer me the peer counselor job even though the position is STILL vacant. So it sepends, where and who is working in the office. As for issues with food, as for the name of your state bboard Prez and WRITE< WRITE< WRITE. We lobbied at the state house to, so your officials will listen too!
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#14 of 30 Old 01-31-2003, 12:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I went WIC shopping for the first time the other day, and surprisingly the Cage Free eggs were marked on the shelf as a WIC item. Of course they didn't scan that way, but they overrode the computer on the eggs and the nautural peanut butter. I got by w/ the PB cuz it is a smaller size, so they let it go. And the cashier was actually nice about the whole thing. She was an older woman, and I live in an area where lots of people get assistance, so they seemed pretty lenient, thankfully!!
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#15 of 30 Old 02-02-2003, 05:43 PM
 
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Yeah... we gets tons of milk and juice too. :

When I told them none of us drink milk (dd and I are on the program) and we eat yogurt and cheese instead the lady was concerned that we don't get enough Vitamin D. Well, isn't the Vit. D in milk added... so it's not going to absorb as well right? : We get enough to cook with and pour over cereal and the rest of the time I tell the checkout clerk we have enough milk already.

I wish we didn't have to do it (WIC), but with jobs so scarce in our rural area dh is working for 30% less than he did last year.
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#16 of 30 Old 02-18-2003, 09:43 PM
 
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I get so ticked at my WIC office in general. The breastfeeding consultants are great but the policies are a pain! Because "so many women" stop Bfing and then want formula...they wouldn't issue me the standard checks..I had to come back in a month. (duh! this is my third kiddo) Then when they started issuing the babies cereal and juice..the months don't co-incide with mine...so thats a few more trips. And they "claim" to support BFing! I tell them if I weren't committed I would have called it all too much hassle. Then the cashiers look at me like I am trying to slip tuna and carrots by them...then they read the check...look at me puzzled and I point out that there is no formula on the counter.....
BTW....ever thought about making homemade yogurt with all that milk? I do and it's pretty simple.
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#17 of 30 Old 02-18-2003, 10:45 PM
 
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I guess I would never expect WIC to provide organic food. I would certainly try to sneak it in but wouldn't expect it to be accepted. i figure they are giving me food that I would otherwise be buying for myself and if it wasn't on sale I wouldn't buy organic because I can't afford it.

I never had a problem with the whole vaccine issue, they just said OK. I had a problem with one cashier and I haven't gone back to that store again. It annoyed me that they had to get a manager at one store but I usually went there late and so it was no big deal. I have never had a problem getting real peanut butter because smuckers makes a non-refridgerated kind. I did have to fight for that a couple of times but there wasn't a single cashier that could argue that it didn't fit into the guidelines so it was always mine. I never saw thier breastfeeding supprt in action but I never needed thier help. i certainly never felt discouraged against BF. it didn't offend me that they gave my baby juice and ceral but I figured there was someone who needed it and would just donate what I didn't need. My inlaws also got lots of free milk to.

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#18 of 30 Old 02-19-2003, 02:13 AM
 
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up until Oct. of last year, Minnesota also allowed organics, within the guidelines. But now they stopped it. THere are a few co-ops where I can get this really awesome grass-fed hormone free, un homogenized milk in returnable glass bottles. they also will give you org carrots and free range eggs still cause WIC didn't notify them of the changes ahead of time.

what irks me is that you can go to a corner store and the prices are all jacked up and it costs as much as organic.

but i feel odd complaining cause our new idiot governor Pawlenty has proposed cutting the entire state budget, 3.6 million, for WIC.
there would still be federal funding but....
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#19 of 30 Old 02-19-2003, 10:20 AM
 
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Take heart Elaine!

The first ones to get kicked off funding are the formula fed babies/moms.
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#20 of 30 Old 02-19-2003, 05:10 PM
 
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that doesn't exactly make me joyful either.
I am bfing, though.
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#21 of 30 Old 02-19-2003, 06:07 PM
 
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I can get organic carrots and organic beans if I go to a store that carries them.

Megan Davidson, Labor & Postpartum Doula, Breastfeeding Counselor, Anthropologist, Mom to August (9) and Clay (4), Partner to Shawn.

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#22 of 30 Old 02-20-2003, 01:36 AM
 
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I try to compromise by getting almost-organic food. I can find cage-free, antibiotic-free, hormone-free eggs and milk that are not organic. Can't get peanut butter without hydrogenated oils, so I took beans instead. [I'm still trying to figure out what to di woth all this juice- we'll have a lifetime supply! I often get tomato juice which I'll use in soup.]
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#23 of 30 Old 02-20-2003, 02:35 AM
 
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What is it with all the freaking juice. Forst they give you more than any sane person can drink but then yell at you for drinking more than a couple of ounces a day. I gave a lot of stuff away.

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#24 of 30 Old 02-20-2003, 03:59 PM
 
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Wow - I didn't even mean to go to this board, but this thread is really interesting. In Vermont, where I am, my WIC foods are delivered to my house once a week, so I have no choice in which brands I get. In someways, I guess this is nice. It is definitely a big convienice! And no dealing with rude check-out clerks, so no stigma (esp. since when I drive down my road on WIC day, every other house seems to have a cooler out! LOL). However, I would like to be able to choose brands -- even if I couldn't get org. milk, I could choose the local dairy that is bgh-free. I have a friend in the next town over, and she gets that brand b/c she has a diff't supplier than I do. Weird. I should ask her to trade w/ me. I don't think she cares whats in her food. .....
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#25 of 30 Old 10-01-2013, 10:44 AM
 
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YES, it is really preposterous... It seems like the "beggars can't be choosers" logic is alive and well. What really troubles me is that most of the foods that you can get have gmo in them. Look at the ingredients of all of the cold cereals and you will cringe! BHT added for freshness. Corn syrup. Baby formula that I have looked at has "corn syrup solids" as it's FIRST ingredient. That is garbage, not food! I feel like we are experiments to see what happens when a pregnant woman drinks 6 gallons of hormone-laden cows milk every month, nasty eggs, tons of corn syrup and BHT and then feed her child the same way.
Disgusting and unforgiveable- I gave it up. I would rather struggle for good food than poison myself for free...
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#26 of 30 Old 10-01-2013, 11:46 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peppamint View Post

Take heart Elaine!


The first ones to get kicked off funding are the formula fed babies/moms.

I really hope that this isn't a serious reply because the level of snark if serious is pretty obnoxious.
I can understand limiting the organic options when funding is so in jeopardy. Better to help more babies with regular milk, eggs, and peanut butter than to help just a few because of the increased cost of organics.
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#27 of 30 Old 10-01-2013, 11:59 AM
 
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This post was 10 years old.. :headscratch:

Carson, living life with my 3 boys: DH, DS Dec '09 blahblah.gif  and newbie DS Sept'12baby.gif

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#28 of 30 Old 10-01-2013, 12:11 PM
 
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This post was 10 years old.. :headscratch:

So it is! This sure has been happening quite a bit lately...odd.
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#29 of 30 Old 10-08-2013, 08:12 AM
 
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The people who make the rules concerning wic are doing their best, but im pretty sure the companies that benefit from wic purchases constrain them in  many ways.

For eg, i remember when you could only get a certain kind of peanut butter-the kind with hydrogated oils and high fructose corn syrup. If you wanted a higher quality one, even at the same or lower price, too bad. So wic changed it to 'any  brand of peanut butter at 18lbs' Guess what happened next? All those organic, better quality brands, changed the volume to 16lbs. Thereby excluding wic customers.

 

Thats just the beginning. Most of the cereals and juices available on wic are full of sugar and articificial coloring and flavoring.(and of course genetically modified and non organic) If you want one that isnt, even at a lower price, too bad.  There are one or two good choices, and the rest is crap.

 

Wic customers, who are forced to get that crap, are  keeping those companies in business.

 

Not to mention the milk business, which is mainly supported by  wic checks.

 

I remember needing every item but the  gallon of  milk, (I breastfeed). At the checkout,  i offered the cashier the milk, since i didnt need it.  The manager then told me i was not allowed to do that.

Wait. i own the milk. I am allowed to do what i like with my property no? Not if the manager is mentally challenged.  So, i  took the milk outside and left it there. I couldnt carry it.  How wasteful.

 

There are so many things wrong with wic, i am very grateful i dont have to deal with it anymore.

 

Often the cashiers/managers themselves are ignorant and corrupt. If it looks healthy, they will put a fight about giving it to you, even if it is within the guidelines. For eg, i have had  resistance getting organic frozen fruit.

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#30 of 30 Old 10-08-2013, 08:14 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AstraLibra View Post

YES, it is really preposterous... It seems like the "beggars can't be choosers" logic is alive and well. What really troubles me is that most of the foods that you can get have gmo in them. Look at the ingredients of all of the cold cereals and you will cringe! BHT added for freshness. Corn syrup. Baby formula that I have looked at has "corn syrup solids" as it's FIRST ingredient. That is garbage, not food! I feel like we are experiments to see what happens when a pregnant woman drinks 6 gallons of hormone-laden cows milk every month, nasty eggs, tons of corn syrup and BHT and then feed her child the same way.
Disgusting and unforgiveable- I gave it up. I would rather struggle for good food than poison myself for free...

I couldnt agree more. The idea of force feeding my poor children the crap on wic  revolts me. So glad im off it.

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