Globalization, Research, and Shopping Local

The ubiquitous Taiwan flip-flops… in magnet form

There’s something to be said for cultural adaption. Moving to a foreign country, we miss some creature comforts, like the same brands of food, or even pens! Most things are easy enough to get in this globalized world we live in now, though. Taiwan in particular has a much larger variety of international foods than it did even five or ten years ago. And yet, the cost of those products usually doesn’t justify the purchase.

I don’t just mean the price. Sure, it’s nice to splurge every once in a while. But to regularly purchase imported food, on an island that grows fresh produce all year round? Not only is it hard on the wallet, but it makes your carbon footprint a whooooole lot bigger, too! And still, I constantly see foreigners here in Taiwan recommending websites like iHerb or Amazon as their #1 option when someone asks where to buy a certain product.

Mm, haze… sky lanterns crashing down and starting fires… fun!
Picture taken in PingXi, Taiwan, November 2013.

Let’s take chlorella for example. I decided I wanted to start taking chlorella, to help support my body in dealing with the overwhelming pollution of Taiwan. Air pollution, unclean water, food scandals… my body needed a little help, for sure. This was around when I was getting hives frequently, and I wanted all the junk out and all the good stuff in!

Surprise surprise, it was recommended that I order from iHerb (you guys, I am not knocking iHerb, I just think it’s important to know there are other alternatives that don’t involve shipping things halfway across the world and back). Anyway, if you search for chlorella on their website, you’ll find a LOT of options. I really wanted to be sure that I was getting the best stuff, so I did some research.

It turns out, the best chlorella in the world is made right here in Taiwan, under the sun, and in South Korea, in labs with artificial light. Well, I want the good stuff, so of course, I want Taiwan chlorella, grown directly from the energy of the sun itself. Now, back to iHerb I go…

Wait a second. It sure didn’t make sense to buy something made in Taiwan, shipped to the United States, and then all the way back here. What a freaking waste, not to mention the carbon footprint of those little sun-feeding algae!

So I literally googled Taiwan chlorella, and low and behold, I found the company with this name, operational for decades. Much more affordable than ordering it from overseas, and I get to support a local company, and not contribute to greenhouse gas emissions by shipping it across the Pacific Ocean and back. I have since also discovered the price is lower when bought directly from stores, such as the pharmacy, or the health food section in Carrefour, than it is when bought online from the manufacturer themselves. Seems odd, but now I can save some money and support TWO businesses! 

So please. Wherever you are, I implore you to do a little research before you buy. There is probably an option, a product, a service, or a solution that is practically at your doorstep. Help the earth a little bit. Reduce your carbon footprint. Support local. Don’t support retail giants who take huge cuts from suppliers. Use your brilliant mind for a brilliant little solution, and spread the word.

Side note, my friend recently told me that her mom takes it to ease her muscle tension, because her shoulders were always tight. Hm. The more you know! I didn’t notice my shoulders weren’t tight anymore… until they weren’t (see my blog post, In Absentia, for more on that topic!).

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