Going Organic

I’ve been thinking a lot this week, about many different things. I was torn on what to write about since I’ve been having so many thoughts. But I settled on this one.

I’ve been hearing a lot about food lately. People close to me have been watching things like Super Size Me, Food, Inc., Fat Head and the like. These movies give a closer look at the food we eat, where it comes from and in the case of meats how it’s treated. I have not watched any of these movies and I’ll tell you why. I’m scared.

I know that the food industry is not the shiniest, prettiest thing you’ve ever seen. I fear if I watch those movies my whole lifestyle is going to have to change. I think this because that’s happened for the folks I know who have watched those movies. I can’t help but wonder if ignorance is bliss.

Sometimes after a long day the last thing I want to do is cook an elaborate meal; even a non-elaborate meal seems daunting, so it’s nice to be able to run to Subway, McDonalds or Taco Bell and grab something easy. I’m not saying I forgo grocery shopping and rely solely on these institutions for my family’s eating needs. Not at all! In fact I’d say eighty to ninety-five percent of the time we eat all our meals at home. But on those days when one more chore will push me over the edge it’s nice to have other options.

On the other hand, we all want healthy kids. I would love to go completely organic, knowing that what I’m putting in front of my kiddo is free of disease causing pesticides and hormones. It would also be wonderful to know that the animals live or lived a good, happy life. I’ve never been a meat is murder person, but I love animals. I believe they can be unhappy and I hate to see them abused. So if I could be assured that the milk I’m drinking was given by a happy cow or the chicken I’m eating had as much of a blast at life as a chicken can have, then great! But it’s all so damn expensive. Don’t pretend like it’s not. If you want decent food you have to pay for it. Even when it comes to fruit and veggies. The organic stuff is so much more expensive. There have been times where I stand in front of the organic carts staring at the produce wondering is it really worth it? Is it worth the extra buck? It’s also difficult when you know just around the corner there are Ramen noodles for ten cents.

I know that if I watch those films I will be so disgusted. Not only with the food industry but with myself for buying into it for so long. For swallowing what the world has been feeding me without thinking about it. So I’m left with the question, do I keep on gulping it down and pass that on to my son? Or do I watch them, get informed and make better decisions when it comes to food? That’s a really tough question. Am I willing to change my entire lifestyle and budget to accommodate the inevitably higher grocery costs? I suppose once I actually get up the courage to watch the movies, we’ll find out.

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6 responses to “Going Organic

  1. Holli has an interesting blog that focuses a lot around what she eats and makes for her family. I admire that a lot, but on the other hand, also have avoided watching the documentaries you mention for the exact same reasons you mention.

    I am trying to eat more fresh foods (fruits, meats and veggies) and less processed foods (including the ton o’ carbs and sugar I tend to eat). If I can make that little goal, I’ll be a lot better off. So, I’m going to focus on the baby steps, rather than set myself up for failure by eating perfectly.

    Success at being slightly better > failing at perfection

    • Thanks, Cassie!
      I want to encourage both of you to do whatever baby steps feel right. My own food philosophy is based on experience and need being my main motivator. The last 6 months have really pushed me to apply all the stuff I’ve learned.
      Those movies might make you feel nauseous – I have watched the first two, but not Fat Head. If I were to recommend one of the two, it would be Super Size Me, because it’s focused on one thing: Fast Food.
      Food, Inc really looks at the Food Industry, and it’s hard to not feel overwhelmed by all the sick ways things are done. If you want to avoid all the disturbing visuals (really it’s not all gross, there are lovely scenes of wheat fields) just check out the book, In Defense Of Food. It one of the easiest to read “Health” books I have read. And, it explains the whys of “Going Organic” and what you can do about them. You can take what you like from it. That’s what I have done. I’m not a die hard fan of everything in the book.
      I love that you’ve brought up this topic, because I think you two are not alone. I might have some things to share, and should do a blog post about it:)

  2. Hi Staci!

    I like what Holli said. The book In Defense of Food is one of my favorites as well. I started really examining what we eat and why about two and a half years ago and at the beginning, it was really overwhelming because there is so much information. But, like learning anything, it gets easier as you go and as you learn, you get to decide what is and isn’t important to you and once you figure out what’s important to you, you get to focus on that.
    One of the things I did that was super helpful was limit myself to learning two new things about food a week. I would say, “This week, I’m going to learn about local sources for dairy and I’m going to learn about varieties of apples . . .” or whatever. When I limited myself to two things a week, it made the task manageable, but not overwhelming. In only a year, that’s about 130 new things you learn.
    Anyway. Don’t think I added much of value here – I’d probably quote Holli’s post if I could. =)

  3. Recently I wrote a blog entry offering a leftist critique of the ideology of “Green” environmentalism, organicism, deep ecology, animal rights activism, eco-feminism, and lifestyle politics in general (veganism, “dumpster diving,” “buying organic,” etc.). I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the matter and any responses you might have to its criticisms.

    • Ross, thanks for the comment. There’s a lot in your post. I read a bit of it. While it had some good points I don’t think I have much to say about it. The reason I am even considering going organic and buying local is not because I long for a kinder or simpler time. I just find that if I buy local I get a fresher product, which is more delicious and nutritious.

      For me it’s not a way to be political or a way of saying damn the man! It just tastes better and is better for me. On top of that avoiding lots of chemicals, many of which can be quite harmful, is also great. Especially since I’m a mom; I can’t stand the thought of taking my kiddo to the hospital because of food I’ve been feeding him.

      But it was an interesting and well written post. Thanks again for the comment!

  4. We watched Food, Inc awhile ago and you know Sean has been reading every book he can get his hands in (Omnivore’s dillema, Defense of Food, etc). You know I couldn’t fully get on board until I watched that movie. Ignorance IS bliss here. You can’t un-see that stuff! I’m glad I know though because I feel like we were basically eating poison. Am I sad to lose my delicious big mac? HECK YES. But am I willing to take a baby to the ER with some crazy-ass disease that said big mac is infested with? Obviously, no. We are exploring some farmers markets and from what I’ve heard this CAN be done on a reasonable budget. We are also buying a cow from skagit farms, ha ha. I feel like such a hippie. Let us know if you want in on the order 🙂

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