I’m at a crossroads.
We watched the documentary film called Food, Inc this week. My world was rocked. Basically, the movie poses the question, “where does our food come from”. It wasn’t that all the information was new to me. I already knew chickens are overfed and overcrowded in chicken coops around america. I know most of our food is genetically modified. But the movie hit a nerve and I can’t shake it. After chewing on the film for a few days (ha, no pun intended. okay, maybe it was.) I think, at the core, what bothers me is that it’s not just one industry that seems to be messed up…like beef industry or the chicken industry and I can just say, I’ll never eat ____ again. It’s that ALL commercial food industry is messed up in one way or another. We aren’t eating good food. It’s all connected. It’s all messed up. Whether it’s how the animals are treated, fed, or slaughtered or how our veggies are grown and covered in pesticides, or how the FDA isn’t really regulating the way they should, or how the workers who process the food are poorly treated. (FYI, the movie didn’t come across as a political propaganda film. It actually blamed both parties.) It all seems pretty messy and honestly, too big for me do anything about it. This leaves me perplexed and not sure what my next move is…let alone what my next meal is. Needless to say, I haven’t had much of an appetite the past few days.
So here is my question. What do I do? How + what do I change in my every day life…everyday eating…every day cooking…every day grocery shopping. I think the answer is to move to a remote island commune and grow our own food. BUT, unfortunately that isn’t a feasible option. So the next logical answer is to go completely organic and work towards supporting local farmers. I love this idea, but my budget does not. The day after the movie I went to the grocery to do a little test. I happened to have a random gift card to the grocery store and figured this was as good a time as any to use it. I wanted to see what shopping for “organic” + “minimally processed food” was like. I just picked up some of the stuff we eat during an average week and choose the organic options. I didn’t end up with much. I spent about $40 from my gift card and only got this much stuff:
Eggs alone were $4. Chicken nuggets $7. Crazy. We live on a budget, so going all organic at this point in our lives isn’t really an option. BUT, I want my kids to eat good food. I want to eat good food. I know eating well now will mean being healthier later. So where is the middle ground? Although we are generally an all of nothing kind of family, I think the answer for us is figure out what our “nonnegotiable” are. In other words, what are the items that I will ONLY buy organic. Milk, for example, is an easy one. We have been buying organic milk for the past several years. We don’t even hesitate at the store. What other items need to be added to that list? After seeing the film, I think eggs and meat are going on the top of the list.
So now my question for YOU…
If you shop for organic foods what are your nonnegotiable? In other words, what are the items that you will only buy organic? Where do you get deals on organic foods, how do you work it into your budget?
Chime in, I need some help here.