I’m gearing up to participate in the Organic Food Basket challenge on gosonja.com and In Training this week. I’m not doing it to win yummy peanut butter (I can think of some cheaper, easier ways to procure peanut butter) but I have been thinking about getting back in the blogging habit, and hey – we gotta eat around here, so I am taking on the challenge.
Friday I’m going to tackle the shopping required. Tomorrow I’m going to plan what to do with the goods. Today I’m going to talk about how we handle food in our home.
We all know what we eat is important, right? Good stuff in, good stuff out – applies to everything we let past our lips, ears, and eyes. Our food philosophy as a family that likes to be busy and active together looks something like this:
– Perspective. Being able to choose where our food comes from and how it is grown is a function of privilege. There are many in the world for whom there is no food choice to be made, and sadly, there is no food either. Even in our own country, those in the poorest urban and extreme rural areas have little access to fresh foods. I’m not encouraging us to feel guilty about buying the freshest, healthiest food for our families. I just know it helps me to maintain perspective as our family determines how we spend resources.
– Local. We have a fabulous farmer’s market in the small town where we now live where we can buy veggies, fruit, and meat. Wes often picks up eggs from a guy at work. Local food has a huge number of social and environmental benefits, even when compared to organic food. For us, local trumps organic.
– Variety. Varying the foods we eat is how we reduce our exposure to pesticides or other unspecified nasties that may be in our food. “Organic” does not mean “no pesticides”. Organic farms don’t use synthetic pesticides – they may use plant-derived chemicals that do not belong in my body. Common sense, like washing produce and varying foods, is our standard for healthy eating. I’m not bashing organic – organic farming is defined by the soil-building practices that are used more than the perceived lack of pesticides. I’m all for healthier soil. Heck, I buy organic seeds for the veggie garden I kill every year. I’m also only talking about produce here (not meat or dairy).
As far as specifics, when I shop I nearly always do the following:
– Meal Plan. I started this habit in college out of my extreme dislike of shopping and complicated meals. It’s also a great way to eat on a budget. I typically do 4-7 days’ dinners as a plan each time, then go to the store and buy what we need for those days. I have never gotten in the monthly meal plan habit. I use post it notes and a white board. Uncomplicated.
– Watch out for the dirty dozen. These are the items I try to buy organic when possible. Sometimes our budget is tight or items are unavailable, and that’s ok (variety, remember?). But overall it’s a darn good list. Some things really do taste better organic, too.