Wednesday, November 4, 2009

We all have a choice


I know that a lot of people think the whole organics thing is just a bunch of bull designed to make us spend more money on trendy foods…I know because I used to believe that too. It was about 10 years ago when the whole organics trend started popping up in my world and I remember thinking “Oh, great, eating fruits and vegetables is no longer good enough, now they have to be organic?!” Then I relied on what I normally do when faced with questions I don’t have the answers to, research, research, research.

Turns out that there is a multitude of research, stats and information regarding the organic movement (which has been around a lot longer than 10 years) and why it is so important to our health and the environment. Now, people in my parents’ generation are often the ones turning their nose up at the idea, but these ideas are not new. They have always been aware of the risks associated with all these chemicals on our food (hello, Silent Spring was published in 1962 and I’d hazard to guess that even though it resulted in DDT getting removed, this issue hasn't really improved since then), they were just hoping that they could dilute the facts enough to prove that the risks were minimal and by the time you get it on your plate, they’re even less.

Well, it’s not just the risk of ingesting these chemicals directly from the food (which is pretty significant by the way) but also through our daily lives. These chemicals leach into our soil, water systems and air, effecting the delicate balance our ecosystem hangs by and effecting all life on this planet. Now, I have heard people state that “people have been saying that the world is coming to an end for ages,” like that justifies us ignoring them or something. I find it truly abhorrent that we have become a society that doesn’t care about the impact of our actions today on future generations. Even if you don't care about the environment though, it doesn't take a huge mental leap to see there is a connection between our food choices (and sedentary lifestyles) and the astronomical rates of obesity, heart disease and diabetes in our country.

When I hear people say that “buying organic is too expensive” or even “buying healthy foods is too expensive,” I think to myself these same people who complain about the cost of buying 'healthy foods' (or organic) are the same ones that don’t have a problem laying down inordinate amounts of money on shoes, bags, cars or housing they can’t really afford. Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand that there is a price tag associated with buying organic, and there are people that honestly cannot stretch a dollar any further than they already are…I’m not talking about these people. I’m talking about the people that support places like Wal-mart, stating that it’s cheaper and they’re just trying to save a buck, while pulling up in their Hummers and Escalades. Not to mention there have been a number of celebrity chefs, cook books and blogs showing how buying more plant based foods is not only the healthiest but also the cheapest. The problem is that most people don’t know how to prepare a meal if it doesn’t come out of a box or the freezer and in my opinion this is not by accident.

It didn't start overnight, it actually took a gradual shift to organics for me, I started buying from a local organic delivery service so I didn't have to hunt down organics and within a year most of our produce was organic or locally grown. When I choose to spend the extra money it takes to buy organic, I believe that not only am I making a decision for the health of myself and my family but I am also sending a message to the mass production food industry that they will not get my money or support. It comes down to more than just money here (at least for me), I feel that the importance of supporting local farming, sustainable business practices and providing food with the least amount of genetic engineering, chemicals, hormones and pesticides is worth the extra $.20/lb. We will continue to live in what most would call a modest home (which has more than enough room for the three of us), take care of our paid off cars so they run as long as possible for us (in the hopes that light rail will finally be available before then so we don’t have to buy another) and cook our meals at home where it is not only cheaper but healthier so spending the extra $.20-.50 for organic is not a hardship. This is the food that will nourish mine and my family’s bodies, so I really don’t see it as an option to choose price over health. It is only when we make a collective shift away from the foods that pose such great health and environmental risks that there will be real change in our food systems and health.

2 comments:

  1. my partner and i have always said that no matter how much money we have, we will always eat food that has been grown with love and will, in turn, nourish our family. I suppose it is about priorities and sadly, most people value a car over the food that goes into their bodies. Great post

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  2. Well said sister! I couldn't agree more.

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