Friday, October 1, 2010

Tough Choices and Good Intentions

Unfortunately for the average household, the option of buying everything organic is simply unrealistic. The term Organic itself is thrown around on packaging wherever possible to try to convince the consumer that this product is good for you. How is the average Joe going to be able to weed through all of this information and make informed choices when there is so much mis-information and creative advertising?

Increasingly I have been having conversations with people with the good intentions of feeding themselves and their family in the best possible way. People want to feed their kids and themselves foods that will help their body grow healthy and strong, and foods that also support our environment. Movies like Food Inc., Super Size Me, and Fast Food Nation have brought the complicated realities of the food industry into the minds of the average consumer.

I am certainly not an expert on the topic, but I do think that the questions raised in these films press on two very important points. First the issue of health and wellness as it relates to what we put in our bodies, and then the accessibility of these healthy products for the average consumer as it relates to their wallet.
Most families can not afford to buy everything organic, don't have time to look at every label, and have to make tough choices when deciding between product and price. Does organic necessarily mean better?

I think some comfort can be found in having a little faith and knowing that our bodies are pretty resilient and efficient at what they do: process foods for us by eliminating what we don't need and utilizing what we do. But, here are a few tips I have found while researching these issues for my family. It seems that the majority of advice out there on this topic seems to support a few consistent points...

Try to by organic: dairy, meat and poultry. I know that in my household we go through about 3 gallons of milk a week, so as much as that may add up it also feels like 1/4 of my kids diet. This can be expensive, but it seems like prices are becoming a bit more competitive in this area. One thought worth considering is investing in a freezer you can keep in your basement or garage and joining a meat CSA in your area. By buying in bulk you cut down on your cost.

As for fruits and vegetables here is an introduction to what it known as "The Dirty Dozen" (this produce absorbs and or is treated with the highest amounts of pesticides;):
1. Strawberries
2. Peaches
3. Apples
4. Bell Peppers
5. Celery
6. Nectarines
7. Cherries
8. Grapes
9. Spinach
10. Lettuce
11. Potatoes
12. Pears

Happy eating;) Liza

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