I love all the facebook comments I got about my food industry post. I guess I halfway expected everyone to ignore me or tell me I was crazy and paranoid. It does my heart good to know that others are thinking about these things, too.
It's really hard for me to go all the way in one direction. I'm very moderate and empathetic, I can usually see and understand most people's points of view. So it's difficult for me to discern a set-in-stone path. Some people label themselves as "thrifty" or "green" or they're all about convenience. I find that I can't be any one of these things, I have to try to balance them all. We have a fairly strict grocery budget and a toddler who subsists mostly on chicken nuggets and shredded cheese. I'm sure you guys understand.
I think it's fair to ask, with all this new (to me) knowledge, what am I doing to change?
-Organic foods and free range meats are more expensive than "regular" foods, and we are on a very tight budget (namely, one teacher salary). Mostly, I'm more aware of the options now. I know that United Market Street sells free range beef and chicken, and Sprouts has a wide organic selection as well as antibiotic-free meat. I watched the mail circulars, and when the meat at Sprouts went on sale, I stocked up. Then, when a recipe calls for something like a whole chicken, I try to spring for the free range one because the price difference isn't that big. Small steps, I know.
- I think the biggest thing I'm doing right now to change is learning to cook and reaquainting myself with vegetables. I signed up for an online program called e-mealz which provides you with a weekly menu and recipes for only $5.oo a month. It really doesn't have anything to do with going organic, but it's helping me branch out and try new things. It's helping us eat more veggies, and discover we like them. Yes, it calls for some unhealthy ingredients occasionally, but I think it's helping me in the long run because it's teaching me about flavors and challenging me to use ingredients I normally don't touch. (Shocking things like tomatos and whole chickens.) I feel like learning to cook is the first step in the process.
- I have made a date to go visit the Apple Orchard in Idalou to gather our own hometown-grown apples to make Cate some organic, homemade apple sauce. Maybe I'll even get a pie out of the deal, who knows?
- (You may want to sit down for this one.) I have not bought any chocolate for over a month now. Worldvision, a charity I trust and support, recently released this article. I was shocked to find out that about 96% of the chocolate industry uses child labor or human trafficking. The industry was given 10 years to slowly faze it out, and they have done virtually nothing. It's just unacceptable. Chocolate is a complete luxury item, and I can't have it at the expense of children's lives. (Oh but Cate LOVES M&Ms! We haven't had to throw down yet, as she is mostly fooled when I buy skittles instead. I don't know how to explain this stuff to a 2-year-old.)
I would love to hear what you guys are doing. Teach me your ways, tips, and tricks! I am a novice in this field, so I don't really know what I'm doing. I'm hoping to latch onto some garden-savvy folks so they can be my mentors. What are your favorite organic products? Where to you do most of your shopping?
P.S. I promise some cute Cate posts soon, for those of you who came to the blog and felt cheated. :)