The Ten Week Challenge Syllabus

I walked people through a ten week challenge, using the following syllabus.

Week 1 - Sugar-free
Week 2 - Whole grains
Week 3 - Wild-caught fish and grass-fed meats
Week 4 - Raw dairy
Week 5 - The microwave
Week 6 - Fats and oils
Week 7 - Cultured and fermented foods
Week 8 - Local and organic produce
Week 9 - Processed foods
Week 10 - Implementing lifestyle changes

Visit my Recipe Index over at Going Green in a Pink World.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Week 8: Organic Produce

If you think organic produce is a marketing scheme that will just drain your wallet, or you're a bit skeptical about the whole industry, lend me your ear for a moment or two...

I would like to first start out by saying that I do not buy organic or local produce only. I liken my food convictions to my faith convictions. I feel strongly that patience, for example, is something that God desires for me: both for the benefit it will extend to me, as well as the blessing it will be to the one who receives it. However, there are times when I view patience as too costly, and I choose (though not so blatantly) to replace it with anger, frustration, or bitterness. Ironically, the latter three emotions are far more costly in the long run: they eventually morph into anxiety, depression, and self-pity. But at that moment, patience just didn't seem worth it.

Buying organic sometimes feels like this. I don't know if its worth it - and when I'm looking at the prices in Whole Foods, (I don't enjoy shopping there, but Massachusetts Farmers' Markets are very seasonal...) it's sometimes hard to justify. So sometimes, I don't. I just buy conventional. However, after reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, when I reach for the $1.99/lb peppers instead of the $3.49/lb organic variety, I hear this little voice in the back of my head telling me that the run-off from the pesticide laden fields is seeping into our water supply, killing fish, contributing to cancer, deteriorating the health of the migrant workers in the fields of California...And most of the time, I put back the lemons and decide to make hummus without them, or lay aside the bananas until I make it down to Good Health, where they sell deliciously ripe organic bananas for $.29 a pound. But still, sometimes I don't. I say that because I want you to know that small steps are better than no steps. If you really want to make a mango salsa, but the organic mangoes cost $3 more than the conventional ones, and substituting just won't work - get what you can afford, but pay close attention to the rest of your list, as maybe the organic onions are only $.49 more a pound. Every step counts.

That said, I want to make it very clear where I stand and what I'm striving for. To me, organic produce, grass-fed meat, and fairly traded or recycled products aren't luxury items. They are a priority. Mark is unemployed and I'm not exactly raking in the dough, so our food budget is modest. But by eliminating processed foods, we're able to buy a good deal more in the fresh food department. And maybe it means we rent movies from the library instead of going out to the movie theater. Or perhaps I still wear those comfy blue corduroys I stole from my little sister's friend' in 2001...(they're so darn comfortable, really!) Or maybe we don't buy supplements and vitamins, because the food we consume is already filled with them.

I'll give some more "hard" facts in the coming days, but I have to say, although the information appeals to the head, what keeps me striving towards an organic lifestyle is my heart. I want my kids and their kids to enjoy the beauty of our land, in as optimal health (through good nutrition of course!) as possible.

Aruba, 2008. Photo by Mark Massaro

1 comment:

  1. hunny- i hear ya! and I like whole foods by the way- they're just not necessarily a "health food" store- there're like a yuppie rich folk want to be healthy store. I can't wait til Farmer's market season!!!