Each day, I check out my google reader to read a few of my favorite blogs. Today, a blog that really caught my attention was this: http://simplemom.net/buying-organic-food/. Basically she asked what's more important, local or organic?
I commented on her page (along with a LOT of other people), but I thought that I would share my thoughts here. These are my priorities when buying and preparing food:
1) Whole foods (not processed), homemade
2) Pasture fed, no hormones or antibiotics, cage free, etc.
Even though Organic is at the bottom, it doesn't mean it's not important to me. All of those things are important to me. Let me explain.
1) I have been doing a lot of researching and learning about food and why high nutrition is important. I have learned that this is a life-long process, and one that will improve over time. It is something that I will continue to implement slowly, and it's a life-style change, not a "diet trend." I'm not focusing on losing weight, I'm focusing on health.
But, ultimately, for me, the most important thing is to feed my family whole, nutrient-dense food. This includes things like meat and poultry, eggs, beans, lentils, nuts, whole grains (wheat, spelt, oats, etc), fresh fruits and veggies, milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.
2) My next priority (recently) is to make sure that the meat, poultry, eggs, milk, cheese, butter, etc are at least hormone and antibiotic free, cage free, and grass fed (when possible). The reason for this is that hormones and antibiotics have had a horrible affect on people, and the research that I have read is enough for me to do this. Grass fed is healthier because they contain higher nutrients, much of the time lower fat, and in things like butter, lower saturated fat. The most important part of that for me is the higher nutrients. In this case, buying organic isn't enough because the only difference is that they feed them organic feed. They are still stuck in a pin, which means they aren't healthy. Buying in places like HEB (meat) isn't attractive to me anymore after I spoke with a rancher who sells grass fed beef (that I will be buying from). He said that when he has a sick longhorn, he sends it to HEB. Interesting, huh? He's not "certified organic" because it just costs more than it's worth. He lets the people who buy from him see his longhorns, and see that they truly are pasture fed. He doesn't give hormones, antibiotics, etc, and they truly are just free to roam the pasture. I still haven't found free-range chickens in the area, so I will just keep buying from Whole Foods for now because it's at least natural (although, I will be meeting with someone soon who will probably be able to tell me where to find this!!).
3) Sense I've started buying from Whole Foods, I've actually had much more opportunity to buy local, believe it or not. Buying local is important because it saves money and energy, it is a way to support local farmers, and it's easier to know how they treat their animals, etc. I want to shop at the local farmer's market, but their hours are really hard for our family (luckily, we've started our first garden!). Much of the time, local farms are "organic," without the organic label. Being USDA organic is expensive, and it's just not worth it. By being labeled "organic," they have to charge more. Much of the time the organic label is a way to charge more for products (although, not always).
4) Most things I buy are organic. I especially follow the "dirty dozen" list of buying organic, and things that we use a lot of we buy organic. Pesticides can cause a lot of health issues, so it's important to us. But, the more I learn about true nutrition and that there are other things that are important, the less I focus on organic. I mean, organic pop-tarts are still pop-tarts. They are still pure sugar and refined flours. Still not healthy. So, organic isn't my focus. I buy organic when I can get it for close to the same amount. I just started buying organic flours because I can get them cheap at Whole Foods. I can get organic whole wheat flour for 59 cents a pound! That's an amazing price. There are many things there that are about the same price as non-organic, so it's worth it.
Though I buy "expensive" food, we have made other changes to make this possible (we are not rich all of a sudden...). We no longer buy ANY junk food. We used to buy Doritoes, Oreos, Nutty Bars, etc... Now, we just eat those things occasionally, but never in our home. We no longer buy pre-packaged food (except for Annie's mac n cheese and crackers occasionally; I also buy soem tortilla chips, but they are local and made with non-hydrogenated oils). I do keep things like Kool-aid around for people who come over (we have friends who LOVE it... my kids don't drink it and I don't drink it!). I have an organized plan, and we don't buy things that we don't need. I used to just go to the store and hope that I came home with something that resembled meals. Now, I know exactly what I'm going to get when I go in to the store, and I stick to the list. So, with careful planning, it is VERY possible to eat this way. But, it takes time and making one change at a time. A few years ago I went through and got rid of everything that I considered to not be healthy, and if it wasn't organic. I went shopping and bought all this organic stuff... I didn't stick with that. It was too drastic of a change. Slow is important!
So, there's my LONG opinion. What are your thoughts? Please share!!! I have been told that people read my blog, but when I ask questions, people don't respond :). I really want to know!! :)