Thursday, November 20, 2008

Time To Go Organic

If this isn't enough to convince you to go organic I don't know if anything will.

You know I feel pretty strongly about feeding my family as much organically grown and produced food as possible. I've talked about it before. But even I didn't realize how pervasive these poisonous by products were or that they were allowed to be in our food. I know many of you were outraged by the tainted Chinese products that hit our shelves (pet food & Thomas trains to name a few) but did you know we (America that is) are producing this same stuff or that it is being put in our food as fertilizer, filler, and feed? I certainly didn't.

We as a people have gotten to be pretty entitled folk. We want to have everything we want at the cheapest possible prices every day of the year. That is not how things naturally work though. And in order to give it to us quality cuts are being taken to make that happen. Fillers are added to food to keep weight up while reducing costly ingredients (if you don't recognize all the ingredients in your food PLEASE don't buy it). Huge "factory" farms are replacing smaller operations and they are pumping their animals full of poor quality feed (and fucking melamine) as well as antibiotics and growth hormone to give you the cheapest animal products. But you are paying a price... it just isn't in your wallet.

I sincerely hope that you all will really think about what you are buying. And if you think the cost of organic foods is too high I hope you really make an effort to examine that decision. I have price checked organic foods in every conceivable location and I can assure you that the prices at Walmart are jacked up (often being 2x the price) compared to the organic prices at a store that carries more "health" foods like Whole Foods or Earth Fare... and considerably more than you'd pay at a farmer's market.
This past month I managed to pay $500 for the whole month for a family of 4 (including all lunches). It might not be as expensive as you think. You will have to make changes and you will have to give up your favorite brands (and that is tough at first I know) but it can be done. And because there are less brands to choose from you might find you SAVE money because you buy less prepackaged items.

If you think I'm just too *organic crazy* I'll remind you that just 7 years ago I was washing down my Lucky Charms with some Cherry Coke. If the Furiouses can change anyone can. If you want brand recommendations I'd be happy to steer you in the right direction. Eating organic foods does NOT mean you have to go all *sprouted wheat style* I assure you.

Up until now I have bought what I could but I've also bought conventional products if I couldn't find the exact replacement. After reading the NY Times article that's coming to an abrupt stop. We're not crazy and we'll still eat out upon occasion but I feel it is important to do what I can to reduce our exposure as much as possible. And I can tell you I'm really happy the pizza place up the block is organic!

I also want to remind everyone that changing what you eat, and how much you pay for it, isn't the radical change. What has happened to our food supply in our lifetime has been a radical change. Paying more for high quality food is what Americans used to do... back when farmers could actually support their families. Think about it.

And if you have gone about doing your research and found the FDA says that melamine is not allowed in food products... read that VERY closely. The truth is the US imports much of our packaged food ingredients from China. While a US food plant is not allowed to add melamine to it's finished product as filler... factories in China are adding it to ingredients (wheat gluten & milk recent examples... and some of that tainted milk did make it's way into US products).
If you are motivated at all to make a change for your kids' sakes than you might be interested to read this.


Elizabeth said...

Well... like you said, shit.
I guess it's time to get a little more hard core about this stuff.

Farmer's market it is for me.
I know you've talked about the differences between Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. Is Tj's cheaper? I can get to both, WF is just closer...
Whole Foods also seems to have more produce in general, and that's what I try to buy organic.

I've heard it said a couple of times and I think it's a good way to think of this issue:
"You can either pay the grocer (or farmer) now, or you can pay the doctor later"

Smoochiefrog said...

This is an editorial opinion piece. Where are the annotated points linked to allow us to check his writing? That's right, there are none. I'm not saying he's wrong by any means, but provide proof. Share links so we can do our own research. I am not the type of person who will just take what the average Joe says at face value. Show me in writing. No, I don't want you to give me links. I can look them up myself if need be. I want the writer of this article to do it. If he doesn't, then his article doesn't hold much ground to me. JMHO

Plus according to his article if the organic veggies are grown in fertilizer that came from cows that were fed the melamine laden food, you're still getting some melamine. The only TRUE way to guarantee your food is safe is to grow/raise it yourself. Just saying.

Mary Poppins said...

I'm glad you were so into the article, Mrs. F. I knew you would be. I'm interested in taking this to the next level and reading the author's book (mentioned at the end of the NYTimes article). He has a PhD and teaches at a university in Texas. I'm assuming his book would be filled with endnotes, footnotes, and references galore. Food for thought (pardon the pun).

Mrs Furious said...

When it comes down to it I'd rather be safe than sorry. For a little more time & money I can provide safe (either completely or certainly safER) food to my kids I'm going to do it.
And I have video that goes into the manure issue. If you buy from local farms that is less likely (and it is certainly not the case that all organic farms use outsourced manure).

If you are going for produce WF is the place over TJs... they have more choice and better quality in my experience. Other stuff it kind of goes item by item. In general I think you spend less the less places you shop though.

michelline said...

You'd think with a city the size of Jacksonville, we'd have an organic grocery store. But we don't, sigh. And we won't until Whole Foods is opened (hopefully next month). Of course, it willb e about 40 miles away from my house, but you have really made me think and where we can, we're going to make the switch to organic.

Marie said...

You know what really pisses me off...the fact that you have to even THINK about whether the food your buying is the right food to eat. should just be able to go to the store and buy grapes and eat them without having to worry about pesticides and chemicals and whatnot. When did grocery shopping have to get so complicated?? Nevermind the plastics that are now taboo, and who know what is next...

Just think, at one time there was no special "organic" items..EVERYTHING was just organic and there was no need for a special label...

Mrs Furious said...

Argh that is really frustrating! I hope that things start to progress in that direction for you down there.
Right now I send Mr F to WF once or twice a month and he stocks up on a lot of stuff... it really helps.

PS you look AMAZING!!

That is exactly how I feel. I finally found a store that is all organic and I can just go and shop and not have to have an aneurism as I try and decide which item is better/worse than the other... and don't have to be tempted by things I shouldn't buy all together.

"Just think, at one time there was no special "organic" items..EVERYTHING was just organic and there was no need for a special label..."
word. I think people forget this!

thanks for the article. Yes I'm into it!

Smoochiefrog said...

Like I said, just my opinion.

Marie said...

Another for items for the house/clothes/etc.. If you can't afford the safer/better/(more expensive) items, buying secondhand isn't a bad thing. I think we get so used to NEW, NEW, NEW that the thought of something "used" is "beneath" us. Even if the clothes aren't "naturally" made, they have already been made, so actually your keeping it out of the landfills, etc..and not contributing to the cycle by buying a new pair of the same thing. KWIM?

(and all the "we", "us", "you" are just genearal statements.)

(oh boy..that sounds very crunchy! honestly, this month is the first time we've really looked at buying secondhand, and that was for a fish tank for christmas! oh, and I'll browse for some GAP jeans because I LOVE them, but--really--$70 for jeans?!? that is SO pre-kids!!)


Mrs Furious said...

Oh I'm 100% with you. What's funny is that when I was in highschool & college I was all about the thrift stores because it was *cool*.
I have no qualms about buying second had for the kids but it is still a hurdle for me ...I'm working on it though.

Mrs Furious said...

I'm curious what your resistance is?

That piece wasn't exactly written by any old joe off the street. And we all know that melamine has factually gotten into the US market. We also know that production standards in China have had fatal consequences. We also know that China is a major exporter... and that the US imports their products.

Supermom said...

Hello! Are you packed and ready????

I hear ya! We are all organic food as well. Okay, maybe 95% organic. I have to have Mint Oreos, Hellman's Mayo and ummmmmm Ritz Crackers.


Smoochiefrog said...

Seriously? $$$$$$$$ I can barely feed our family of 5/6 on $500 a month. If I throw in organic at the cost the Commissary charges, I'll never be able to do it.

Shoot, I was freaking out yesterday that cheese had gone from $1.99 to $2.50! I can't even fathom spending $5 for milk when I only pay $2.30 now.

Until the price goes down, I'll just keep doing as much homemade as I can.

Mrs Furious said...

I hear you on that front. You get much cheaper food for conventional items than I do... the cost increase for me is not much. I actually spend less now than before because I've cut out so much crap.

Have you tried the mint Newman's Os? Hellman's is still in my fridge too. Although WFs has a good knock off and they have GREAT organic Ritz style crackers... I'll get Mr F to stock up on them next time and I'll bring 'em over ;)

Supermom said...

Mrs F,

I have tried them. ~hanging head~ I just LOVE Oreo's. Even the bad aftertaste is worth it for me! HA HA!!!!

I buy the organic Ritz at Earth Fare when I make my famous meatloaf but sometimes you gotta have a Ritz.

I heard RUMOR that WF might be coming this way! I hope so!


Mrs Furious said...

I almost passed out when I read that! I cannot tell you how happy that would make me. Although Earth Fare would probably go out of business.

Mr Furious said...

Way back in May, my company's realtor told me there was a WF coming. I've been unable to verify that any other way...

Personally, I hope it doesn't happen—don't hate me Mrs F!

If Whole Foods comes to town one or both of EarthFare and Greenlife will go down. They are both small(er) chains that will not be able to compete. Since I can hit the WF in Greenville fairly regularly that should be good enough.

Mr Furious said...

Also sticking to in-season, more local food means you aren't eating grapes that were transported from Chile—think carbon footprint!

Mr Furious said...

[Mrs F is typing furiously—I'm feeling a smackdown]

Mrs Furious said...

Fuck You Mr F!
Relying on you to remember what I need once a month (which limits me only to non perishables) is NOT working for me.
Don't fucking mess with me and my groceries!

Mr Furious said...

Whole Foods does supply me with exceptionally designed printed materials...

Mrs Furious said...

It also apparently supplied you with some cookies yesterday (yeah I checked the receipt)!

Mr Furious said...

Oh, jeez.

ONE cookie. The cheapest one they had. I had an hour drive home and needed something with my coffee.

Kiki said...

I read your post on Google Reader and instantly started researching organic foods...where to buy it, how much and how to get it...I linked to you on my blog (hope that's okay)and commented that there were some changes going on over here at the Beehive....I have some serious food situations (you already know) and so anything I can do that make it easier to eat what I want and do it healthily....well that is never a bad thing.

Kiki said...

Oh and I go on WF's website and practically beg them to open here...also Trader Joe's...keeping my fingers crossed!!

michelline said...

Well, I did it. I bought my first gallon of organic milk, LOL. I also bought a few other things. Of course, there's no organic cheeses (or velveeta) at Publix. And I have to make mac and cheese. Ah well. Little steps.

michelline said...

And thanks for the compliment. I had a visit to my surgeon this morning and he was very happy. Said if I don't lose another pound (HA! I'd die if I didn't!), he'd consider me a success story. I've lost 65 lbs so far (on the doctor's scale)

julie said...

michelline, you look awesome!!

I do a lot of my food organic, but I still buy some stuf that is my smart taste pasta. I could certainly switch...just haven't. I have been trying to find a good replacement for the grape capri-waters that Murphy loves. I have had so-so luck. It's hard to imitate that delicious KoolAid-like grape flavor:)

We eat very little meat in our household so when we do, I do buy either organic or local...we are fortunate to have several farms that sell their own meat.

My skinny cow ice cream are definitely not organic, but they are just for me, not the kids:)

I wish we had a Whole Foods closer. I do agree that the fewer stores you shop at, the less you spend. I end up food shopping at several stores and my grocery bill is still so high.

I did read an article that stated the things to really focus on organically are the meats and dairy first and then the produce so if one had to choose they said to start with the dairy.

I think I should start going to Whole Foods monthly to stock up on stuff...

So Mrs F, what kind of snacks do your kids eat? Also, do you do organic for rice and pasta? What about my beloved boca burgers?

Got to say that going all natural and organic with the cleaning supplies has been interesting in the bathroom. I find that things get dirty again really fast. But, hey, I guess that just means I can't be as lazy as I want to be.

Hey, do you know if Horizon or anyone else makes an organic whipped butter in a tub? I buy the whipped butter for bagels and english muffins, but can only find it in Land O Lakes. Speaking of bagels, do they make organic ones? I tell you, it just would be so much easier and cheaper if there was one store that I could go to. I am so freaking irritated that we don't have a Whole Foods closer. I don't need help stocking up on the dry goods...I can easily get those. It's the dairy, produce, meats and fresh breads that I need more access to organically. And you can't really stock up on perishables.

I only buy Cabot cheese, which is local for us (VT), but not organic.

I have to really consider the organic milk thing. It's just that we go through so much milk a week with the boys. As I type that, I am arguing back at myself that this is exactly why I should buy organic for them. Would it be so wrong to buy the conventional milk for all my family that is coming to stay at Christmas? You know I will. I am not paying $6 bucks a gallon of milk for my relatives:)

Okay, as usual, it's like I am having a conversation with myself here. Sorry for the stream of consciousness commenting:)

Heather said...

Fascinatingly terrifying. I find it really irritating that free-range meat is 1. so freaking expensive and 2. not so tasty. The Trader Joe's meat is totally hit or miss -- last night I slow cooked their tri-tip sirloin and even then it wasn't fit for the dog to eat. Seriously. We bought some free range meat from the farmer's market once -- a $25 steak, and it was good, yes, but it was $25 for one steak. I'll go out to eat for that!!

So tell me, does Whole Foods have good meat? Trader Joe's chicken blowwwwwws.

julie said...

Heather, I have had trouble with the meat at Trader Joe's, too.

You can find very good organic chicken, you have bell & evans in CA? I have had very good luck with the meat choices at Whole Foods.

The tough thing about grass fed beef is that it is not so fatty so it may not be like what we are used to. I agree that $25 is way too much to spend on one steak. I would be so afraid I would overcook it and ruin it. I'd rather have that stress on a chef a restaurant.

Fuck, I am still up even though I just said on my blog that I was not going to check one more thing.

Dana said...

I live in a town that has no WF or TJ's.

My husband works for the one good grocery store we have, and their organic food prices are insane. We grow most of the stuff we need in the summer months, but other than that, I have to read labels like a hawk, making sure I'm not going to die if I eat the stuff I buy.

I'm hoping the Organic movement will expand and maybe bring the prices down a bit. You know, supply and demand... Hah. Wishful thinking, I know.

Mrs Furious said...

"Would it be so wrong to buy the conventional milk for all my family that is coming to stay at Christmas? "
I do the same thing! Shit it's expensive enough to entertain.
And as for cleaning products I agree... but since that melamine is in cleaning products I'm even more set with the green products.

I don't get meat at TJs and never did. WF has a butcher counter (obviously) I've never gotten bad meat there.

No problem.

Yeah Velveeta is one of those things you're not going to be able to find an organic version of ;)

I absolutely think that will happen in time. I've already seen the prices come down in the last couple of years. I've had the benefit of living in places with multiple organic venues and things were cheaper.

Mrs Furious said...

I've been thinking about this all night. I think that in terms of the melamine the biggest things to change are animal products... since they are eating feed that maybe/is mixed with it and it is in their meat and by products. So if you need a place to start that seems to be the place.
Of course while I had made the switch to organic produce and packaged products awhile ago the things I wasn't always consistent on were the animal products! D'oh!

Renee said...

All I can say is this is really, really frightening...and pisses me off to no end-we've been slowly going organic for a while-but haven't gotten very far-milk, veggies, some meat...I need your help Mrs. Furious!!! FYI-regarding WF coming to Asheville-I heard this when we first moved here but I was also told that some 'powers that be' at EarthFare and/or Greenlife were so far able to table WF's plans for now...but I'm with you, Mrs. F-Greenville is too far to drive for groceries...I want one here!

Renee said...

Can you tell I'm finally catching up on your blog after the crazy few weeks I've had?!?!

one more comment after watching your video-I've been saying for years now that I wanted to get back to quality not have re-ignited my desire to do this in all aspects of my life...THANK YOU!

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