J500 Media and the Environment

I *HEART* Organic … and I’m poor by shemme
March 3, 2008, 10:49 pm
Filed under: Food + Health | Tags: , , , , , , ,

I really enjoy organic foods. They have a more vibrant color, more pleasing texture and amazing flavors when compared to their counterparts that are produced in “conventional” ways. I’m also obsessed with organic dairy products and 100% whole wheat foods like bread, pasta, cereal, crackers, etc.; I just can’t get enough.

Yes, organic foods cost more. However, I feel that making the choice to nourish my body (the one and only body that I get for this lifetime) in the best way possible, and limiting its exposure to pesticides, herbicides, preservatives, and other chemicals as best I can is worth it. I don’t want to experience disease and other ailments, that could have been prevented, later in life. Why kick myself later when I can just follow the old “Better safe than sorry” rule right now? Health insurance and medical costs are expensive now; it’s quite likely that they will be just as expensive in the future, if not more so. So, for me, spending a little extra on organic foods is really an investment in my future – kinda like college. I spend $625 per class – I can think of a lot of other things that I could do with this money, but my education is worth it to me.

No, I’m not a kid with wealthy parents who pay for everything. I work 28 hours a week, my annual income is less than $20,000 and I’m just barely above the official “poverty” threshold determined by our government. Despite these things, I’m still convinced that I’m better off forking over the extra dough to purchase organic products. My overall health and well-being today, and 40 years from now, depend on the food choices that I make every day.

I’m not perfect. I do have a few non-organic guilty pleasures and they are Edy’s Slow Churned Rich & Creamy No Sugar Added Vanilla Light Ice Cream, microwave popcorn, Diet Dr. Pepper with Vanilla from Sonic (i.e. high fructose corn syrup), Craisins, and Wasabi Peas. Yes, microwave popcorn is probably the worst thing you can eat – hydrogenated fats, artificial flavors, artificial colors, artificial preservatives, and tons of salt all conveniently packaged at your fingertips. However, I did find Orville Redenbacher’s Natural Buttery Salt & Cracked Pepper to be the most delicious and not as horrible as others. Good old Orville, he even makes an Organic SmartPop Butter popcorn that is 94% fat free. No sign of it in stores around here, though.

So, even though I’m just as poor as the next guy or gal, it’s worth it to me to spend a little extra on the food that I put in my body. I’ll be thanking, rather than kicking, myself later.

~ Sarah H

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4 Comments so far
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Congratulations on recognizing the importance of your food supply. Organic does not have cost more. Check out your local farmers’ market, stock up and freeze or can. Consider passive organics – producers using organic practices but avoiding the costs of certification. Check unit pricing when you buy, don’t be tricked by “odd” package sizes. Buy from independents. I am a coffee roaster; my organics are less expensive than supermarkets but they use package size tricks like 10 ounce packages to make people think its cheaper than it is. Get to know producers and barter for things that you make or have… I trade a lot of coffee for things like vegetables and baked goods. Grow your own food, even in urban settings you can supplement your food supply. Good luck!

Comment by muddydogcoffee

As a student, your options for buying in bulk may be limited, but you can budget well to buy whole, fresh foods. If you have to choose which organics to buy, use your food dollar on the ones with peels you eat, and for root vegetables that live in the soil. That’s where organic makes the most difference. Meats can be stretched by using them in sauces over pasta and brown rice, or in hearty dishes like a cassoulet (beans, meats, veg). I keep our costs down by shopping at the farmers market in season and by purchasing meats that are naturally raised direct from the farmers. I like that the farmers are getting all of the food dollar instead of fifteen cents of it, as with processed foods.

Comment by Expat Chef

What you say about organic food being “an investment in your future” is terrific. I would also add it’s an investment in all the people that touched that food. The folks who grew it, the people who drove the vans that got it to us, the vendor that sold it. Each part of that chain is a reflection of a way of being. Ditto for the popcorn (no judgment!) – studies have shown it’s okay for the folks who eat it, but not so much for the folks in the factories.

Comment by j500

Simran, true that. I think that people often forget about the chain of lives behind their purchases. Who could feel good about eating something loaded with chemicals that made the people in the factory who made the product chronically ill (i.e. conventional microwave popcorn)?

People just don’t think about it. For some, it’s like food just magically appears on the shelves at the grocery store. Kinda like how garbage just magically disappears when they throw it away. How do we get people to own/take responsibility for these basic everyday actions? How do we show them that these everyday choices affect others, affect the environment, affect the world and their future? We gotta wake them up.

~ Sarah H

Comment by shemme

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