Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Organic Food Dilemma

There is no doubt that there has been a trend toward whole foods. This may mean something different to each person, but organic food is becoming more accessible and desirable. I mean, who wants to eat chemicals, antibiotics, corn syrup , or highly processed foods that destroy health?

It is frustrating, however, to have options and not the resources to provide them. Let's face it, organic food costs more. I've been in uncomfortable conversations where other moms are discussing the evils of grocery store food and would never dream of allowing anything processed into their children's mouths. Meanwhile, I sitting there having never even set foot into a Trader Joe's and with my Aldi's list in my purse.

Am I a bad mom? Maybe I'm not sacrificing enough if I don't own a share of a cow or I don't can my own organic pie filling. Maybe I am slowly poisoning my own family.

I used to feel guilty. Then I realized that although I can not purchase organic foods there is a lot I can do to promote health and provide my family with a healthy body to fight off any toxins they may be ingesting.

So here are our guidelines for healthy eating:

1. If possible make it from scratch
2. Use butter or canola oil
3. High fructose corn syrup should not be listed in the top 5 ingredients
4. Wash fruits and vegetables well
5. Replace oil with applesauce or bananas in baking
6. No MSG or Sodium Nitrate (found in lunch meats, hot dogs)
7. Buy antibiotic free meat when on sale
8 Don't snack out of a bag or box- choose fruits or veggies
9. Only whole grain bread with 2 g fiber or more per slice
10. Provide yogurt with live cultures
11. No trans fats

Do we do these things perfectly? Of course not. We still enjoy the occasional Little Debbie and hot dog picnic. But these are the rarity.

So we will be thankful and resourceful with what we have been given.

And when he had said these things, he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat. -Acts 27:35


Tiffany Ludwig said...

That's food for thought, no pun intended. Going organic can still be costly, even if it is more readily available than it used to be. I think what matters most is that we do the best that we can for the ones we love. I think trying to be healthy is the first step, and who says a little debbie every now and then, is such a bad thing?

Catherine said...

This is something I really struggle with, and I go back and forth on. I think God wants us to take care of our bodies, but I also think He wants us to be good stewards of our resources. It must be an even more difficult balance to strike with a big family. I go to some really extreme lengths now that I won't be able to go to when/if we have more children or when the kids are older and in need of schooling.

Monica said...

Great post, well said! I do at times struggle with the guilt. We do have to balance time, energy, and budget with regards to feeding our families. I just had an "I wish" conversation with my husband last night about this very topic. I went to the store yesturday with twenty dollars in hand to get fruit and whole grain bread. I am thankful for what I was able to buy, but it did not seem like very much and only the bananas were organic. Your list of guidelines was very helpful!

Milehimama said...

No trans fats and no HFCS - just those two things right there will improve your families health a bunch! I try to be practical about my organic foods (when I can even get them!)
I'll buy organic strawberries and spinach (hard to wash) but not organic bananas and oranges (you're just going to peel them anyway, and the peel is very thick.)

When my oldest went on his special diet - no food colors, MSG, BHA/BHT/TBHQ, or artificial sweeteners all of our eating improved dramatically!

(BHA/BHT/TBHQ are petroleum derived lard substitutes. They aren't animal products and don't go rancid. They're in a lot of packaged foods.)

jennie said...

I think you are doing a fabulous job. Your kids are happy and healthy. You go girl!

Sarah said...

I think that you hit the mark with your eating healthy tips. Going all organic is just not something that most people can afford to do. If the organic is slightly more expensive than non organic, I tend to buy it (like yogurt for my kids, organic is also not full of sugar and artificial colors!)

I have a Trader Joes near my house and shop there often but not as my main grocery trip. They have frozen, organic veggies that are only a little more expensive than regular priced, non organic, grocery store veggies. I have to say, they taste better. Their coffee is also delicious.

Saralyn said...

You spoke my heart on this issue to the beat! We're a one income ministry family so money is always rather short. We've read the books and understand the concerns folks have with today's food, but we have to do the best with what God's given us and trust Him with the rest. We praise the Lord for Aldi!

Sniz said...

Good post, Monica. This conversation just came up tonight among the ladies of our Care Group as we chatted before the meeting.

Heather L. said...

i really appreciate your balanced view!

Meredith said...

Great post! All that we can ask of ourselves is to do the best that we can. What I would like to do, and what I am actually able to do when it comes to organics varies widely from week to week.

Amy said...

Monica - obviously I am catching up on a lot of blog reading today!!! The poster who talked about the bananas is correct - the produce you need to worry about (being organic, that is) is stuff like strawberries where you eat the skin (and the skin is really thin).

Also, check out Trader Joe's sometime - I do almost all of my shopping there. Granted I am only shopping for one, but they have GREAT deals on staples. Olive oil, vinegars, sea salt (much lower sodium than regular salt), spices, frozen foods (esp. veggies and fruits, which I love for smoothies), cheeses, pasta, and baking supplies (great prices on a HUGE variety of nuts, also organic flour, sugar, etc.). They also have a bunch of different pre-made sauces that are inexpensive and can be used many different ways (dips, casseroles, on pasta, baked or sauteed with meat). And excellent coffee!

Can you tell I love this place?? I really don't work for the company or anything ;)

elaine@bloginmyeye said...

I recently learned that Trader Joe's and Aldi are owned by the same company...kissin' cousins, I say!

snbjork said...

Amen! Good for you! I, too, have been part of many of those uncomfortable conversations. I don't have 7 children, but I still can't afford to buy all organic foods from fancy whole food stores. I shop at Super Walmart and sometimes feed my kids chips and cookies. That's just how it is.

But, I really like your philosophy and "rules". Thanks for sharing!