I do know that it's a lot easier than it seems at the start of it.
It seems DAUNTING. INSURMOUNTABLE. a HUGE inconvenience and probably not affordable. And let's face it, we're all gonna die someday and everything is bad for us now, so what's a little chemical-heavy food gonna do?
I *may* have said those things, multiple times, to my brother, Richie, as he kept throwing more information at me, and tried to make me watch "Food, Inc.". Then I'd go throw up whatever it was that I was arguing I could eat and be just fine, and nurse a Coke or Ginger Ale to make my stomach feel better. (For the record, Richie, you were right. I'm sorry. Though I'm not really sorry for calling you a dirty hippie, cause that was pretty accurate. Ha!) Also, full disclosure- I have yet to watch "Food, Inc." in it's entirety. I just have this feeling that if I do, I may never be able to eat ANY food ever again. But I'll put my big girl panties on and watch, then blog about it. And I'll do it all for you.
I digress. The easy beginning steps part. Well here it is. Do one thing. Something you eat every single day. Make that something organic. Do you drink coffee? Invest in some organic coffee beans- not only will the coffee be WAY better (did you know that they put twigs and bark in regular coffee as "fillers"), but if you get organic, fair-trade coffee, it means that the people who make it are not using slave labor to gather the beans. That was actually the very first thing I switched to- unaware of the nastiness happening in regular coffee, I made the decision to buy based on the treatment of those working for that company, and the money they helped bring in for communities in need. It was a nice bonus that the coffee was delish. And if you're gonna have organic coffee, you might as well get organic milk/ cream to go with it. Along with organic sugar. AND FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY STAY AWAY FROM ZERO CALORIE SWEETENERS!! I mean really. Do YOU think something exists in nature that is sweet and has zero calories? Well let's see. Do strawberries have calories? Apples? Lettuce? Yeah. EVERYTHING has calories. So clearly if it is calorie free, it is a chemical shit show.
Or perhaps you've heard of the Dirty Dozen. These are the fruits and vegetables that have the highest amount of pesticide residue. Pesticide which is a known carcinogen and is known to have significant health impacts (go ahead and read this for more info).
For my money, if you eat meat at all, I say start buying organic meat. Chicken, beef, pork, turkey- it is SO SO SO worth the money. There is so much information out there on why it's DETRIMENTAL to your health to eat non-organic meat. Check out these articles:
Antibiotic resistant superbugs- 81% of turkey, 69% of pork, 55% of beef and 39% of chicken (non-organic) have them. Those numbers are sickening.
American animals raised for meat eat more than 30 million pounds of antibiotics a year- the reason? they routinely get sick living in foul conditions so they're given preemptive medicine to "keep them healthy". Except now, we can't fight things like pneumonia because of overuse. Oh, and your chicken is on Prozac. Awesome.
Pink Slime- Just. No.
Where's the beef??- no, seriously. Where is it?
Perhaps you think I'm being overly dramatic. Not the first time I've been accused of that. But in this, I promise you, I've given you the tip of the iceberg of info (and drama). Once we switched to buying organic meat, I discovered that after a lifetime of LOATHING chicken if it wasn't smothered in something that made it taste not like chicken....I actually really really enjoy it. I finally tasted REAL chicken. Not only that, but we were finding that a LOT less food filled us up. And by a lot less, I'm talking the hubbs, babygirl and I split 1 CHICKEN BREAST and are completely satisfied.
"Manufactured natural flavor that is often found in conventional turkey, processed foods and other meat products is contributing to what David Kessler (former head of the FDA) calls a “food carnival” in your mouth. This makes it difficult to stop eating or drinking because the flavors they have synthesized trick your mind into wanting more and more. Butterball and other food companies use this natural flavoring to just give you the best 1 millionth part of the taste so we only want more of that product, which in turns fills their pockets. When companies use manufactured flavor, they literally are “hijacking” your taste buds one-by-one." -Food Babe Investigates
(David Kessler's book, if you want to read more about America's food supply problems)
"Manufactured natural flavor" makes me want to punch America in the face.
I really want you to read the above paragraph a few times. We've all been there. Eating so much that there's no relief for the stomach bloat and pain. unbuttoning your pants. wanting to die a teeny bit cause it feels just. so. awful. and we wonder how it's possible that we could do that to ourselves. Turns out, it was all part of the plan. You eat more, you buy more. So sure, why NOT only let us taste the best 1 millionth part so that we're constantly craving more. Lays- you can't eat just one. Well no shit, it was designed that way!!!
Alright I'm back. perhaps a little less pissy. perhaps not. we'll see.
Anyhow, don't eat non-organic meat (this includes eggs as well). And bonus? When the meat is organic, the animals are treated ethically and HUMANELY. Not locked in a stall barely big enough to fit them, never allowed to see the light of day, sleeping in their own feces, being fed garbage GMO food that they can't actually digest, and pumped full of hormones and meds that we then ingest.
Ok, I guess I wasn't quite done. Now I am. Perhaps I should have done a separate post on organic meat. There's just SO MUCH I want to
I know, I know I said it was easy and it SEEMS like it's a lot. But. Costco now sells organic chicken, organic eggs and organic beef. Would I prefer that it was grass-fed beef as well? Yes I would. But sometimes we have to pay attention to budget. And organic is FAR superior to anything else.
Please. Don't stop reading. I'm about to say something that is going to make you angry. then sad. then angry again. then you'll yell at your computer and tell me that it's easy for ME to say because I stay at home, and only have 1 kid, and I enjoy cooking. and believe me. I understand where you're coming from. BUT.
Please please please stop buying as much processed food as possible for your family needs.
I know. It's easier. And they're (manufactured to be) pretty tasty. And your kids may not want to eat anything else. But do it. Even if it's just for a week or two. Or at least give me a month. For starters, your budget will thank you. Real/Whole food costs a lot less. And your taste buds will thank you. I can guarantee that it takes maybe 10 minutes longer to make mac and cheese from scratch then it does out of a blue box with a bazillion ingredients and it tastes a hell of a lot better (go to The Chew website and look up how to make a simple rue for the bomb cheesy goodness). And skip the pre-made sugar-free (and real fruit free) yogurt. Buy plain greek yogurt and add some fresh or frozen fruit. Ditch the jar of Ragu, get some crushed tomatoes, add a little garlic, olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper and you've got a delicious (and healthy) marinara. Little things. But they add up. I love to get babygirl (and the hubbs) involved with what I'm cooking. Sometimes we'll take a day and make a bunch of goodness, then freeze it. For those days when mama hasn't had a chance to breathe, let alone make dinner. Just heat up in the toaster oven and done!
So perhaps these don't seem like the easiest steps to take. But one of them is. DO ONE THING. Then maybe the next week/month/moment when you can handle it, DO ANOTHER THING. Slowly. Read the info. Decide what's most important to you and your family. Start there. Maybe go meatless a few nights a week. It's not as hard as I thought it would be.
There's SO MUCH more info I want to put in here, but I don't want to scare anyone too much. I want you to feel empowered, not intimidated (perhaps I am just not the right person for that job...) Don't let my all caps scare you.
Feel free to ask me questions, comment on what a giant boob I am, or yell at me for ruining McDonalds for you. I'll take it.