Times are tough and the budget is tight right now for a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on a healthy diet. Many people think eating healthy automatically costs more because you have to buy everything organic. This is simply not true. You don’t have to buy "organic" everything and there are wallet-friendly ways to shop the health food isles. Here are some of my tips:
- I have read many times that the higher up the food chain you go, the more important to be "quality" food such as organic and grass-fed. So, the first priority should be to spend money on quality meats dairy products. It is sometimes hard to get these at a regular grocery so try to stock up at the farmer’s market and through CSAs from local farms. Check out Local Harvest to find sources near you.
- Next, when shopping for produce, there are certain friuts and vegetables that are more "at risk" than others when it comes to buying organic. Check out this post for a list of the "dirty dozen."
- Also, keep in mind that seasonal produce for your region will likely be priced better, especially when shopping at a farmer’s market or through a share in a CSA, and it will taste better because it is enevitably more fresh.
- Buy in bulk. Even though I shop at Whole Foods, which is sometimes thought to be more expensive, They have a great bulk section which allows me to get a better price and reduce packaging waste on a lot of items like flour, grains, nuts, granola, dried fruit and dried beans.
- Pay attention to the price and try different brands. I’ve been really impressed with quality and price of "Whole Foods 365" brand. Also, remember the lower price is not always the better buy, Whole Foods does a wonderful job of posting the price per ounce or pound which can reveal the real deal.
Man vs. Meat – The End?
We have come to the official end of the Man vs. Meat challenge.† For the month of January I was completely meat-free (meaning no pig, swine, pork, oh those are the same, beef, chicken, turkey or spam).
Now that the official challenge is over and it is February 12, almost two weeks post challenge; I still havenít eaten meatÖ.and I donít know why.† I guess I realized that I CAN live without the meat and that over the course of 30 days I realized I donít care as much as I thought I did.† I could drum up some philosophical questions like: Has society trained us to focus on meat?† Is it a government conspiracy to keep us eating meat? But that would be a little ridiculous.† I have, however, come up with my own theory of why we continue to eat meat the way we do.† This theory is not supported by any data, motivation or monetary backing.† The Green-Lemonade corporate staff have not endorsed this, so come after me if you donít like it.
Meet the Meat Theory
When was the last time you saw a cow, pig, chicken or turkey?† For most of Americans the last time was not that recent, and driving by one on a highway doesnít count.† Not so many years ago that wasnít true.† Many Americans lived on farms or in communities where the meat they bought was raised locally and they may even have some investment in the raising of that animal.† Today most people couldnít even find their local chicken or beef farmer. In fact, those farmers might not be around you anymore.† There has been a wave of consolidation of livestock farms into mega-farms that are operated often far away from most metro centers.
Why is this important?† Have you ever noticed how hard it is be harm someone you know either physically or emotionally, even someone you may just barely know.† Isolation has become a norm in our culture.† We donít know our neighbors, community leaders or colleagues with the same intimacy that used to exist.† Well, we have become disassociated with our food chain.† I walked into a pig farm the other day and stood there staring into the eyes of some pink beauties.† I thought, ďI probably couldnít get myself to kill you guys.Ē We are thankfully not faced with that decision on a daily basis.† Instead the pink guys show up in pretty packages on our shelves and we donít think about the animal that it came from.† What if every time you picked up a package of ground beef it mooed at you?† You might think twice about that package.† It made we wonder if we were really meant to eat these things.† I theorize that because we have become so disassociated with our food source, we really donít even know what we are eating.
I donít want to be a person who is against meat eaters, I definitely have eaten my share of meat and may eat it again.† The only message here is this:† Letís get back to basics.† Find a local farmer, talk to them, find out about what you eat.† Invest in a cow and go help the farmer out for an hour on a weekend.† The farmer will let you, they love sharing their profession with others.† At least you will have met your meat, and you might think twice about eating it.