Friday, June 8, 2012

Eating Better - A Four Month Trial

DH and I made a decision this summer to try to eat better. The tough part was figuring out what better means. We settled on trying to eat as much local, organic, seasonal food as possible, to eat more produce (especially cruciferous greens) and cut out processed foods. We decided to do our best to support local farmers who work on a smaller scale to produce good, nutritious food and take care of the earth, but in practice it's a little tricky to find them when you live in the heart of a big city. Our other priorities were to reduce our carbon footprint by reducing how much imported food we eat and to buy hormone/pesticide free when the cost isn't prohibitive in the hopes of getting a little more nutritional value out of our food. We're also trying to eat non-corn fed meat because we feel we eat too much corn already given that it's hidden in everything.

We both have a distrust for "organic" labels given how loosely regulated the use of that word is, so we're not really willing to pay an extra $4/lb for butter with the word organic on the label. Given how much butter I use in my baking, there is no way it would be feasible for what we both perceive as a small marginal benefit.

Finding a source for produce was the easiest part. We joined a local CSA that we trust carefully screens its farmers with similar goals in mind. We can pick up our food basket from them once every two weeks and it will contain fruits, veggies, a cheese and a pantry item. Next was finding a source for meat. We have two butchers in our area who sell local and/or organic meats as well as grass-fed beef, so we're going to start buying from them instead of the grocery store. It's a bit further of a walk to get to them, but that's good for us too.

We're still working out what we're going to do about dairy. Our local grocery store carries some organic, local dairy, but the cost is very high. And there are some things I'm not willing to give up, like my mini probiotic yogurt drinks. Grains like flour and cereal are also something that we have not yet found a feasible way to buy locally, we use way too much of them to bear the cost increase.

So we're not the most hardcore local/organic foodies, but we're trying really hard to make a few changes for the better where it makes sense for use. We've committed to this as a trial for the summer. In September we'll carefully consider if we're feeling healthier, if the food is tasting better, if we feel good about our environmental impact and if it's worth the extra that we're spending, and we'll make a decision as to whether it's worth it to keep on with it.


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