Trying to be better

I have to say that I’ve come a long way in the past two years as far as eating more health-consciously is concerned. Before Ava was born, I never gave pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, genetically modified foods or organic vs. conventional foods a second thought. Now I read more labels and look to buy organic foods whenever I think the health benefits justify it. Speaking of which, here’s a great article by Consumer Reports on the subject – When buying organic pays (and doesn’t).

(I need to clarify – I didn’t take this pic. It’s some stock photo off the ‘net.)

Today I went shopping at both Safeway and Vitamin Cottage (the only health food store we have close by). I picked up things at Safeway, such as refried beans, whole grain tortillas, peanuts, vinegar (for washing diapers) and some baking supplies that I just don’t care if they are organic or not and I’d rather save the money. Then we went to Vitamin Cottage, where I bought some organic produce (apples and grapes), Mighty Bites cereal (for Ava), raw almonds, organic cheese (which was on sale – yay!), Agave nectar (my first time to splurge on that), organic tofu, natural turkey bacon (without nitrates), and free-range chicken (also on sale – bonus!). The bill from the two stores was about the same ($50) although I got 4 bags of loosely packed groceries at Safeway and 1 very full bag of groceries at Vitamin Cottage.

Then we came home to find our Door to Door Organics produce delivery on the front porch (which cost another $30) and gave us mixed baby greens, spinach, avocados, bananas, onions, carrots, melon, cucumbers, zucchini and tomatoes.

I guess my point is this… while I try to buy organic foods when it comes to produce, dairy products and meat (when we eat it), I still buy things like chocolate chips (not Nestle brand, mind you), ice cream (once in a while), the occasional frozen meal, and pizza dough mix in a package, among other non-healthy foods. I guess it’s another case of everything in moderation. I try my best to prepare healthy meals and be conscious of what is in the foods we ingest, but I also sometimes just need a quick and easy meal and will let the whole health factor slide as I put a frozen pizza into the oven. *gulp*

I am working on getting out of a “I don’t feel like cooking” rut here lately and am doing better at it. In the past week, I made G-Z burgers (garbanzo beans and zucchini) from a recipe over at Isil’s – (I just jumped over there to get the link and found the news that she’s expecting her first baby! Congrats to you, Isil!) and Red Chard Quiche (for dinner last night). I’ve got a few ideas on things to make this week too so hopefully my rut is coming to an end.

A friend once told me that organic produce tasted better to her than conventional produce. I was VERY skeptical and just kind of nodded, like “ok, sure.” However, after eating both and really comparing the two, I honestly think organic produce *does* have more flavor and just tastes better. I know this is something that’s up for debate, but that’s my experience with it, and it makes sense to me. The more chemicals you put on something, I think the more it would dull the flavor. The more natural the food is, the more the flavors exist. Perhaps others who’ve eaten both organic and conventional foods could chime in on your thoughts on this?

By the way, I’m happy to report that the sun came out again today after we got rain all weekend. The rain was very much needed, but it was amazing to me how much the dreary weather affected my mood. I honestly don’t know how I survived without antidepressants while living in MI all those years. When I first moved away, I thought we’d return there someday, but I know there’s no way that I could. The abundant sunlight here in CO really does affect me and I’m so thankful to have it. :)

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to prepare a healthy dinner with some of the yummy foods I bought today. :)