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. :)

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10 thoughts on “Trying to be better

  1. Mmmm… that picture looks good!

    I haven’t noticed a huge difference in taste between organic/convential veges/fruit myself. With a few exceptions… carrots & kiwifruit for example. I don’t know if that’s because my tastebuds are jaded (LOL) or if our conventional veges here aren’t too bad. Our local Consumer magazine did a blind taste test and claimed there was no difference in the produce they tested. Free range chicken always seems to taste better to me, and free-range eggs are absolutely better.

    I like to buy organic to support sustainable farming practices and for the benefit of the environment, animals and people who are impacted by it. But I also have to watch our grocery bill (our largest weekly expense) so it’s a balancing act for me.

    One thing I do try and avoid is buying ready made meals and highly processed stuff. But cooking is a kind of passion/hobby for me so preparing a pizza from scratch is therapeutic! :)

  2. Informative, interesting post, Amy. I don’t often buy organic because i can’t afford it financially, but there are great reasons to do so.

    Thanks for this…

  3. Right now we’re in money saving mode, so organic foods aren’t on our list for now. But as Penny pointed out above, if you cook from scratch instead of buying processed or ready made meals, I think you’re still cooking healthy if it’s conventional produce. Of course a convenient meal now and then is perfectly OK! We all need a cooking break now and then. We’ve been doing leftovers for a few days now!!! ;) And with Aidan’s new teeth, he can really get into that corn! LOL!

  4. We pretty much do the same thing :) – except when we are broke :P I just found a grocery store about 20 min away that sells LOTS of organic and natural items. They have free range chicken and milk from a local dairy that doesn’t have the hormones etc. in them. I acually hate the taste of milk but the rest of the fam drinks it. I wish we had something like Door to Door Organics here!!!

  5. Alex – Thanks, but I didn’t take that pic and those aren’t my fruits and veggies. hehe. Sorry for misleading you.

    Penny – I hear ya on the grocery bill. It’s only in the past cpl months that I’ve started branching out a bit in what I can buy organic. I used to stick w/ just a few things for a while, but now I’m trying to incorporate more.
    Good for you on cooking from scratch. :)

    Kleopatra – Glad it was helpful to you. I think making the switch to organic foods is often a gradual one. I started off buying only a few things here and there and try to expand whenever money allows.

    Amy – I think that cooking from scratch is absolutely a good way to have healthy meals. I’m trying to get better about cooking from scratch myself. I’m 3 for 3 this week so far, but I was so tempted just to get take-out tonight. LOL about Aidan’s teeth. Yes, those are some chompers he has. ;)

    Christina – Cool about the new store. :) I wish we’d get another option around here. The one small Vitamin Cottage doesn’t always cut it. I definitely feel fortunate to have the Door to Door Organics available here. It cuts a lot of time out of my grocery shopping. :)

  6. Amy,
    thank you very much. We went to the doctor yesterday and heart the heartbeat,oh my, that was great. The baby was waving her/his hand ;)

  7. I really enjoyed this post. I appreciated your down to earth prospective. I would, of course, love to buy only organic foods but the cost is too prohibitive right now.

  8. Isil – Congrats on the heartbeat. Very exciting!!!

    Vivacious Vegan – Thanks. I’m glad you enjoyed it, but I totally understand about the cost. I think making the switch very gradually helps lessen the burden. :)

  9. Kudos to you on eating healthy. I’ve just recently embarked on a eco-health-conscious diet as well and I believe it can be an important first step to helping heal the planet. That, and homebirth!
    I soooo “feel” your comment about being in the cooking rut, though. I need to get out of it too! Let me know if you have any tips or inspiration.
    So glad to have found your blog. Keep empowering people with your gentle knowledge and wisdom and your honest questions and soul-searching.
    Much love to the baby you will soon to meet,
    Love,
    Leigh

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