I’m alive! My vacation was a lot of fun but it ended too soon, as vacations tend to do, right? We took some cool photos that I’ll share later this week. I didn’t snap any food photos, but I’m happy to report that I stuck to my meal plan fairly well, thanks to all my snacks and planned meals. I did “cheat” a little, though, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about this Thursday’s weigh in. So we’ll see.
Has anyone read the article in Time magazine, “Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food”? I have been interested in food policy, sustainability, and the “organic versus conventional” debate for some time now. In fact, awhile back I took a tour of an organic farm and wrote about it as a guest post on the Love of Oats blog (I miss her!). This fall, my work is hosting a series of lectures all about sustainability and food and I can’t wait to attend the talks and learn more (even if they are preaching to the choir).
Here are a few tidbits from the article I found particularly interesting:
- A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a dollar could buy 1,200 calories of potato chips or 875 calories of soda but just 250 calories of vegetables or 170 calories of fresh fruit.
- Pound for pound, a pig produces approximately four times the amount of waste a human does, and what factory farms do with that mess gets comparatively little oversight. Most hog waste is disposed of in open-air lagoons, which can overflow in heavy rain and contaminate nearby streams and rivers.
- Work in a CAFO [large-scale commercial farms/slaughterhouses] is monotonous and soul-killing, while too many ordinary farmers struggle to make ends meet even as the rest of us pay less for food. Farmers aren’t the enemy — and they deserve real help.
Now, the article didn’t tell me much that I didn’t learn when I read The Omnivore’s Dilemma (well, I didn’t know Chipotle buys products from organic farmers. This from a company owned by McDonald’s?), and I had the same feeling at the end of the article that I did when I read the book: ok, but what can I DO about this?
Actually, I know what I could do (only eat organic, sustainable meat and less of it; buy more organic and local foods) but one of the problems is I buy and cook food for someone who is very much a carnivore. With the amount of chicken we go through, there is NO way I could buy organic. And right now I am eating a ton of Greek yogurt, so I switch between Trader Joe’s brand and Oikos, which I prefer but it is pricey. I can’t imagine trying to feed a family of 4 an all-organic diet. I can’t even do it with two adults and a dog.
Now that I think about it, we don’t eat that much red meat, so maybe there’s room for improvement there. I found a local food blogger’s post on grass-fed beef, and I think I’m going to scope out some of those options, especially the ones I can get at the farmer’s market. I’m sure it’s more expensive, but if we only eat red meat a few times a month, I can handle that, right?
Do you think about where your food comes from? Have you seen Food, Inc or read Michael Pollan, etc.? Do you take environmental/political factors into account when grocery shopping?
I haven’t seen Food, Inc. but I’m sure I will at some point. I want Mitch to watch it with me but he won’t. When it comes to his food choices, he believes “ignorance is bliss” which I’ll admit annoys me, but I have to respect his views if I want him to respect mine. Me, I’m an information/news junkie, so I like to have all the facts before making my decisions. And right now, my food-buying choices are like my diet-and-weightloss program: all I can do is the best that I can with the information and resources available to me.