After everything I've seen, everything I've read and learned I couldn't just go on with life pretending everything was okay. Knowing how my children's health was effected by the food they had been eating I have been determined to buy the healthiest food I can.
But, I am a Stay-at-home-Mom on a budget. My husband and I decided that our boys' nutrition is more important than anything else we can spend money on (save the mortgage of course), but we still have a budget to stick to.
There is a lot recommended in articles about saving money and 'living organically' that I just can't manage. For some reason, we can't grow vegetables on our property to save our lives! I've tried, and everything is iimmediately overgrown with Sumac, wild blackberry, wild grape and Morning Glory. I think I got a carrot once, but it was about 3 inches long and bitter.
I also can't have any livestock. We live in-town and our neighbors are just too close for us to feel comfortable having chickens or rabbits or anything like that. Let me be clear I would love to! But it's something Jonathan has decided isn't in the best interests of our neighbors right now. He'd rather wait until we have more land.
|For now, this is as close to 'livestock' as we can get. Our dog, Ellie.|
Let me tell you what I CAN do, and chances are you can too.
Grains: I bake a lot. I make all our grain-type products myself. Thanks to my Kitchenaid mixer, it doesn't usually take very long, either. Bread, tortillas, cookies, cakes, pancakes, waffles...you name it. If it has a flour-ingredient, I make it myself. I usually buy King Arthur Organic Flour because it is the same price as the non-organic flour in our store. I have recently convinced Jonathan to buy me some Organic White Wheat so I can bump up the nutrition a bit by substituting half the white flour for wheat. I use full-fat dairy products in my baking.
Fats: NT recommends Coconut oil whenever possible, but it can be outrageously expensive, though I do buy it for occasional use (like popcorn...mmmmmm)! Peanut oil is also pricey. I buy or make butter for most of my cooking. I've found the best middle-of-the-road oil for general use is Sunflower. Our co-op store has it organic and in bulk. In addition, I save all the fat from meats - bacon, chicken, beef, sausage... I pour it into little canning jars and stow it in the back of the fridge. Bacon fat makes for fantastic tortillas, and chicken fat is really yummy on green beans! I also use it for sauteeing veggies while making soups or basting a roast.
Veggies & Fruits: We use the "Dirty Dozen" lists of produce. These lists tell you which produce has fewer pesticides and chemicals in effort to decide which needs to be organic and which doesn't. Bananas, for example, are cheaper and 'good enough' if bought non-organic. Apples, however, are full of pesticides and chemicals and are purchased organically. Click here to see the guide for yourself. http://www.foodnews.org/walletguide.php
We do go through a lot of bananas. We also buy apples, carrots and potatoes quite a lot. Most other vegetables are purchased in the frozen foods section so I don't have to worry about it going bad too quickly.
Meat & Dairy: The most expensive part of our grocery budget lies in animal products. After watching Food Inc we understood this catagory should be highest priority for our own health as well as the dignity of the animal. Comprmise may come for produce or grains, but meat & dairy should be purchased as pasture-raised and healthy as we can.
|Typical Pork-Factory pigs|
Eggs. We use lots of them. I try to buy the pastured eggs from the same dairy for breakfast, but for baking and cooking I buy regular cage-free organic eggs to offset the cost.
|Typical Egg-Factory Hens|
|Pasture-raised Egg-Laying Hens|
|I can attest to the fact - Pasture-raised eggs are unbelievable!|
Can I call myself a follower of Christ if I don't take the treatment of His animals to heart? Can I call myself a human being if I don't take all I've seen and heard and learned and do something about it? Can I call myself a Mother if I don't feed my children the most nutrient-dense, healthiest food I can buy?
I watched Food Inc and saw how meat-chickens (yes, even 'cage free') are raised. They grow so big so fast their poor legs cannot keep up with the weight. They end up barely able to move, taking two steps at a time before collapsing. I can never...as long as I live...get that picture out of my head.
That's it for my rambling this morning... :)