Whatcha Doin'? Phase II

The first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: Decide what you want. -- Ben Stein.

Well, DUH. That seems pretty easy doesn't it? But how many of us really think about that? When was the last time we all sat down and really discussed your personal/family goals for your lifestyle, for eating habits, for reducing the size of your eco-footprint. I can tell you that we never did as a family until recently.

I've had quite a few people ask about being more organic, but they really don't know where to start. One friend actually had her doctor say it was almost impossible to get rid of High Fructose Corn Syrup from your diet. WHAT?! A doctor?? That really floored me and motivated me to put together a post on getting started. It's sad that our medical community, for the most part, lacks a lot of knowledge on nutrition. If you are interested in cleaning up your eating habits and the food you feed yourself and your family, then you really need to make that moment happen. Decide to do it. It really is that easy. BigDaddy and I talked about our game plan and then we had a family meeting with the munchkins about being "healthy" and treating the earth better. But even then, we didn't talk about specifics. As Queen Bee of the house, it was my duty to really figure all of this out, come up with a plan and then execute. BigDaddy still doesn't want all the details, but he is my sounding board. And thankfully will eat just about anything. As will Sassy. BB, not so much, but he is getting better. What's really amazing is seeing the munchkins totally get into our overhaul. And honestly, it's more of a side effect. They see us, the parents, exercising and eating healthier and want to be like us. How easy is that?

I know what some of you are thinking.... Lunzy has really gone off the deep end this time. Growing a garden, buying organic, getting rid of processed foods, hanging her laundry. WHAT? But honestly, these are things I've been playing with for a while. With BigBoy I had a natural birth, used cloth diapers, and felt really good about getting more crunchy. I breastfed for a little over a year- no bottles mind you, and made a lot of my own baby food and then bought organic or at least all natural babyfood. The bottle strike was NOT my idea btw. But I went natural for him. Because at the end of the day, it wasn't about me anymore, it was about BB and his little body. I didn't want a bunch of junk in his little system. Then Sassy came along and I really thought I'd do much of the same. I was able to have a natural birth with her too, but unfortunately, she got the exhausted, married-single mom of two, instead of the totally fixated, focused mom of one. So she got some crunchiness, but not like BB.

So what do I want? I want to take it another step. Go Big or Go Home, right? Well, I'm not totally there yet and I'm a firm believer in moderation and using the 80/20 rule. And for most of us, doing something, ANYTHING is more than what we did before. So if 80% of what we eat is "good for us" than I'm pretty happy. Some total junky popsicle during summer once in a while won't be all evil. I'm going to stick with the Dirty Dozen List of produce, but not worry too much about the other stuff and produce that is peeled before you eat it. We are growing food in our own yard and will try to buy as much local produce as possible.

I know what you are thinking again. But Lunzy, It's soooo expensive to eat organic. Yes, it is. Kinda. I'm not going to argue, it does cost more, but usually not that much more. I promise. If you are lucky enough to have a Trader Joe's or Whole Foods nearby by, it's ridiculously easy (we don't). Lots of stores now now carry their own label of organic, many times it's the same or CHEAPER, kid you not.I know Meijer and Martins have their own organic lines and Wally World has a ton of options for canned and boxed goods now. Side note: Walmart has Cascadian Farms products super cheap. I honestly thought is was some lame, cheapo label but then saw it at other stores for waaaay more. Newman's Own is also a great product line to look for.

You will find that if you are actually cutting out junk food and processed foods (which, btw is ridiculously priced for what you get--talk about expensive food!) overall you budget should be about the same. We cut out juice, cut back on processed foods and are making more meals and baked goods from scratch. Also, if you are buying pure, natural products, they usually last longer in your kitchen since you don't use as much. Plus they taste better. I buy maple syrup, not colored corn syrup for pancakes. It's more money, but I use less and it's soooo much better than Aunt Jemima. sorry Jemima, no offense.
So without further ado... cut to bright lights...

My Food Doctrine:
  • Eat from our organic Victory Garden. :)
  • Buy only organic dairy and organic, free range eggs. Just found a great post on organic eggs!
  • Buy organic produce when listed on the Dirty Dozen. (Not worrying about other produce) Try to buy at local farms or farmer's markets. Also look for local labels at the store. I'm still going to buy canned veggies. We already get the no salt added variety.
  • Eat more in season, also called Slow Food eating. Learn how to can this year, possibly get a dehydrator.
  • Significantly cut back on processed foods. When buying them try to buy all natural/organic and avoid Dr. Oz's yucky 5. We also don't do anything with MSG, excessive sodium, lots of nitrates, food dyes, or corn syrup. We've also decreased the amount of diet coke we drink and make sun tea or just drink more water.
  • Make more meals from scratch. (Plan more batch cooking!)
  • Buy organic/more natural meat and wild fish. Investigate local grass fed meat options like Polyface.
So there you have it. What I want. Remember, this is all a process. It doesn't happen overnight. If you are interested in doing becoming more earth friendly and eating more natural foods, then figure out a starting point. Start buying Organic Dirty Dozen produce or free range eggs. What do you eat the most of? Maybe just switch that out for better options. Do what makes sense for you and don't get overwhelmed. I'm also available as a resource. Post a comment (see that little section below?) or ask a question via email: lunzy [at] lunzygras.com. I'm happy to help and love researching. Also let me know if there's a topic you'd like to hear more about. I can point you in the right direction or do my own post.

I'm here for you people!

Listed below are the top most and least contaminated produce items.
12 Most Contaminated
  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Grapes (Imported)
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes
12 Least Contaminated
  • Onions
  • Avocado
  • Sweet Corn (Frozen)
  • Pineapples
  • Mango
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet Peas (Frozen)
  • Kiwi Fruit
  • Bananas
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Papaya

Some other resources
www.organic.org Organic made easy. Life made better.
Environmental Working Group - this site is a wealth of information. Lots of info about home toxins, baby products, and every day chemicals


Nikki said...

Great post Lis. You would love Ominivore's Dilemma next by Michael Pollan. I loved it after I read Animal, Veg,Miracle book. He is the one that visits Polyface farms and does a whole section on them. Love Polyface..you have to go there and tell me about it. Michael Pollan also buys a baby cow at the beginning of the book and follows it through the normal American beef system that feeds our grocery stores and chain foods. YUCK is all I can say about that. But he also counters the whole vegetarian argument in an educated and organic way..pointing out the ways we can eat the meat our bodies need in a responsible, healthy way (Real Food by Nina Planck is another great book for this). He also talks about Cascadian Farms..they are right here in Skagit Valley--the mainland where my college is here. They started out as a hippy, organic farm here in the 1970s..truly great stuff. But they were bought out by larger corporations years later...which is why you can find their products way back east where you live now. Still organic according to national standards, so better than not. But national standards for organic has many truly organic farmers want to get rid of the label organic all together because it doesn't mean as much anymore. But I loved your post because what really matters is that we are all trying to do better things for our bodies and our planet. Obviously the local farmers markets are the best solution but buying anything 'organic' even from bigger corporations sends a message out about what we want. I love our area for all the local farmers that make it pretty easy for us. We are all pretty excited for the summer growing season here! My garden is growing fast and the local fields are too!

Shannen said...

Awesome :) I agree, eating healthy and being crunchy can be done (I feel like there's still so much more I can do...but baby steps, right)! I LOVE juice, so something I decided to do was buy my own juicer (a little expensive though...very little juice for the amount of fruit/veggies). Smoothies are a better choice too :) If your kids like soda, you can add fruit juice and a LITTLE honey to sparkling water and kind of get the "soda" effect!

Lisa Spector said...

Nik- OD is my next read! :)

CPG- I would love a juicer, carrot/tangerine is my fav!! Kids are allowed soda at all- one of my pet peeves, kids drinking pop. But i like your idea, nice for summer drink. :)

Idaho Beef said...

The local Whole Foods may be fairly spendy if you're looking for grass-fed beef, but you can save money and support the local economy by purchasing directly from the rancher. Ask about buying a half or quarter beef and then split it with a few simalarly-minded neighbors.

Lisa Spector said...

Hello Idaho Beef! :) We actually don't have a local Whole Foods-- closest one is 45 min. away. And yes, way too expensive for us to buy like that anyway. We DO have two locals farms that sell bulk, grass-fed meat. Buying bulk is on the agenda for this fall!


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