Friday, March 22, 2013

Thoughts on food...

Working out has been set aside for the last two weeks, mostly due to my youngest cat dying and my my family catching a nasty stomach virus.  It honestly feels like I skipped my exercises for longer than that, but I haven't.  (I did workout on Monday last week.)  I didn't bother taking my measurements or my weight last week because I don't need any increase to make me feel bad and possibly demotivate me and I'm not sure I'll take either this week either... I probably should.

I watched a documentary called "Forks Over Knives."  Though there's a lot in the documentary that was eskewed (as the review Forks Over Knives:  Is the Science Legit? discusses), there are also some nuggets of information that is worth considering.  As with most things, it's good to take in the information, think crtically on it, research, and then see what seems right for you and your circumstances.

Lately, I've been trying to rework my family's eating again.  Mainly, my focus is balancing healthy eating with a lower budget.  My family has been eating less overly processed foods for a while and eating more organic foods, but within reason.  Some foods should be bought organic or avoided all together if you can't afford or find organic versions.  Other foods can be the conventional versions.  GMOs are fairly scary, so I would prefer to avoid those as much as I can, but I need to do more research on where they might be hidden (rather than simply looking at the price code sticker on produce).
Meats and dairy are a must, from my research.  They tend to harbor the most amounts of pesticides, artificial hormones, diseases, and so forth.  But they are also a lot more expensive than the conventional versions.  As for produce, there are a few tricks to figure out what to buy organic and what to buy conventional (though GMOs are also a concern with conventional produce).  Here's a couple of the tricks...  Buy organic if you eat the skins or they have soft/thin skins (apples, green beans), if the produce has a high water content (celery), and if insects are more likely to prefer them (berries, grapes, kale, potatoes).  Things like broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and bananas don't need to be organic (unless you plan on using the banana peels for cooking).  Certain items, like berries, are so heavily sprayed that I've seen in recommended by nutritionalists that you simply do not even buy them if your aren't going to be buying them organic.  I will be making lists of what is okay to buy conventional and what should be organic.

I have been thinking about introducing more beans to our diet.  Limiting certain meats to 2 times a week.  That would cut down our costs a lot.  Really, we only need to eat one serving of red meat per week to get the health benefits from it.  I've already started eating more beans this week, roasted garbanzo beans in my lunch salad and such.  (And I've been taking in very hearty salads with little dressing or a mix of salsa, yogurt, and nutritional yeast as a flavoring.)

I've been looking at CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) groups.  Each year I debate about joining, and which one I should go with.  In NJ, there weren't many to choose from in my area.  Here, there's many, but I usually miss the deadline because I can't decide which to go with.  This year, I think we will finally do it.  It's a lot of money upfront, but breaks down to about $25 for things that cost far more at the grocery store... and it's all stuff my family tends to eat.  The produce might not be certified organic (except from one farm), but I've looked at the methods used by the non-organic farms and they seem very careful with how their plants are grown.  I've also looked into local meat farms and found several that pasture their animals, which is definitely something I prefer.  Price-wise, I believe these meats are close to the cost at Wegmans for their organic meats, if not less.  I want the normal grocery stores to become more of a "fill in the gaps" place for us.  The Farmer's Marken in Bel Air will also be opening in less than two months, and I want to start taking my kids to that as well (since they love helping pick out the produce and also eating some while we are shopping).

The fact my kids are healthy, are not overweight, and love fruits (and many veggies) means that maybe I'm doing something right with all this effort...