Saturday, August 21, 2010

Time For Me To Go Organic

Growing up and coming of age in the era of hippies and communes and getting back to nature, was the beginning of a certain way of life that I practiced and espoused for nearly 50 years.

I was exposed at an early age as well to organic foods by my aunt, who would eat at offbeat restaurants with her toddlers in tow (I being five years older than her oldest), which I remember had food that tasted like shit, but we ate it, to doing the weekly grocery shopping every other week at the only organic grocery store in the Valley.

Hell, I even did a three year stint as a total vegetarian (not vegan). To this day, however, I still won't eat brown rice (laughing).

I raised my daughter on organic food, and I was a practitioner of homeopathy, so I was big on cell salts and other important nutrients that our bodies needed. I was around 15 when I was administered my last real antibiotic, and never took them from that age on. I had only one childhood illness, the chicken pox, which both my sister and I got at the same time, and my grandmother, who was a registered nurse, took care of us. When I had my first bout of tonsillitis, I did not see a doctor or take any antibiotics -- my grandmother made me stay in bed for a week, she took a small stick, wrapped cotton around it, stuck it in a bottle of Mercurochrome and swab my throat, and picking any of the little (turn away if you are squeamish) puss balls! Oh, and make me drink lots of hot tea with honey and eat crackers, which kind of scraped my sore throat, but then again, that was the purpose.

Gradually, though, with the kid out of the house and having a kid of her own, and getting older and not really wanting to "cook" so much, I ended up back at the old traditional grocery store (Ralphs) even though they do have a large selection of healthy and organic foods.

The past couple of years under the Bush administration, where corporate overseeing was at its lowest, and more and more foods entered the mainstream that were contaminated, I've begun to re-think my current eating style. With the Gulf oil spill, and the threat of contaminated fish and shell fish, not to mention the egg recall, I am officially embarking on an organic eating regime.

Although I am at odds with the CEO of Whole Foods' position on global warming (he's a denier), and I have officially boycotted that store since day one of this discovery, it is, in many ways, the only place to do a full on grocery shopping for the week. Strolling down the aisles had two impacts on me. One, was a reminder of what I used to see on a regular basis, that is, names and brands that you do not see at traditional grocery stores, and the lack thereof of those traditional brands. Only in today's environment, there are more and more of "green" brands to choose from, than I had as a 30 something, and most assuredly more than were there when I was a teenager.

The second thing I noticed was the price, and boy did I encounter "sticker shock!" My daughter keeps telling me to go to Trader Joe's, but I just don't like the one near me, it's so small and it only has a handful of things that I would actually buy on a regular basis, meaning I would still have to do extra shopping somewhere else. Whole Foods is definitely a one stop grocery store, like a Ralphs, just healthy, organic, and expensive!

However, I got some ground beef (for my home made chili) that certified the cows were grass fed, and the same same with some cubed steak (for my beef stew), as well as some free range organic chicken thighs, with skin and bone (I use these in the crock pot, with baked beans, bbq sauce and an onion). And, yes, I bought organic baked beans and organic bbq sauce, and organic onion! Not to mention a few carrots and a few potatoes for my stew, again all certified as grown by organic standards. I also bought two prepared meals that I could re-heat. I got out of there paying just $45, but I could have bought all of that for one-half the price at Ralphs (although none of it would have been organic or without preservatives or additives or other crap in it). However, I feel better just knowing I'm limiting a lot of things that could be introduced into my system by food. Hell, I was one of those that had those eggs that were tainted, and yes, I actually did get sick, but did not know what the source was until I read about the recall and confirmed my eggs. When I cook eggs, yes, I do undercook them, and for a reason. Scrambled eggs will continue to cook and get "harder" even after you've turned off the heat and moved the eggs to a dish. So I tend to cook my scrambled eggs "wet" as the term is applied. I also like soft-boiled eggs, again, something that is not fully cooked like hard-boiled eggs. I got very bad stomach cramps and a little bit of nausea, but experienced nothing more than that. But, that was the last straw, really, having those salmonella eggs in my house, and having eaten them (I almost made french toast with those eggs for my grandson, but for whatever reason, I never did -- and thank goodness for who knows what would have happened to his little stomach).

So, I'm back on the range again, where the food I am eating I can at least identify where it comes from and what is in it, even if I am paying through the nose for it!

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