The older I get, the more attention I pay to what I put into my mouth and how it makes my body feel.
Unfortunately, many of those observations end up along the lines of “When I eat this chocolate, it makes me SO HAPPY!” and then “Wait, why don’t these jeans fit anymore??”
(I didn’t say I was making the right choices, necessarily, just that I am thinking about it more often. Like, now I feel pretty safe saying: Hi! I am a big fat sugar addict!)
For example: I have been religiously (outspokenly, even) buying organic milk for the kids for years. You know, because I didn’t want Chickadee to have boobs in the second grade. And because I didn’t want Monkey to end up… well, whatever happens to boys when they have all those hormones. You know. Maybe THEY get boobs, too! I don’t know. I was trying to avoid it, whatever it was.
And then during the “does he have more food allergies?” phase we did various diet restrictions with Monkey, including cutting out various dyes, and while we were doing that I realized that HOLY HELL, there are a lot of artificial things in just about everything. And I sort of vowed to keep the “unnatural” foods to a minimum for the kids, but I continued eating things I probably wouldn’t feed to them.
That makes me a hypocrite who can’t fit into her jeans, by the way.
Ever so sloooooowly, I have been adjusting our diet. My once pop-tart addicted son who wept and wailed when I informed him that I would no longer purchase pop-tarts now happily eats his organic cereal or whole-grain bread in the morning with nary a whimper. More vegetables are making their way into our meals. I switched over to organic eggs, and I am making an effort to buy wild fish rather than farmed. All of that. I am TRYING, is my point.
So a few days ago when I read this I realized that all of my justifications about how we can’t afford to buy organic meat and it’s probably not a big deal were, well, stupid. Ali has written before about how much money Americans spend on groceries and how it’s an ever-dwindling proportion of our earnings, and I realized that I’m operating on the wrong paradigm.
Really, WHAT is more important than the food I feed to my family?
Armed with my new resolve, I made Otto go grocery shopping with me, yesterday. My problem, oftentimes, is that I will head to Publix and come home with NO MEAT because I see the organic prices and FLIP OUT and I buy everything else but tell myself I’ll buy that stuff “another time.” And then Otto asks what’s for dinner and I say, “Ummm… well, I bought four boxes of cereal…?”
(Please do not come tell me how meat is murder and if I really cared, we’d all go vegetarian. I’m trying to adhere to the principles of using meat sparingly in our meals, and we eat a lot of fish, but if I declared us a meat-free household both of the family members in possession of a Y chromosome would starve to death. I’m just sayin’.)
Otto came with me and patiently endured my long soliloquies at the meat case over whether or not this was a reasonable amount of money to spend on a dead animal. And also my prolonged consideration over various produce and what’s in season and what’s not, and he never once screamed “JUST GRAB A DAMN BAG OF SALAD, WOMAN!” even though I’m sure he wanted to.
And all of this is to say that I am very proud of myself for actually purchasing enough food to feed us for an entire week, and most of it is natural or organic or otherwise not quite as deadly as it might be. And I’m even prouder of having gotten up this morning and assembled a stew which is now simmering away in the crockpot; and I am going to focus on the fact that we can eat dinner tonight with a clear conscience, knowing that we’re eating food that’s relatively good for us and natural, rather than focusing on the fact that the tiny slab of meat in there cost $9.