I have to admit, before starting nutrition school, I wasn’t entirely on the organic train. Not because I didn’t believe in it, but because there were factors standing in the way (i.e. higher price tags on organic food) that made me justify my decision in continuing to buy conventional produce. It wasn’t until I began exploring the scary truth behind conventional produce (the exhaustion of natural resources and fossil fuels, the harm it’s causing to our environment and biodiversity, the implications it has on our health by ingesting all of these pesticides and the socioeconomic effect it’s having on our local farmers) that I began to make organics a huge priority in my life.
At the meek age of 24 and freshly back in school, I’ve been soaking up all the goodness of living at home, or should I say, just being the good millennial that I am. Though I am incredibly grateful for being able to extend my period of time at home, the free rent and ever-so-convenient fridge full of food does come with it’s challenges, especially as an aspiring holistic nutritionist.
As my nutrition schooling journey has been evolving, so too have my grocery shopping habits. All of a sudden my Mom started noticing an increasing amount of organic produce in the shopping cart and an absence of produce such as cucumbers and tomatoes (because where the heck are we growing cucumbers and tomatoes in the middle of November?) And so, with every change, came an explanation and with every explanation, came a rebuttal.
I’ll never tell someone they should or have to eat a certain way, but I will offer my take on a topic when it seems appropriate. I’ve had to let a lot of these debates simmer to the sidelines, recognizing that people are entitled to their own opinions, I’m not going to change minds over night and that the person I’m speaking to may not be emotionally ready for such a change quite yet. That was, until I brought organic celery into the house – then it all changed.
It was during one of our weekly fridge clean outs, where we whip up a dinner out of any of the remaining ingredients in our fridge. Some ingredients don’t end up making it to the “last supper” – either because they’ve spoiled, gone rotten or are too limp and scraggly to be consumed (unless blended/juiced). My Mom pulled out the limp looking organic celery I picked up from Whole Circle Farm the week prior. We both looked at it with a look of disappointment across our faces, kicking ourselves for not making the most of the beautiful biodynamic celery in time, which is when my Mom chimed in: “See? That’s the problem with organics.”
[Side note: Mom – if you’re reading this, I love you. This is by no means meant to devalue your thoughts and opinions, but this way of thinking reflects most of society, including myself maybe 6 months ago when I wasn’t aware of the implications of conventional produce].
Really? That’s the problem? Isn’t the problem the fact that consumers have become so blinded by the fact that real, organic, pesticide-free food is supposed to rot? Consumers have become so accustomed to extensive shelf lives of processed foods and drawn to perfect foods, when in actuality, real food doesn’t have much of a shelf life at all. And though it is filled with imperfections, it undoubtedly offers the most nutrition.
The upcoming non-browning Arctic Apple is finite evidence that consumers define “good” or “healthy” food based on aesthetics, never mind the fact that their slogan insists “The Perfect Fruit Just Got Even Better” – again, getting caught up in the idea that food must be “perfect.” The Arctic Apple isn’t expected to hit grocery stores until 2017, and yet, all of their marketing and promotions to date have revolved around whether or not the Arctic Apple is actually safe. Looks like someone has a bit of a guilty conscience on them, doesn’t it?
I’m not saying organic is the be all end all and if you’re not eating organic produce then you’re scum, but I ask all of you, just as I asked myself during my wake-up call a couple months ago, to be more mindful and conscious of the food you’re putting into your body. Don’t be fooled by the illusion of all of the “food” in the grocery store – half of which is genetically modified and is lacking more than half of the nutrition it used to offer just 50 years ago. Be mindful of the amount of toxic chemicals you’re putting into and onto your body and the amount of food that’s going to waste. It might seem miniscule, but every little bit of effort and action on your part helps.
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