Juliana Writes...

Living with the best of intentions

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

My First Rant: I Feel Like I’m Being Food Punked

I love to cook.  I’ve discovered this more and more as I’ve started working from home, it brings me so much joy.  I love playing with different flavors, I love it when my husband tells me something was delicious, I love the sense of accomplishment I get when I totally nail the cook of a new recipe.  I do not love doing dishes, now more than ever, but that’s a different rant for a different day.

One of the most significant strides of this discovery has been learning about nutrition and how the quality of your ingredients not only contributes to the flavors of the things you’re cooking but also hugely affects your overall wellbeing.  Our food market has become densely saturated with chemicals, preservatives, hormones, and manufactured ingredients that are causing all kinds of issues (I’m not saying it’s all food’s fault, but how can we possibly not see the correlation of obesity and illness here?  Yes, there are many contributing lifestyle factors but I think it’s safe to say that the stuff we consume as fuel multiple times a day is probably is mighty BIG ONE) and it’s so vastly available and consistently hushed up that we are ingesting these things on a regular basis, half the time without even knowing it! 

With the wellness movement that’s happening in America right now we are barely beginning to gain insight into the corruption that has implanted itself deep within the food industry and just the tip of the iceberg is appalling.  Now, I’m not a nutritionist or a scientist or qualified in any way (other than the fact that I’m a human who eats everyday, which I think should make me pretty darn entitled to full knowledge of the ingredients in my dinner and my opinion about them) to spout facts about what has been happening to our food, but here are a few articles that are, and they really bum me out.

* This one is particularly interesting because it showcases both sides of the grass-fed beef world nicely *

But here’s what’s really chapping my ass today.  I’m making cheeseburgers for dinner.  I go to the grocery store, my local Von’s, to pick up the things I don’t already have, plus a few other items to stock the fridge with.  The first thing I shop for is ground beef and I am STAGGERED by the price difference between the grass-fed stuff and the…not grass-fed stuff.  For one pound of ground beef it was a difference of $4 (and actually, the cheap stuff was a little over a pound), which may not seem like a lot but when you’re on a budget it hits you pretty hard.  And maybe you’re shopping for a whole week’s worth of protein; that approximately $4 difference also applies to quality chicken, to pork, to bacon, and, well, fish is a whole other ball game.  That’s just meat. 

Let’s talk eggs.  Personally, I want to know that the chickens that laid my eggs were able to roam around and fed wholesome ingredients.  Why does that humane desire cost me $5 instead of $3?  Why does the knowledge that I’m not ingesting pesticides and synthetic ingredients raise the price of my apples so significantly?  It is absolutely mind boggling to me that the commitment to fuel your body, your only body, with simple, natural food can double or even triple the amount of money you end up spending.  It is absolutely, maddeningly unfair that I came home feeling guilty and anxious about the total of my little basket of groceries. 

This rant is coming from someone who has not yet dived too deeply down the USDA rabbit hole – I don’t have all the information and I am very aware of that, I also understand there are a variety of circumstances that affect the price of items sold in stores – so basically it’s just coming from an average American consumer who would like to feel and function the best that she can and is kinda broke.  Can you relate? 

I also feel that it’s important to say that I do not live an immaculately healthy life.  Some days I eat a whole pizza and never leave the couch.  Sometimes I have too many drinks.  I have smoked many cigarettes in my past (kicked that bad habit, now I just have about 800 more to conquer).  But I’ve been given a little, sparkly jewel of knowledge and I want more.  I like sparkly things.  And though they are often expensive because the real ones are so rare it’s all I can do to go digging for them, trying to find a feasible way to continue to gather and utilize them, making a brighter, sparklier life for myself and my loved ones, and hope that someday soon they will be made widely available to all who want them. 

To be clear, I was making a metaphor for quality and awareness when it comes to our food…but I would also like everyone to have more sparkly things.  Yes please.

1 comment:

  1. I completely understand and have had this very rant. I think the most frustrating part is that most of the labels on the food we buy are meaningless. :( And farmers markets typically aren't any more affordable. But... I gotta believe that if we keep fighting the good fight (a.k.a. purchasing the best quality foods we can for ourselves) that eventually they will be more available to everyone. At least I hope my purchasing power can eventually make that happen.