Monday, July 6, 2009

Make sure you bring your whole wallet when you go to Whole Foods...

With some simple guidelines I embarked on my first shopping trip of this new season in my life. Typically I have avoided organic foods due to their higher prices and I had always thought of them as some kind of gimmick to get more money out of the poor, unsuspecting consumers. The fact that they had no chemicals or pesticides really did not sell me. It was when I learned the difference in the nutritional value that I became interested in upping my produce budget. Organic produce takes longer to grow which enables the plants to develop longer roots and draw more nutrients from the soil. Conventionally-grown produce is fertilized with Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium and grows very fast. These elements are good for us but they aren't the only ones we need to draw from the plants we are eating. Organic produce also develops resistance to pests and disease and the compounds created by this process are passed into our bodies when we consume them. They in turn help our bodies to be more resistant to certain diseases and illnesses.

Armed with knowledge and a desire to eat well, I visited my local Whole Foods this morning to grab some food in its natural state. Organic produce was definitely higher priced than conventionally grown produce by at least 50 cents/pound. Was my family worth an extra 50 cents/pound? Definitely! So I picked up some peaches, nectarines, raspberries, strawberries and broccoli. My next stop was the meat department. I am very interested in trying grass-fed beef and I know I won't be seeing it on the shelf of Super Wal-Mart anytime soon. Cautiously I approached the counter, trying to read the prices without drawing attention to myself. I knew if I caught the butcher's eye and he asked if I needed help, I would buy something just to look like I knew what I was doing. I am so glad I had that Lasik surgery a few years ago because I could stand as far away as the frozen vegetables and see that the ground beef was $9.99/pound! That is not a misprint. I feel wild and crazy if I buy filet mignon at that price and I most definitely will not pay that for hamburger meat!!!! Some steaks were as high as $17.99/pound and I don't even know if they were grass fed or simply organic.

In the dairy case I grabbed some individual yogurts for my kids that ran about 80-90 cents a piece. Quite the departure from the 60 cent Yoplait at Smith's but I recognized all the ingredients on the label and it was free of high fructose corn syrup. I sure hope my kids like it as much as Gogurt!

For dinner tonight I attempted to make a meal free of any processed food. I seasoned chicken breasts with salt, pepper and chili powder and grilled them. They were accompanied by a broccoli and brown rice casserole (brown rice was 89 cents/pound at WF) which my family ate a couple of bites of and then asked for ketchup. Enjoy the processed tomatoes and high fructose corn syrup on your all-natural, homemade meal...your pancreas says, "thanks!" Oh well, at least they were eating brown rice...

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