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Is it even food?

January 17, 2013

clutter_at_work_tbStill in the process of collecting prices, Wednesday is the day I work at the Wild Ramp Market and I thought the cold misty sleet would keep customers away and I could gather price info there but it was busy. This was, I admit, a good problem, but it means I am behind on giving you the info I want to, comparing the Wild Ramp prices with the local supermarkets.

I understand that the issue of food quality is unknown for the food items at the grocery stores. We know about how the Wild Ramp food is produced because we get to visit and ask questions about the farming or production process. Everything sold there is produced within 150 miles of Huntington.

You know that you can buy ground beef that has a lot of fat and to buy lean ground beef costs more. If someone is on a very tight food budget it is hard to convince them that paying more for less-waste-to-fat makes more sense. So not everyone understands that paying more for better quality is worth it. Some people even say that healthy food like that sold at the Wild Ramp Market is something only upper middle class people are allowed to access. The debate rages, but people act based on information they receive and how willing they are to make changes.

dr mercola500 2I read another blog today that talked about how the food most of us eat is not “real”. The Dr. Mercola blogsite addresses concerns about how the foods in our stores have been changed so much as the food industry became a big business. Some countries which used to import American beef no longer will accept any because of the chemicals that are included in the raising of the animals and the processing of the meat. But the U.S. permits these and so we eat it, unless we chose differently. If we know. And then you act on that knowledge.

Years ago, back in the late 1970s a friend had some hot dog buns sitting on his kitchen counter. He did not eat them right away and it became a point of interest as the weeks went by to check them out. Several MONTHS later I pointed out there was no mold and he thought that was really neat. I told him to think about it…..if the chemicals in the bread kept it from spoiling, what would they do in his body. He actually spent about 5 seconds thinking about it before he laughed and changed the subject.  It made him uncomfortable but I noticed the buns hit the trash soon after.

Dr. Mercola’s blog tells the difference between “Real Food” and the “Processed Food-Like Products”. This chart is an easy way to see the differences.

real food chartIn all the years that I have been doing the grocery shopping for my family, the increased selection of frozen foods has amazed me. Where in my childhood there were only aluminum foil trays to heat in the oven, now there are microwavable trays or boil bags of foreign cuisines, pizzas of various thicknesses and flavors and snack foods galore. The tastes grab us, but only until you try to read the ingredients which are typically laden with chemicals.tandoor-chef-kofta-curry-004totilla

 Know your farmer.Buy wholesome ingredients. Take time to cook.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. January 17, 2013 1:09 pm

    To those people who think it costs more to eat healthy… I used to think that too but in my experience, the better quality food you eat, the more your body makes good use of it and you end up not eating as much as you do when you are eating highly processed foods. It really ends up costing about the same and you feel SO much better eating the good stuff!!

    • January 17, 2013 1:19 pm

      The other factor that is beyond the scope of this blog is that when someone eats food with little nutritional content, it will usually show up later in life with some illness, so there is another cost that is involved that is not immediate, so many people do not pay attention to it.

  2. January 17, 2013 4:02 pm

    I know many people who buy, eat and enjoy processed food, even knowing at least at an intellectual level that it has a number of “unreal” ingredients. In some cases, yes, it’s a budget crunch issue. But in most, it’s a case of convenience and taste. They like the taste of their canned tomato soup better than homemade, or they like the shelf life of canned stew. I know a family whose freezer is stocked with frozen pizza, which none of the family is crazy about, but which is the fall back plan if one of the kids has to prepare dinner – they all eat it complacently – yeah it’s kinda cardboardy, they’ll say, but it’s ok. And there’s hardly any dishes to clean up. I think that’s very typical of families with a lot on the go. Conversely, I know a single mum with three kids, who has struggled against the odds to feed her kids “real” food, to teach them to cook from scratch, etc – and she has been dirt poor at some points, especially while she was back at school retraining. It can be done. It takes enormous willpower, perseverance and conviction. I don’t think willpower is a strong suit for a lot of people these days, and that might be the sticking point on the convenience of processed food.

    • January 17, 2013 7:57 pm

      I know that the convenience of the prepared foods is a huge factor why people use them. (Do you hear the “but” that is coming?) I also know that many of the people who say they do not have time to prepare a meal from scratch never use a crockpot to get something cooking while they are away from the house at work. And many people have television viewing habits that last hours each evening. I had a discussion with a person I know who told me who was marrying whom and who else was sleeping with whom, all learned while watching tv. She does not have time to cook from scratch she says. I suggest if it is important to do so, there is a change in how time is spent that is feasible.

  3. Eric Murtaugh permalink
    January 17, 2013 9:55 pm

    Great post. My wife and I have been on a farmers market kick lately. We’re trying all sorts of in season, fresh ingredients we normally do not cook with. Without sounding too “hippy,” the Earth provides all the nutritious food we need. It’s really simple. The more you contemplate processed foods, the easier it is to start shopping farmers markets.

    • January 17, 2013 9:59 pm

      You’re right…..”the more you contemplate” = thinking about it. People HEAR that the food has chemicals and things that are not healthy but old habits take effort to break. You HAVE to think about it, decide what is important and then make the change if it is of value to you.

      • Eric Murtaugh permalink
        January 17, 2013 10:02 pm

        Exactly. It does take a bit of effort to break old eating habits. Once the light bulb goes on, though, it becomes increasingly difficult to eat processed junk.

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