April 17, 2012

Becoming a Hippie

I've always been a "smart shopper," seeking out the best deals, buying in bulk, shopping at large chain retailers and for the most part, I've been satisfied with that. I came to accept that the produce at such stores can sometimes seem less than fresh and that you have to look closely at expiration dates, but hello, I was saving money. Lots of it. Sometimes, just for fun, I would go to the local co-op or wander through the Farmer's Market, I loved everything about going to those places, the fresh produce, the milk in glass jugs, the friendliness; but inevitably I would always think to myself, "I can't believe someone would pay _____ for a _______ (insert item)". In the end it always came down to money for me. 

Recently that has all changed. Not because we are making any more money than we were before, we're not, but because I've become more aware of what is happening with our food system. You can blame the documentaries, we've been on a kick watching them lately, but really I think this has been a long time in coming.

This is about supporting the small, local farmer, and knowing what is in our food and where it came from. It's about eating less processed junk that doesn't do us any good. It's about teaching our kids (no, I'm not pregnant, I'm speaking about our collective kids, I'm on a bit of a soapbox here, go with me) what real food is and how it should taste. It's about sustainability and treating animals, even if you plan to eat them, humanely. It's about supporting businesses that treat their employees well. It's about keeping our planet from turning into one big trashcan. It's about our health.

So we are making some changes around here. Not only are we changing our mindset, but we are also letting ourselves be a little less frugal in exchange for better food. Sure it costs more and right now we could use every penny we have, but we think this is important. To compensate our portion sizes are a little smaller, and probably more appropriate, and we aren't eating meat as the centerpiece of our meal each night. And we are taking this just one step at a time. Last week we bought our first dozen of local, cage-free eggs and most of our vegetables at the co-op. Maybe next week I'll buy our milk there too.

One benefit I didn't foresee when we started this was how much more I would enjoy the food we prepared. Not only are the flavors better because we are better food and what is in season, but the food feels special, like it is a treat. More than ever before we are not just eating up our leftovers, but really enjoying them.

Along with the change in our eating and shopping habits, I'm going to be giving this little blog a bit of a makeover as well. So please bare with me if you see links appearing and disappearing and a few wonky things over the next several days. Hopefully I'll get it all ironed out soon. 

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