The real reason behind starting this blog several years ago was to voice my concerns about food safety and to journal about my family’s shift to an organic diet. The desire to eat more organic food really struck me after reading story after story about all the additives in processed food.
When my husband and I married we had two very different eating styles that came from two entirely different lifestyles. He from a family that ate a lot of sweets and fattening food (and are now paying for it), and I who had been out on my own for many years eating whatever I could afford. My husband wasn’t about to sit down to a meal of tuna sandwiches or mac and cheese any more than I was going to sit down to bratwurst, mashed potatoes, and gravy. So, I needed to come up with a compromise. Eventually, I created a menu that included all of the healthiest things from each other’s diets and then as the years went on began to substitute them with the organic versions.
In 2004, after researching organic food, we started purchasing from the Organic Valley (OV) product line. Organic Valley headquarters are located in LaFarge, WI not far from where we live. We chose OV after reading about their products, their farmers, and their founder. Some of the first products we tried, and have stayed with for 10 years now, are OV milk, butter, eggs, and cheese. We stopped buying canned vegetables and fruits at the grocery store and instead purchase fresh or frozen. I also purchase large amounts of green beans, squash, peppers and strawberries to freeze for meals throughout the winter.
In 2005 I noticed, after losing 10#, that I felt better than I had in a long time. I had quit smoking and drinking in 2003, started eating organic food in 2004 and was riding bike and hiking again. The list of foods that we had given up by 2005 was pretty long- some processed foods, sugary cereals, canned goods of any kind, non- organic sauces and gravies and non-organic dairy.
My husband had given up chips, cookies and other sweets for bananas and nuts. For a few years, while the organic food movement was getting started, sourcing food was a major problem. In 2007 we signed up for a CSA outside the area driving a 100 miles round-trip for our veggies. Then the following year we found a local one. But by 2009 the local one decided it was too much work and we were without a CSA again. Since the spring of 2011, we’ve been buying our fruits and veggies from a local vegetable stand.
People always ask me, ” how can you afford it?” And I answer “how can we not? it’s a lot safer than eating food that contains chemicals and additives and all those mystery ingredients”.
Sticking to an organic diet can be expensive. My husband and I take a lot of flak for choosing this way of life. Thankfully we have fairly strong arguments against non-organic diets including the fairly obvious evidence of our health and active lifestyle. As the years have gone by we’ve dropped other things from our diet- processed cookies, cakes, and non-organic condiments. We don’t eat fast food anymore and just recently I gave up salt.
Ten days after I gave up salt I weighed myself and I had lost 10#. No joke. At the same time, I gave up salt I also gave up red meat. I realized that I used a lot of salt on red meat because I didn’t like the taste of it.
The last seven years have been a struggle, my blog didn’t always report that. It isn’t easy to make changes to one’s diet. Sometimes it is not easy to justify the extra or added expense. I’ve had to do a lot of creative budgeting to afford some of the new food choices we’ve made. It’s easy to afford McDonald’s and easier yet to buy a bunch of processed foods and microwave meals every day. There has never been a time I’ve regretted the changes we’ve made or giving up things we liked because they were bad for us. It’s great to be almost fifty years old and feel like I’m in my 30’s. It’s a dream to see the smile on my husband’s face when he sees the progress he had made and the good health benefits he reaps every day.