Thursday, April 8, 2010

Organicize me

After spending time with my sister and seeing how much organic stuff she was buying got me thinking.  She could buy it easily in the grocery store.  I did know it was more money, but after seeing a news piece on a study about high fructose corn syrup(courtesy of a FB friend), I had really gotten into examining my ingredients more for the high fructose stuff.  Started finding it in things I didn't want to find it in.  Spending this spring break with my sister, I read her organic labels and find that all the time the high fructose stuff is not in the organic things.

So tonight I put my sleuthing cap on and went to start looking for stuff without high fructose corn syrup and organic labels in my town.  My son, who can't say the words together ("they're like a tongue twister"), asks me why I didn't want it in our food.  I told him the gist of the study: that rats were given the same amount of calories and one set of rats had a drink with regular sugar in it and the other had high fructose corn syrup and though they had the same amount of calories, the high fructose group gained more weight (this was something I suspected, but never really though about it until seeing a study prove it brought it to my attention that I needed to get us off the stuff).  He got it and said "ohhhh" and turned and started digging through the yogurts to see what didn't have it.  I, myself, am not going to go overboard and ban sugar all together, but I think we can cut out the high fructose.  Most yogurts do have high fructose corn syrup.  I started to realize organic OR natural labels usually meant regular (or organic) sugar on the back and we could buy some things at a reasonable, though slightly higher price.  HFCS is cheap sweetener, I will have to pay more for real sugar.

I don't think I'm going as far as buying organic fruits and veg or organic milk.  I think that's just going to put a strain on the food budget.  As it is, I have signed up for a CSA (community supported agriculture), which I know will be local produce once it starts producing.  I may not buy organic mac and cheese.  I keep thinking, "well, it's still processed," but maybe for in a pinch I could have some on the shelf.  I probably will buy the store brand organic ketchup (no high fructose corn syrup), and support the products that have more natural, simple ingredients in my processed foods.  One bonus find today: Simply Go-Gurt.  All natural ingredients and no high fructose corn syrup!  Score!  Dannimals Crush Cups also are made with sugar.  Now I know all these are made with sugar and I should probably get my kids to eat the stuff without sugar, but I say baby steps.  All in good time.

I've also been watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, which started on TV at the same time I saw the article on the high fructose stuff.  So I'm all for this food revolution (except I am sucking because we had Papa Murphy's pizza last night and Subway tonight, I promise, I'm getting better), and I'm wishing Jamie would come to our town and fix our school kids' lunch programs.  That needs major help!  We need to stop breading all our meats and look for lean cuts.  I also caught another FB friend who mentioned Clean Eating, something along the same lines as Jamie is promoting, cook from simple ingredients from scratch.  Another trick I've tried is instead of having my husband pick up pre-formed frozen beef patties, I'm buying fresh ground beef, make my own forms of patties and freeze them myself for use later.  There's all sorts of ways I can get into this and it's only the beginning.

We're starting our own food revolution at home.  My hope is that my kids will enjoy the fresh veg we get over the summer and start to get a taste for the good stuff and perhaps we'll transform all our own eating habits.  This is even an off-shoot from me making my own cakes and frosting from scratch to avoid mixes and transfats in pre-made frostings.  OK, so 3 sticks of butter in frosting may not be the best for you, but cakes should be for special occasions when it is shared by many people, so we don't all over-indulge.  I fear I have become a crazy woman, but it is to create better eating habits in my husband and children, so we can all live longer and healthy lives.  To me it's about getting back to the basics.  I suppose maybe next you'll find me on a small hobby farm growing my own food, including meat. Ha! Just kidding.  That won't happen anytime soon.


Kelly said...

You have to start small. The little changes build up over time and before you know it you're eating healthier. It's really hard to change how you eat when you have a, I mean family. Those "kids" can get really upset when you buy organic mac n' cheese.


Aliceson said...

I agree with Kelly, baby steps. It's hard though, HFCS is in EVERYTHING!. It's so much easier to use a cake mix or frosting from a tub but really I'd rather have my kids (and the rest of us)eating REAL sugar and REAL butter rather than the over processed can't even pronounce it stuff. Plus, we need to keep those WI dairy farmers in business, right?

Wild Child said...

Aliceson, it is really easy to use a cake mix, but not that much harder to whip up your own cake. That's what I've discovered. And the pride in making it from scratch and having it taste way better than the boxed cake makes up for the extra time, in my opinion.

Parents have the purchasing power. Make choices with your dollar, if you can afford it. Or just grow your own food, I suppose. :)