Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Irony of Expensive Bargain Grocery Shopping

Anyone who has read this blog or flipped through IOU NO MORE, knows that I really believe in bargains. Saving money, spending less than you earn, are mantras I've chanted for years. But I've modified one of my long held tenets, bargain groceries.

The more I study, the more disturbed I become regarding what we're putting into our grocery carts, and ultimately into our bodies. Have you read the ingredients label on a can of tomato sauce or a box of cereal lately? If you were to take a few items in your cart, sit down and google the list of ingredients, you would be horrified at what you are ingesting yourself and feeding your loved ones.

I can't help connecting the dots and finding a link between our desire for cheap food and our ever increasing health care costs. Common sense tells us that we can't fill our bodies with all these chemicals and avoid the consequences. Ever wonder at the growing numbers of colon cancer victims, ADHD in children, obesity? We're killing ourselves with food. And not just at the dollar menu (Why is fast food cheaper than fresh food? That's another story).

I don't really want to throw blame, we all, the grocery chains, manufacturers, big agra, big government, big pharma, consumers,  carry some of the responsibility. And we all can play a role in changing our diets, our health and our future. But it will have an associated financial cost at a time when many, most, families are living on budgets so tight the cash can hardly breathe.

Our cheap groceries are making us unhealthy, yet we can't afford to pay the prices for healthier choices. What are we to do? This is what you might call, a conundrum.

I am a proponent (and participant) in what's known as the 'slow food' movement. I believe in eating fresh, eating local and 'eating with the seasons'. B and I drink only raw milk, eat pastured eggs, grass fed meat and even make our own cheese and butter. We grow nearly all our own fruits and vegetables. We are on a plan to remove ourselves from the current retail food system. I hope millions will join us.

If you are on a budget, you probably can't do it all at once. I get that. Eating right, is expensive. It is a tragic reality. I recommend small changes. Every bite of something good for you means that many fewer bad things are entering your body.

Try buying a pound or two of grass fed hamburger. Maybe a dozen pastured eggs from a local farm. Support your local farmers' market. Grow a single tomato plant, or bell pepper plant. Make a window box for herbs or plant some in your flower bed. Many herbs are as pretty as they are healthy. Get creative.  One or two small changes are a GREAT start

Read. Research what you eat. Investigate. Start slowly if your budget requires, but by all means start. Drop us a note for more information if you have questions. Alternatively, check out our other blog, "Our Edible Suburb". I truly want to help you save money, but spending a little more up front on groceries, might just save you a ton of money in medical bills. Chew on it.