Sunday, April 25, 2010

my first blog-why I've moved toward organic and less meat, even though I'm broke!

                I have been asked the same question often lately, sometimes in slightly different ways-why have I suddenly decided to move towards eating/cleaning organic and eating less meat. The follow up question usually comes from people who know my family well because they know my financial situation and that's some form of "why would you do that when your broke?".  The simple answer is it is because I'm broke I am chosing to eat/live organic and consume less meat. Now I know for many people that may not make sense because as many people know healthy/healthier foods cost more and organic healthy food costs even more. So let me break it down.  I am a black single mother living below the poverty level in Mississippi. Those factors alone put my children and I at higher risk for all kinds of illness and disease. African Americans are 30% more likely to die from heart disease, 70% more likely to have diabetes, African American girls are at the highest risk for obesity I could go on. Not to mention that poor and minority children are likely to be exposed to more pollution then other groups of children. Though excessive use of pesticides, environmental factors (like living near industrial areas), and lead paint exposure. Add to that the fact all seven of my children have asthma and allergies it only makes sense that I want to make the healthiest food choices possible for my family.  Organic produce is more nutritious and free of chemicals. No one can convince me that shoving chemicals into our bodies is healthy or that it doesn't impact our bodies.
                So why less meat? Well for one it actually saves me money. Lets face it meat is expensive if you want to eat good meat its really expensive. So when I originally thought about my family having meatless days it was really going to be to save money. Then I did a little research and realized how much meat the average American actually eats, about 8 ounces of meat a day about twice the international average and even though we are 5% of the worlds population we slaughter 15% of the meat consumed in the world. I know we like to do it big in the US but seriously that's a lot of meat! Think about it those figures take into account all the non meat eaters as well.  There are studies that link excessive meat consumption to cancer and intestinal issues among other things. Few experts would dispute that we in the US eat too much meat and not enough veggies.
                 So for me I am trying to pay a little extra up front to save our health in the long run. I believe it is working I am regular for the first time in years, I have more energy and my skin is looking better.  My kids seem happier too and they swear that organic apples are the best apples ever!
Good news in all of this kids will eat what you keep in the house. So my kids are weird to many people because they LOVE produce and dried fruit, are willingly eat wheat pasta, and think tofu is cool. (unwritten hood rule thou shalt not like "weird" food)  So here I am trying to make a dollar out of 15 cents and feed my babies the healthiest food on a small budget. Here is where you will get to see my journey.                  My next blog will be on how to shop organic on a food stamp budget by someone who is actually on food stamps!

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