I love resolutions but the problem is that the New Year almost always sneaks up on me before I can make some good ones. However, John and I have wanted to change our eating habits for a long time now so that is a goal we're currently working on.
A year or two ago, I wanted to start buying the "dirty dozen" of produce organically. I made up a whole plan on how I was going to do it. Epic fail. I think I lasted less than one shopping trip and I forgot it. However, there are a few things I buy organically or less processed or treated humanely and I've stuck to that for years and years. We buy our eggs humanely. They are a company called "Phil's" and are sold at Jewel. They cost over $4 a dozen but unlike other "organic" eggs these ones have the certified humane stamp on them. Meaning the chickens were treated humanely. They actually went outside, they didn't just see the open door from their coop with 12,000 other chickens. We've been buying these eggs exclusively for at least 2-3 years. Maybe once out of 30 buys I will buy a different brand-only because I'm not in a position to buy that brand at that time (read-John is insisting he have eggs and they are the only item to buy at Jewel and we've already been to 3 stores, the kids are crabby, and I'm not dragging all 3 to yet another store just for eggs.) In that case I settle for the closest possible egg I can-humanely treated and organic.
We've also started buying our meat humanely and organically. We found an amazing "local" place in IA that has an actual FARM! It's run by a guy named Nick Wallace. The cows are fed exclusively grass, they are allowed to graze all their life, they are not kept in cages and they are slaughtered humanely. I'm not one for noticing big differences in flavor from organic vs. conventional product but I can tell a HUGE difference in this meat quality. I can't describe it, it's just amazing. Having meat from Wallace farms I could never ever go back to buying my meat from the grocery store based on taste alone. The great thing about Wallace farms is they work with other "local" farmers and sell other meat that is humanely raised, slaughtered and fed properly. They have chickens that are truly free range, pork that has never ever been in a cage, and wild turkeys at Thanksgiving. The prices are pretty unbeatable too! They are only a little more than conventional meat and they are far cheaper than Whole Foods. Nick has a store front in Naperville where he ships his meat (you order in advance and there are a few a la carte items). There is a pick up 3x a week every other week or so. If you're interested, check them out. It does mean a 45 minute drive to pick up the meat but if I order enough to last a month or two it's not so bad. And actually a friend of mine goes over in that area all the time anyway so she's been picking it up for me lately. Score!
So those are the things we've been able to stick to that matches our beliefs. Here's what I'm hoping to start doing this year-and hopefully next year at this time say that we've been consistent in these areas as well.
-Creamer. John and I drink coffee every single day. It's sort of disgusting all the chemicals from creamer we're putting in our bodies. Coffeemate has started a line called "Natural Bliss". Their creamer has only a handful of ingredients-all of them whole foods. I will say, their creamer is about 3x as much as I am used to paying. So I'm hoping that other companies will start similar lines and the price will come down. I also have an amazing recipe for a cinnamon syrup that takes all of 2 minutes to make and lasts 2 weeks in the fridge. So I'm hoping to off set the price of the creamer with this syrup and organic cream.
-Yogurt. This is another item we eat all the time in our house. Again, I am disgusted that I put artificial sweeteners into my children's bodies. It's almost impossible to avoid them in yogurt unless you buy organic or "natural" (and read the labels!). Fortunately there are several brands that are organic and sell in the big tubs. The price is pretty comparable to the little containers and they are even coming out with new flavors in the big tubs! Used to be you could get plain or vanilla and that was it. I've recently seen strawberry, banana, blueberry and even maple. Plus, I recently found a brand that has the certified humane stamp on it!
-Produce. John and I would love to eat more organic produce. Specifically potatoes and lettuce. I know potatoes that are conventionally grown are pretty bad for you in terms of pesticides (they actually seep into the potato and cannot be gotten out with scrubbing or even peeling). And lettuce is a big one because it's hard to wash each piece and get the pesticides off it. My choices a few years ago for organic produce basically equaled Whole Foods which not only cost at least 3x as much as conventional but it was half an hour away and in an area I didn't go much. Now I've discovered Meijer has some amazing organic produce at amazing prices! They regularly have potatoes, apples, bananas, lettuce, carrots, broccoli, celery, and tomatoes that are organic. If you get them on sale they are even the same price as conventional! Last night I was able to get 3 heads of romaine for $2, 5lbs of potatoes for $2.50, bananas (for Libby) at 74 cents a pound and 2 lbs of carrots for $2. Pretty awesome!
So those are our food goals for this year. Like I said, I hope that a year from now I can say that we've stuck to these-that we buy creamer and yogurt "natural/organic" and more organic produce. Thanks for sticking with me on this post! I know it was long!