Pick Your Poison: Trying to Choose Food that Won’t Kill Us
Pick Your Poison: Trying to Choose Food that Won't Kill Us. A simple purchase of animal crackers blew my mind. Should I buy them gluten-free? Without sugar? Whole grain? Perhaps organic? Non-GMO? Natural? Fat-free? Dairy free? Made in a plant processed with or without peanuts? Food dyes? Stabilizers? Is it locally made? I change my opinions and flip-flop my loyalties with food as often as I step into a market. I leave the grocery store sometimes feeling like I was in a science lab and not a place to find simple, healthy food choices. An apple is not just an apple anymore. Avoiding one toxic choice feels like giving in to another. I want my children to eat all non-toxic food that isn't laced with sugar and unpronounceable ingredients born in a petri dish. I'd also like to be able to afford it.
The word organic gives me hope that there are fruits and vegetables still glistening with nutrition. Then, I look at the prices: a single cucumber is $2.29. $2.29? Each? I glance over to the "regular" cucumbers. They are $.79 each. But - says my confused brain - cucumbers are one of the most sprayed produce with chemicals. My eyes turn back to the organic. They're wrapped in plastic. (Isn't that bad for the environment?) The cheap cucumbers feel waxy. But just one cucumber for $2.29? One won't last the whole week! It's my kids' favorite vegetable, and it's so nutritious! Which one should I buy?
Searching the internet for what's healthy and what's not can become a practice of insanity. From what I've read, many, many sites write that cucumbers grown with pesticides transform from one of the healthiest vegetables to eat into one of the most toxic. According to the George Mateljan Foundation:
The liver's ability to process other toxins, the cells' ability to produce energy, and the nerves' ability to send messages can all be compromised by pesticide exposure. According to the Environmental Working Group's 2014 report "Shopper's Guide to Pesticides," conventionally grown cucumbers are among the top 12 fruits and vegetables on which pesticide residues have been most frequently found. Therefore, individuals wanting to avoid pesticide-associated health risks may want to avoid consumption of cucumbers unless they are grown organically.
Stuff like that sticks in my head like a scene from a horror movie. To this day, I can't swim in a lake without thinking a great white is staring up at my legs, or Jason will spring up from the bottom and tip my canoe. Facts about food jams right in between those scenes and becomes its own little shop of horrors.
We all know greasy potato chips are bad for us. We get that bacon grease should be avoided. Yet now we have to choose which "healthy" paradigm to take a chance on. We've so polluted our planet we can't eat the fish unless it was caught in the frigid cold off some iceberg or drink the water unless it is filtered.
Whether organic or not; vegan or vegetarian; whole grain or gluten-free, we've got to eat. I've developed a mission statement to help quite the fighting facts in my head:
Eat the most organic I can;
keep the sugar at bay;
bite in to greens more than anything else;
stay within the budget;
never beat myself up;
don't judge others' choices;
We don't want to kill myself and my family over food that was meant to nourish us.