I have started really jumping into the green food movement. Joshua and I routinely shopped at the local food market and though we have been making a pull away from processed foods for awhile and try primarily to eat whole food sources, I was not making a large distinction as the origin of my food.
Across the street from our previous residence was an organic foods market that offered a really great selection of items both produce and packaged, but I did not capitalize on it since I was buying cheaper items at my local grocer. However, I picked up a book recently I bought for my pregnancy and was instantly compelled by the statistics it offered on the differences between conventional and organic foods. First, let me say that some conventional farmers utilize organic practices but have not invested for the organic conversion and as such these statistics are not hard and fast.
The buzz about eating food locally has even hit the White House, as this week the First Lady begun planting a 1,100 sq ft garden, to help her daughters learn about the importance of eating healthy, fresh and emphasizing locally grown produce.
Saturday, Joshua and I found a great new farmer's market that spring-boarded my research and understanding of SOLE food. I landed a copy of edible Chesapeake, a quarterly magazine that focuses on local food in its season. This concept in itself has been hitting me hard lately. I went to the grocery store last week and in my cart as I was checking out I noticed a couple of things: grapes, pineapple, watermelon, bananas and avocados. I suppose this would not be an issue if it were July and I lived in Central America, but as it stands, these items travelled a long way to end up in my cart Saturday afternoon. The imported grapes are definitely on the worst conventional foods list, aptly named the "Dirty Dozen" as they are the twelve most pesticide-harboring fruits and vegetables. When I visit my parents in Waikiki this October, I'll make sure to load up on tons of fresh pineapple and bananas, as they will be there in abundance and I know I can wait a couple of more months for fresh watermelon at my farmer's market. Avocados will definitely be put on my cereal when I get to Florida next month as my mother in law has recently sparked a new affinity for them. I need to start eating produce in its season.
A girlfriend of mine recently also started me on the ethics of eating meat. I used to think PETA was just a little off-kilter ranting about (what I thought to be) isolated events of harm to animals. Research is pouring in about the wide scale effects of slaughterhouses and factory farms--its detriment to the environment, economy, our health and the welfare of the animals who are living there. An article was recently written on the Muslim butchering method called halal:
In order for meat (except pork, which Muslims don’t eat) to be halal, which
means lawful, a Muslim has to say a blessing, position the animal facing
toward Mecca, and slaughter it with a swift cut across the throat with a
very sharp steel knife. This centuries-old method of slaughter, similar in
many ways to kosher slaughter, is meant to incur the least pain possible
while allowing the carcass to be completely drained of blood... halal rules
include several provisions for minimizing the animal’s stress prior to
slaughter, including ensuring it has been normally fed and watered, and that
it is in good health, and prohibiting any animal from seeing another animal
being slaughtered. And if they have traveled, they are required to be well
rested—at least overnight—before slaughter, according to Egyptian-born Omar
Wali, owner of American Halal Meat in Springfield, Virginia.
Reading these articles really makes me reconsider some of my food choices and
makes me want to take a more conscious approach toward how I consume.