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Organic or not? Is that the question?

standard November 1, 2007 12 responses

This month The Blog Exchange is changing things up a little and organizing a bunch of tiny debates. My partner had an unforeseen conflict so I am calling all of you to debate with me!
The debate? Organic food? Pro or Con? Processed food? Pro or Con?
Read what I have to say and then, please!, let me have it in the comments! How do you feel about all of this?

Edited to add: Laura got her post up! Head on over and see what she has to add to the debate!

At the end of the day I have nothing against organic or non processed foods. Honest! In a perfect world my children would only eat the healthiest of healthy natural foods, and I would be home every day making them three square meals from scratch. But in that perfect world I would have unlimited resources and time. (Wait, isn’t time a resource? Whatever. Moving on.) And this is not a perfect world, and I am only human. So when I show up at playgroup and a mom pulls out home baked cup cakes made with non processed whole wheat flower, apple sauce instead of sugar or oil, and carob chips instead of chocolate chips, I stifle my gag reflex, hide my daughter’s box of hyper processed fish shaped crackers, and make mmm sounds as I choke down one of the tasteless hockey pucks. My daughter however, can’t be convinced to even taste the natural concoction, she knows that something way tastier lays in wait in the diaper bag and she lets the whole group know that she’d much prefer a goldfish cracker, thank you very much!

I appreciate all the people who hope to keep their children from eating food dies, hormone laden dairy products, or excess processed sugar. I stand in awe of the friend who never eats foods that contain partially hydrogenated anythings. And I’ll even admit to only buying organic milk and yogurt, but that’s as far as my organic consciousness goes.

In this day and age I just don’t think that it’s practical or even realistic to spurn everything that contains pesticides, hormones, or even preservatives. We eat at McDonalds, we cook hotdogs, we even, gasp, serve up frozen chicken nuggets and fish sticks on a (very) regular basis. With the lives we lead I can’t picture us doing anything different. And, to be honest, I’m fine with having my kids eat these foods. And honestly? I don’t think I could give up the odd cookie or piece of candy.

I believe strongly that it’s all about moderation. C eats fish sticks and chicken nuggets with a side of veggies and some cheese. She eats fruit for desert and breakfast. She drinks organic milk and eats organic yogurts. And I feel good about the fact that she’s not going to binge on junk food when she’s away from home. After all, if your parents are serving it up on the family china then it’s not too exciting to indulge on the sly.

Tell me, where you do land on the organic food fence? How do you feel about processed foods?

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12 responses

  • Personally, I try and buy organic food whenever I can. Organic/Soy milk no. Organic fruits and veggies yes. Do I still buy processed food? Yes. For me it is all about weighing the good against the bad. Making the changes where you can and they going with the flow for the rest.

  • I think I land exactly where you’re standing. That’s me you feel stepping on your toes.

    I would love to be able to do all the things you spoke about, but it isn’t realistic, and as soon as those little toddlers are ambulatory and autonomous (how bout dem fer some fancy words), you can no longer control what they eat. And if you think the school lunches are organic and non-processed then HA to you.

  • I have to say I found your post very refreshing! Like you, I buy organic milk and yogurt. With the other stuff, it really just depends what’s been going on. Lately and fortunately, things have been quiet here so we haven’t eaten much processed food, but believe me when I had a newborn and a toddler, we always had frozen chicken nuggets stocked in the fridge. There’s also the expense factor too. Personally, I would also rather eat a tasty cupcake on rare occasion than eat a “healthy” cupcake more regularly. If I let my kids have a treat, then it’s the real deal.

  • Let me make you feel better about yourself. I don’t even buy organic milk because my children HATE milk. And Hubby and I figure it’s too late for us anyway, so we might as well save some money.

    So I can’t debate you, but I did thoroughly enjoy your post.

  • I came here ready to debate you, but you’ve perfectly expressed my own feelings about this subject! So I’m here to agree.

    I buy organic when it’s convenient. I buy wild-caught fish when my budget can afford it. I limit the junk my daughter wants to eat (but don’t outlaw it entirely, because that would just make it that much more attractive to her.)

    But the bottom line is feeding my family as nutritionally as I can, given the restraints of time, money and living in the real world.

  • I like you. Will you be my reasonable friend? I actually lost a friendship early in my mothering days because I wasn’t growing my own vegetables and mashing them myself. With infant twins.

    I do the hormone-free milk but it often comes down to cost. Amazing how expensive it is to feed kids “right”.

  • Commenting seems not to be working at your parnter’s place, here’s my comment for her…I think that more and more people are going to have to take a broader look at their lives to account for thedifferent factors in overall health. Our family has certainly not accomplished a 100% organic lifestyle, but I am proud of some of the steps we have taken with more of a buying local approach, which means hormone free meats, organic dairy and produce and fair trade coffee. I still drink pop and let our girls eat mainstream snacks, we just try to be moderate about things.

    Great post, love the idea of this discussion, I think too many moms stand back and judge rather than discuss.

  • And it looks as if my original coment for oyu was lost, which was this:

    I try to walk on the organic side of the fence, but this is done according to budget and time availability. I think ultimately the job of getting dinner on the table each night and breakfast in bellies before rushing out the door each morning is one hell of a challenge. The last thing we need to do is place unrealistic rules. And, in the way I approach the environment, it isn’t all or nothing, the baby steps help too.

  • Thank you for being so refreshing. Personally I do the best that I can with what I was raised with. I’m aware of food now but I’m afraid my kids are in trouble if I’m going to be judged on whether they eat organic or not. Do I lack education about organic foods? Well, no I just do the best I can day to day and hope for the best. I’m lucky to keep them from eating fast food all the time. I thought I was doing well. Why not have an organic fast food chain? Maybe there is one and I just don’t know about it.

  • From a fellow gold-fish stasher, I’m right there with you. Almost. I refuse to take my kids to McDonald’s, but it’s only partly because of the nutrition. Mostly it’s because I read Fast Food Nation…and now I can’t bring myself to go to any fast food restaurant (except In N Out). I don’t go because of the nutrition, the company ethic, the treatment of workers, the way the food is processed and prepared…oh, for many reasons. Well, we take the kids for their birthdays sometimes, because we want them to like us well enough to take care of us when we are old and decrepit. But trying to live completely organic/non-processed is not realistic. We get a box of organic veggies, which I love, and I’ll serve my kids processed corn dogs, which I also love. It’s a balancing act. All things in moderation, indeed!

  • I really appreciate your perspective on this topic. I try to take it all in moderation, too! First and foremost, I do my best to buy food for my girls (23 months apart, like yours) that have as few chemicals, additives and preservatives as possible. I feel good about that!

    As for organic, I buy here and there, but can’t make the total leap. Especially in light of news that certain organic brands aren’t really organic afterall.

  • I think I fall right down the middle. I dont go after organic food but I do go after a lot of fresh foods for my children. Most of my producer is purchased from a local produce farm. I also shop at a farmers market where I purchase most of our meat and cheese. I find that by doing this I am barely shopping at my local grocery store. I also find that I am buying a lot fewer prepackaged items.

    Great discussion
    NKYGAL from MM

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