Wow, I can't believe the holidays are over! As usual, it was a blur, but a happy blur. I hope everyone else's blur was happy as well.
And now that the decorations are packed away, the boxes of chocolates are empty, and those perfectly wrapped new toys are happily strewn across the floor, I'm ready to make a few resolutions. Actually just one.
I've always strived to be an educated consumer. I like to read reviews, talk to people about things they like/dislike, and comparison shop to ensure I'm getting the best products for the best price. Quality has always mattered to me, too. I'm willing to pay more for an item if I truly love it, it works better than its competitors, or I believe it's going to last.
Up until recently I hadn't applied this way of thinking to food. I wouldn't necessarily buy junk, but I definitely didn't always put quality first. And when I did, it was usually the stuff I was buying for the kids. I had no problem feeding them organic cheese while I ate the block of supermarket cheddar I bought for $1.50 on sale.
Another thing that has tripped me up was trusting that "name brand" foods would be of decent quality. After spending a lot of time reading and researching about food, I've come to find out that name brand foods are often the least quality items one can buy, not only in terms of the junk factor, but in terms of how food is prepared, crops are grown, animals are raised & butchered, our environment is affected, etc. Not all chicken breasts, soybeans, and frozen pizzas are created equal.
A few weeks ago I watched Food, Inc. - a movie about the food industry which has recently come out on DVD. If you're interested in learning more about where your food comes from, particularly within the meat & poultry industry, I highly recommend it. Sometimes ignorance is bliss when it comes to food, but I think it's important to know what we're actually eating. This film didn't tell me a ton I hadn't already discovered through my own reading, but it did further my resolve to really invest in quality foods...not just sometimes, but all of the time.
Because when I buy crappy foods, I'm not only cheating myself out of a healthier choice, I'm also feeding the corporate beasts that are profiting from our ignorance while I could be bolstering those companies that are doing the right thing. (OK, I'm not a bonafide conspiracy theorist yet, but I'm slowly becoming one).
As the movie Food, Inc. points out at the end, unlike other political or societal issues where we feel like we have no say, when it comes to food we essentially get to "vote" our opinions every time we walk through the checkout lane or sit down to eat. So this new year, I am resolving to eat better and buy better. I would like to add that I won't be eating any more fast food, but I know that's probably impossible. Instead, I'll resolve to skip the meat products and stick to what I love most about fast food: the french fries! They might be high in fat, but at least I won't be subjecting myself to any (spoiler alert!) meat filler cleansed with ammonia.