Thursday, February 19, 2009

Where to Start

Living and eating organically seems like it is a big step – a complete change in the way you do things. In reality, it’s not. It is continuing to do much of what you do now, but you approach it differently. The questions you ask aren’t simply “Do I like it?” and “Which one is cheapest?” You need to ask “Where’d it come from?” “What’s it made of?” It’s a matter of priorities. You have to take the time to read labels, ask questions, and shop in new places. The first thing many people say is “I haven’t got time.” Believe me, I hear ya. But here’s the thing – none of us has the time. We make the time. If it is important you will take the time. I tell this to my husband when he says he has no time to workout, yet hits the snooze button at least 3 times each morning – that’s 27 minutes! If someone in your family had a life-threatening condition and it required you to eat organic, you know you’d find the time. Well, the way many of us are eating these days is a life-threatening condition. So, no, I don’t accept the excuse “I haven’t got the time.” You don’t have to change everything today, you make little changes and gradually you’ll find you’re doing things a whole new way. It took me at least a year to really feel like we were really doing the organic thing. As my dear friend Lisa says whenever I’m overwhelmed – “baby steps”.

The first step is always the most intimidating. After that it’s easy. I would encourage you to do what works for you and not judge yourself. Any improvement you can make in the quality of the food you eat and the life you lead is better than none.

Whenever I’m starting a new project I always like to make lists. Seeing it in writing makes me feel like I know what I’m doing and I have some control (even if the opposite is true). First, evaluate what your family eats. Make a list of what you buy most often and what your kids eat most often.

This list is the place to start. If it is a long list, pick a one or two items (or more if you’re feeling ambitious) to start with. It makes sense that if your family, particularly your kids, eat a lot of something, finding an organic option for that food will have the most impact in their diet. We went organic for the kids long before we started eating organically ourselves.

For my kids the biggies were bread, yogurt, fruit, carrots, milk, peanut butter, cheese, and juice. I tackled each in its own way. In the beginning I just went to the market and paid the big price for these items and our grocery bill shot way up. That wasn’t going to work, so slowly I found less expensive options. In the next few posts, I’ll tell you how we tackled our biggies to give you some ideas. My best advice is don’t assume it can’t be done, because it can. You just might have to look outside your box.

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