Monday, April 25, 2011

My Food Philsophy

I've recently been lacking on blog topics, but something sparked what I hope will start lots of posts. I am very excited. Having used a Groupon for a delivery of organic produce made me think about my eating and food philosophy. Food has always so important to me, but as I have gotten older, I have learned a lot about food and how it reaches our tables. Through a class I took at Drexel and a few books I've read, I have learned to be more conscious about what I eat and purchase.

When I grew up, we had a lot of processed food in the house. Don't get me wrong, my mom also cooked with fresh meats, produce, and dairy (and a great cook she is!), but we had a lot of 100 calorie packs in the cabinet. I grew up to be concerned with calories and fat, but not so much ingredients. I still ate fairly healthy, but eating processed foods each day was not abnormal.

Staples in my house growing up
When I went to Drexel, I did a good job of still eating healthy and avoiding the freshman 15. I knew to eat veggies and fruit and never once got pizza, french fries, or a burger from the cafeteria. My sophomore year, I took a class that really changed me and my food philosophy. I love food and when I saw a class called, "Food Politics," I knew I had to take it. We discussed how food gets to our table, from traditional factory farm meat to smaller urban organic farms. I was in awe of what was going on in America's food system and felt that I needed to take a stand for what I felt was right (local and organic, when possible).

The Dirty Dozen
As a college student, it was a difficult place to be in. I wanted to start purchasing local, organic foods, but they are so expensive. When I can, I purchase produce that is organic (only in the Dirty need to purchase more than that!). I also have tried to limit my processed food purchases. After reading The End of Overeating, I learned even more about how even the simplest of foods are overly processed. If you look at the ingredients of a lot of foods, it's insane what goes into them! I've stopped buying baked chips (a lot have sugar in them, which baffles me) and candy, instead opting for kale chips and fruit to fulfill salty and sweet cravings.

Something I also feel strongly about is local organic farms. I feel that supporting local farms is a win-win on many levels. One, you are supporting a local business rather than a large corporation. Two, you know who is growing your food and how they are doing so. Third, you are eating seasonally and fresh, something we don't do anymore in this country. With the same produce all year round, we have no idea when is a normal produce's season. We get tomatoes year round, but they're only supposed so be around in the summer. We now eat mealy and gross tomatoes throughout a lot of the year that has been shipped from thousands of miles away. We're taxing the planet in order to get non-seasonal (and not as tasty) produce!

Greensgrow Farm
In order to continue my food philosophy, John and I signed up for the Greensgrow Farm Summer CSA program. Greensgrow Farm is an urban farm in the Kensington section of Philadelphia. Starting at the end of May and going until November, every two weeks, we will pick up a box of local and fresh produce, as well as a local cheese and one dairy product. The cost is totally reasonable (comes to around $18 a week) and I get to enjoy all the fabulous perks of a local farm. I am counting down the weeks until we get to pick up our first box!

I guess to sum up my changed perspective on food, I could say I went from someone who cared about calories and fat to someone who cares about calories and fat, but is not willing to eat a bunch of chemicals to eat low fat or low cal. We're so caught up in fast, convenient food that we are not thinking about what we put in our bodies and/or what impact it has on the planet. I cannot wait to blog about what I get in my CSA share every two weeks and to continue my effort to eat as cleanly as possible.

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