Tuesday, 10 June 2008
I have been reading a lot recently about the food industry, organic, free range, children's obesity and it's time to say enough. We are heading down a path of blissful ignorance of where our food comes from. I have for too long been aware of the issues that I have and almost pushed them to the back of my head but I am going to list them here...
Free range meat
I truly believe in buying local (preferably organic) free range meat. But keep being tempted in the supermarket by all the cheap deals - an organic chicken costs about £16 ($32) but in a supermarket a non organic chicken costs as little as £3.99. I also believe that if you eat meat you should know where it comes from, how it was butchered, and eat as much of it as possible making use of the whole animal. Not buying it pre-packed on a plastic tray. This is the hardest change for me due to the cost - but I am going to have a month of buying only organic meat and reponsible shopping and add in a few vegetarian meals and see how my monthly food shop compares. It is unacceptable for chickens to be kept in cages or sheds where they can't even stand up just for our convenience.
Now I always bought free range eggs - but I was shocked to know how much 'egg product' was used in other foods, bread, cakes, mayonnaise the list goes on and on... you must really learn how to read the labels. There isn't a mayonnaise for sale in the UK at the moment that doesn't use battery eggs! This is shocking and shows how we think we are changing things by buying organic chicken but in a restaurant will happily have mayonnaise without thinking twice. I will start cooking from scratch more, as only then do you really know what is your food.
food is expensive especially organic and fairtrade products. It makes me really cross that a 'happy meal' is more expensive than a bowl of fruit. We have got it the wrong way round, surely tinned food should be more expensive, crisps, choclate sweets, over packaged food, frozen food, surely all of these products need more processing? Lets make them more expensive and fruit and veg cheap - maybe we will see an effect on obesity? The government wants to introduce free swimming to combat childhood obesity, we have got it so wrong, we need to address these issues at source. The reason why we have childhood obesity is that parents have to work long hours, ready meals are cheap, parents are scared to let children play outside so instead they let them have TV's in their rooms and computer games (I won't even get started on the link to autism).
grow your own
we have the smallest garden and manage to grow a small crop every year. growing veg is great and wonderful if you have children. This year we have a crop of potato's, peas, beans, courgettes, sweetcorn, cabbages and tomatoes. The key is in the rotation of the beds to maximise production and companion planting to prevent pests and disease. Even if you have a yard you can buy a bag of compost and plant some potato's in it - just cutting some holes in the bottom for drainage. This is a great way of growing and you can even top up the bag with tea bags and kitchen peelings that will compost down.
Thank you to jenifer for inspiring me today to take my convictions seriously enough to make changes.