Trader Joe’s doesn’t make the grade for Organics. . .but its easy on the wallet

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With food and nutrition it’s never easy to decide what is the best way to eat, or the best place to buy your food, because it all depends on what is important to you and your different priorities as a consumer.  Last month, in reference to a question about vitamins and supplements my doctor told me “If they don’t have it at Trader Joe’s, you probably don’t need it.”  I guess that means that my doctor doesn’t think that I need to consume organics, because Trader Joe’s leaves much to be desired with respect to healthy Organic selection. All of the food in the picture above (plus four pre-made salads for my partner) was $89.  Which sounds like a lot when you look at it, but I usually spend a lot more at TJs.  The reason that I spent so little is the small selection of organics that TJs offers (I should add that I am not eating refined grains and sugars so organic chips and cookies and all that don’t make it into the cart).  With respect to meat–they only carry organic chicken and ground beef–no organic lunch meat, pork, or any other kinds of meat, so that makes the most expensive area pretty easy, but also pretty boring if I am going to last long on this Organic kick.  For fresh veggies they also leave a lot to be desired in my opinion–they don’t have a lot of the “super foods” that I have gotten used to–Kale, Brussels sprouts (which they do carry seasonally), chard, beets, brocclini, etc.  So I went with more conventional and less nutrient dense veggies that they do offer–lettuce, corn, cucumber, and pea sprouts.  (I will have to supplement this as the way that I usually eat this won’t last me a week–which is why its great that we signed up for a new CSA!–more to come on that later) Then there’s the Organic coffee–decaf and regular because I am cutting back on the caffeine. Organic dark chocolate because some indulgences are a must. Strawberries and grapefruit as “dessert” and pickles and beef jerky as an impulse buy.  Oh yeah and I picked up this small bottle of organic olive oil for 5.99.  It’s pretty pricey, but I do sauté a lot of veggies so I will need it–and it’s still cheaper than organic butter.

So I’ve gone on and on about what Trader Joe’s has for organic offerings, but it’s still not clear why I am doing this?  I have decided to “go organic” for as long as I can for many small reasons that seem to accumulate into a big feeling that this is the right way for me to go.  First, my diet soda habit was getting out of hand, and nothing I do seems to help me curb it.  Second, I had a conversation with my friend last week about food addictions, and how are bodies are beholden to the food industrial complex–like actually addicted to it.  She told me about how she goes on cleanses as a way of resisting this food system, and taking on a new embodied approach to food and whole living.  I guess you might call going organic a “cleanse” but I hope that it lasts longer than most of the cleanses that I have done (a week)!

There are a ton of benefits to eating organic–namely you cut out lot of the chemicals that we ingest everyday in America and there is some evidence that organic food has more nutrients.  Pesticides in conventional foods have been shown to reduce fertility, so going organic is good not only for reproductive potential but with all that we are learning from epigenetic research its good for your future kids even if you’re not making them right now.  There’s some evidence that pesticides and GMOs cause weight gain.  In any case what is most important is that there is a lot of evidence that the food produced by the global food industrial complex is not good for us, so it’s probably better not to eat it!

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