Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Lenten challenge, a few days late

It's hard. It's really hard to hold one non-organic bell pepper that is on sale for $1.00 in your hand and one organic bell pepper that is at least $3.99/lb. in your other hand and then choose the more expensive one. And then move on to the organic zucchini and do the same thing. And the organic eggs. And the organic milk. Okay, I mentally cry when I consider buying organic milk still.

Ben and I drink 1% milk. My handy dandy local grocery store doesn't carry organic 1% milk in the gallon sized jugs. It does, however, carry organic 1% milk in 1/2 gallon size cartons. When each 1/2 gallon of 1% costs $3.49, I whipped out my trusty math skills and determined that I would be spending $7.00/gallon on milk. Just for Ben and me. And, we go through around a gallon a week. If I don't use it in superfluous recipes like homemade mac-n-cheese, which requires a couple of cups of the milky goodness per batch. Who is insane enough to consider this when a gallon of non-organic 1% milk is *only* $2.29 when it's not on sale, which it is frequently. Hmm...$7.00 versus $2.00. Really. This is the unkindest cut of them all. (That was my attempt at quoting Shakespeare. I'm horrible at memorizing. Humor me that I butchered it somewhat correctly.) But I should also add that if we switch to either skim milk or 2%, then we can buy the organic milk by the gallon at the more *affordable* price of $5.49/gallon. Is it worth it???

And I'm kinda proud of how much organic goodness we have incorporated into our weekly grocery trips. Really me, not we. Ben doesn't go anymore. Someone has to stay home with the child. People get kind of uptight when they find out that you went traipsing off to the grocery store and left your 9-month old at home alone. Go figure. (Sidenote...I've only ever considered leaving Abby home alone for a few minutes one time, and that was just a passing thought; never would I actually do it. Just saying.)

And here's my challenge. We are currently participating in the season of Lent, a time that is traditionally one of introspection and abnegation. I volunteered to put together a low carbon diet for my church, which was really nothing more than me going to the internet and pulling 40 earth-friendly, energy-saving ideas and putting them in a list. But still. How many of us consider giving up chocolate or alcohol or gum or chocolate or candy or chocolate (or me, exercising) for Lent? So many people give up FOOD in some form or fashion. Why not consider a uniquer FOOD diet for this season? Give up meat entirely for one day once a week. Challenge yourself in the grocery store to explore organic or natural options that you have never considered before. Explore ways that you can hug the planet by supporting organic products that don't pollute our ecosystem with harsh chemicals that affect not only the crop upon which they are dumped but also the soil and our waterways? If anyone is interested, I can easily email the list that I came up with. I'm not saying that it's anything special, but easy enough ideas that maybe, just maybe, you've never thought of before. Yes, I just ended a sentence with a preposition. Tough shnookies.

Personally, I've never gotten that into "giving up" something just because all the cool kids at church do it. But, I've kinda stumbled my way into something that works for me, a bit out of the box, a bit unorthodox, but also a lot bit in keeping with a new frame of mind that I'm learning to develop. It's not that I'll ever be excited about forgoing the ease of my absorbent and totally disposable paper towels in favor of some cut up rags, but I can't really use my Bountys anymore without feeling a twinge of guilt. Is that a good reason to make a change? I don't know. Maybe. I have some guilt for a reason. I don't necessarily think that it's a responsible choice for myself if I know that I have guilt about taking the easy way out while making no attempts to do what is not "right" but certainly more friendly.

I love my planet. I love that it loves me and gives me wonderful things to eat and gorgeous places to see. I love that it lets me live here. I think that I should be nice to it.

N.B. If anyone is interested, I highly recommend the movie "Food, Inc." not because it will scare you into submission, but because it makes you think. Am I purchasing what I do because it is what I've always purchased or because it is what I feel best about purchasing?


Megan said...

Do you guys have an Aldi's? I know it can be scary... but you can buy organic/hormone free milk, cheese, and eggs for CHEAP!!!

The Erudite Lit-ite said...

Did not know!! We do, but I've never gone into it because, as you said, it can be scary. I will check it out now, though!

sarahesperanza said...

you could buy a gallon of skim and a gallon of 2% and combine. milk freezes well if you aren't going to use 2 gallons in a week.

I'd love to see your list. I think I'm taking up not eating for Lent, though- I'm working night shifts, and it's hard for me to muster hunger at 2 am.

sarahesperanza said...

btw, look at your blog roll!