Of course, no sooner did I write a post about taking a break than my brain ceased to be able to do anything other than compose blog posts all the livelong day. So, hey, I’m going to post sometimes and other times not and the world shall remain mostly unchanged. I will not be posting anything re: day care, child care, nannies, babysitters, sickness, sickies, ickies, uckies or snot. My brain needs a self-imposed break. You’re welcome.
For years I have purposely avoided reading anything that would make me think too much about where my food comes from. Yea, yea, yuppie denial and all that, but I had enough to cope with so avoidance seemed a good strategy. I’ve recently begun to dip my toes back into awareness in fits and starts, careful not to get too dogmatic because a) I can’t sustain that kind of change in my own life and b) it’s not just my own life anymore.
For the past three months, we’ve bought our meat almost exclusively from a local farmer via the many local farmers’ markets. What started as a family field trip to get out of the house became a weekly necessity as we stopped buying red meat or eggs from anywhere else. While I’ve always loved a good steak, I couldn’t deny that my heart was lighter when that steak was from a (relatively) happy pasture-raised cow. We used ground beef as our test cut and tried four or five different producers until we settled on one and now we buy all our meat from him. Bonus: his pork is to die for.
Until recently, we still bought mass-produced (albeit regionally) milk and organic chicken from Earth Fare, but that has started to shift too.
People go “eco” for one of three reasons, I think (hat tip to Young House Love for getting me thinking about this forever ago):
- Out of concern for their own health.
- Out of concern for the environment.
- Out of concern for the animal.
Truth be told, we’ve pretty much ignored that first factor. Call us crazy or stupid, but we don’t get too worked up about things as they relate to our own health (<comment about my kid being sick all the darned time redacted per my decision not to post about that anymore>). We both bite our nails, so it’s hypocritical for us to be all “oh, my, god, the horrors!” Since having a third monster mouth in the house, we have become more careful about the cleaning products we use and how often we disinfect things, but until recently, we gave nary a thought to our own health when it came to food. We figured we were better off with anything from the grocery store than the best thing from a fast food place (we still eat fast food sometimes) and that was that.
I really started to shift our purchasing to more eco-friendly items out of concern for the environment. We signed up for a recycling program through our community and realized just how much stuff we’d been throwing away that was recyclable. Our trash cans (yes, two) weren’t enough to contain our garbage before; after recycling, we’re down to less than one can and it’s plenty big. That led to more eco-friendly toilet paper and beauty products. We’ve recently shifted to gDiapers inserts for Javi while he’s with us, though we still use disposables at daycare and while we’re out, and we still throw the inserts away. Still, it’s something. (Update: we ran out of regular disposables all of a sudden so we’re doing gDiapers inserts full-time for the next week while we await our next diaper shipment.) We certainly still have room to improve. I’d like to start composting, for example, but am waiting for my hubby to come around since he admittedly will end up taking care of the compost bin. We could also try flushing the inserts (scary!).
The thoughts that I couldn’t get away from, though, had always been those concerned with the animals’ lives. I read everything I could get my hands on by Temple Grandin a few years ago and loved her perspective: yes, the animal may be destined to die, but it is our responsibility to give it the best life we can while it’s alive, one free from unneeded stress and pain if nothing else.
But how to reconcile that with my desire NOT to be a vegetarian/ vegan nor raise my son as one?
For now, my answer is to buy meat (including chicken) and eggs from a local farmer. Though we’ve yet to visit his farm (we are welcome to), we have seen photos and talked to his family. They know their chickens, raise their beef on pasture without unnecessary antibiotics, and just seem like good people. We pay more for our food but that’s okay. I’m willing to pay more for something that comes from someone I know, and I can say I know Wade.
We just started buying local, organic, non-homogenized milk. After trying it a year ago and being weirded out by the chunks, we’ve tried again and not minded so much (also, we think the gallon we got last year was somehow extra chunky). This is soooo good, since my husband drinks a ton of milk and my son is about to get the chance to.
I still struggle not to go all dogmatic and obsessive (a factor of my rule-follower plus rebel personality disorder) and I’m doing okay. I still get overwhelmed buying effing baby wash (note: not all baby washes are tear-free, to which I say, WTF?) and forget to wash our veggies (ew), but our not-terrible-to-begin-with eating habits are now less horrible to the animal we’re eating.
That’s something, at least.