The Great Food Revolution of 2012

by Melody on May 16, 2012

We have made some significant changes to the way we eat in the last few months.  My husband and I have watched several documentaries about the food industry and I’ve been reading and doing research on what goes in our food.  What I have found is fairly horrifying, for the most part.  I’ve also found that there are some simple changes we can make and some not so simple changes.  The more research I do, the more research I want to do.  The more I read and watch, the more clear my decisions become.

While I have several friends who are much farther than me in their food journeys and I can rely on them for valuable information, I really want to find out for myself what are going to be the best changes for our family.  Generally speaking, the better the food is for you, the pricier it becomes.  If I am going to be increasing our budget, I want to know why and for what reason.  Not just because someone told me to do it.

We have been significantly increasing the amount of fresh produce we eat and with this comes the great Local vs Conventional vs Organic debate.  We are swapping coconut oil for all vegetable and canola oil, whole wheat flour for all-purpose in most cases, organic or local unhomogenized milk for conventional and purging the pantry of high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils.  Along with all these decisions came some big Whys? and How Much? and What For? and What’s Most Important? questions.

I’ve mentioned some of these changes periodically on the blog and several of you have started asking questions.  I’ve even had requests from a few of you to share what we have learned, what we have changed and why.  I’ve been sitting on the idea for a post series for quite some time, trying to figure out exactly how I want to attack it.  I’ve come up with a multi-pronged approach.

  • I’m going to start at the beginning with our journey, what prompted us to even start looking into these things, what resources we have used, what our budget has looked like, how our shopping trips have changed.
  • I’m going to discuss the major changes we have made so far.  What I’m not going to do is go into the scientific side of things, but I’ll do my best to explain our decisions.  I’ll also point you to the resources we used to find our information on each topic.  I don’t want to be preachy or sound like I know much of anything at all, because I don’t.  I just know what is working for our family and what is the most important so far.
  • Over the course of two posts, I’m going to talk about what we have added to our pantry and what we have stopped buying.  I’ll talk about the simple swaps we have made, including what we are now making ourselves to replace certain items.
  • I’m going to talk about how we have found balance through our journey.  We didn’t wipe the pantry clean and start from scratch, we took a slow approach.  I’ll share with you what we have found to be the most important and what we are holding back on.  For example, what we are buying organic vs conventional vs local.
  • Last but not least, I’ll share with you what changes we would like to make in the future.  We have a long way to go and a LOT of changes we’d like to make, but for my sanity and the sake of our budget, we’re not doing them all at once.

Please share your thoughts.  I have been working really hard to create an outline for this series so I don’t veer off in a thousand different directions.  What is most important to you right now?  Do you have anything specific you’d like me to address?

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Emily May 16, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Thanks so much for address this topic. I feel at a loss when it comes to starting this same change for my family. I really want to provide what would be best for my family, but with 4 kiddos all under the age of 5 it becomes difficult. With that said, I am a firm believer that I am resposible for exstablishing the good habits for my kids that will benefit them as they get older.

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Shirley K. May 16, 2012 at 9:57 pm

I look forward to reading your posts on this topic, for all the reasons you outlined above. We are on a similar journey, for basically the same reasons.

One area I’d like you to address is organic meat. I’ve been finding more ways to cut spending so we can make the switch, but I’m still getting over the sticker shock. I think hormone-free is the best way to go for my kiddo in the long run, but that $5/lb or more in the short run is tough.

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Lora May 16, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Love it! I’m SO excited to hear about your journey and why! I know there are so many opinions on the subject of healthy eating. It would be fun to hear yours! I love that feeding your family healthy food is a priority for you, as it is for most moms. I think many of us are just uninformed and/or have very restricted budgets.

I’d love to hear your take on organic meats as well. They have them at our Costco now….and I have eyed them suspiciously…..

Fun! Thanks for all the effort you put into your amazing blog! I don’t know how you do it all!

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Meghan May 16, 2012 at 11:13 pm

I’m excited for this series! I feel a little lost too with what changes are the most important while still maintaining somewhat of a budget! Ive been reading lots of labels and buying things with normal ingredients, we have completely eliminated anything canned, and switched to mostly organic produce and dairy. I agree with others on the meat situation. At this point I am adding 1-2 vegetarian meals to our weekly meal plan and then trying to buy meats that are labeled hormone free. I feel stuck at this point though, cause I just don’t have the time or energy to do a bunch of food research. Help!!

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Emilie May 17, 2012 at 5:39 am

Mel might address this in the post but for us free-range grass-fed is more of a priority than organic even (although usually grass-fed is organic even if it’s not certified) and the way that has been affordable for us is to purchase in large quantities. I just purchased 1/4 of a cow for butcher in the fall and plan on buying 1/2 to a whole pig this year. Find a local farm and check out pricing! :o)

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Faith May 17, 2012 at 7:38 am

We are making changes in our diet as well, but also introducing each one slowly, so we don’t blow the budget or get burnt out quickly. I am looking into making smoothies (with fruit, but also with greens, carrots, and other veggies blended in). I’m going back and forth between the Vitamix and Blendtec. I have a junky blender that I bought at a garage sale for $1, so it definitely isn’t going to work very well for well blended smoothies :P I’d love to buy a 1/4 cow, but I have a tiny freezer (that I also want to have lots of frozen berries/fruit in) and no space for a deep freeze (even a small one). Any suggestions on buying small quantities of good quality meat?

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Emilie May 17, 2012 at 8:01 am

I think around here the only place you might find small quantites is a place like PCC on grass-fed organic. I haven’t seen it anywhere else. I’ll be interested to hear what others say as it is crazy expensive there.

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Kim May 17, 2012 at 8:16 am

Eggs! Plus the “untruths” in labeling on “natural” etc. that can sometimes equal more expensive for a not-worth-it/not actually healthy product. Also, when you get in to whole wheat, have you checked out the “soaking” grains thing? It’s an interesting theory…

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Trina May 21, 2012 at 8:23 am

Kim, what (briefly) is the soaking grains thing you mention? Because I’m afraid that if I google it, there will be 6 conflicting theories out there.

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Tera May 18, 2012 at 2:02 pm

THANK YOU! This is exactly what our family is doing and I was starting to get overwhelmed with all the info out there and what to do first. We’ve already switched to organic milk, eggs, yogurt and the dirty dozen, and also cut out hfcs and are now trying to tackle whole grains and non-processed food. I’m most interested in how to meal plan and make it easy with small kids. Emilie gave me some really good ideas and I’m looking forward to reading more about what your family does. Way to go, we’re cheering you on!

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Trina May 20, 2012 at 9:24 pm

I’m so excited to read this series, Melody! I’ve also made some significant dietary changes for my family in the last few years. I’m looking forward to reading about how you decided where to start, and how you prioritized and implemented the changes. For me, the priorities have been on my family’s health although good working conditions and environmental/animal health also play a role.

The purchasing changes I’ve made in the last few years have been buying the dirty dozen produce items organic, buying mostly organic milk (but other non-RBST free dairy products, usually Tillamook = also local), avoiding canned products with BPA in them, avoiding soy, avoiding HFCS, avoiding trans-fats. I try to buy the vegetarian-fed omega-3 eggs, or cage-free on sale, but I haven’t made the cost leap to organic/local. Same with meat, I’m trying to get hormone-free, antibiotic-free, and NOT Southern chickens(!), but the leap to organic meat has been too big. We do have family-grown beef and lamb in the freezer, and husband’s deer meat, so I’m mainly just buying chicken, pork and seafood.

Behavior-wise, I’ve been cooking more from “scratch” and less from packaged boxes or take-out. I’m now working on getting the family to shift the balance of our plate to more plant-based, less meat, less dairy & eggs. And it’s now odd when we eat out, because the portions of veggies are either non-existent, or very small compared to what we’re now accustomed to at home. And for me personally, trying to cut out late-night snacking so I can lose some weight!

The food-guilt documentaries have been very eye-opening AND motivating. I’ve watched quite a few in the last several months. Mostly from the library since we don’t do Netflix.

Thanks for tackling this subject from your personal vantage point!

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maile November 12, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Thank goodness I found this site. Watched Genetic Roulette about GMO’s and scared the heck out of me, moreso than Food Inc. Can’t believe California didn’t pass the no brainer Prop 37. So researching and making changes. Your site is VERY helpful.

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