Make it from scratch. Make it with love.
Almost anything you eat can be made cheaper and better from scratch. I’m appalled at the lack of culinary skill in today’s young people (yes, I’m only in my 30’s so that goes for my generation too). It’s no wonder we don’t cook for ourselves anymore. In today’s culture of two working parents and no home economics classes in schools, there are fewer and fewer home cooks passing on their knowledge to the next generation. It’s become all about fast – just get something on the table. No pride in what we eat, and little concern for what processed and artificial foods can do to us.
I’m on a mission to help inspire people to get back into the kitchen. Even if you have never cooked before, you can do this! You need some simple basic recipes and a desire to learn. Anyone can cook – we’re not all cut out to be restauranteurs, but we all have the ability to get a healthy meal on the table for our families. It’s a responsibility I don’t take lightly.
You Don’t Have to Spend a Lot to Eat Well
There are many ways to save on food costs. Couponing, meal planning, buying in bulk – there are strategies to suit every family’s lifestyle and budget. Or combine several to maximize your savings. The best way to start is to pay attention to prices and seasons. By planning your meals around what is on sale and in season you can easily save a lot.
It’s more important to buy US grown foods than organic.
Organic food has become almost mainstream now. From fresh produce to the “health food” aisle, the grocery stores are supplying more choices in organics. But what does organic really mean? Most people think it means that food was not treated with pesticides. That is a false notion. Maybe it wasn’t treated, but more likely, it was treated with pesticides that are naturally derived from plants or naturally occurring compounds. I buy organic sometimes–if it’s the best looking produce or at a better price. It’s just not a priority for me.
What is a priority is buying food grown in the United States. There are several reasons to make that choice. First and foremost, produce grown in the US is subject to strict standards by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). They require extensive testing of chemicals used in the production of food. New pesticides can take 10 years or more from development to marketing. Chemicals are tested for their effectiveness and for residue. As agriculture continues to advance, “softer” chemicals are prevailing. These chemistries break down quickly and are less toxic to the environment. Then there is the reporting that goes on. Farmers are required to report the use of pesticides to the County Agriculture Commissioner’s office (at least that’s the case here in California). There is extensive record keeping and monitoring going on.
But what about produce grown in China. Food from China is not overseen by the USDA, at least not in the hands-on production sense. What chemicals are they using? Have they been used correctly? What about “organic” foods from China. Do we really trust that they are following the US guidelines for organic production. I don’t have much faith in that. After scares with lead in toys in 2007 (which continues today), arsenic in apple juice (60% of the concentrate is imported from China) and melamine in animal feed and milk products, I’m not inclined to buy any food that comes from China. Start looking at the labels and you will see how much of our processed food is coming from there.
Buying US grown is the best way to go for other reasons as well. Food grown here takes less inputs in shipping and retains it’s freshness and quality better. If you can buy from local farmer’s markets that’s even better. Most markets contain food grown regionally rather than foods shipped across states for the supermarket. Or grow some yourself! If you have a yard or even a small patio you can grow tomatoes and fresh herbs easily.