Hits the spot

Oh man, I love food. I really, really do. If I would have known that what I’d been eating all those years wasn’t actually food – if I’d have known how delicious and satisfying real food actually is – well, I suppose I’d have switched to eating organic, whole foods long ago.

I just turned yesterday’s leftover bread from grilled banana sandwiches into french toast topped with fresh organic strawberry wedges and banana slices, drizzled with 100% pure maple syrup.

Ridiculous.

There were two motivating forces behind my initial decision to go organic. They centered around my anger at the various government food regulatory bodies for siding with corporate lobbyists and neglecting to properly protect and inform the citizens of the US. They centered around a general disgust of the money-hungry machine that is the American food industry. I didn’t want my hard-earned dollars supporting a corrupt system with deplorable priorities. The organic market isn’t perfect, and is of course run by those same regulatory bodies – but it’s as good as I could do short of growing my own food (an endeavor that I can only minimally participate in, given my current living arrangement). Today, I purchase as much food as I can at local farmers’ markets, and buy the rest certified organic.

What I didn’t expect was the deluge of reasons why I would choose to stay organic – a million little happy reasons called my taste buds.

I need to be a little more specific here, because it is quite possible to go “junk food organic” – which, while slightly better than eating traditional junk food (at least you wouldn’t be consuming pesticides and genetically modified food-like substances), isn’t exactly what I’m talking about. I’m talking about going whole-foods organic. Starting with real food that came from the earth. Minimally processed food. Clean food. (Coincidentally, I am in love with a cookbook by the same name – Clean Food by Terry Walters).

It’s no wonder I didn’t like eating vegetables as a kid. When they all come from a can or a bag, or even worse – a box, guess what? They all taste the same. And when they’re swimming in pools of chemicals waiting for you to throw them into the microwave to be nuked – well, let’s just say that’s no way to treat a vegetable.

I’ve had a chance to try quite a few fresh vegetables in the past 6 months – fresh, whole, organic plants. I’ve played with different forms of preparation, from steaming to roasting to sauteing to grilling to eating them raw. I’ve learned the effects of each method of preparation on the nutritional values. And I’ve discovered something amazing – vegetables all taste different! They have subtle, delicious flavors – none of which even remotely remind me of the bland “green” flavor that I remember as a kid. Today, I fill my plate up with greens without a second thought – and not because I have to. Because they taste good.

Every week is a new adventure when you spend most of your grocery shopping time in the produce department. Once upon a time, I’d make it through the produce area in seconds flat, hurrying to get into the bowels of the grocery store where all the “real” food was. Oh, if I only knew! Today, I can easily spend an hour in the produce area, checking out the latest additions to what’s in season and new for me to try. If you told me a year ago that I’d become one of those “perimeter” grocery shoppers – one of those people that rarely set foot within the actual aisles of the grocery store – I’d have never believed you. I’d have declared it impossible, because what on earth would such a person eat?!

They’d eat real, whole foods. And they’d enjoy their meals more than ever before. So delicious!


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