Buying Better Quality Food: Organic and Free Range07:00
It was around this time last year that Jono and I started looking into the food industry and thinking about the chemicals that we are putting into our body. We had just started weaning Zach, and knew that we wanted to feed him good quality food to help him develop and grow. We spent hours and hours, watching documentary after documentary, and decided we needed to change the way we shop and the food we eat.
Our change started with 'Vegan August' - a challenge we set ourselves, both to see if we could actually do it, and as a response to what we had learnt about the animal farming industry. I did wonder if we would stick to it after the month was over, but we didn't, although we have not gone back to eating the same amount of meat or dairy since.
We decided that we only wanted to buy good quality meat - free range and organic - wherever possible, and that we would only have it a couple of times a week, thus ensuring that it would not cost us any extra. Over the past year our meat consumption has slowly increased, but we have stuck to our guns when it comes to quality and we are still not eating as much as we used to.
The biggest change we have made meat wise is with chicken - something that we used to eat a lot of, but now have maybe once a week if that. Buying good quality, free range chicken is really expensive, so we now see it as a 'treat'. You really can tell the difference when you buy better quality, which means we're eating better meals too.
Something else we've focussed on over the past year is the amount of organic produce that we buy. I was lucky to have grown up with a mother who insisted on buying organic food, and at the time I really didn't get it. I thought it was a waste of money, when there was perfectly good food available at a cheaper price. Now though I've had a change in attitude, and after doing some reading I've realised that actually consuming lots of chemicals which are used as pesticides is probably not very good for me.
Currently about half of our weekly food shop is organic; partly because yes, it is a little more expensive, and partly because Tesco doesn't stock organic alternatives of everything. I tend to focus on buying organic fruit and veg as these are the things we consume the most, especially things which are listed as part of the 'dirty dozen'. I also make sure that we always buy organic milk for Zach as he drinks two bottles of the stuff every day.
We also buy a lot of organic snacks for him too, and we absolutely love Organix as their range is huuuuuge! If you haven't tried their Carrot Cake Soft Oaty Bars then you are missing out! I've found that there are so many more organic options aimed at children than there are at adults, so buying for Zach is actually really easy.
Obviously Jono and I are not experts, but this is just the way that we do things. We don't eat a particularly healthy diet (something that we need to work on!) and we eat out far more than we should - we are not perfect by any means! But by focussing on little changes over the year we have made some big differences in the way we eat, and the food we feed Zach, and this is just the start of our journey.
In the future I hope to reduce the amount of meat we eat a little more, focus on eating less sugar, grow some vegetables ourselves (my first attempt has been as successful as I'd hoped!) and just generally eat healthier!