Something's Gotta Give

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I'm going to write about something different this Wednesday. Because honestly, you can only hear about someone's weight loss (or lack there of, or gain, etc...) so much before you want to completely skip the whole thing.

(And this isn't because I've given up on the diet, or I'm not having success. I'm still working at it. And I've lost 1 1/2 more pounds. Putting my total at 11 1/2 pounds so far. )

(But that's it. That doesn't make much of a post.)

So, this week, I'll talk about other things somewhat related to health.

And I'll start with a confession.

I shop at Wal-Mart.

This is either met with "So? I do to." Or "Gasp...How could you!?"

A little background.

A friend in medical school was married to an economist who studied the effects of Wal-Mart on small communities. He found a lot of evidence that after a Wal-Mart moved into a small community, mom-and-pop shops shut down at extraordinary rates, unemployment rose dramatically, and quality of life decreased slightly.

I also disagree with a lot of Wal-Mart's business practices. (Although this is not the time to get into all the details. There are plenty of links if you're interested: read here and here and here.)

Everyone knows that Wal-Mart sells a lower quality product than other chains. I would rather buy things for my home at Target than Wal-Mart any day.

And don't even get me started on their produce. I hate the commercials that say how wonderful Wal-Mart's produce is. Have you ever actually looked at the poor fruits and vegetables? Good luck finding a ripe avacodo. Or a non-soft cucumber.

Once I sent Hubster to grab some canteloupe for a party. He came back with canteloupe from Albertson's. When I asked why he had gone all the way to Albertson's when Wal-Mart is 2 minutes away, he said this.

"You know how grapes turn into raisins, and plums turn into prunes? Whatever canteloupe turn into, they're selling at Wal-Mart."

So despite all this, I shop at Wal-Mart.

Why?

After Monkey was born, I was lucky enough to stay home for six months with him. During this time, I decided that I was going to work on getting my family healthier. No more eating out. No more junk food. I was going to cook every meal. We were going to eat all organic, and local when we could. Everything was going to be whole foods.

I started shopping at this local grocer that sells primarily organic food and local products when there are available. The food was beautiful. Local corn, local heirloom tomatoes, organic onions, free-range chicken, certified hormone-free milk, wild fish.

In two weeks I had spent what we normally spent in two months.

It was not sustainable.

Our family budget is tight. There is not often room for luxury, and never room for extravagances. We just couldn't keep it up. I tried buying cheaper, not top-of-the-line organic. Still our budget wouldn't allow it.

So back to Wal-Mart we went. Back to where onions are 47 cents/pound instead of $1.75/pound. Back to where milk is $2.00/gallon and not $3.50/gallon. Back to where chicken is $5.00 for four boneless, skinless chicken breasts and not $8.00 for the same product at the beautiful store.

Do I miss it? Yes. I would rather feed my family the healthiest, most natural version of food that I can. (Even though Hubster is still a sceptic when it comes to organic food. He hears organic and he thinks carbon containing molecules and not pesticide-free food.)

I still try to cook at home every chance I get. I try to use fresh ingredients as often as possible. They don't say organic on them very often. And a lot are Wal-Mart brand. But we can afford them.

I guess this means that I'm a hypocrit. I put my budget before my ideals.

But sometimes, something's gotta give. And it's not going to be dinner.

2 comments:

Karen said...

I know a lot of locally grown stuff can be expensive, but I lucked out. There is a fruit market near work where the prices are so ridiculously low (and the quality so incredibly high) it makes Wal-Mart look like Whole Foods.

There are benefits to organic food, but I think food is relatively safe enough that there's no sense driving the family into debt over it.

3rd Wave Inc said...

Buying quality organic products is the initial move to a healthy, natural, green lifestyle that can bring a good feeling not only to ourselves but as to our environment as well.