Though it is largely just about food in general, this week’s Friend Makin’ Monday has a fairly serious topic contained within it. I have ranted before about my opinions regarding the “natural food” fallacy (i.e. everything that is not processed is better. Earlier this week, in fact, I was at Walmart with my roommate when we noticed “Aloe Vera Juice” that was supposed to be 100% natural and not processed at all. We laughed about how gross it seemed and she told me to go home and look it up since I’m the health nut to see if it goes in smoothies or something. What I found instead is that aloe vera juice may be dangerous – the kind they give people medically is actually processed in order to remove carcinogens (Source 1 Source 2 Source 3). I know the evidence isn’t 100%, and it could be possible that aloe vera juice is 100% safe (I am willing to change my mind in light of new evidence) but the point stands that everyone will probably drink this without question and believe it is healthier because it is “natural,” even though just the opposite might be the case.
GMOs are not something that is immune from my rage. I am sort of on the fence about this. I am somewhat opposed to GMOs, but not because they aren’t “natural.” My opposition comes instead from what has occurred because of the industrialization of the agriculture industry – competitiveness, pricing, and distribution have all changed, largely due to things such as special engineering done by large agriculture companies. This is not even getting into the environmental effects. Still, I am not 100% opposed – could we feed the world with old farming practices? Of that I am not sure. You can now see why I am on the fence. From what I understand, however, GMOs are not at all dangerous to eat. I can’t seem to find it right now, but the Washington Post has a good article where they examine the least biased commentary on this debate and can’t find any evidence that GMOs are dangerous to ingest.
If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!
1. Are you familiar with GMO’s? Is it an issue that matters to you? Yes, and I have summarized my feelings above.
2. List a few items that are typically on your grocery list. Spinach, seasonal fruit, seasonal veg, Clif bars, cheese of all sorts, Greek yogurt
3. What is your favorite place to shop for produce? I love shopping for produce at the farmer’s market back in Harrisburg – so much selection and so cheap. I just end up getting it at the grocery store most of the time, though. In Indiana, this means Payless (a Kroger brand store); in PA, this means Giant. I really prefer Giant’s produce because it is cheaper and they make an effort to bring in local seasonal produce.
4. Do you eat processed foods? Yes, though I try not to eat things that are completely lacking in nutritional value. Also, this might depend on your definition of processed, but how is it possible to eat 100% “clean?” Do people seriously make all of their own bread and pasta, for example? I mean, you could even say things like string cheese are technically processed. It’s not like I’m eating nothing but easy Mac but this all seems so arbitrary to me.
5. Do you look for the “organic” label when you shop? I get organic if it is cheaper/the same price, but I don’t pay more for it. I should probably look up that list of the most important things to buy organic again, because organic produce is not that expensive in comparison at any of the stores I shop at. Again, I would do this for environmental rather than health reasons. There is no evidence that organic = healthier.
6. What did you eat for breakfast this morning? Oatmeal made with almond milk, brown sugar, cinnamon, and raisins. I love fall because I get hot cereal 🙂
7. How many meals per week do you cook at home? I would say 2 per day on average, so 14 I guess? Yes, sometimes I eat out for both lunch and dinner, but there are days when I don’t even leave the house. I always eat breakfast at home and I try to pack lunch everyday unless I’m having a lunch meeting or am being provided lunch.
8. Do you think that foods that have been genetically engineered should be labeled? I don’t necessarily think this is a bad idea, as I am not against transparency. However, I am afraid it will turn into a fearmongering thing.
9. What matters most to you when you’re choosing a restaurant? Probably the atmosphere/price: actual quality ratio. For example, my favorite sushi place, while still expensive, has reasonable service and is a relatively non-pretentious establishment. A similarly priced (actually slightly more expensive) sushi place that I really do not like has the same quality sushi, but is super pretentious in its atmosphere and doesn’t have very great service. I would even prefer fast-food sushi places that charge a bit too much to this place because at least they are fast and friendly and don’t pretend to be better than they are.
10. What is your favorite meal to cook at home? I don’t really have one. How about a category? I really love big casseroles that have leftovers that I can freeze and keep eating forever and ever!