How much is a good meal worth?

11.54 $ for two people (and this is fish!)… let me make a little premise.

A long time has passed and many things have happened since the last time I wrote on my blog. I bought a house, I moved in, I traveled, I changed my job, I married. This was a period of intense reflection for me. Reflections about the products that I buy and their importance for my health and for the health of the persons that I love. I started to look more closely at what I put in my plate, where I buy things and where these things come from. Not that I had never heard of or known about chemicals or genetically modified food, but I never realized how much of that stuff comes into my body through the products that I buy at the grocery.

To a more diligent look there is something really scary about the way they grow most of the products we eat. And we don’t even know it.  It is really a jungle out there!! This is just a foodblog and I will certainly not start here to do information or counter-information about farming or economics, but as a user/buyer and as someone that loves to cook at home from scratch I really believe I deserve the right to know, to understand, and to choose. I am just learning that buy local, organics and in-season can guarantee you to have fresh and healthy food on your table at a very reasonable price. I am not talking of a mission or a religion here, just trying to establish for myself and my family a sustainable diet as much as possible.

People that know me know that I am very sceptic of canned and prepared food, better to say that I hate it. It may sound a reasonable choice for busy people like us, but preparing a simple and healthy meal can be easy and fast, and not expensive. And the question rises: how much is a good meal worth? Not in terms of an occasional lunch in some good restaurant, but as a normal diet, as a daily practice at home. A little more time and energy to be prepared? A little more money?  Food is a culture, is a pleasure, and dramatically changes the quality of your life. I say that it is worth a lot.

Many authoritative studies have proven that conventionally-grown products, most of what we buy, are impoverished of their nutritive value because pumped-up with high grade artificial fertilizers, and are covered in toxic chemicals (don’t even try to wipe that off, chemicals are absorbed and engrained beneath the skin, they will not go away washing your fruit carefully). Organic food production has been shown to improve our health and nutrition by reducing the risks and exposure to these toxic chemicals as well as maintaining the nutritional integrity of the food that we eat. Read more on the CCOF Certified Organic Magazine—Winter 2009 and in this report from the Consumers Union based on data provided by the Pesticide Data Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture; the Marketplace Surveillance Program of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation; and private tests conducted by Consumers Union.

It is extremely difficult to find available clear data and reports on the impact and hazard of pesticides and other chemicals for human health… Aaahhh the power of industry. Just a look at this graph will tell us more than any words. It represents data on the enormously increasing presence of pesticides in food EXCEEDING the tolerance levels (that by the way are not proved to be totally safe on the overall quantity of food that we consume). It is published by the US Environmental Protection Agency at this page. Weirdly enough EPA doesn’t comment these data at all. You judge:

EPA just says: “Exhibit 4-22 illustrates the percentage of samples in which at least one pesticide residue was detected at a concentration exceeding the tolerance established by EPA for a given pesticide-commodity pair. The percentage of samples exceeding EPA tolerance values increased from 0.05 percent in 1994 to 0.42 percent in 2007.”

Let’s also remember that eating organic is not only beneficial to our health, but it is beneficial to the environment as well. Let’s think for a moment to all the packages that we bring at home from the grocery. At TJ’s for instance is impossible to buy loose vegetables, every little thing is packed in layers of plastic and foam. Just to mention one …

Certainly like most of us I don’t have the time and the patience to jump through crowded aisles and make obstacle races to find some good and healthy food, and I just can’t read all facts and info on every pack of food that I buy (supposing that they say the whole truth). That is not my job! So I made my choice, I try to buy only where others do this job for me. Where I am guaranteed that what I buy is healthy and certified: little groceries and bakeries, Whole Foods markets and Farmers markets. I try to buy local and in-season food every time that is possible.

For many I am probably “re-discovering hot water” as we say in Italy, meaning I am not saying anything new, but what is new for me is the understanding that bringing fantastic healthy meals on our table every day is much easier than we expect. This blog reflects my life and my thoughts, so this is my new intent and commitment for myself, my family, and for those who read B&C. I will love to share from now on not only my recipes, but also tips for a better organization in the kitchen together with shopping info and attention to our pocket.

So going back to the question of the title, here the details. Everything at Whole Foods: less than a pound cod fillet 7.60$, 1/2 pound quinoa 1.34$, a handful cured black olives 1.50$, three  handful frozen french beans let’s say 0.60$, a handful fresh little tomatoes and condiments 0.50$ approximating by excess = Tot.:  11.54. Half hour time for preparation.

In a couple days the complete recipe, stay tuned, there are many surprises out there!

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Simona says:

    Congratulations on all the changes in your life.

  2. cinzia says:

    Thank you Simona! Big changes indeed, and I am glad to be back at my blog. See you soon on yours!

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