Green Parenting: Justifying a Green Lifestyle
“You go with what you know,” my grandmother tells me. It’s a sure bet that you’ve heard and/or uttered those words to someone and especially when it comes to your recurring lifestyle choices.
I am away this summer visiting my family in the Deep South. I have found myself in a situation where it is next to impossible to find organic foods or farmer’s markets, there is NO recycling and I’m hard pressed to find a like-minded family member who understands my sustainable/green lifestyle choices. My family has almost surely written me off as a lunatic at this point since I am so intent on not eating fast foods, won’t cook with canned veggies and don’t drink gallons of juice and lemonade with every meal.
But slowly and steadily I have been putting seeds of knowledge into their minds that help them understand why I making the choices I make. I talk about my family’s predisposition to develop cancer and how their failing health all point to poor lifestyle choices. I tell them of the numerous studies and the FDA’s failure to adequately protect the American public from unhealthy food. It’s a hard road but I’m determined.
Have the majority of the foods I’ve eaten been non-organic? Yes. But I’m going with my mantra of making the best choice of what I have available. I’ve been certain to put in a couple of food orders online for non-perishable goods. And I’ve secretly been stashing all of my grandmother’s plastic containers she saves and keeps food in, in a secret location in hopes of disposing of them before I leave.
It’s an uphill battle for sure but it’s one I’m giving my all. So if you find yourself in a similar position while visiting family or just any old day, here is a list of all the facts I’ve shared with my non-believing, non-organic family that I thought might just help you when you encounter a doubting friend or foe:
- Why don’t you trust the FDA?
It’s widely known that the FDA stands for Foot Dragging Artists in Washington, D.C. Their failure and fear to act and inform the American public has resulted in numerous bacteria outbreaks, approval of additives and products that had to be recalled as well as their willingness to be swayed by the politics of the nation’s capital.
- What’s wrong with regular produce found at our grocery store?
Chances are that your produce was treated with pesticides and/or additives in order to make it stay fresher longer as well as to help the producer make as many items as possible. Farming is a business and similar to some other businesses, some farmers want to take the easy way to make the most amount of money using questionable health choices. They can use what is going to help their bottom line and as long as it’s not illegal, and it doesn’t have to be healthy.
- Then what is my best food options I can buy locally?
The majority of our food is produced by several big food conglomerates who are putting smaller farmers out of business because the smaller farmers can’t compete with their prices. Buying local is a better bet than buying produce that was made hundreds of miles away even if it isn’t organic. The manufacturing process is quite a lengthy one from creation to your store’s shelves. Cutting down on the amount of miles your food has to travel to get to your store is the easiest way to make a better food choice. Also go back to basics and make things from scratch versus buying pre-made meals, packaged foods, canned items and things found in the middle of the grocery store.
- Why are you making this so hard?
The answer to this is simple: because I care and I can. Living a healthier and greener lifestyle is a selfish and selfless act. Plus I hope to be around to see my children grow old and I’m going to make the simple choices of eating well and living in a healthy environment my top priority.
Hope that helps and I would love it if you could share some of your rebuttals to the argument at hand. I am always looking for more ways to enlighten and justify my green choices.
Green Parenting is published every Friday.
For questions, please contact Elise Jones.