Times are hard. The media slams us weekly with more and more information regarding how the food we consume can harm us. This week: Cantaloupe. With more and more Americans out of work, less of the family budget can be allocated to farm fresh meats and produce. The way our grandparents ate is no longer an option for most of us.
So how can we properly care for our families? Let’s take a single parent scenario – a struggling single mother or father buy the store brand of a gallon of milk for around $3.00 or they can walk over to the “organic” section and pay $5.50 for that same gallon. There is also a third option that most of us don’t consider. Farm fresh milk, unpasteurized, goes for about $ 10.00 per gallon. (Yes, this involves actually driving to your local small dairy.)
Which option makes the most sense for a family of limited income? Some would argue that the more expensive milk might provide a higher nutrient value that would aid in keeping the family less likely to get sick. Less sick days off of work to care for our children would mean more money in our pockets. Some would argue that there is no significant difference in milk treated with rBST, a growth hormone. After all, this is printed on the label of most milk containers.
God forbid this parent is receiving state funding to supplement their income. Forget about the possible borage of social judgment they face on a constant basis. What if they want to shop at a local farmers market that does not yet accept food stamps? In that case, mom or dad might actually have the funds to pay for their weekly food needs, but is prevented from doing so by a government that has not entirely embraced the concept of farm to table.
Now let’s talk fast food. You are a working parent coming home late from your ever demanding and probably underpaid job. One of your children has to be at soccer practice in 30 minutes and the other, a struggling younger child, has a spelling test tomorrow morning. What’s for dinner? Forget about the headache slowly moving from the back of your head to the front; what’s for dinner? Your oldest won’t eat meat; she’s decided she’s a vegetarian. Your youngest loves meat. Time is ticking and the traffic is beginning to move through the intersection. There is a fast food sign glowing up ahead on the right. Now you have 25 minutes to pick up the kids and get them over to soccer practice.
You recall your mother’s nagging voice from a conversation last week, “No wonder you kids are always sick! It’s all those antibiotics they put into that hamburger meat!”
“No, Mom, I think that goes into most meat now, not just hamburgers.” Mom replies, “You know they dip your meat in bleach in order to kill off bacteria and parasites! And the chickens from your favorite fried “eatery”, they are fattened and slaughtered after just 6 weeks. They cut off their feet so they can’t walk so that no muscles build up. That’s why your so-called chicken is so juicy!” “Thanks Mom, once again for all your insight. I really have to get going now.” (eye roll)
What is a struggling mother to do? Do you turn right? Why or why not? We want to know.