You go in the early mornings for the freshest greens, the juiciest meat, the most tender crab. You move from one seller to others; who are actually squatting on the streets, their makeshift shops along the platforms, hawking as loudly and as lyrically as they could, each trying to drown the other’s voice. You bargain, you cajole, you weep at the prices, but end of the day, you come home with a satisfied grin which quickly turns into a frown when you realize that you have to prepare lunch for five in two hours.
Veggies, pulses, groceries… we bought them at individual shops, whose owners were more often than not long time acquaintances, whose own “land” and “farm” yielded their produces. Greens and fish would be fresh, and there would be a huge fallout if any grocer dared to give his “long time customer” something that is less than stellar quality.
Fast forward to 2000, when a modest financial windfall enabled us to shop in “super markets”, then a new concept. As my Granny said, “What… you pick everything by yourself? Then what are the shopkeepers for?”
But soon, the transition became inevitable… everything under the same roof? Home managers were delighted; no more multi-trips to buy the same stuff every month. To save on time and effort, it became first fashionable and then essential to shop at supermarkets.
Around this time, started my nearly two decade war with food allergies. Milk started to make me puke. I could drink coffee, milkshakes, buttermilk… but if I drink them every day, by the end of the week, I would be sick with a cold and cough. The term sinus infection was a bit alien at that time, but is a part of my life now.
Perhaps it is co-incidence. I don’t know. But I always believed that every action has a reaction. Something changed, when we stopped buying from the local market and started purchasing from departmental stores and supermarkets. Even if it is just my imagination, there is no arguing with the fact that food today is far less healthier than it was ever before.
So what to do when everything you buy is contaminated? Here is my 5-step solution:
1. Stop buying from the mega supermarkets. Cheap is NOT best. Cheap means mass-produced, tasteless, riddled with fertilizers and chemicals. Most of us, especially large families, buy everything by the dozen in big supermarkets, and have completely turned on to auto-pilot when it comes to food ingredient… we don’t even read food ingredients these days. Next time you see those carrots or greens at a cheap rate in your local ASD or COSTC or BIG BAZ, stop and think why they are so cheap 😦
2. Cut down restaurant food to minimum. Fast food, hotel food, take away – NOT good, because they are businesses who will buy everything cheap so that they can make most profit with least investment. Processed and most non-organic food, especially when taken in excess, becomes slow poison. We are not only feeding ourselves, we are also feeding the next generation, a.k.a., tomorrow’s world. So, please, just stop for a minute, and think what you are feeding your son or daughter.
3. Educate yourself. Read about your food. Know what goes into your body. Participate in discussions – Topix has a good online forum about organic food. If you believe in holistic medical practices, visit a well-reputed Ayurveda consultant to get a personalized diet chart. If you have a food addiction program, go for detox. Empower yourself with awareness and pass it on to your family
4. Organic is the way to go. Your own organic vegetable garden, either in your balcony or terrace or back yard – SUPERB. Otherwise, your neighbourhood organic store or farmer’s market is the best choice. Yes, it is costlier… but really, what would you have – less money or less health? You can earn more money, but you CANNOT earn lost health or completely reverse diseases like cancer.
5. Believe that you can do it. This is the most important of all, you must believe and take action. A “what the heck, it’s all going to the dogs anyway” attitude is not going to help anybody! Like Gandhi said, be the change you want to see. With discipline and the right attitude, you can do anything. Read more about why you need to go organic here.
Yes, these changes are tough. But think of the dangers ahead… surely, a little hard work now is better than a truckload of pain and regret later?
Most people do not buy organic due to its (relatively) expensive… but I live in India and it is not expensive as such but difficult to get 100% organic stuff here; but the scene is slowly changing, with more and more organic outlets online. If you live in India, this link gives you a list of organic stores near your location.
The road to a any journey must start with the first step, in the right direction. You put one foot forward, and the other, and the other… and that’s how you make changes. I understand such a decision is not easy, but I hope you would be able to make some positive changes in your food purchases and lifestyle, because if we don’t, the alternative is too scary to think about. Good luck 🙂
List of Online Organic stores: