Healthy Eating Isn’t Synonymous with Expensive

When the conversation turns to healthier eating, it seems like someone always brings up the idea that it’s impossible to eat healthy on a budget. While it’s true that a package of ramen noodles is cheaper than a box of whole wheat pasta, that’s only part of the story. If you don’t invest in the food you put in your body, you will pay ten-fold in medical expenses throughout your life.

Just about everyone is looking to save money these days, but many frugal foods can also improve your health. Whether you are saving money by comparing insurance rates or making your own household cleaning products, add eating healthy to the list of ways to save a buck. Plus, health insurance rates go down if more people are healthy and requiring less money to maintain their health. Continue reading

$100 Cheap Food Project – Week 2

This post is long over due. We’re talking ridiculously long. The week 1 post was almost ancient history, but thanks to my readers who have pushed me to get the rest of this series out, I kept going. Cheap Food Here is showing our readers that it is possible to spend just $100 per person per month on food. Our week 1 post was created when we were living in Costa Rica so certain foods were cheaper (most produce and fruit) but certain other foods were more expensive (specialty items, imported foods, cheese, meat, seafood, etc) so it has surprisingly balanced out now that we’ve completed week 2 since moving to St. Petersburg, Florida. Continue reading

5 More Ways to Save Money on Food

In case you didn’t catch my first post about 5 ways to save money on food, make sure you go back and check it out too. There are plenty of ways to save money on food, and below I have focused on five very important things to keep you on the straight and narrow when you’re in the grocery store. This doesn’t mean boring food, but it could potentially encroach on some of your food crutches that are driving up your monthly food budget and aren’t a requirement for your health. Take a look and feel free to comment any other ideas you have or feedback with your experience with any of the 5 more ways to save money. Continue reading

5 Ways to Save Money on Food

What’s the best way to save money on the food budget? With food being one of the largest parts of the food budget, we often struggle with how to make cuts without feeling like you’re not feeding yourself or your family properly. This is definitely not the case and I have proved it in my $100 Cheap Food Challenge I wrote about. This case study does some quick interviews with people to discover that, not only do people have no clue how much they spend each month on food, they think it’s impossible to survive on just $100 per person per month. Now, granted, it is more difficult to live on $100 per month when it’s just one person, but it gets easier as you add more to the household. If you have five members of the family that you’re feeding, it’s easier to limit your food spending to $500 than for the single person to keep it under $100. Continue reading

Guest Post – Fresh From the Farm to Your Table

Costa Rica Family Farmed Organic Food…Comida Organica Express Delivers Puerto Viejo To Limon

It has been a life changing journey driven by the desire for a better, sustainable lifestyle. It has been an adventure of seven years leading my wife and I to life on a jungle farm on Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast and inspiring us to gather and organize organic family farmers from various regions of the country. The result has been a beautiful organization which can deliver (within reasonable time) exceptional organic quality goodies at family prices anywhere from Talamanca to Limon with delivery coming soon to the San Jose Metro area.

My wife’s name is Mileidy and mine Carlos. She was born here in Costa Rica, I was born in New Jersey. Since we met, our dream has been to live on a farm harvesting food free of chemicals and transgenic mutations. After achieving this step we expanded our vision to include helping others through education, example and networking on how to create a more sustainable lifestyle for themselves and their families.

We grow and sell organic food because we LOVE IT, it is good for others and it allows us to keep growing in our vision. We do it with the idea of infecting YOU with a ferocious appetite for a healthier way of life! By working with our facilitators and service providers to keep costs down and quality high our clients receive the crème-de-la-crème when it comes to real natural selections and price. Our menu offers true family farmed organic fruits, vegetables, spices and hand-made vegan pasta to those who seek to express their consciousness in their food choices.

We currently work with several farms and artisans but most of our goods come from five different family run farms. Each is located in different regions of the country, one of them is located over 2,175 meters above sea level. One family farm is less than two acres in size and produces several thousand pounds of food per year! On our farm Milly started her own cross-strain of tomatoes to get a natural, delicious tomato growing in the Caribbean. While one of neighbors was the first to produce organic lettuce in the Caribbean with little to no bitter aftertaste.

Our menu is updated week to week to reflect the changes in what is available and what has come into season. We offer everything from organic Strawberries, to Bok Choy, Fennel, Kale, Onions, Lettuce, Eggplant, Peruvian Potatoes, Blackberries, Arugula, Basil, Rosemary, Oregano, a variety of Tomatoes and so much much more… You can see more about our farm at http://www.facebook.com/Comida.Organica.Express

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this and letting us share a little bit about ourselves with you. If you have any questions about organic farming or sustainable living please feel free to email us at organicdeliverycr [at] gmail dot com. And remember you can start a garden or plant some veggies in almost any space, go out there and reclaim your table! Thanks again!

All the Best,
~Carlos&Milly
ComidaOrganicaExpress

Iron Chef Puts Cut-Throat Thrill into Cooking

And now and article from our supporters :-)

Iron Chef Puts Cut-Throat Thrill into Cooking

Millions of people across the globe enjoy watching their favorite cooking competitions. The more inclined viewers even find themselves donning aprons and attempting to recreate recipes right alongside their favorite culinary heroes. Some succeed, while others fail miserably. It’s not about winning or losing, it’s about having fun!
This isn’t always the case in Iron Chef. The cream of the crop among their culinary peers, Iron Chefs are chosen because they are innovative, competitive, and can whip up a tasty treat out of anything even remotely edible. Specially selected chefs from all over the world are pitted against one of a handful of Iron Chefs for a weekly hour-long cook-off that leaves everyone hot, panting, and sweaty at the end.
The Iron Chef and his or her competitor are presented with a secret ingredient that is revealed only seconds before the battle begins. This secret ingredient must be the focus of the dishes created by the chefs. Once the battle commences, viewers see nothing except flailing arms grabbing the battle’s secret ingredient and sous chefs furiously chopping away at their accoutrements. Food Network HD, available from Directtv, portrays this frenzy in stunning detail. As the clock continues to count down the hour, the chefs must prepare five courses to present to a panel of three judges. Tempers flare, ingredients fly, and sous chefs are even asked to leave the set for botching important parts of dishes. The judges, ranging from food critics to movie stars, rate the dishes on taste, originality, and plating. Although there are no tangible prizes awarded, Iron Chefs fight diligently to retain their powerful status. When an Iron Chef wins a battle, they win entitlement and respect from their peers. When a competitor wins the battle, they win the pleasure of having beaten one of the world’s finest chefs.
Iron Chef is like a sport to its fans. While some people spend Sundays cheering for their favorite football teams, Iron Chef fans cheer for their favorite chef. There is no doubt that viewers will continue to watch Iron Chefs and their competitors offer up their succulent variations for many years to come.

Cheap & Healthy Food under $100 per month

Shop Amazon Kitchen – Save Up to 40 Off Cuisinart Tools

Project Food Blog Week 1 – The $100 Challenge

VIDEO: Can you live on $100 per month for food?


What’s A Healthy Food Budget?

Now, a little background: the Cheap Food Here family follows the Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover very closely and have worked hard to get to Baby Step 4. Our food budget for two people is currently $500, which includes $300 for groceries and $200 for eating out. This is our comfortable point now that we are no longer paying off debt, however, when we were doing the debt snowball and attacking our consumer debt and student loans with ‘gazelle intensity’, we we were spending around $250 per month in total food cost (groceries and eating out).

Down here in Costa Rica we have found that some families spend over $1,200 per month on food for a family of 3 adults and 2 children. This number may not seem too shocking, but know that they, on average, earn less than $2,000 per month in total household income. The percentage of their income spent on food is over 60% when it should be around 5-15% or roughly $300. However, most argue that this is impossible.

The key to reducing food costs each month is research and planning. Most people don’t think about needing to do research before hitting the farmer’s market or grocery store, but it’s imperative to keep from overspending. The food budget can be a large part of your spending each month, but it doesn’t have to be, especially if you are in the early stages of paying off debt.

So, the quest for a food budget under $100 begins. First we’re going to look at cheap and healthy recipes that are tried and true for our family and make a menu for each week. With this menu, we’ll focus mostly on fresh, local food that’s in season that we can buy at the farmer’s market. First, let’s take a look at what we’ll have to give up or change about our current eating habits, some of which were mentioned in the video.

Cost Cutting Necessities

  1. No Eating Out
  2. Meat Consumption reduced
  3. Limiting processed food consumption
  4. Sticking to a grocery list
  5. Homemade snacks
  6. Drink water with or without lemon instead of bottled juices, sodas or other sugary/sugar-free drinks.

Week 1 Menu

Below is the cheap food menu I’ve put together to get you started and prove you can eat healthy and fully on $50 per week for two people. Some of the recipes in the list below are from Cheapfoodhere.com and some are from our favorite foodies. Please refrain from using canned goods unless you have them already, but know that you are getting less than half of the nutritional value from canned goods that you would from fresh or frozen produce.

With a lot of the recipes, it’s good to reduce the amount of an ingredient that is expensive (example: cheese or meat) or substitute it for something less expensive and perhaps more healthy.

Breakfast

  1. Red Bell Pepper Frittata & fruit
  2. Pressed Egg sandwich & fruit shake
  3. Almond French Toast with maple syrup and a side of fruit
  4. Soy Milk Waffle (or regular milk is fine too) w/fresh fruit topping
  5. Oatmeal w/frozen blueberries and flax, fruit shake and side fresh fruit
  6. Jalapeño and Onion Frites w/fried eggs, bacon and a side of fruit

Lunch

  1. Grilled Veggie Wraps
  2. Tuna pasta salad
  3. Mini pizzas with apples, onion, garlic  and bell peppers
  4. Leftover Cobb Salad
  5. Leftover Chicken Stir Fry
  6. Leftover Eggplant Parmesan

Dinner

  1. Homemade Pizza
  2. Eggplant Parmesan w/spaghetti
  3. Chix Stir Fry (cut recipe in half)
  4. Cobb Salad (onion sub for shallot; blue cheese omitted)
  5. Fish Tacos w/cilantro slaw
  6. Seared Sesame Tuna w/tempura vegetables

Snacks

  1. Raw veggies with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
  2. Fruit (banana, apple, or tangerine)
  3. Nuts, w/raisins
  4. Homemade Crackers w/Sage and Cayenne
  5. Yogurt with berries and a side of fresh fruit

 

Week 1 Grocery List: Download Here

Growing your own produce and herbs is a great way to save money and it can be done in planters too if you don’t have a back yard. If you’re not growing, try to support your local farmers first, but sometimes their prices are just too high. Some stuff you have to go to the grocery store for, but there is a great resource to check pricing before ever venturing out; www.mygrocerydeals.com keeps you in-the-know when it comes to checking cheap grocery prices in the United States.

Make sure when you go shopping, you stick to the list, and only to the list. It is your map, your guide, your blinders. However, if you see an item that could make a perfect substitute (example large tomatoes instead of Romas) but is cheaper, buy those instead. We’re looking for deals here, so keep your eyes peeled.

Some of the items on the list you’ll see don’t have prices, which indicates it’s something I already had. You can use this sheet to fill in prices on your own to help you better prepare for the upcoming week of meals. The sheet is organized by meal, however there is a lot of cross over, so if it was on the breakfast list, you won’t find it again under lunch, dinner or snacks. You can also organize the list by aisle if that’s easier. The basis of how I chose the meals for the week was looking first at what I had and could then in turn spend less on groceries. It’s best to use all of the items you already have to make sure they don’t go bad and end up getting thrown out anyway. You’ll notice that the Week 1 Shopping List goes well over the designated $50 per week budget for two people, however, a lot of items will be left over for future weeks. Stay tuned for follow up posts for the remaining 3 weeks of the month. Good luck and I’d love feedback from those who are accepting the challenge.

The Dangers of Microwaves

Cheap Food Here never microwaves their food. We have been without a microwave since moving to Costa Rica over a year ago. At first we just did without it because they were so expensive here, but now, after using traditional cooking techniques, we’ve decided convenience isn’t better. Microwaves don’t produce better taste, health or counter space to make them useful enough for our taste.

I did a little bit of my own research and tried to fish through the truths and the myths on the internet, which is pretty difficult, especially with such a controversial topic. The best and most thorough research I found was here.

An excerpt from the article is below, which gives the cliff notes version of what we really need to know–whether or not our health is in jeopardy when microwaving our food. Here’s what they say:

The Swiss clinical study

Dr. Hans Ulrich Hertel, who is now retired, worked as a food scientist for many years with one of the major Swiss food companies that do business on a global scale. A few years ago, he was fired from his job for questioning certain processing procedures that denatured the food.

In 1991, he and a Lausanne University professor published a research paper indicating that food cooked in microwave ovens could pose a greater risk to health than food cooked by conventional means.

An article also appeared in issue 19 of the Journal Franz Weber in which it was stated that the consumption of food cooked in microwave ovens had cancerous effects on the blood. The research paper itself followed the article. On the cover of the magazine there was a picture of the Grim Reaper holding a microwave oven in one of his hands.

Dr. Hertel was the first scientist to conceive and carry out a quality clinical study on the effects microwaved nutrients have on the blood and physiology of the human body.

His small but well controlled study showed the degenerative force produced in microwave ovens and the food processed in them. The scientific conclusion showed that microwave cooking changed the nutrients in the food; and, changes took place in the participants’ blood that could cause deterioration in the human system.

Hertel’s scientific study was done along with Dr. Bernard H. Blanc of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the University Institute for Biochemistry.

In intervals of two to five days, the volunteers in the study received one of the following food variants on an empty stomach: (1) raw milk; (2) the same milk conventionally cooked; (3) pasteurized milk; (4) the same raw milks cooked in a microwave oven; (5) raw vegetables from an organic farm; (6) the same vegetables cooked conventionally; (7) the same vegetables frozen and defrosted in a microwave oven; and (8) the same vegetables cooked in the microwave oven.

Once the volunteers were isolated, blood samples were taken from every volunteer immediately before eating. Then, blood samples were taken at defined intervals after eating from the above milk or vegetable preparations.

Significant changes were discovered in the blood samples from the intervals following the foods cooked in the microwave oven. These changes included a decrease in all hemoglobin and cholesterol values, especially the ratio of HDL (good cholesterol) and LDL (bad cholesterol) values.

Lymphocytes (white blood cells) showed a more distinct short-term decrease following the intake of microwaved food than after the intake of all the other variants. Each of these indicators pointed to degeneration.

Additionally, there was a highly significant association between the amount of microwave energy in the test foods and the luminous power of luminescent bacteria exposed to serum from test persons who ate that food.

This led Dr. Hertel to the conclusion that such technically derived energies may, indeed, be passed along to man inductively via eating microwaved food.

After reading and researching, I feel my decision to remove the microwave from my life was validated. I hope before you decide to use or remove the microwave from your cooking repertoire, you’ll do the research needed to properly make the decision. I think more than anything, just being knowledgeable on any topic is better than trusting that the corporations of the world are giving us accurate information.

Gourmet Magazine is Stopping Print

The first US magazine dedicated to food and wine, first published in 1941 is ceasing it publication after the November issue. Condé Nast, the worldwide publisher of magazines such as Bon Appétit, Modern Bride, Vogue, Glamour, Wired and Vanity Fair, just to name a few. Apparently some of their other magazines will be suffering the same fate as ad revenue has fallen in result of the recession. Condé Nast participated in a McKinley study to analyze each of their magazines’ performances and suggested they cut 25% of their budget for each.

Chefs all over the world have been directly impacted by the magazine over the years. “Before I even was a professional cook I read their reviews, and it shaped who I was as a chef,” e-mailed chef Paul Kahan of Blackbird, Avec and The Publican. “It is sad that one of the most truly food-focused magazines is gone.”

“It’s the center of gravity, a major planet that’s just disappearing,” said chef and author Anthony Bourdain, who said Gourmet was the first food publication to give him a chance as a writer. “There’s been a lot of speculation about this happening, but I’m still stunned.”

Some are of the opinion that a publication once filled with rich food writing has reduced its depth to travel and gadget articles. Overall, the publication will be missed as it’s a piece of history that all of us foodies, old and young, have had a taste of. Goodbye Gourmet Magazine.

Gourmetsm Gourmet Magazine

Sources include: updated 2:29 p.m. MT, Mon., Oct . 5, 2009; http://www.chicagotribune.com

Have you been Greenwashed?

I’m going to come out swinging with this post, so watch out. It’s pretty safe to say that most governmental agencies and even some non-profit organizations have an ulterior agenda when it comes to their ‘good causes’. We’ve trusted the media, the Internet and our government for that matter to give us factual, accurate information about all the forces that affect our lives. As good Americans should, right? This stems from health care to the air we breathe and the food we eat, international relations and perhaps the most controversial is the state of the environment and the things we need to do to ‘protect it’. We have so-called experts and professionals leading the way to make sure we believe what they want us to believe; based on who is getting paid what. And then there are lobbyists who get paid crazy amounts of money to be in the back pockets for these ‘experts’. Oh what money does in this world.

With that being said, let’s dispel some of the major environmental myths we’ve been told over the years.

1. MYTH: The Earth is suffering from rapid deforestation and it’s getting worse.
TRUTH: United Nations data show that forest acreage has increased through time, and there is no indication that this trend will cease in the long term. In 2004, U.S. forest tree growth exceeds tree cutting by 37 percent. In 1920, U.S. forests covered 732 million acres; today they cover 737 million acres, despite a U.S. population increase from 106 million to 272 million in the same time period. Similarly, European forests expanded from 361 million acres in 1950 to 482 million acres in 1990, and despite deforestation in tropical countries, 76 percent of the tropical rain forest zone is still covered with forest.

Source: 2004 US Chamber of Commerce report: “10 Environmental Myths” also sited in figure 60 page 111 in Food and Agriculture Organization, State of the World’s Forests, 1997 at this Web site, http://www.fao.org/docrep/W4345E/W4345E00.htm

2. MYTH: Our air quality is declining each year.
TRUTH: Aggregate air emissions—everything rolled into one—have declined 25 percent since 1970, while our gross domestic product has increased 161 percent in the same period. Between 1988 and 1997, the total number of “unhealthy” air quality days decreased an average of 66 percent for major cities across the United States, and according to the EPA, air pollutant emissions have dramatically decreased, specifically: lead is down 97 percent; sulfur oxides are down 67 percent; carbon monoxide is down 66 percent; nitrogen oxides are down 38 percent; and ozone is down 31 percent. Air pollutants from cars have decreased by more than 90 percent—it now takes 20 new cars to produce the same emissions as one car produced in the 1960s and that figure is improving with the onset of new technologies.

Source: EPA National Air Quality report which can be found at their website http://www.epa.gov/

3. MYTH: Genetically modified crops are bad.
TRUTH: Enormous human benefit derives from GM crops.
While insects, weeds, and plant diseases destroy nearly 40 percent of conventional crops in Africa and Asia, many of the same GM crops available in North America are helping farmers in South Africa, India, China, and the Philippines to combat insects while reducing or altogether eliminating insecticide use.

For example, in the case of Bollgard cotton, growers were able to eliminate the use of more than 250,000 gallons of insecticide.

Source: G. Conko and C.S. Prakash, “Time for the GM Moratorium to Go” The Wall Street Journal Online, May 13, 2003 at http://online.wsj.com/article_print/0,,SB105278159845412000,00.html

So, why are we all being told a slanted version of the truth on a variety of topics? In my opinion, it’s to sell more and to pad the pockets of the companies doing the selling, of course. But, I’m not saying we should all be reckless and irresponsible with what has been given to us by Mother Nature. I think the opposite in fact. There are a lot of legitimately good ways to be smart about consuming and continue to conserve our resources and the environment. You just have to do research on what you’re buying and support the good companies and organizations that don’t just seem responsible, but actually are. And don’t count on the government agencies recommendation or so-called regulations. They have a separate agenda based on the powerful lobbying forces.

Let’s take the saccharin example for instance. It has been studied for decades showing conclusive evidence that it causes bladder cancer in lab rats, so the FDA forced companies to put a warning on packaging disclosing the risk. However, food companies and lobbyists put up such a fight that congress has placed a moratorium on the original ban and disclosure requirement because of its popularity in foods. Imagine how much money these companies would have lost if saccharin was banned. They did everything they could to persuade the government and the FDA to look the other way. This information can also be found in the book Skinny Bitch which I sited in an earlier post.

It’s baffling how information can spread faster than ever before through the Internet and television to bring you some news and not others. So, make sure you do research through trusted sources to find out what is safe for you. There are many intuitive ways to live a responsible, green lifestyle, but do require a little extra effort. For example, take CFL light bulbs. EnergyStar boasts that they will pay for themselves in six months time, use 75% less energy and last 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb. But, they don’t tell you that it’s important to dispose of them properly because CFL bulbs contaminate the environment with 30,000 pounds of mercury each year. Naturalnews.com says that, “Breaking one mercury light bulb in your home can contaminate your home to such a degree that hazardous materials experts are needed to remove the mercury.” We need to ensure that everyone disposes of these energy efficient bulbs the same way as a typical fluorescent bulb. Locations can be found through your local recycling center.

Another way for the US to help the environment is to have them follow the lead of France, who is planning to institute a “taxe pique-nique” or a “picnic tax” on all disposable products for manufacturers and consumers such as plates, forks, cups, diapers and any other disposables that can be substituted with a reusable product. Additionally, maternity wards will be required to educate new moms on washable diapers and consumers will be given a $7,000 tax break on hybrid or electric car purchases. This tax is meant to change both consumer and manufacturer habits and to force them to calculate their impact on the environment.

Find reputable resources to help guide you to environmentally friendly products homemade alternatives and how to properly recycle. www.greenerchoices.org is a good start and, before you decide your favorite new product is that all-natural, biodegradable dish detergent, make sure you read up on who is giving them their kudos and how the ingredients actually affect the environment. Please make the extra effort to discover as much as possible on your own and don’t trust just anyone who makes a claim for their own benefit, rather than your health and safety.

Cheap Organic Food – San Jose, Costa Rica

(borrowed from www.skinnybitch.net)

(borrowed from www.skinnybitch.net)

I just read the book called Skinny Bitch this week, and I think it has ruined me. Well, in an eating-junk-and-meat sort of way. It’s a good book with mostly good information, but written in an over-the-top California snobby super-model style. What I mean is, there is a lot of cussing and inappropriate language, for shock factor and humor, but it starts to grate on your nerves after a few chapters. Anyway, it reveals some pretty eye-opening statistics (cited and verifiable, of course) about animal cruelty in slaughterhouses; chemicals, hormones and pesticides that get into the meat, cheese, and eggs we eat; and how the FDA is a corrupt government agency that is being led and persuaded by the farm associations doing all the harm.

So, as a result, I am grossed out by meat, and more careful about the eggs and cheese I eat. Luckily (I think), I am in Costa Rica and there are many little farms here that are organic, humane, and healthier than the mass-produced animal farms elsewhere (although, I can’t speak for the cattle, most is sold to the US/Burger King companies). So, I am on the search for organic, healthy foods that exclude meat and it’s tougher than I thought, especially being in Costa Rica. Although, I am living in San Jose, which will have something even if the rest of the country doesn’t.

I found a great website for vegan/vegetarian recipes developed by the International Vegetarian Union (IVU). It can’t guide me on where to find items in Costa Rica, but I am determined to comb through all the local grocery stores. Each one has their own great features, which will be in a different post, but the organics sections are small! And so, the hunt for cheap organic food in Costa Rica begins.

Sustainable Food

Sustainable. Green. Eco-friendly. Energy efficient. These are the buzzwords of today and have become mainstays in the burgeoning culture of new eco-minded individuals. However, the views of how to best achieve carbon neutrality and what constitutes “true” green products are in constant flux. The way we view the food we eat is especially changing. Being more aware of how the foods we eat are affecting the environment is crucial to being responsible and living a green lifestyle.

A quick and striking example of how food production impacts the Earth includes a Michigan State study. This study shows eating a pound of beef is about seven times worse for the environment than chicken and 200 times worse than potatoes. To put it into context, it takes about 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef (per Dr. Georg Borgstrom, Chairman of Food Science and Human Nutrition Dept of College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Michigan State University) which is about the same as a year’s worth of showers for one person.

So, you could essentially stop showering for a year or skip 4 hamburgers to save the same amount of water. I think I’ll choose a veggie burger next time. Think spicy black bean burger at the Penguin (if you’re reading this in Charlotte).

On a more positive note, sustainable food is easier than you might think to incorporate into your daily diet. It could be as close as your back yard, in a patio planter or around the corner at the farmer’s market. You can be sure you are eliminating as much transit, handling, processing, and pesticides as possible by looking in your own garden. In case you are an urbanite and don’t have a yard, there are simple questions you can ask at the farmer’s market and grocery store as well. Just simply noting where the fruit or vegetables come from (I think they require a sticker with country/state of origin now) is a good way to gauge how far they had to travel to get to you. Some farmer’s markets have imported goods as well as local, so it’s good to ask. This also helps support your local growers.

So, all you men out there responsible for eating 75% of the beef in our country, maybe opt for an alternative to your regular quarter pounder with cheese. We all have a responsibility to our environment and our bodies to be healthy and conscious of the overall impact we each make in every aspect of our lives. Especially the ones we have the most control over, like our diet.

(This article was written and published in the April 2009 issue of Charlotte Health and Fitness Magazine)