Cheers to 2012: Year of Eating Organic!

Happy 2012!  This year, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to eat more organic food and to learn lots of new recipes for this organic food so that it’s delicious and doesn’t go to waste!

I suppose this health goal has been two years in the making.  In late 2010, I bought a share at a local CSA and have been eating lots of organic veggies for over a year now.  In 2011, my husband and I made some positive changes to our diet, such as reducing our sugar intake, limiting our consumption of red meat (and, unfortunately for my taste buds, replacing it with salmon a bit too much), and sticking to whole grains.

As part of my quest to learn more about nutrition and healthy lifestyles, I recently read To Buy or Not to Buy Organic by Cindy Burke.  I learned lots of interesting facts that have persuaded me to 1.) value (and not waste) the organic options I have and 2.) search for more organic options when it comes to food.  Let me expand a little more on each of these points.

Each week, I purchase a half-share at my CSA.  Every Sunday, the hubby and I plan how we will eat all of the vegetables we are given – salad for lunch every day, kale on Monday for dinner, baby bok choy on Tuesday, etc.  However, due to busy schedules, we always end up either 1.) not preparing the vegetable side dishes due to time constraints/fatigue/lack of a handy recipe or 2.) ordering take-out instead of home cooking. Needless to say, this means that at the end of the week I end up tossing some vegetables in the trash.  The next Saturday, I return to the CSA and plan meals, inspired to cook all my veggies (and meals) the following week and in denial that I will end up not using all of my veggies.  So, in 2012, I pledge an end to this wasteful cycle.  For my goal-oriented personality, this means that during 2012 I hope to:

  • Learn the best vegetable preparation methods, by which I mean methods that preserve as many nutrients as possible and, more importantly, taste great!
  • Cook and post at least 100 new recipes made with organic food (they may contain some nonorganic ingredients when organic is not an option, too pricey for my budget, or not essential because the nonorganic version is not harmful)
  • Consume all of those organic veggies (and other organic foods) that I purchase, or preserve them for future use

Second of all, my organic food consumption has been limited solely to the veggies I get at the CSA.  This is where Burke’s book comes in.  This piece of investigative journalism explains which foods contain the most hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides, and thus should be eaten organic, and which foods are okay to buy nonorganic because they contain minimal amounts of these products.  Due to my limited teacher’s budget, this information comes in handy.  For example, although I would love to purchase only organic, local, and grass-fed meats from sustainable farms, I already know that I will not be able to afford eating these pricey options every day.  So my second pledge for 2012 is to eat more organic food when it matters, as much as possible.  More specifically, I would like to:

  • Learn more about locally grown organic food options (and how these foods are grown) in the Rio Grande Valley
  • Explore (i.e., cook and eat) new kinds of food, such as organic meats and grains, especially when the nonorganic options contain things those hormones, antibiotics, or pesticides
  • Find the most affordable options through local farmers markets, coupons, and sales

So there we go – my New Year’s food resolutions!  Since I know I tend to get caught up in everyday life and easily forget what I commit to, I hope that keeping a blog will keep my excitement up, keep me accountable to my goals, and provide a platform to share some of these ideas with others!

My husband and I were in San Antonio for New Year’s, so I couldn’t hold to my resolution on the first day of the year by cooking organic.  But to kick off these new eating habits, we stopped by The Cove in San Antonio, a restaurant built around the concept of SOL (sustainable, organic, local) food.  I had heard great things about this restaurant, and we both opted for the lamb burger because it was featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.  The lamb patty was flavored with Latin spices, topped with cotija cheese, lettuce, and tomato, and the bun was smeared with a delicious red sauce.  I opted for the side salad instead of fries, and the restaurant-made dressing was so flavorful it has inspired me to now make my own salad dressings!  I mean, it was so delicious that I ended up dipping scraps of bread in the leftover dressing.  A great organic meal to jump-start my organic eating habits; I’ll definitely be in search of organic, local lamb soon!

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