in.gredients

Posts Tagged ‘processed

Great Perspective: 100 Days of Real Food

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100 Days of Real Food is a blog started by Lisa and Jason Leake of Charlotte, North Carolina. Last year, the Leake family (Lisa, Jason, and their two daughters) attempted to ditch artificial food for 100 days. Over a year later, the Leakes are still eating real food.

The blog’s genesis came after Lisa read Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food and “realized that we’d fallen prey to what the food industry had deemed ‘healthy.’ It showed me how much food marketing was misinformation, and really had me questioning what I was feeding my family…” (quote: wfaeats, 7 March 2011). After 100 days of “real food,” which the Leakes defined as food with five ingredients or less, their palates had evolved. “Artificial food actually tastes bad after eating fresh food for so long,” Lisa told Yahoo! in August.

Of course, as Yahoo! reports, “investing in all those organic groceries and specialty ingredients also impacted [the Leakes'] bank account,” for many food industry-level reasons. So the family took up another challenge: 100 days of real food on weekly budget of $125 for a family of four, which offers lots of creative ideas and helpful perspective on how to make healthy eating affordable.

Said Lisa to wfaeats: “It was a challenge, no doubt. I had to completely re-learn how to shop at the grocery store.”

As we’ve said before, we don’t just want to facilitate minimal-waste shopping for our customers – we want to teach the community about real food, and make it easy to shop for pure, local groceries while reducing waste. The Leakes’ blog offers great, honest perspective on how weird it is for those of us who grew up eating artificial food to transition to a new way of thinking about groceries and food in general.

Some quick links to 100 Days of Real Food:
The Rules
Why Cut Processed Food?
Recipes and Resources
Take the 10-Day Challenge

(image: 100 Days of Real Food)

Is in.gredients More Expensive than the Supermarket?

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If organic foods don’t contain any additives or processing, shouldn’t they be cheaper than foods that do? It makes sense at first glance. But the answer is actually “no” for a few reasons.

Highly-processed, chemically-treated foods are cheaper because you’re paying for them with your taxes. After World War II, the US government (and other European governments) needed to ensure that the severe food shortages experienced during the war didn’t happen again – and began to heavily subsidize agro­chemical (generic for farm chemicals and preservatives) agriculture with tax dollars to promote mass food production. Common agrochemicals include such corn-based preservatives as dextrose, maltodextrin, high fructose corn syrup, and absorbic acid. The subsidies worked. Argochemicals weren’t designed to be nutritious or tasty, but rather to boost production as cheaply as possible. So while chemically-fueled food products are cheaper, they also lack in quality.

Organic farmers don’t receive any subsidies from the government, so they have to charge more for their product to stay profitable. Since their foods are of better quality than non-organic products, the higher cost is justifiable to the consumer – though frustrating since we don’t typically think of food as something to spend extra money on. Still, eating healthily is important, and eating organic and natural foods is legitimately better for you than eating the alternative. And that’s more expensive. But in.gredients offers an alternative shopping method that lowers your barrier of entry into healthy grocery shopping: ultimate portion control.

Portion control isn’t just healthier. It’s more affordable. In typical supermarkets, you don’t have control over how much you buy outside of the deli and produce sections of the store. Most food is pre-packaged, so the amount and cost is determined for you. In this system you can’t always guarantee you’re buying exactly what you plan to use. If you need 1/4lb of granola, for example, you may have to resort to buying 1lb of it for a higher cost. If you need 3 cups of curry powder, you may have to buy 4 small containers of it to have enough. In these scenarios, you’re not only spending more for what you need – you’re generating more food and packaging waste. Were the 4 small containers really necessary? And what about all that extra granola?

Having control over how much you buy helps you spend less, reduce waste, and make your grocery shopping more efficient. That’s why our shopping model is so appealing. We want our customers to have affordable access to good food, so selling everything in bulk lets our shoppers choose exactly how much they spend while reducing their waste production.

Consumerism doesn’t fit at in.gredients. While we’re a for-profit business, we’re not selling our shelves to companies after exponential-volume sales. We’re out to prove that a for-profit grocery store can make organic more affordable, make local food more accessible, and make waste reduction more practical – and make your dollars good dollars by giving a portion of our revenue to local community programs.

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