My Selfish Approach to Organic Food

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Sure, I choose to buy organic foods. Sometimes.

When I go to the grocery store, I am sure to pick up a half gallon of delicious organic milk. Organic milk tastes awesome and it lasts longer than its pasteurized counterpart. It is not even a comparison in my opinion.

Organic milk is delicious... and it lasts so much longer.

Organic milk is delicious… and it lasts so much longer.

If I am being candid with myself, however, those are the only two reasons I buy it.  I guess it also makes me feel a little better about myself, like I am somehow contributing to a better planet because I am buying something with an organic label.  In reality, however, I can fool no one.  The hard truth is that I buy it because I actually like it.  I like it so much more than regular milk that I will spend triple the cost on it and chug that deliciousness right out of the carton.  It is that kind of good.

If you are curious, by the way, why organic milk lasts longer than pasteurized milk, check out this article, courtesy of Scientific American. It basically has to do with the method of preservation.

If you throw a steak in front of me, however, I will not even think twice about where it came from.  Did it come from a Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFOs) where bovine parade around knee deep in their own poop, or did it come from some loving mom and pop farm where the soon-to-be meal was treated like the household pet?  Who cares.  Pass the A-1 sauce.


Who wants steak?


The same goes for chickens, fish, vegetables, fruit, and any other item one can get at the grocery store.  When it rests on my plate, inviting me to devour it, I do not care where it came from, as long as it tastes good.  Don’t get me wrong, I have actually spent periods of my life making efforts to only eat organic meats.  I saw the movie Food Inc. (too many times for that matter), and like so many other Americans who did, it sent me to the organic market with a vow to change my food purchasing habits.  When I did, I found out the following:

1.  Yes. I do think organic meats, fruits and vegetables taste better… for the most part.  I did notice a difference in the quality of the food when I was eating it. What’s more, I used to really look forward to the organic meat department.  There was something special about bringing fresh, ethically raised and butchered animals home, wrapped in a special brown bag.  It just felt right, and of course, tasted great.

2.  Yes.  I do think I felt better.  I really think I felt better after switching to organic meats.  In fact, it did not take long for me to notice this.  Maybe it was a placebo effect.  Maybe it was real.  Who cares?  I physically felt more elated when I was on my organic meats kick.

3.  Holy crap, organic food costs a lot of money.  I guess I understand why organic foods cost so much to buy, but that does not change the fact that it made my pockets significantly lighter when I was buying it every week.  Of course, I am no different than every other schmuck in the world who only realizes the immediate impact on his/her own bank account. I just cannot seem to get over the cost I see at the register, even though I know that the long term environmental, societal, and economic costs are far greater when people like me choose to buy the “garbage” food.

To summarize, when I switched to organic meats I felt better and I thought the food tasted better.  Yes, it cost more, but I do think I was a happier person overall for my choices.  Fast forward to now, however.  I am back to my habits of buying the non-organic garbage.  Why, though?

The answer, I think, is because I am selfish. I just don’t care enough.  Like I said, I still fork out the money for that organic milk because it taste so much better than that watery pasteurized stuff they try to pass off as good.  I just like the taste of it so much more and it never seems to spoil.  Meats of all kinds, however, all taste great to me, no matter what the journey to my plate involved, or what the horrible effect on the environment is (just think of all that nasty run-off from the manure generated at CAFOs, and what that is doing to our water supply and ecosystems).  Even if the organic meats taste better to me, make me feel better, and are clearly better for the environment, I must not care that much because when the proverbial dinner bell rings, all I care about is that my desire for “good” American food is satisfied.

Beef CAFO farm vs. sustainable beef farming.  Courtesy of

Beef CAFO farm vs. sustainable beef farming. Courtesy of

In short, I just do not seem to care enough about the environment, or my own health for that matter, to be a full-time organic food consumer. I applaud and thank those of you that do live this lifestyle.  Keep it up. If we all chose our food wisely, the cost of the good food would be lower and this world would be a cleaner, more ethical place to live.  But, schmucks like me care more about where the food is going, and not enough about the where it was processed.  We care more about the money that is in our pockets today than the long term effects and costs to our environment.  We just simply care more about ourselves than anything else.

So, who’s hungry?

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