First off, shopping takes me much longer. It reminds me of when I went to Europe, especially Eastern Europe, where you'd walk in to a store and nothing (I mean nothing) looked familiar. Gone were the usual brand names and crisp packaging. I find myself wandering the aisles the same way now - taking it all in, trying to find the item or two that I am looking for. (Where is that damn organic chicken stock!) Gone are the brand names and the junk food (although Wegmans does carry a large amount of ready-made processed organic, surprisingly.) At first it was disconcerting. The consumer in me felt the loss of familiarity. Now, It has shifted more towards exciting, as I sample new brands, and find new favorites to replace the junk that I have been eating.
Second, I find myself thinking much more about where my food comes from, and what is in my food.
Quick anecdote:I have been leaning towards more fresh fruits and veggies. I couldn't find a decent organic apple that wasn't mealy textured, so I did the next best thing and hunted down some NY state apples in Wegmans. - You have to look hard, they're only found in the 5 lb. bags, not sold individually (from Washington State, can you believe it! There are at least 5 orchards within 20 miles of Syracuse.) I have to find some local fresh free range chicken as well, I keep hearing that the Regional Market is the place for that, I just have to drag my butt down there on Saturday.
I had always noticed various odd-sounding ingredients in my food. Most of them towards the end of the list. Some I knew were preservatives, others I had no idea. One of those was Xanthan Gum. Suprisingly I found it on a list of ingredients on a product labelled "all natural". So I decided to investigate. I needed to get no further than this:It is a slimy gel produced by the bacterium Xanthomonas campestris, which causes black rot on cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli. The slime protects the bacterium from attach by viruses, and prevents it from drying out.Before I knew that I needed to pay attention to the food that I was eating. Slime! For cripes sake! I have been eating slime all these years and never knew it! Well, no more slime for me.
Thirdly, I have found my meals include much less red meat. I have been eating tuna for lunch (again, can't find an organic brand, but I imagine that is because of the preservative that goes into the can) or PB and J. Or Clif Bar and a smoothie. Or yogurt and a Lara bar. - You can see that cheeseburger or peperoni pizza is not included in that list. I made a big bowl of rice made with chicken stock earlier in the week, and have been enjoying that with just a pita for dinner, and leaving room for an apple with natural peanut butter for a snack later.
Overall, I am feeling much healthier with my food choices. Not 100% of my meals are organic or all of them "rabbit food" as my dad would say. (I made my famous chicken fingers for dinner with homemade Chili's honey mustard - the best dipping sauce) But eating mostly organic makes me plan my meals in advance, think about what I am eating during the day, and makes me feel better that I am supporting local farms and small businesses across the country.
Lastly, my stomach troubles seem to be on the way out. Some part of that is due to all that I have posted above.