Friday, July 10, 2009

Eating Decisions

A couple of books about consumption have me thinking about how buying patterns influence the way we eat and the dietary importance of fresh fruits and vegetables. Also the fruit flies from the last forgotten banana last week have me thinking about intentional patterns of consumption and whether they offer improvements. Some of the things I like most about these lifestyles is that they provide some order and remove some of the chaos. Other times I wonder whether is even worth the hassle. Maybe these systems are too rigid for me to sustain.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver started me thinking about seasonal patterns of eating. She talks about eating food that comes from within a 50 mile radius and she grows a great deal of her own food. The logic is that our carbon footprint is greatly reduced by not requiring shipping and refrigeration of items. It also addresses concerns about the state of the food supply and our health. Eating lettuce in Kansas in December is a biological astonishment, but all of our out-of-state and out-of-country suppliers certainly make it seem very reasonable. While this is the abundant season of corn, cantaloupes, and fresh tomatoes, December should be more oriented toward root vegetables and items with a long shelf-life.

Meanwhile, a book review of America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money came to my attention yesterday. The authors suggest that because 6 out of 10 consumers in the grocery store make impulse purchases, meal planning and one monthly trip to the grocery store are the ideal solution. They too must make allowances for perishables. Bananas, lettuce, and other easily spoiled items are eaten in the first week. Carrots and apples are eaten during the last week of the month. They are able to feed a family of seven for less than $400 a month.