Wednesday, May 29, 2013

My Broccoli Values

by Kris Pitcher

My husband posted on social media a photo of a bag of frozen broccoli, the store brand called "broccoli cuts". In his witty way, he mentioned it's how I've gotten so cut...broccoli cuts.

Ba dum bum! Well, I think it's funny. The funny part is, people took it seriously. What specific kind of broccoli? As if it were some magic supplement. It's just frozen broccoli!

Then came the concerns over whether or not it was "organic"... And while we've had these discussions over the course of time, I thought this sparked the need to have another one.

Nutrition is about values. The choices we make are what I would call "value laden" choices. Meaning, they are determined by what we think is important, individually.

Just like religion, or sex...what I choose for myself isn't necessarily the correct or right choice for you and vice versa. We are each equally validated in our values around food choices. Our choices may be based on beliefs we've grown up with, or developed over time.

I don't eat soy or soy products. That doesn't mean I expect the world to join me, or I feel it's the choice everyone should make along with me. It's a choice I make for myself. I also don't eat dairy. Gasp!

But don't stress about my calcium intake, just look at all that broccoli I love to eat! My point is, we make choices about nutrition based on values. Our personal values.

One of those is whether we purchase organic produce. I've had the good fortune to listen to university professors speak about organic farming, which is very interesting. Here's what the USDA has to say about the purposes of organic farming:

"U.S. producers are turning to certified organic farming systems as a potential way to lower input costs, decrease reliance on nonrenewable resources, capture high-value markets and premium prices, and boost farm income. Organic farming systems rely on ecologically based practices such as cultural and biological pest management, exclusion of all synthetic chemicals, antibiotics, and hormones in crop and livestock production."

Standardizing what it means to call a product organic has meant as consumers we can be assured specific qualities in a product. This is great for the consumer. And I think biological pest management is smart. Whether you buy organic produce is a choice I'll leave up to you. Visit the usda web site for lots of information and fact sheets.

So, are my broccoli cuts organic? No, they are not. I've shared why I buy frozen vegetables - picked and packed at peak freshness/nutrient value, already washed, cut, easy to portion out...and they never go bad in my crisper drawer.

With the amount of food prep that goes on in our household, this is a convenience, and cost (I am aware I could purchase organic frozen veggies), choice for me. I also have my ideas about who is benefited from organic farming. And now you know my broccoli values. *smile

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