As a senior college student who lives off campus, grocery shopping and healthy eating is pretty much left up to me. I’m on a budget and have to make smart and healthy decisions.
I know that eating in the cafeteria isn’t always ideal, but at least a salad bar was offered alongside the ever constant pizza and french fry combo.
Nowadays, without a meal plan, my diet mostly consists of Starbucks’ coffee, Oreos with milk, cereal (sometimes dry), granola bars, and yogurt with the occasional meal at Margaritas, Francars, or something I’m craving off campus.
I’m kind of ashamed by what I eat, but what I choose to buy and eat is easy to make, keeps well during those days when I forget to eat due to all of my commitments, and is a lot cheaper than the healthier options available to me.
I love fresh fruits and vegetables, and I especially love getting the organic stuff that tastes like it just came out of a garden.
Unfortunately, organic food costs so much and a trip home for the ‘good stuff’ is not at all practical. I’ve never been one to subscribe to the idea that organic food is healthier for you, but that idea has been one that is argued time and time again.
Sure, the way organic food is prepared cuts out a lot of the long-term, harmful elements of mass produced food.
However, Stanford University did a study that proved that organic food is no more nutritious than conventionally produced food.
The cost doesn’t really count when it comes to vitamins and minerals. So, the question becomes, for the college student on a budget — or anyone really, if the health benefits aren’t any different, is the extra price really worth the potential benefits of organic food?
Stanford doesn’t really lean one way or the other when it comes to whether or not the consumption of organic food is worth the price and benefits, but they do want people to be more conscientious about what they are putting in their bodies.
Personally, the taste of organic food trumps any sort of health benefit that organic food may have.
The straight-from-the-garden taste really makes a difference. Last year, on Wednesdays, the community put together a market where all of the local farmers could come and sell their produce. Talk about some good food!
Plus, right behind Centenary Methodist Church, there is a community garden. If you help out on Saturday mornings when they are tending to the garden, anything that grows out there is free for your consumption. The garden relies on the give and take rule. You give your time, you take the product. Fair enough, and cheap.
As the example of the garden shows, the relationship consumers have with their food does not just have to be a monotonous, put-food-in-mouth, chew, swallow, repeat process.
Eating can be and is a very sensory driven process. Organic food allows the consumer to share in the relationship with the producer of the food.
That closeness produces something special, and to me, tangible. I like looking at my funny shaped carrots, enjoying the different colors and nutty flavors of heirloom tomatoes, eating grass fed beef, and fruit that was not exposed to whatever it is mass produced fruits and vegetables are exposed to. In my experience, organic food just tastes better!
I may not have the means to buy organic food right at this very moment, but as soon as my next pay check comes in, you can bet your bottom dollar that the first thing I’m doing is going grocery shopping for some good food, and by good I mean organic.
Comments on this opinion
can be sent to