There was a time when deciding to eat all organic drew a deep line in the sand between you and the small group you hung out with and “everyone else”. For the last 20 years we’ve talked about this more than a lot. They watch TV, listen to Top 40 radio, follow sports, believe they’re either a Democrat or a Republican, and shop at regular grocery stores. They’ve never tripped on LSD or any hallucinogens for that matter. They don’t see a problem with marijuana being illegal but they “get together to have drinks” a few times a week. They don’t know who Ram Dass is, but know and love Oprah. They think Avatar is a movie. They doubt “taking vitamins” really does anything and they aren’t sold on why they need to eat only organic food. They think that because their doctor told them to do something that it makes it okay.
Every now and then we come into contact with these people. We have to on occasion. They find out that you “fast” or “juice” or “take vitamins” and they might say something like “I’ve always wanted to know more about “living more organically” and taking vitamins and all that….” They have organic food confused with taking nutritional supplements and they call all nutritional supplements “vitamins”, even though health conscious people barely take any actual “vitamins” because we get them from our food. But that’s the term that’s stuck in their head. But you do your best to answer their questions with respect and the open heart and honest eyes of a child so as not to offend and truly serve in that moment.
But things change. The lines are starting to blur. We’ve grown. We’ve all grown. We never used to shop at “regular grocery stores”. Only “they” did. But a funny thing happened. Just as the big chain health food stores started slowly taking over the market from smaller mom and pop health food stores, so too did the products they carry start to become less and less health conscious and more and more profit conscious. Most of them are publicly traded now. So you can just as easily find a non-organic product on their shelves as you can an organic one. Ironically at the same time, big chain “regular grocery stores” started carrying organic products in addition to regular people food. It started first with eggs, then cream, then almond milk and soy milk started being added. Now depending on what city you live in you might be able to shop at a so called regular grocery store and be able to find just about everything you want organic.
This is a huge change. For people who have only recently started eating only organic food in the last few years, it may not fly right over their heads. But for those who have been eating organic for a decade or more, it’s a downright astounding transformation in society. Princess Little Tree loves shopping at a place called Trade Joes. From what I gather, because I don’t do grocery shopping and hence don’t know much about it, Trader Joes is kind of a cross between a health food store and a gourmet store. You certainly won’t find any GMO food there. Labeling unnecessary. And you won’t have a problem walking out with a full cart of organic food. But the other day I accompanied Little Tree to a regular grocery store on our way home from somewhere; where I don’t remember. Yes even the best of us may pick up a few things there once in a while. What amazed me is just how MANY organic foods the story carried. Entire aisles full. It was a completely different experience than a mere few years ago. (Granted I cannot accurately guarantee when the last time I was actually in a grocery store, but still…)
At the check out counter there was a ragtag little flyer hanging up on the register that announced a lecture they were having this weekend to help explain “Organics”. I was amazed. SO much so that I snapped a picture of it. Frankly it gave me hope. Things do seem at times totally screwed and insane here now, it’s true. This isn’t the world of even ten years ago. The world has lost its mind. But for every crazy moment in our linear lives, for every mad shooter and bomber, for every lying politician full of greed and deceit, there seems to be some other remarkable moment of evolution that can give us hope that things just may be improving along the way as well. That’s how I took this little sign about the over 300 different organic foods that this regular big-box mom and pop grocery store now carries. A sort of sign of evolution.
On another note, related, the entire time we shopped, we used this app we’ve downloaded on our iPhones called Buycott. You simply hold your phone over the barcode of anything you want to purchase and in a second or two it tells you whether it has any GMO products in it or if it is owned by a company who makes GMO foods or has ever supported the “non labeling of GMO foods” bill. It was amazing. Even more impactful in the long run probably is the fact that with the touch of a button you can then SHARE what you discover with all your friends on the social network of your choice. I have a feeling this will compel a lot of these big food manufacturers to stop the GMO bullshit faster than any protests on the steps of the Capital Building will at this point. It’s a brilliant app. Download it on the iTunes app store when you can.