By Joe Romano,
What really interests me is whether God had any choice in the creation of the world.
Eating is a choice. We don’t have to eat. Sometimes people choose not to. Striking prisoners, for example, make the choice not to eat, as do some people protesting wars. While not eating is generally believed to significantly shorten one’s life expectancy, people choose other activities that shorten their lives every day. So, let’s begin with the premise that all eating is a choice. In some ways, it is one of our most personal and private choices. Thinking of every bite we ingest as a choice is an exercise in empowerment. It frees us from the mental chains that accompany so much of our thinking around food.
I only had ten minutes before the meeting but I had to eat something, so I pulled into the drive-thru…
In this example, the phrase “I had to eat something” absolves the speaker from the responsibility of making a better choice. If the phrase is recast as “I was hungry,” then a much more subtle decision process is possible. The new process includes deciding how hungry one is, balancing that with the choices available now, maybe thinking harder about other choices or deciding to wait until later to eat, or deciding how important being on time for the meeting is. One might even begin to question a career choice that causes a person to run from meeting to meeting with no time to eat.
Similarly, rethinking phrases like “I had to make dinner…” and making it a choice can eliminate much drudgery and resentment and can open one to new vistas of choice.
Instead of grudgingly whipping up a meal, if you ask, you might find that everyone has eaten enough, and would really prefer a walk instead. Or, instead of going to the drive-thru for lunch, you might just blow off that meeting altogether and go home and make yourself the meal you really want. Ultimately, when you give yourself options, you find yourself thinking more and making better choices and feeling better about the choices you’ve made.
At GreenStar we are here to offer as many options as we can to those who choose to eat. In fact, every year, we celebrate Food Choice Month. During the month of March we try to underscore the wide variety of food selection that we support at our stores.
Are you a vegetarian? Is your partner? What about your kids? Sometimes? Mostly? Are you vegan? Do you choose to eat locally or regionally? Are you macrobiotic? Does the Ayurveda guide you? Are you an omnivore? Are you gourmet? Do you eat only fresh foods? Do you choose only whole foods? Do your food preferences stem from a nutritional overview? Do you rely on scientific studies? Does packaging affect your selections? How about ethical production? Do cultural or ethnic traditions shape your food choices? Is meat a part of your diet? Do you only choose raw food? Only cooked food? Are there health concerns that guide you? Do you like to eat treats? How about sweets? What about the USDA’s MyPyramid? Do you eat foods that are right for your blood type? Do you avoid gluten? Do you eschew processed foods or certain additives? What about irradiated, genetically modified or cloned foods? Do you follow the tenets of certain authors or nutritionists? Do you go your own way? Let your body tell you what you need? Eat only foods mentioned in the Bible? Or, like many people, do you look to many of these influences for guidance?
This is a long, long list of questions. But it only scratches the surface of questions people ask when choosing what foods to eat and when, and why.
GreenStar was founded as a way for people to make choices that lie outside of those that dominate conventional supermarkets. The food industry in America acts like an industry. That means it makes choices for consumers, and it means that many of those choices are made to benefit the industry, not the consumer. More money can be made on processed foods than on whole foods, so the conventional food store would rather offer a four dollar box of heavily processed and branded cereal than sell you the few pennies of oats used to make it. As a result, your food choices are sorely limited.
GreenStar was founded by people who wanted to broaden the vista of food choice in Ithaca. Today, close to forty years later, we stand as a veritable bastion of food choice. You can find bulk organic oats and a better box of cereal. Each and every one of the questions asked above can be answered in the aisles of our stores. Our product selection is rooted in offering the widest selection of choices available. Our staff is highly knowledgeable, and will track down an answer to even the most arcane and hair-splitting of questions.
So ask us. Stop us in the aisles. Call us. Email us. Check out the literature in the stores or use the website. If you are on our vastly expanded and growing website and can’t find out what you need to know, use the links to drop us an email. We actually love tracking down answers because, like you, we are always asking questions about food. That’s why we are all in this together. We ask questions about food.
And that means we don’t just eat. We choose to eat. And the difference between eating and choosing to eat is the difference between just living and choosing to create the world we live in. Ultimately, it is the difference between a store and a co-op.
New in Grocery
|All Up in Your Grill|
It's not too early to start grilling — try some local pork, or meatless Gardein products. We've got all the fixin's.
It's never too early to start grilling! Try local, heritage-breed, pasture-raised, and 100-percent organic-grain-fed pork products from Hog Wild Farm for great barbecue fare! Throw those pork chops or hot dogs on your grill and fire it up with Woodstock all-natural hardwood lump charcoal. Try some Silver Hill hot-dog buns or Udi's gluten-free options. Woodstock supplies the grillin' fixin's: organic mustard and ketchup (part of our low-cost BASICS program!), and organic pickles and relish. You can also create a vegetarian barbecue from the exciting array of Gardein meatless products in the freezer. Be sure to try the new black bean burger. Round out your meal with a crisp, cold, regionally brewed Narragansett lager — the Pabst Blue Ribbon of New England and the perfect complement to springtime grilling! Not local enough for you? How about a bottle of Utica Club, the Pabst of upstate NY? Another easy sipping lager on hand here at the Co-op!