In my ideal world, I'd be eating 99% local, organically grown foods, many that I grew or raised myself. As it stands today, that is not the case, so I shop by some food rules and compromises.
1. Buying local doesn't work to well in the great northeast when you're dying for citrus or bananas. In this aspect, I try to at least buy USA only products.
2. Because we eat apples frequently, I have begun buying organic apples when I can. As for local, I don't know of any apple orchards in my local area that doesn't spray.
3. I have decided to buy tomato products in glass jars the best I can to avoid the BPA leeching from the acid.
4. I won't buy tomato soup, sauce or ketchup made with high fructose corn syrup or canola/soybean oil. (I did have major sticker shock when I bought a small glass jar of pasta sauce made with sugar and olive oil. Around $5.00!! Thankfully, my local Big Lots had larger jars of other brands, many organic for only $2.50. That still seems steep for someone used to buying the conventional can of sauce at under $1.00, but I'd rather spend the money on quality than waste it on non-foods.)
5. With 3 children, I cannot seem to break the cold cereal, pasta and mac and cheese habit. I do limit what kinds of cold cereal I buy. No colored sugary stuff, preferably organic (though I did just buy 5 boxes of Cheerios.) I try to limit pasta as much as possible, but sometime, you're just in the mood for a pile of angel hair! Mac and cheese, I buy organic/natural, either sales or store brand. Target had Annie's Mac and Cheese for 5 for $5.00 this week! My kiddos get mac and cheese once a week when Grandma babysits them. I send a box along to make it easy on my mom.
6. Meats. Once you go farm, you can't go back. I buy most of my meats from either a local farm, or a farm about 3 hours north (it gets shipped.) The one 3 hours north offers grass fed, pastured meats. They're actually not that much more expensive than what you'd find at the grocery store, unless, like me, you're used to buying whatever is on sale and has a soon-to-expire coupon on it. But after tasting these locally farmed meats (and having some bad experiences with grocery store meats), I'm hooked on the farmed meats. I do have to compromise occasionally with chicken
7. Eggs. I get local eggs. They're partially grain fed, but at least they're local and get sunshine, air, and scratching rights to the ground. When you live in the great northeast, it's hard to avoid grain feeding animals when half your year is winter. ;b I cringe at the expensive eggs in the grocery story where it proudly proclaims on the box (chickens fed a vegetarian diet of soy and corn.) And that's supposed to be good? I want to get my own chickens, but hubby's not at all fond of the birds.
8. Milk. No compromise here. I HAVE to get raw milk. My daughter cannot drink pasteurized milk. It messes up her digestive tract BAD! I'm intolerant to pasteurized milk. I can drink a little, but more than a few ounces and I'm digestively off, too. Amazingly, we drink 4 gallons a week!!!! That's expensive, but SO worth it!
9. Bread. I would love to make my own, but there's only so much a woman can do in one day! Besides, it would take a while to break certain members of my family...ahem... from eating crappy white bread in a bag. I compromise and for the kiddos and hubby, I get Arnold's sandwich bread (no high fructose corn syrup.) For me, I do better with the sprouted grain breads you buy frozen in the organic section of the grocery store.
10. Otherwise, I try to buy local when I can, or at least USA food products. I try to avoid big name brands like Kraft. I try to make my own when I can. I try to eat as many natural products as possible (as opposed to processed). Instead of a bag of frozen french fries, I buy a bag of potatoes and make my own. Stuff like that.
What are your food rules and compromises?
For another family's food rules and compromises, check out: http://plainandjoyfulliving.blogspot.com/2012/01/food-compromises.html