In Defense of “Why I Don’t Eat Organic.”

Via on Jun 8, 2010

Is Organic for Elites?

Somebody got very…uh…impassioned…by my article Why I Don’t Eat Organic. Read the full article itself here, first.

Excerpt (click to read full):

And here’s my response:

Ms. Delett,

You have made a great many assumptions in your post. I don’t get my nails done, hair done, etc. We are wii, gameboy, etc. free. We don’t drink pop or sports drinks. Or even juice, for the most part.

(I’ll mention as well that you state “after every practice”, I’ll assume you’re talking about sport practice for your kids. Shall I further assume that you are a “soccer mom” who has the time required to take her kids to practice? Not every mom has that, either.)

Desserts every night? Give me a break!

We don’t eat meat (unless we can afford to get organic, which is, let’s see…never!).

Your hubris is intoned in the ideological idealism that you so strongly adhere to that everyone can live as you do. And not everyone can.

Go hang in the ghetto for a day or two. See what you learn.

I hope I’m not making too many assumptions…but I must say you got under my skin a little, too.

With compassion; for you, for my own failings, and for all beings,

~ Lasara (aka Ms. Allen)

P.S. I’m all for an open dialogue on the matter. Next time, I invite you to share your comment at the source, too!

About Lasara Allen

Lasara is wife to her true love, and mother to two amazing young women. She’s also a best-selling author, an educator, and an activist. Lasara’s first book, the bestselling Sexy Witch (nonfiction, Llewellyn Worldwide), was published in 2005 under the name LaSara FireFox. As of 3/6/2012, after a coaching sabbatical, Lasara has openings for three three-week, individual, personally tailored coaching and mentoring programs. She also has slots in a cohort-model group coaching program available for a limited amount of time. Lasara is available for one-session commitments as well. Make whatever commitment feels best for you. Lasara offers individual coaching on topics such as; * Mental and Physical Health and Wellness - accepting your diagnosis (or that of a loved one) - learning to live with awareness of strengths and vulnerabilities - Learning to live gracefully within your spectrum of the possible * Mindful Relationships - self as primary partner - loving partnerships, friendships and connections - marriages - parenting - family * Spiritual Contemplation and Alignment - Entering into and committing to your spiritual inquiry - Learning to listen to listen for and hear the divine in your life - Inquiring into the role that faith may play in informing your path - The role of meditation, contemplation, and prayer in your practice For more information and endorsements, visit: http://lasaraallen.com/about-lasara/coaching-services/

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24 Responses to “In Defense of “Why I Don’t Eat Organic.””

  1. This all reminds me of a talk I heard given by Native American author Sherman Alexie, who went into a rage at the very mention of vegans. At first that seemed a bit puzzling, given his generally progressive views on most subjects, until he made it clear that, to a guy who grew up in a reservation world of HUD housing, unemployment, and commodity cheese, there's little more repugnant than the arrogance of middle class white people who assume that, as he put it, everybody gets to *choose* what to eat for every meal.

  2. Tiffany Hutchings Tiffany says:

    Being able to afford organics and other healthy food is terribly hard for many people, and access to such foods can be very difficult as well. I have family who live in small towns who dream of the food selection we have in Denver. We have more health foods available at King Soopers than my family has in their entire town, and organics are inaccessible or incredibly expensive when they are available. Some of the same problems exist in the urban context. There are neighborhoods all over the country that don't have convenient access to a supermarket of any kind. Produce–organic or not–is a luxury. Education about what to eat is a luxury. School lunches often include the worst of the worst. My hope is that the press these issues are getting these days will help communities create change, but that change cannot come soon enough.

    • catdelett says:

      School lunches are abysmal! We have a large population of kids in our elementary school receiving free and reduced price breakfast and lunch. It's disturbing to me to think that what might be their best meals of the day are of such poor quality. I've just gotten involved in this issue in my school district and the national school lunch movement seems to be swelling. I, too, hope change comes soon.

      • Lasara Allen LasaraAllen says:

        I agree. Our local school subsidizes their menu with locally grown produce, which, while not "organic" (or organic certified at least), is a wonderful thing.

  3. Lasara Allen LasaraAllen says:

    Thank you, Maureen. You made my heart feel better! I hope I wasn't too overly reactive to Ms. Delett's article. I know I could have responded more compassionately, too.

    Thank you for the reminder to not take it personally!
    <3

  4. Mari says:

    Both women have some good points, but I think people are being too hard on Ms. Delett. I know plenty of people who could afford to eat healthy but choose to spend more money buying excessive amounts of toys and clothes for their kids rather than good, nutritious food for them, just like she seems to be describing. On the other hand, if you do “hang in the ghetto,” you probably live there and most likely don’t spend a lot of time reading Elephant Journal. Neither extreme is likely very active in the debate over prices for organic food. Yes, sometimes it’s too expensive, but those who view what they’re putting into their bodies as a priority purchase wisely. Maybe someday our mindful purchasing will help to better the current situation.
    In an ideal world, healthy food would be accessible to all. Unfortunately, we live in a world where a double cheeseburger costs less than a half gallon of organic soy milk. Stop arguing ladies, and merge your resourceful minds together to think of solutions!

  5. I just deleted a very long comment because I’m a bit worried about having my life decisions picked apart (ex: the whole Wii, HBO, hair/nails critique that Ms. Delett offered). The hardest part about trying to live sustainably, I’ve found, is the critique of others that I’m not doing enough. I bike, but still own a car so I’m a polluter. I stopped eating meat but my dog’s not vegetarian so I’m still part of the problem (not kidding, I’ve been crapped on for my DOG’S diet… and it’s not like I’m buying her sides of beef). I shop at Safeway (*gasp*) – that’s the one that seems to offend people the most.

    I’m doing the best I can (and am not telling you how to live your life).

    Lasara, your post is important because it is absolutely true that eating sustainably and organically is expensive. And it’s expensive because of the gov’t subsidies for and power of big agra. It’s a shame. Instead of picking each other apart (hey, I like getting a manicure every now and then, so what?), we should focus on the real issues behind how food is produced and distributed and work to change them.

    • Lasara Allen LasaraAllen says:

      Agreed. Agreed. Agreed. On all points. Thank you.

      • Lasara Allen LasaraAllen says:

        Judgment about life decisions was why posting this piece was, actually, very frightening for me. I knew it may bring the conversation to this pitch of intensity. But now that it's come I'm kind of glad. Though it is hard not to feel personally attacked for "not doing enough", as you put it. Thanks for putting your words out there about that.

  6. Jamie says:

    I somehow have lost track of the original article "Why I Don't Eat Organic". Can you repost? Thank you.

  7. Emily says:

    Man, this is exhausting and I find myself a little offended. Just because someone doesn't want to eat pesticides makes them elitist? Seriously? I try to eat Organic as much as I can, I have never thought of myself as elitist for caring about what I put in my body. The original article was informative and gave a good look at your perspective. However, I don't find the point in putting other people down for believing in something other than yourself. Perhaps I should have kept my comment to myself but I found this to be a little over the top.

    • Lasara Allen LasaraAllen says:

      Is this directed to me or Cat? Did you read Cat's article?

      However, if you are exhausted, it's fie. I am too, really.

      And no, it is not elitist to care about what you put in your body.

  8. Jenn says:

    my husband and i make under 40k a year(combined) but we try to eat organinc and local as much as possible..it is more expensive but the health benefits are worth it as far as we are concerned. We have lost weight and feel so much better. We also only buy environmentally friendly household cleaners and personal care items. We have to go without other things to afford this but we feel that is is important to do our part for the environment and our health!

  9. via http://www.facebook.com/elephantjournal

    Laura Marjorie Miller
    Lasara has nothing to defend. She made a very valid point that needed to be said aloud in a forum with this audience. When I go to Hell Foods and see a pint of blueberries for $10, I don't even bother trying not to laugh.

    Patti A
    An enjoyable article to read!

    Lasára Allen
    Thank you, Ms. Miller! :-)

    Lasára Allen
    And Ms. Aker.

    Randy K
    Thank you. $2.50 for a head of iceberg lettuce at hell phoods is truly insane.

    Sam E
    I enjoyed both articles. :) I guess the only thing we can all agree on is we just have to try our hardest to do what's best for the planet, our families, and our wallets. ♥

    Edward J D
    Community Supported Agriculture

    Kimber S
    It's gotta be tough to live someplace where whole foods is your only organic option, given that they have shareholders to please. For years our family's gotten a big box of organic produce direct from a local organic farm for $17 a week, including strawberries, oranges, asparagus, etc. It's a great deal. Even when we have to tighten our belts, the organic box always fits in the budget. If you can't afford whole foods, join the club, and look for a local CSA!

    Aminda C
    whole paycheck has always been sort of thorn in my side as well…like somehow being healthy was only for the rich…

    Jeff H
    grow your own and cook for yourself. it really isn't rocket science people.

    Randall S
    Edward, Kimber, and Jeff are right. Being resourceful is a whole lot better than the alternative.

  10. Lasara Allen LasaraAllen says:

    Agreed. It's not a "not wanting to" that's the problem. We do the best we can.

  11. Lasara Allen LasaraAllen says:

    Good going, mommy! Keep it up.

  12. I lived/worked on the Main Line for several years. I feel you on the tunnel vision and cultural/economical disconnect. And no, there would probably be eggs and abundant profanity involved in the response with a 30% chance of baseball bats.

  13. catdelett says:

    Thanks. I certainly know there are people who struggle to feed their families both in the ghetto and in the suburbs.

  14. Lasara Allen LasaraAllen says:

    Thank you for letting me know. And for opening a new level of the conversation. All the side of this issue, from the lack of education about eating well, to the lack of acceptance for the choices of others, to the differing views and values of different socio-economic groups, are important.

    My original point, and the point I am glad to have brought to the table, is the one about class, economics, and, as YogforCynics put it, "tunnel vision and cultural/economical disconnect." (Thanks, Jay.)

    We can absolutely stop arguing as far as I'm concerned, because I'd wager we agree on more than we disagree on. (Though I would love to see you respond to my response to your first comment here.)

  15. Lasara Allen LasaraAllen says:

    Thank you for your input. Glad you have so many great resources! That is awesome.

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