New Year’s Resolutions

I used to hate New Year’s resolutions. If you wanted to do something badly enough you should just do it already! Although I still feel that way more or less, I have come to appreciate the idea of reviewing the old year and making plans for the new. It’s the same feeling you get from cleaning the refrigerator out. And for those metric-minded (e.g., my data and economics-obsessed husband Travis), it affords the opportunity to try something out for one year and then assess the results and draw informed conclusions.

So if you’ve already guessed that we will be a GMO-free family for 2013, congratulations, you’re correct! We’ve been mostly GMO-free for a few years now – this was not deliberate, it was simply an indirect result of eating fresh and cooking from scratch. But all fall we’ve been deliberately avoiding any GMO items at the grocery store, and now we are kicking it up into high gear by including eating out. Yup, no more hamburger buns, even when eating delicious locally raised, grass-fed beef burgers at our favorite pub unless they can guarantee the buns are GMO-free!

I am anticipating  some snafu’s. Neither of us wishes to be rude or impose our restrictions on friends who have invited us over, so we may find ourselves in a tricky situation at some point. We also have the challenge of feeding our youngster when being baby-sat at our friend’s house. Typically the kiddos all just share whatever snacks they’ve each brought but that will have to change. I’ll be like that mom forcing her kid to bring the weird school lunch, with chunky homemade hummus sandwiches and carob-chip cookies. Yeesh. I never wanted that for myself or my kid.

But I do want my kid to absorb the fact that consumption is both a personal and a political act. And at the heart of this decision for the year is to turn ourselves into advocates for something we believe in. Two months ago today, Californians failed to pass Proposition 37. A labeling law that would have simply required foods to state whether or not they contained any GMO products, it was killed pretty much by Monsanto and other “food” conglomerates that don’t think consumers have the right to know what they are eating. On the plus side, on that same day San Juan County in Washington State banned GMOs. We feel pretty strongly about both of these outcomes and that it’s time to turn our curse words into action.

Of course, I can wax as poetic and political as I want, but I still have to confess…I’ve already failed this resolution. Mostly because of a lack of planning on our part, and an inability to waste food on my part. We had an incredibly delicious New Year’s Eve dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant and returned home with leftovers that we ate for lunch the next day. Yup, complete with non-organic meat and cheese, and with tomatoes, which are always GMO unless organic. There went that. We also had leftover James bday cake which, due again to a lack of planning on my part, contained a small amount of (horrors) confectioners’ sugar in the frosting as I ran out of arrowroot powder 20 minutes before guests were due to arrive and only had time to run to the general store, not the crunchy-granola co-op. So, confession done, here are my resolutions:

  • I will not eat foods containing GMOs in 2013 (starting… now! not, um, on the actual first day of 2013);
  • I will keep a diary of food costs and report back – I have a sneaking suspicion that eating this way doesn’t have to break the wallet;
  • I will not beat myself up if I fail once or twice;
  • I will share our reasons for doing this with people who have invited us over without getting on a soapbox or making a big deal out of it;
  • and I will teach James every day how important it is to eat real food.

Happy new year everyone.


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