Sunday, April 18, 2010

Moral Dilemmas

Have you ever had a moral dilemma in a grocery store? A while back I had one and then this week I had another...

We are working hard to eating a more real, healthy, local, organic diet. We are also a family working hard to live and eat frugally. I am caught trying to navigate those two worlds as best I can and sometimes, I've discovered, it leads to moral dilemmas in grocery stores!

I ran into Aldi for some milk and discovered they had marked down a huge pallet of carrots to move them quickly. (Total aside, did you know that our Aldi has hormone free milk? Makes me so happy!) Our local Aldi doesn't mark things down very often, but every once in a while they overbuy on some particular produce and I am able to get a great deal. Mike was thrilled with the $.25 avocados I came home with one time! One this particular day they had two pound bags of carrots marked down to $.35. Seriously great price.

Enter the dilemma. Carrots are on the dirty dozen list at number 11. As a rule I've only been buying organic carrots and I can typically get them for about $1/pound if I buy the five pound bag. However, this price is almost like getting them for free. And I really have an issue with not taking advantage of free or almost free produce! I stood and debated and didn't buy any. Then I went home and stewed about it. The next day we were going to be right by the store and I bought 8 pounds worth. Did I cave on my beliefs?

I decided to go with it and to use them sparingly along with my organic. They've all been blanched and frozen and will be stretched out to avoid eating them all at once. I know we've eaten many a carrot that was not organic in our lives. However, I will stick to buying organic carrots as a rule!

Then I went and did a huge grocery run this week. As in spent the equivalent of 2 months of grocery budget in one day...YIKES! I've never, ever spent $200 in one shot, but we will be well stocked for the baby and beyond. We will still need to buy perishables and milk and such, but most the big stuff is well stocked and the freezer will be chock full of meals before I am done!

At Sam's Club I was checking out their meat department to see if they offered any free-range, anti-biotic free meats. And (of course) the reduced for quick sale stuff caught my eye. There was a big piece of eye of round that was marked a decent price. Normally, I would never buy that cut and I have not bought CAFO meat in about 4 months. However, Mike loves chicken fried steak and I've only made it for him once. The farmer we recently bought beef from does not sell round steak or cube steak so I will not have access to it until our 1/4 is ready in November. I made the decision to buy the beef and cut it into steaks that can be pounded down for his favorite meal. Again, it was a compromise to what I want to be doing, but it is something Mike and I will eat and Little Guy will have a different protein. My husband will be happy and in the scheme of things it will be okay. In reality we'll probably eat it about once a month, if that, and all other meat will be farmer direct.

I've decided not to beat myself up too bad. This is a huge baby step for us and our budget. We are doing great and we will never be total purists. What an interesting position to find myself in, though.

Have you ever been in a moral dilemma in a grocery store?


  1. EVERY time I go in the grocers I face the same kinds of challenges as you do. No organic sour cream, so I buy whatever is on sale. No organic bananas...ditto. No organic whatever...I have to decide if I should go without or compromise. Tho after watching Food, INC. (for the 4th time) I have unequivocably stated I will never buy Smithfield products again. I have principles, ya know!

  2. If you've made it this far and are healthy, you'll be fine. Let the guilt go! You guys need to be saving all the money you can.