Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Class Warfare in the grocery store

Heather and I have spent a lot of energy lately pursuing a diet of more natural and organic foods, looking to remove the chemicals in our lives as much as possible. This started with the birth of our first daughter and looking to provide her with the best foods and drinks. Organic produce, organic milk, and more. We inevitably found that our children's eating pattern models directly after our own eating pattern and started to more and more push ourselves to eat more fresh, natural, and chemical free foods. We also have been putting more of an eye to environmentally conscience products, buying detergents like Seventh Generation, aiming for local foods when possible, and avoiding some of the farmed fishes that have apparently been a problem. We are near the end of this journey with just a couple of items remaining to be changed out once we finish the last of our previous supply.

This journey has come at an expense, both to our wallets and our cravings. The cost of eating natural has nearly doubled our food budget. We still are looking for alternatives when we want certain things like a Cherry Coke. In the end we have been blessed with the means and will power to work through this transformation. However, one thing has been paining me for the last couple of months. If natural and organic foods are better for you, then why sell any others?

There is a fundamental issue if these foods are indeed healthier for people...that issue is with the fact that most natural and organic foods are priced such that lower income individuals cannot pay for them. I believe that this needs to be a new battleground for those concerned with the lower income earners rights to pursue a healthy life.

The far left pundits would say the establishment targets the poor as shown by things such as more fast food establishments in poor neighborhoods. Frankly, the right to prepared food is not my concern and I do not believe a low income individual has the right to eat at the most expensive restaurants.

The far right pundits would say that all foods in the grocery store are governed by the FDA and they have established firm rules to ensure people's health. I think that is crap. The FDA hasn't been doing enough and America is getting fatter. Children are going through puberty faster. Something is not right.

The bottom line in my opinion is that the government needs to step in enough and start declaring all of the chemicals we are throwing at our children to be bad and create some new rules for food producers. I don't want them to wait until its too late as they did with the tobacco industry. I want them to make a decision based on the best information and start to influence the industry. The health of my children's generation depends on it. The health of those who cannot afford to do it themselves depends on it.

My political position disclaimer: I do not believe in class warfare in the Robin Hood sense or that we should balance out incomes so that someone who is uneducated and not trying in life (see the guy in "Swing Vote") would make the same as a top CEO. However, what I do believe is that all Americans have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and when the system fails to provide that right then the government should step in as minimally as possible. Amongst other things with the right of life comes health, right of liberty comes freedom of oppression and the right to bear arms, and with the right to pursue happiness comes family, religion and education. I believe that ideally in a capitalist environment all of these needs can be met by entrepreneurs and charities however I acknowledge that the right to life and specifically health care has not been met properly through these means and while I agree with the government getting involved, I believe they should do so as minimally as possible to solve the current issue.

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