The die-hard "meat and potatoes" folks don't know much about wanting or trying to eat right but most other people will at least on occasion pick up an apple or a raw vegetable if for no other reason than they simply taste good. Then there is California where raw, organic and holistic are almost lyrics to the state theme song. After the Galleria arguably the next shrine to west coast living is Whole Foods Market where I decided to go one day for lunch while in Orange County on business.
I remember when "organic" produce was a small table filled with shrunken and shriveled goods still caked in farm dirt at nearly twice as much per pound as the shiny, glowing options on display all around the produce section. Whole Foods Market is a green grocer in virtually every sense of the word "green." Their prepared food section is legendary, offering everything from true vegan to London Broil and the finest locally grown produce around. Me being one who could easily lose a few pounds and trying not to spend every dollar of my per diem at the fast food drive through Whole Foods seemed a perfectly sensible choice to make. Let the shopping begin.
A small green salad with balsamic vinaigrette was an easy choice to begin though it was pure dee murder resisting all of the delectable hot entrees and soups on display, including several chicken dishes, vegetable medleys and rice casseroles. I do love fresh fruit, however, and went for some seedless grapes, a couple of oranges and two organic "Fuji" apples, my favorite type of apple, subtle in flavor and always crisp and crunchy. I wasn't trying to go for a power mix of antitoxins, minerals and vitamins, I just picked up what I like along with a single serve bottle of Odwalla Orange Juice to wash it all down with.
Anybody who has ever purchased that single serve bottle of fresh squeezed Valencia orange juice knows the price of it alone is about the same as any single sandwich at McDonald's. Some twenty dollars later I'm rushing back to the office to eat before my next meeting, cursing myself for the impulse purchases and all the while trying to justify the cost in saying at least the oranges, grapes and apples would last me more than just one meal. A third of that and I could have had some sort of combo meal at Mickey-Ds or Chick-Fil-A, maybe even super-sized.
All of the products were delicious and certainly did a body good but I must admit I didn't notice much difference in taste or texture between my organic apples and the ones laced with carcinogenic pesticides, fertilizers and growth hormones. If the taste is the same and I'm paying a premium merely for not introducing those chemicals in to my body then why not pay less instead of more? Eating healthy with commercially grown produce is costly enough over fast food so why are organic groceries even more expensive than that? Seems to me that if they really wanted to get people to eat better then they would sit between those two options, pricier than a hamburger but healthier and less expensive than "Frankenfood."
Natural, organic food, it seems, has come a long way up. Now if only the price would come down.