Monday, October 1, 2012

Our Junk-Filled Economy

Walking through the grocery store or department store with produce, it boggles my mind to try to find anything. I went to the grocery store for one item the other day and had to walk around the store twice to find what I needed. It's not my usual grocery store, but shouldn't items be easy to find? It made me aware of how much junk we have in our lives. Cookies, potato chips, salad dressing, canned vegetables. What happened to self-sufficiency? Have we gotten so lazy that we can't make anything anymore? A box of cake mix is $2+ per box. Are you waiting for the bugs to start invading your flour at home? Are the eggs in your fridge for decoration?

Someone said America cannot live without convenience or something to that effect. They are 100% right. Fast food, prepackaged potato salad, bagged salad, the list goes on. Since I've cut back on spending, I found myself couponing and only shopping at grocery stores for awhile. I became burned out trying to find a specific product for a specific amount at a certain location. The coupon mission really didn't make buying food any cheaper. So I stopped and realized coupons are primarily for junk food. There's a few for health foods (still processed), organic, and rarely produce.

People buying whatever is inexpensive because they think that is all they can afford. Whenever there's a new product, there's a coupon for cheap or even free. No wonder people are obese and lazy. People need to change their mindset. Cheap is not good. Cheap is unhealthy. I'm not saying buy only organic and expensive things. I'm saying purchase quality. Don't think the grocery store is the only place to purchase produce.

With all these coupons available, comes trash. The trash bins overflow with boxes, plastic bags, paper, food cans, etc. It is horrifying to trash bins bursting with items we are made to think we need every week. Our pantry was bursting at the seams and yet we went shopping for more every week. That's the mindset we have. The prepackaged food never goes bad and although we only consume so much per week, we continue trek on to the grocery store.

A year later, my family started watching a show called "Clean House" through Netflix. It was mesmerizing to watch families with a mess so big that it often had $1,000+ yard sales. Our house wasn't as bad as most of those, but we knew we needed to change. What did we do? Our family downsized. We got rid of the extra clothes, baby toys, extra camping gear, etc. We freed ourselves of the trash, from our cupboards, our closets, toyboxes, yard, and most importantly, we got the junk out of our bodies. Sounds like a cleansing, doesn't it?

Getting out of the house is the hardest part. You can live your "cleansed" lifestyle at home, but when you drive down one major street in town, you'll find a plethora of drive-thru chains for breakfast, lunch, snacktime, and dinner. Wow. Yes, its nice to have someone else cook or not have any dishes to wash, but you end up filling the landfill and your arteries. Unless you order that iceberg salad, there's not much left on the menu.

Another issue I have when dining out is where does the food come from? 99% of it comes from foreign countries and/or an overcrowded feedlot. That's why its cheap. Inexpensive antibiotic filled meat-that's not counting the soybeans and corn syrup companies add to the meat. Grass-fed animals are expensive, but in my opinion, 100% worth the cost.

Meat is like Wal-Mart and Target. Wal-Mart sells low priced items, based on quantity. Target sells a little more expensive items than Wal-Mart, but they are based on quality. See the difference? I'm not promoting or bashing either company, but I get tired of spending countless hours and hubby's hard earned money to these big corporations that will not benefit me or my family in the long run. I'm not getting my money or health back. Once your money and health leave, it's gone.

The one-stop shopping is convenient, especially when you have kids. Who has time to unbuckle them three or four times and put up with temper tantrums? Why would you take your kids to a sit down dinner when the drive-thru is just as convenient? As a whole, we are lazy and obese Americans. I'm not saying I'm energetic or at a healthy weight. I'm just seeing the big picture of how these corporations and the government operates.

Junk in Pantry
Convenience has pushed us consumers at a cost. It has created a government and corporations to throw junk (and trash) in our homes, our bodies, and minds. We have come dependent on other countries for our food and their hard work in making our products. This makes me wonder what are Americans good for? Yes, we are the leader of the world, but why? What do we, as a people and not government, provide?

Our self-sufficiency mindset has been stripped away. Why do something yourself when you can just pay for it? I challenge you to look at the labels. Buy local, buy organic. Don't buy from the big box store or fast food chain for one week or one month. Before purchasing anything. Ask yourself two questions: 1. Can I grow it? 2. Can I make it myself?

Just because the store might be cheaper, ask yourself who is my money benefiting? My local economy or the billion dollar corporation? No wonder so many are under and unemployed.

Thanks for reading!