"christmas tea" and the choices we make everyday

I drink Bengal Spice tea everyday. Everyday. Sometimes twice a day. It sounds exotic, doesn't it? It's really not. It's a type of decaf Celestial Seasoning inexpensive tea, and it tastes (and smells) like cinnamon and cloves. My intern at work refers to it as "Christmas tea," well, because that's what it smells like. In fact, I'm drinking some now, on my back patio as I type this ... in January. I love where I live.

Ok, enough about the tea. After the hubs and I went to the pool yesterday for a workout (3,000 yards, baby!), we swung by Native Sun, our local natural foods market. I had never been (a sin, I know) and have been wanting to check it out. I literally could have spent hours in there. For a post-workout snack, we got smoothies at the juice bar – I got a peanut-banana one and the hubs got a mixed berry one, which were both killer – and then continued our shopping for the week. For being mostly organic foods, I really didn't notice that the prices were that much higher for most of the items we bought, although we did splurge on two locally raised grass-fed, organic NY strips and a package of ground beef, which I will cook this week. The items that were significantly more expensive? Organic canola oil (since I suspect that my old brand is GMO canola ... ), peanut butter (I'm an addict), meat, and dairy.

That said, here comes the back-and-forth on my feelings about organics: Imagine yourself in the produce aisle of your local grocery store. In front of you are three kinds of apples: an organic apple, a locally grown non-organic apple, and a non-organic apple, let's say, from Washington State. The prices vary, from most expensive from least expensive. What do you choose? How do you choose? First: applaud yourself for eating fresh produce – period. As it stands today, I think that it's a toss up between the first and second apple. The first is guaranteed to be grown naturally and without pesticides. Good stuff. But – and here it comes – if it was picked a week ago and flown to your store, the nutrients are probably half of what's in your locally grown apple. Like I said: toss up. And if you can't afford the organic or locally grown stuff? I give a nod to one of my food heroes, Nutritionist Ellie Krieger, when I say to buy the standard, non-organic apple. After all, you're eating fresh, whole foods. And that's a great choice no matter what.

In short: buy organic and locally when you can, especially on the stuff that you regularly eat. But buy a variety of fresh produce always.

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