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Homegrown health 

Here at New Times, we work hard for the money. At least, those of us who actually get paid in money do. Some of us get paid in hard-boiled eggs. Eating protein-rich foods, like eggs, helps maintain equilibrium. We journalists are sensitive by nature, and the New Times working conditions—a windowless basement with an in-progress air-conditioning system and florescent lighting that could induce seizures—can be straining.

In case you live under a rock, there’ve been some ruffled feathers over egg production in the states. Basically, animal welfare groups are asking egg farmers to give their chickens some nicer digs. In response, United Egg Producers (UEP) is asking congress to write chicken-housing-rights into law. UEP wants regulation, because if giving chickens dirt and grass to do their “chicken thing” on is voluntary, then the lesser-off caged chickens’ eggs can be sold for cheaper, and that might put the “nice” farmers out of business. Anyway, the backlash is from pork and beef farmers, worried such legislation will carry over into their market.

I love food. I love it so much I try real hard not to think about where my food came from or what’s in it. Did you know that “organic” is a very loosely controlled segment of the agricultural industry? Your farm might be pesticide and hormone free, but if you water your tomatoes downstream from a non-organic farm, there’s no guarantee that your crops are continuing to remain, well, organic.

If you know how to read, you can find all sorts of literature on agricultural practices that’ll scare you into never wanting to eat ever again. Unfortunately, not eating won’t do much for your social life. If you’re worried about pesticides and the quality of your fruits and veggies (which you should be), there are things you can do to introduce higher-quality foods into your diet.

Place quality over quantity and convenience. This means skipping the produce section at the corporate grocery chain and stopping by the local farmers market on the way home. Yes, you’ll have to find a parking place and (heaven forbid!) walk a block, but the foods you buy at the farmers market are yummier and better for you than what most conventional grocery stores stock.

If you’re lucky enough to live on a parcel of land, consider raising chickens. Homegrown eggs are low in cholesterol and taste amazing. You’re going to incur an expense building a coop and establishing your flock, but after that chickens are relatively inexpensive to keep. Or try your hand at gardening. Tomatoes are a rewarding and uncomplicated plant, and can be grown in a large pot on the patio if you don’t have the land for them. If that seems too daunting, try buying an already-established basil plant, sold in the produce section of some grocery stores or at the local nursery, and throwing it in the kitchen window. Fresh basil can really liven up a garden salad and gives pastas a rich flavor.

You are what you eat. I am peanut butter and bananas. What are you?


New Times Intern Ana Korgan compiled this week’s Bites. We want a bite! E-mail

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